Boeheim Comments on the Jordan Versus Lebron Debate
The Jordan vs. Lebron "Who's the best of all time?" question gets more interesting every year.
Hoopsvibe's Quick Call: As basketball fans, we better get used to this debate because it's not going away.
Yesterday, on ESPN Radio, the question was raised yet again; and this time, it was directed at long time Syracuse Men's basketball coach, Jim Boeheim.
Talking about Lebron, Boeheim said, "He's a leader. He gets on the court, he tells people what to do ... this guy can guard five (postions) ... put him on anybody, he can guard him. I always felt Michael Jordan was the best player I've ever seen ... I didn't think it was close ... and I'm not so sure anymore."
Boeheim isn't exactly a lightweight either. He is without question one of the most legendary coaches in the history of the game. In his 36 year coaching tenure, Boeheim has led Syracuse to 29 NCAA tournament appearances. He's been to the Final Four and the NCAA Title game three times, winning a National Championship in 2003. Under his leadership, the Orangemen have won the Big East regular season championship nine times and the tournament championship five times. He leads ALL Big East coaches (past and present) in wins and ranks third all time in Division I career wins with 890. He has been the Big East Coach of the Year four times and won a gold medal with the Men's US National Team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In his 36 seasons as head coach of Syracuse, he compiled 20-win seasons 34 of those times, which is good for the most all time. That is an absolutely insane statistic, by the way.
Given the preceding accolades, I think it's more than fair to say his basketball opinion is valid and credible.
Michael Jordan has always been and always will be not just my favorite basketball player, but my favorite athlete of all time. So given that Lebron just finished his ninth season in the NBA, I decided to take a look at where Jordan was compared to James after his ninth season.
The results were interesting.
In his first nine seasons, Lebron James has averaged 27.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 7.2 rebounds per game. Jordan averaged 31.4 ppg, 5.6 apg, and 5.8 rpg in his first nine years.
In their first nine seasons respectively, both players were named league MVP three times and both won Olympic gold twice.
Lebron has been a member of the NBA All-Defensive team four times in the last nine seasons while Jordan edged out Lebron in this category with six All-Defensive Team nods in his first nine years. (While it's amazingly true that Lebron can guard anyone, I think people forget how good of a defender Jordan was.)
After nine seasons, both superstars matched up fairly equally.
But the main difference that separated the two and currently makes Jordan best of all time as it stands today, is in the amount of championship rings each had. Lebron James just got his first this season; but by this time in his career, Michael had already won three.
No one knows what Lebron will continue to do but we already know what Michael has done. Jordan finished his career with six NBA Championships.
So in order for Lebron to be in contention for title "the best ever," he has at least five more rings to win.
Or does he?
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