Two things are certain in life. Death and taxes, but in the basketball world, you can compare that saying to GOAT debates between Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Arguably the two greatest players in NBA history are often the main topics of discussion, as numerous fans from both sides advocate passionately for their guys. From fans, analysts, coaches to former and current players, everybody chips in.
KG's comments sparked a huge debate
Recently we had former NBA player and Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett come out with a few interesting statements regarding the MJ-LeBron debate. In summary, KG gave his roses to Jordan, calling him the basketball god one step above LeBron, who he viewed more as new the little homie on the block.
It was apparent Garnett has a different level of respect for Jordan, but that is only natural for players from that era who came up watching MJ dominate the NBA. This obviously found a lot of approval from the NBA world, but also spares some debates and criticisms, as FS1 analyst Shannon Sharpe came into the defense of his guy:
"When LeBron got into the league, Kevin Garnett was already in his 8th season. So he is looking at him like that's the little homie. But little homie grew up and took over the block. Magic Johnson did not fear Michael Jordan. He did not. Wasn't no threat. Larry Bird did not fear Michael Jordan. Was no threat. He couldn't get out of the East. In the '80s, when Magic and Bird were at their apex, your guy did not get out of the East."
Shannon Sharpe, Undisputed on FS1
Shannon is a firm believer this does not affect LeBron's GOAT case because James entered the league while Garnett was in his prime. It was only natural KG would not fear LeBron or view him as the top dog. But in a good parallel, Sharpe explained how Jordan had a similar situation with Magic and Bird.
Jordan came into the league in 1984, while the league was dominated by the Celtics, Lakers, and Pistons. MJ could not get to the Finals before 1991 simply due to the fact he had to face guys like Bird, Magic, and Isiah in their prime. That's a part of Jordan's career that often gets overlooked.
Many would say that Garnett has a certain bias towards Jordan because LeBron stopped him from having much more success with the Celtics. Sure he got through in 2008 and won it, but the Boston "Big 3" could have had a few more titles to their name if not for LeBron joining the Heat and bouncing them out consecutive times.
Obviously, this is KG's point of view, and I respect it, but it is obvious how he and everybody else's take on the MJ-LeBron debate are influenced by how it affected their own careers. Both Garnett and Sharpe had some pretty good points in their statements, but I would have to agree that MJ is still a step above LeBron when it comes to the all-around greatness.