Everyone who has watched basketball has an opinion on the G.O.A.T. debate between NBA stars LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
It’s an argument that has grown over the last few seasons, and social media gives everyone a forum to voice their opinion on who really is the greatest basketball player of all time.
It’s almost as if everyone has to pick a side: Team Jordan or Team LeBron. Monday morning on ESPN’s "Get Up," former Duke star and ESPN analyst Jay Williams, along with Jalen Rose, one of the co-hosts who spent 12 years in the NBA, got into a heated debate about who would win the contest.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
“I’m not comparing legacies,” Williams said. “Legacies are different, LeBron James is not done yet, and Michael Jordan is undefeated in NBA Finals. You cannot tell me in a 1-on-1 game, though, that LeBron James would not dominate Mike.”
The remark caused Rose to get up from his seat at the anchor desk and walk around the set in disbelief.
Williams did not back down from his statement, saying at 6-9, 260 pounds, and with the ability to move like a guard, James would cause problems for Jordan, who was named to the NBA All-defensive team nine times.
“If the game was to 7, I think LeBron would win 7-3,” Williams said as Rose, still in shock from the comment, continued to walk around the set. “We’re not talking about 5-on-5 basketball, we’re not talking about the passive LeBron making the right play.”
Rose countered that Jordan, who's now 55 and retired from playing in 2003, led the league in scoring 10 times, compared to five from LeBron. But Williams shot back that Jordan, who's 6-6 and was 218 pounds when he was in the NBA, had never played against a player who had the combination of LeBron’s size and athleticism.
“He has Michael by 25 pounds and is quicker than Michael,” Williams said.
Jordan, the current owner of the Charlotte Hornets, won six titles with the Chicago Bulls, a team both Rose and Williams played for at times during their careers. James won two NBA titles in Miami before returning to Cleveland and winning it all with the Cavaliers in 2016. Jordan, who played for the Bulls and the Washington Wizards during his career, is No. 4 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 32,292 points. James is No. 7 with 31,038.