Let's look at the scoreboard of the GOAT debate. For most, Michael Jordan is upfront, with no one being a real threat. For others, LeBron James is at least that, with a small portion of fans already putting him at the top. But it still seems like your average NBA fan will say MJ is the greatest to do it.
Your average former NBA player would definitely say that. Kobe Bryant would, Tracy McGrady would, Kevin Garnett would, and the list goes on. So in terms of NBA brotherhood, it seems like a majority of them are team Jordan. At least those who don't have a personal beef with the guy (yes, Isiah).
When people compare LeBron to Jordan, I feel like throwing up. My son assures me LeBron is better, but for me, it's not a discussion. If he'd played 20 years ago, James wouldn't have been able to do half of what he's doing today. When LeBron gets into the paint, everybody moves. Jordan would get the beating but would still dominate.
Dino Rađa, Index.hr
This is your typical cross-era comparison argument. Rađa being the guy who played in the '90s, sees the physicality of the game, as well as the rules MJ played under as decisive factors when deciding who's better between the two. But according to Dino, that even isn't the right discussion to have.
I respect LeBron, but Kobe's better.
Dino Rađa, Index.hr
Add Rađa to another list - a list of former players who think James still hasn't passed Kobe all-time. Now, this is something no NBA media guy will ever say, but you'll hear a lot of NBA players say it. Kenyon Martin said it, Stephen Jackson has it, Kawhi Leonard said it. Even the guy like Larry Bird sided with Kobe over LeBron.
So I guess it all depends whose GOAT scoreboard you are looking at. The 'average NBA fan' one would say MJ is the best to do it. The 'NBA media' one would also say MJ with LeBron James being a close second. But the 'current/former NBA players' one might not have LeBron on it at all. I wonder if that'll be the case once James retires.