Pistons’ #1 Overall Pick Cade Cunningham Explains Why He Picks LeBron James Over Michael Jordan

Published 08/17/2021, 11:25 PM EDT
May 25, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard LeBron James (23) reacts against the Phoenix Suns during the first half in game two of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


The number 1 pick, Cade Cunningham, has been living up to his status. The confident youngster is putting on a show in the Summer League. However, he has caught the headlines for a completely different reason this time around. The rookie cast his vote to the NBA GOAT conversation between Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

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While on ‘Da Windy City with Marc Carman’, the question of who is the greatest came up. Cade picked his man with no hesitation.

Aug 13, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) dribbles against New York Knicks guard Elfrid Payton (6) during an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Cunningham picks LeBron James as the GOAT

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That’s right, the rookie picked the ‘King’ as his GOAT of basketball. Cunningham defended the argument and revealed why he picked LeBron. However, he admits Jordan was a different beast, and he has seen his stuff too.

May 25, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts against the Phoenix Suns during the second half in game two of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports | Courtesy: Reuters

Cunningham said: “It’s hard for me to put somebody ahead of LeBron cause LeBron is the best player I’ve seen with my eyes. Trust me I’ve seen all the Michael Jordan stuff, dude is different. I can’t argue with the fact that you think he is the GOAT but in my eyes I say LeBron.”

As the debate is subjective, we can’t say if Cunningham is right or wrong with his pick. Cunningham goes with the eye test and believes that LeBron comes out on top. However, his opinion is one of many.

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But, it is good to see that he acknowledges how good MJ was too. Furthermore, he understands why people would pick Jordan. There is no doubt that both these players have achieved anything and everything in basketball. From numbers to accolades, they have done it all.

Why did Cunningham pick the ‘King’ over Jordan?

While it is clear that both the players are pioneers, why did the rookie pick LBJ? Notably, the key factor to take into consideration is age.

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Most of the young guys would have LBJ as their GOAT. This is because they have seen and lived the game of basketball through LeBron James. The eye test is a big factor for players, and they have grown up watching LeBron. Likewise, this is the case for the past generation of players as well.

Mar 18, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) moves the ball against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

If we ask any older player, most of them would pick MJ because they have experienced his greatness before LeBron came into the league. As these players saw the skill difference between themselves and Michael, they picked him as their GOAT.

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WATCH THIS STORY-  Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Other NBA Stars in Their Childhood

Who do you think is the GOAT? Let us know in the comments below.

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Anuj Talwalkar

276 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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