Three NBA Legends Who Think LeBron James Beats Michael Jordan in the GOAT Debate

Published 01/11/2022, 12:30 PM EST

To an NBA fan, the LeBron James vs Michael Jordan debate is a never ending discussion. The players have earned their place as two of the most skilled players, often sparking GOAT debates. Having said that, its not just fans that end up comparing the two.


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Over months, other NBA icons have ended up sharing their views on the James-Jordan GOAT debate. Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, and Isaiah Thomas are a few retired players who have spoken up on the same, each choosing either James or Jordan.

Let’s take a look at what all of these players had to say, and why they favored the younger over the Chicago Bulls legend.


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Jan 4, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts against the Sacramento Kings in the first half at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Which NBA legend picked LeBron James over Michael Jordan in the GOAT debate?

When talking about James or Jordan, we often favours one icon over the other. While Jordan ruled over a completely different era, James is still playing with the Los Angeles Lakers. To many, the number of titles they have won is what sets them apart. If it is not the championships, many even use their scoring averages and other stats to compare the two.


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Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal, who has addressed this matter before, stated that James could become better than Michael Jordan if passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the scoring list. “He’s got four rings, and he becomes the highest scorer in the NBA history. He’s the best ever. Ain’t nothing you can say,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal explained that while a fifth ring would be nice, the lead scoring title is something he personally would choose. “He’d be No. 1″. 

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As per the retired Lakers star, becoming the best in scoring is a record no one would break.

Allen Iverson’s comments on James being the GOAT

Hall of Famer Allen Iverson is another NBA legend who believes James is the GOAT over Jordan. Even though no one can deny Jordan’s credibility, few could have done what James did for this era. “As much as I love Michael Jordan, like, dawg, man, LeBron James is the one, dawg,” Iverson said. “He the one, man. That mother f–ker is the one, man”. 

Views might also change as per the era, as many have grown up watching either of the two greats. Sometimes, players who have played against Jordan also side with James – who started playing in the NBA years later, in 2003.


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Isaiah Thomas – who was on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast – ended up ranking Jordan as the fifth-toughest player he played against. “He (LeBron) breaks a record every single night just to remind you you’ve never seen anything like this before,” Thomas said. He added that later on, it will be hard for people to look back and not think of James as the GOAT.

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Thomas also referred to James as the “Einstein of basketball”.


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James’ basketball IQ has often been praised and is also considered the cause of his high level of play even today.

What do you agree with all these NBA greats? Who is your favorite player? Let us know.

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Devika Pawar is a Golf and NBA writer at Essentially Sports. A psychology graduate from KJ Somaiya, Devika has an experience with sportswriting at Republic World for around two years now. She loves NBA a little too much, and is a dedicated Golden State Warriors fan.