Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - In Google Play
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - On the App Store
Skip to main content
Tags: michael jordan | lebron james | greatest of all time | points

Jordan vs. James: Who Is the Greatest of All Time (GOAT)?

acronym greatest of all time sticky notes and white chalk handwriting on blackboard
(Marek Uliasz/Dreamstime.com)

Robert Zapesochny By Wednesday, 01 March 2023 03:48 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

In 2019, 127 NBA players participated in an anonymous poll. Michael Jordan was chosen as the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) by 73% of the 117 players who answered that question.

LeBron James was in second place with 11.9%.

This month, James broke Kareen Abdul-Jabbar's record (38,387 points) as the all-time leading NBA scorer.

James is now in his 20th season. As of Feb. 28, James has played 1,413 games and 266 playoff games.

Jordan only played 1,072 regular season games and 179 playoff games over 15 seasons.

Scoring: Michael Jordan

In regular season points per game (ppg), Jordan's career average (30.12 ppg) is the highest in NBA history. James (27.21 ppg) is currently fifth on this list.

In regular season points per game, Jordan's career high was 37.1 in the 1986-1987 season. In the last 36 years, nobody has beaten Jordan's best season in points per game.

Jordan led the NBA regular season in scoring 10 times, which is the NBA record. James only led the league once in scoring.

In the playoffs, Jordan's average points per game (33.4 ppg) is the highest in NBA history. James (28.7 ppg) is currently sixth on that list.

Jordan holds the record for the most points ever in a playoff game with 63 points in 1986 against Larry Bird's Boston Celtics.  James' best playoff game was 51 points in 2018.

Jordan's best regular season game was 69 points while James' best regular season game was 61 points.

A year after Jordan retired from basketball in 2003, the NBA banned hand-checking. According to a number of NBA legends, including Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Kevin Durant, and Allen Iverson, Jordan would score over 40 points per game under today's rules.

If Michael Jordan scored 40 points per game in 1,072 regular season games, he would have had over 40,000 career points, which is more than James.

James' career field goal percentage (50.5%) is only slightly higher than Jordan's (49.7%) because of the new rules in the NBA. With the new rules, James has a very high career FG percent within 0-3 feet of the basket (73.9%).

From 10-16 feet from the basket, a 39-year-old Jordan (43.9%) did better in his last season with the Washington Wizards than James' career average (36.8%) at that distance.

In his final season, Jordan's FG percent of 2 points over 16 feet (42.4%) was higher than James' career average (38.7%).

Assists: LeBron James

In assists per game, James (7.3) has a comfortable lead over Jordan (5.3). Jmaes led the league one year in assists.

If assists mattered more than points, Magic Johnson and John Stockton would be the leading contenders for the GOAT. Stockton has the NBA record in career assists (15,806).

Magic Johnson holds the NBA records in most assists in the playoffs (2,346) as well as the best career average in the number of assists in the regular season (11.9) and the playoffs (12.35).

Rebounds: LeBron James

James (7.5) leads Jordan (6.2) in career rebounds per game. James (10,371) has almost twice as many rebounds in the regular season as Jordan (6,672).

If rebounds were more important than points, the GOAT debate would be among Wilt Chamberlain (23,924), Bill Russell (21,620), and Abdul-Jabbar (17,440).

Defense: Michael Jordan

Jordan was 1987-88 Defensive Player of the Year. He shares the NBA record of nine selections on the NBA All-Defensive first team. James made the All-Defensive first team five times and the second team once.

Steals: Michael Jordan

Jordan's career average in steals (2.3) is higher than James' average (1.5). Jordan has more career steals (2,514) than James. Jordan led the league in steals three times.

Dunking: Michael Jordan

Jordan had the highest vertical jump in NBA history at 48 inches. James has a vertical jump of 44 inches.

Jordan won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest twice. Jordan dunked over Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, and Shaq.

Free Throws: Michael Jordan

Jordan's free throw percentage was 83.5. Lebron James' free throw percentage is 73.5. 

Advanced Stats: Michael Jordan

Jordan still holds the NBA records in Player Efficiency Rating for both the regular season and the playoffs. James is third in both categories.

Championships: Michael Jordan

Jordan won six NBA championships. James has four championships. Jordan holds the record for winning the NBA Finals MVP Award six times.

In December 2022, the NBA renamed the Most Valuable Player Award after Jordan. He won the MVP award five times and James won it four times.

Michael Jordan is the GOAT.

Robert Zapesochny is a researcher and writer whose work focuses on foreign affairs, national security and presidential history. He has been published in numerous outlets, including The American Spectator, the Washington Times, and The American Conservative. When he's not writing, Robert works for a medical research company in New York. Read Robert Zapesochny's Reports — More Here.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

In the last 36 years, nobody has beaten Jordan's best season in points per game.
michael jordan, lebron james, greatest of all time, points
Wednesday, 01 March 2023 03:48 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Download the NewsmaxTV App
Get the NewsmaxTV App for iOS Get the NewsmaxTV App for Android Scan QR code to get the NewsmaxTV App
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved