As the 2020 presidential election rapidly approaches, there is one issue that divides our nation as much as any other, a conundrum that every candidate for the highest office of the land evidently needs to weigh in on: Is LeBron James or Michael Jordan the better basketball player?
We know what the man currently occupying the presidency thinks, and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders already shared that he thinks James is better than Jordan. During an appearance on “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” Sanders’ fellow Democratic candidate agreed, saying he’d take James over Jordan as well:
This will never happen, but I in all sincerity would listen to a 20-30 minute podcast or debate where all the nominees just argue James vs. Jordan for a bit. It could be fun to get a good baseline sense on where their basketball sensibilities lie.
In all seriousness, however, O’Rourke’s little back and forth with Simmons there does raise an interesting point: What would James have to do to definitively grasp the title of GOAT (Greatest Of All Time)?
In James’ mind, his comeback from down 3-1 in the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors already cemented his status. But that still isn’t enough for some of his detractors, who point to — among other things — James’ 3-6 record in the Finals vs. Jordan’s 6-0 as evidence of the latter’s superiority.
If James could win a title in Los Angeles, it might become hard to argue against his status. After all, just making it to the Finals 10 times is an achievement in and of itself, and building title winners with three different franchises is an undeniable challenge. Still, even that might not ultimately change the minds of those who feel Jordan is the superior player, as these things crystalize in our minds at some point and it’s hard to argue against such opinions once they get set. That’s just human nature.
Essentially, this is just a long way of saying I don’t know what James would have to do to win the GOAT debate unanimously, but the fact that he’s even in it and has a chance to further his case once again should highlight how exciting this Lakers season looks set to be.
James may not win everyone over, but if he just keeps winning it may not matter much in the end. Everyone will have their opinion, but unlike an election, the votes aren’t tallied and no one but those of us who get to watch and appreciate basketball greatness actually win in the end.