Did Michael Jordan Settle the MJ-LeBron James Debate Once and For All?

We publish independently audited information that meets our strong editorial guidelines. Be aware we may earn a commission if you purchase anything via links on our pages.
Michael Jordan cautioned against comparing himself and LeBron James.

There's nothing that sports fans love more than a good debate, especially over the greatest player of all-time. In the NBA, the leading two candidates are LeBron James and Michael Jordan. Whether you prefer King James or His Airness, there are plenty of pros and cons on either side of the aisle.

Michael Jordan himself, however, recently weighed in on the great debate. Could he have finally settled things once and for all?

LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan for the greatest of all-time

No matter which player you think is better, there's one thing all basketball fans can agree on: both LeBron James and Michael Jordan are some of the greatest to ever pick up a basketball.

James, of course, burst onto the national scene during high school and has only continued to improve. While the forward is an elite scorer—his career total sits third all-time, ahead of Jordan—he's far from one dimensional; King James is also a skilled passer and rebounder. LeBron is also capable of lifting any team into title contention.

On the other side of the debate, Michael Jordan needs no introduction. After infamously failing to make his high school varsity team, MJ never looked back. He won a National Championship at the University of North Carolina before moving on to the NBA; while he had some issues getting past the Detroit Pistons, His Airness and the Bulls grew into an unstoppable force. While his stats and accomplishments speak for themselves, Jordan became a cultural force. From slam dunks to sneakers, so much of modern basketball stems from him.

Michael Jordan weighs in on the debate

It's the natural tendency of sports fans to debate the greatness of their favorite players. Michael Jordan, however, recently provided his own perspective on the comparisons between himself and LeBron James.

“We play in different eras,” Jordan said at an NBA press conference in Paris, France. “He's an unbelievable player. He's one of the best players in the world, if not the best player in the world. I know it's a natural tendency to compare eras to eras, and it's going to continue to happen. I'm a fan of his, I love watching him play.”

“I think he's made his mark,” His Airness continued. “But when you start the comparisons, I think it is what it is. It's just a stand-up measurement. I take it with a grain of salt. He is a heck of a basketball player without a doubt.”

It might not be the most exciting, but MJ made a good point about comparisons with LeBron James

While Michael Jordan's response might not have been the most exciting comment he's ever uttered, His Airness does have a point. Like it or not, it's never easy to compare across eras; even with statistical adjustments, debates over historical greatness will never go away.

Jordan's comments also allude to another topic: appreciating greatness. No matter your fandom or favorite players, sometimes you just have to stand up and applaud. Guys like LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will eventually go down as historical great; it would be a shape to overlook their current performances due to debates over their all-time standing.

As a fan, the Michael Jordan-LeBron James debate can be a great deal of fun. Those arguments, though, shouldn't become the main event and overshadow what's happening on the court. Appreciate the greatness of what's happening right now; there will be time for (imperfect) historical comparisons later.