Skip to main content

Doc Rivers decides between LeBron's stats and Jordan's skills for the GOAT


Doc Rivers faced Michael Jordan as a player and went up against LeBron James as a coach. When it comes to the GOAT debate, there aren't many who had the firsthand experience competing against both.

Rivers' evaluation of Michael is pretty standard -- he was a fierce competitor on both ends of the floor, setting standards no other player in NBA history was able to reach. He also lauded Jordan's consistency and ability to keep the same drive for as long as he did. That's what made him stand out then, and it still keeps him a level above everyone else.

Michael was ruthless. Kobe approached his competitiveness, other than that; I've never seen anyone more competitive. I remember his rookie year, my second year; after the game, my first thought was, 'no way he can play that hard all season.' Ten years later, he was still playing the same way. I was amazed at how much he gave on the defensive end and the offensive end and his energy level.

Doc Rivers, All The Smoke

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

When it comes to LeBron, Doc emphasized his longevity as his strongest argument for the GOAT. He's still the best player in the world even in year 18 and is making a strong case for the oldest regular-season MVP at age 36. Numbers-wise, LeBron's resume is unprecedented, but it's still not enough for Doc to put him above Michael.

For me, Michael's the greatest player ever, but LeBron's gonna have the greatest career ever. And what he's doing right now is incredible.

Doc Rivers, All The Smoke

This is as unique of an argument as it gets. Having the greatest career ever should imply being labeled as the greatest of all time. But for Doc, those are two separate things. LeBron's case for the greatest of all time is based on numbers. Michael's is based on pure basketball ability and the eye test.

Let's not get it twisted; it's not like Jordan isn't right there with James stats-wise. In fact, many of his per-game averages, both traditional and advanced, still exceed James's. But when it comes to looking at what both of them were able to do on the basketball court, in terms of skill, there's no doubt in Doc's mind -- Michael Jordan is still the greatest player the NBA has ever seen.


Rob Pelinka’s big promise to LeBron James as contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers nears

The Lakers have been a bit trepid about making big roster moves recently, but they appear to have said what they needed to say to keep James in L.A.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan and golf icon Tiger Woods

“He’s scared, I’ll knock his brains out” — Michael Jordan revealed why Tiger Woods refused to play basketball

Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are both GOAT but while MJ plays golf and is good at it, Tiger wouldn't come near a basketball court.


"You would never have heard of Michael Jordan!"-John Salley reveals the crucial information he learned from "The Last Dance" documentary

In Salley's opinion, if the "Bad Boys" Pistons knew at the time what was revealed in "The Last Dance" documentary, Jordan would have never gotten past them.

New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose

Why Derrick Rose isn't your average superstar — “I hate fame. It's just not who I am.”

DRose's answer demonstrates how humble he is, despite all his achievements.