With LeBron James having had the greatest run of games in NBA history where he scored over 30 points while shooting over 60% in every game, many people are now saying LeBron is as great as Michael Jordan. What those people should remember is that during the 1989 season, Michael Jordan had seven consecutive games where he posted triple-doubles, among his other accomplishments.
Both LeBron James and Michael Jordan are great players. Arguably the two best players in NBA history. But anyone who says that LeBron is now the equal of Michael Jordan needs to do a little homework first.
Here are some stats from LeBron James and Michael Jordan, to show how the two currently stack up vs one another. While both are great players, I believe any fair-mined person will agree that LeBron James still has a way to go to be declared the equal of Michael Jordan, yet alone surpass him.
LeBron James compared to Michael Jordan
- Michael Jordan - 6
- LeBron James - 1
LeBron James has just one NBA championship vs six for Michael Jordan. I've heard some argue though, that both won their first championships at age 27. That's true, but Jordan went on to win five more championships, and would likely have won even more if he had not taken time off during his career.
Michael Jordan was also the NBA Finals MVP all six times he won championships. It will be hard for LeBron to match and surpass that.
NBA scoring titles
- Michael Jordan - 10
- LeBron James - 1
LeBron is a great scorer, he currently has the third highest points per game average in NBA history. But he will never come close to being the scorer Michael Jordan was. Jordan won 10 scoring titles, and he has the highest scoring average in NBA history at 30.1 points per game.
LeBron has just one scoring title, and he has only averaged over 30.0 points per game in a season twice. Michael Jordan's career scoring average is over 30.0 points per game.
- Michael Jordan - 5
- LeBron James - 3
LeBron already has won three MVP awards in the NBA. He may very well end up winning more MVP awards than Michael Jordan, but again, we can't forget that Jordan took time off in the middle of his career at his peak when he probably would have won more MVP awards.
Rebounds and assists
While a lot of people correctly point out that LeBron has higher rebounds and assists averages than Jordan had, the numbers are a probably lot closer than most people realize.
Rebounds per game
- LeBron - 7.2
- Jordan - 6.2
Assists per game
- LeBron - 6.9
- Jordan - 5.3
LeBron is currently one rebound per game better than Michael Jordan was, and 1.6 assists per game better. But LeBron is at his peak right now. His rebounds and assists per game totals will likely be below what they are today when he retires.
Both Michael Jordan and LeBron James are great defensive players. Jordan was Defensive Player of Year in 1988, and was on the all-defensive first team nine times in his career. LeBron has yet to win Defensive Player of the Year, and he has made the first team all-defensive team four times.
Michael Jordan won three steals per game titles in his career, and averaged 2.35 steals per game over his career. That is fourth best in NBA history. LeBron has never led the NBA in any defensive category, and his career steals per game average is 1.73 (26th best all-time).
Having watched both play a lot, I'd say that at their peaks, LeBron and Jordan are about equal defensive players. But Michael Jordan brought his defensive intensity to every single game he played in. LeBron is a lot more inconsistent with his defensive intensity.
Michael Jordan brought an intensity, an intense desire to win, to every single NBA game he ever played in. LeBron James is a great player, but I don't think he brings the same level of intensity to his games that MJ brought.
The fact that LeBron James can even be compared to Michael Jordan is an incredible achievement, but I think LeBron James still has a way to go to be the equal of Michael Jordan.