82 percent of college coaches pick Michael Jordan over LeBron James in GOAT debate

LeBron James

CBS Sports college basketball writers Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander anonymously polled more than 100 coaches for their annual Candid Coaches series and asked the coaches who is the better player between Michael Jordan and LeBron James. 

The Chicago Bulls legend easily won, as Jordan received 82 percent of the votes.

When talking about the greatest player in NBA history, Jordan is usually the first player that comes to mind. Jordan won six championships with the Bulls and never lost in the Finals. He also won five MVP awards, six Finals MVPs, was a 10-time scoring champion and won the 1987-88 Defensive Player of the Year award.

James, meanwhile, is just 3-6 in the Finals and many use his losing record as the main reason why he will always be behind Jordan. LeBron has four MVPs on his résumé and is a three-time Finals MVP.

The coaches who were polled didn’t use James’ Finals record against him, but instead said Jordan’s scoring ability would allow him to dominate the game in this era as well due to the rule changes in today’s game.

“Not to take anything away from LeBron, but the game is so different now from when Jordan played,” one coach who picked Jordan said. “If Mike played in this day and age, with freedom of movement, he’d average 40 points a game.

“LeBron’s done so many great things on and off the court. But if somebody put a gun to your head, and you had to go win a game, who are you going to go with? Michael Jordan or LeBron James? My money and my life is going to be with Jordan. He played both sides of the ball as good as anybody. He was the best offensive player and defensive player in the league every night.”

Jordan has career averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists. He shot 49.7 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from three. His Airness averaged 33.4 points per game during the postseason.

James has career averages of 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists thus far while shooting 50.4 percent overall and 34.4 percent from beyond the arc. In the playoffs, LeBron averages 28.9 points per contest.

With James taking his talents to the rugged Western Conference this summer, there’s a chance he might not play in a Finals ever again since the Golden State Warriors are still around. LeBron will pass Jordan in a lot of the all-time statistical categories, but he’ll never be able to match Jordan’s scoring prowess, especially in crunch time.


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