Julius Erving weighs in on the LeBron vs Jordan debate

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Michael Jordan or LeBron James?

Ever since LeBron broke onto the scene as an NBA superstar and even more after he won his first couple NBA titles, that has been one of the most debatable questions in the basketball community.

Those in Jordan’s camp note that his knack for hitting big shots, killer attitude, amazing scoring statistics and six NBA championships clearly rank ahead of LeBron.

Those in James’ camp note that his ability to affect the game in so many different categories, guard any position on the floor and ability to lead his team to the NBA Finals nearly every season vaults him over MJ already.

On a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio podcast with Brandon Robinson of Respect Magazine, NBA legend Julius Erving noted that this sort of comparison always existed in the NBA and that it’s up to the fans, not the players, to come to their own conclusions.

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“I think people always make comparisons to people who are done. LeBron may play another six years, LeBron may play one year, we don’t really know. But I think it’s the fans argument, not the players argument. So I stay away from it,” Dr. J said.

“My all time greatest player is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I think when you add up the numbers and add up the years, nobody has contributed more to the NBA history or pro basketball history. It’s very subjective for you to say Michael or Lebron who was better? Or who was the greatest, the GOAT that is for the fans to argue about.”

Erving says he saw similarities back in his era when he was compared to players like Connie Hawkins and Elgin Baylor. “Then there were other guys that were high jumpers and those were the three that came up the most often in terms of the comparisons,” he said.

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“And I looked at how I played the game and what was going through my thought process during that time. It wasn’t the same as theirs, but you know, there were some definite real comparisons to made,” Erving noted.

The presence of the internet has undoubtedly placed gigantic expectations on LeBron to live up to Jordan’s legacy. That may be unfair, but if he plays five-to-seven more seasons at his current dominant level, it may be impossible not to choose him over Jordan, especially if he reaches the coveted mark of six championships.

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Nonetheless, it was interesting to hear an NBA great weigh in on the great debate. His choice of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the greatest player of all-time was also hard to argue with, as he holds the NBA’s all-time scoring mark and also made a gigantic impact on how the game was played.

Until LeBron retires, fans will not have a clear grasp on how he will match up against Jordan. After, however, a real discussion can take place. But, as Erving explained, a new debate and new comparisons of different superstars will arise after that point in a never-ending cycle.

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