Did LeBron James just surpass Michael Jordan as the NBA’s GOAT?
At this point it’s a rhetorical question and it will come down to which of the superstars is your favourite.
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But LeBron taking what was long believed to be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s unbreakable point scoring record may have given him an edge, if NBA fans are to be believed.
Just as soon as LeBron claimed the record with seconds left in the third quarter, Michael Jordan’s name was on the tongue of NBA fans as the unanswerable question was once against raised.
After the match speaking on TNT, LeBron said he even surprised himself by what he could do out on the court, particularly as a 38-year-old man.
Incredibly he hinted that he’s still got years left in his career, meaning his record could stretch into the 40,000s if he reaches or surpasses Abdul-Jabbar’s retirement age of 42.
But Shaquille O’Neal hit the nail on the head, asking whether this latest record sees him become the greatest player of all-time.
Laughing, LeBron replied: “I’m going to let everybody else decide that or talk about it, it’s great barbershop talk.
“But for me personally, I’m going to take myself against anybody who has ever played this game. But everyone’s going to have their favourite and decide who their favourite is but I know what I’ve brought to the table and what I bring to the table every single night and what I can do out on this floor.
“I always feel like I’m the best ever to play this game but there are so many other great ones that I’m just happy to be a part of their journey.”
After LeBron left for more media commitments, Shaq said he wouldn’t have been so humble if he had broken the record.
“I would have been real arrogant with it,” he said.
“‘I’m the greatest of all-time, I don’t want to hear anyone else’s name … ever.’”
An outspoken activist, Abdul-Jabbar also paid tribute, saying LeBron has been one of the most important figures in basketball history, not only for what he can do on the court.
“What LeBron has done off the court is more important than what he’s done on the court,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
“He’s sent kids to school, he’s provided leadership and an example of how to live.
“He has the right values, family and hard work and all those things lead to success.”
The GOAT debate, while it has quietened down somewhat in recent times, particularly after Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance, has long reigned on.
LeBron passed Jordan’s point scoring tally back in 2019, but his six Championship rings with the Chicago Bulls to LeBron’s four spread across the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Lakers is usually brought up against him.
LeBron holds countless records however, and has been a force over two decades at the top of the game.
But becoming the point leader had plenty of people willing to admit LeBron may well be the GOAT.
In the LA Times, columnist Bill Plaschke wrote: “James is now officially and unquestionably the greatest basketball player to ever walk this earth, and no apologies necessary to those who still insist it is Michael Jordan.
“James not only eclipsed 38,387 points, but he made more than 38,387 points in a debate that is surely now resolved.
“Turn off The Last Dance videos, lose the romantic Bulls-coloured glasses, separate the myths from the men, and the reality thunders down like a trademark James tomahawk dunk.
James, not Jordan, is the GOAT.
“In breaking a seemingly unbreakable record that has stood for nearly 39 years — as long as Babe Ruth once held the career home run record after his retirement — James has checked the last box on a resume that doesn’t just dominate basketball but defines it.”
While there were plenty who agreed, there were others who believed it didn’t change a thing.
Sports anchor Matt Infield tweeted: “I’m at the point where I’m not gonna waste my time debating MJ/Bron anymore. It’s still Mike to me, but anyone who thinks it’s LBJ has more than a valid enough argument. It’s truly incredible that LeBron has put himself in that conversation.”
Barstool Sports’ Brandon Walker wrote: “My official GOAT stance is that it’s Michael Jordan based on impact and accomplishments with LeBron close behind at 2. But in my opinion, LeBron is the best basketball player in the history of the game. Literally good at everything and puts it all together better than anyone.”
Seems like the debate is going to continue to rage for much longer.
Story Credit: news.com.au