Today, the most heated debate among NBA fans is whether LeBron James eclipsed Michael Jordan as the best player in NBA history. Obviously, it’s almost impossible to compare the two because they played in different eras, and these debates are pointless because they are both tremendous players in their own right at the end of the day. Whether someone favors Jordan over LeBron is based on personal preferences and rarely on logical or stat-driven analogy, even though that is also not the right way to measure someone’s greatness.
When it comes to this type of debate, it’s always great to hear what NBA players have to say, and in a recent interview, former NBA player Ron Harper shared his thoughts. Harper is a five-time NBA champion who had a quite illustrious career being a member of a few historic NBA teams, with one of them being the Chicago Bulls during their second three-peat. Harper had the opportunity to play against and alongside Jordan for years, so he got a pretty good understanding of what type of player he was like. In his opinion, he doesn’t see any similarity between him and LeBron.
Harper argues LeBron should be compared to Oscar Robertson or Magic Johnson because of his pass-first mentality and versatility. On the other hand, Jordan was always in a full-attack mode, capable of dropping 40,50 points against any NBA defense. Harper also said Jordan was an incredible defender, which is a trait that often gets neglected when discussing his greatness.
I don’t. They make the wrong comparison. When you look at LeBron James, you have to think of Oscar Robertson or Magic Johnson – big guards who can do everything. One thing they don’t give MJ credit for was his defense. MJ was an aggressive defensive player – one of the best of all-time at that two-guard spot. He doesn’t get any credit for that because everyone wants to talk about the way he scored the basketball, but MJ was a great defensive ball player too. So I don’t really put LeBron in that MJ conversation. I put LeBron with those big guys.Ron Harper, via HoopsHype
Everything Harper mentioned about Jordan and LeBron is completely valid and something people need to understand better when making those comparisons. Their playing style is completely different, and their roles on teams they played for differed; however, their impact was extremely positive. The championships they won can attest to that no matter which one you personally prefer.