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Michael Jordan Labels Public's NBA GOAT Debate Ft. LeBron James As "unfair Parallel"

In a 2017 interview, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan had discussed the NBA GOAT debate, stating that comparing players from different eras was unfair.

Michael Jordan

For years, the NBA world has continued to discuss about the GOAT, comparing NBA greats like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Bill Russell. More often than not, the debate boils down to James and Jordan, who are considered the two best players ever to play the game. Jordan himself spoke on the long-discussed debate, stating that athletes across eras cannot be compared.  

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MJ weighs in on the LeBron James vs Michael Jordan

While both James and Jordan have different styles, the number of championships won have been looked at as a way of deciding the GOAT. In 2017, the Chicago Bulls legend gave an interview with Marvin R Shanken, where they discussed the GOAT debate. Jordan believes that comparing athletes from different eras is unfair. 

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“First of all you’re never going to say who’s the greatest of all time. To me that’s more for PR and more for selling stories and getting hype,” Jordan said. He spoke about Jack Mickelson and Tiger Woods, saying one cannot compare two people who have not even played in the same tournament with the same equipment. 

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Later, the six-time NBA champion moved to talk about the NBA. Jordan explained that he has never played with Wilt Chamberlain or Jerry West, and comparing either will be "unfair". "I think when you can see the similarities and you understand if this is one way you can judge the two," he said. He then went back to golf, explaining how Mickelson won more than Woods. "You know all the minorities played the game. And you played at a level to where it generated so much interest financially. That it grew the game from a financial standpoint". 

He then spoke about his six championships – which included two three-peats – and how Bill Russell has won 11. "Does that make Bill Russell better than me and make me better than him? No," Jordan said. The Bulls legend focused on them playing in different eras, referring to it as a "unfair parallel" and an "unfair choice". 

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While Jordan mentioned players other than him, he didn't speak on LeBron James. Back in 2017, James had won three NBA championships and was still playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even NBA stars like Magic Johnson have spoken about the issue, saying that three championships are what keep James at a different level from Jordans.

After the NBA 2019-20 season, James now has four NBA titles under his belt as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to their 17th NBA title after a 10-year-drought. Jordan won all his championships with the Chicago Bulls. After he retired for the second time, he came with the Washington Wizards, retiring for the final time 2003 – the same year James was drafted. 

(Image credits: AP)

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