Add the fourth NBA championship to LeBron’s NBA resume. More importantly, add it to his GOAT resume. Add these as well:
- the first player in the league’s history to win Finals MVP with three different teams.
- one of the four guys to win a championship with three different franchises.
- the fifth player in NBA history, behind Bob Cousy, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and Scottie Pippen, to lead their team in assists in the NBA Finals for 4+ championships.
- joined Michael Jordan as only players in NBA History to win 4+ Finals MVPs and 4+ regular-season MVPs.
LeBron wasted no time rewriting the NBA history books, as the argument for him being in the GOAT conversation keeps on writing itself. At this point, even saying he might catch up with MJ in terms of titles isn’t farfetched, but that will never be the way for James. Longevity and numbers – that is the way. And in terms of numbers, LeBron has another one. This one went under the radar, but it sure is impressive.
James has played in 1265 games over his 17-year run in the NBA; 193 more than Michael Jordan. Over those games, LeBron has scored 34,241 points compared to Michael’s 32,292, which currently puts him in third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list behind only Kareem and Karl Malone. And despite having 1949 points more than MJ, LeBron still has fewer career misses than the His Airness.
Looking at this in a vacuum, it implicates that LBJ is far more efficient than Mike. However, their career FG% are nearly identical. LeBron is at .504, Jordan is at .497 (without his two-year run with the Wizards, MJ would be a career 50% shooter). Over the course of their careers, LeBron’s TS% is 4.5% over the league’s average (54.1), while MJ shot 3.5% over the league average (53.67).
It’s clear LeBron has a statistical edge in the efficiency department, but it’s also important to put those numbers in the context of eras both guys have played in. That’s when the gap decreases, for a few simple reasons: physicality, rules, playstyle, being 6’6.
Either way, the numbers are so close that nitpicking is the only way towards coming up with a conclusion. And even then, there’s no formal criterion of declaring a winner. It’s hard to say one was more efficient than the other, the same way it’s hard to say one was better than the other.
Well, that one is a little easier. It’s still MJ, but LeBron continues to make his case.