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Jordan vs James: Stats in NBA’s GOAT debate

June 1, 2020

Written By,

Miguel Prazeres

Across all sports, there's always a question of who is the best player of all time, and basketball is no different. The GOAT (Greatest Player of All Time) conversation is always there, a moto that increases the fans' passion for the game. Decide between Jordan and James is a question of passion, generation, and identity. But it is also about stats, performance, and titles. Check the key stats in NBA's GOAT debate!

GOAT Debate: Regular season comparison

1988: Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls rests on the court during a game. Photo by Mike Powelll/Allsport

Michael Jordan regular season stats (per game):
30.1 Points | 6.2 Rebounds | 5.3 Assists | 2.3 Steals | 0.8 Blocks | 2.7 Turnovers | 38.3 Minutes | 49.7 FG% | 32.7 3-Point % | 83.5 FT%

Michael Jordan Totals:
1,072 Games | 32,292 Points | 6,672 Rebounds | 5,633 Assists | 2,514 Steals | 893 Blocks | 2,924 Turnovers | 41,011 Minutes

NOVEMBER 29: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates his three-pointer during a 104-96 win over the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center on November 29, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Lebron James regular season stats (per game):
27.1 Points | 7.4 Rebounds | 7.4 Assists | 1.6 Steals | 0.8 Blocks | 3.5 Turnovers | 38.4 Minutes | 50.4 FG% | 34.4 3-Point % | 73.5 FT%

Lebron James Totals:
1,258 Games | 34,087 Points | 9,353 Rebounds | 9,298 Assists | 2,011 Steals | 951 Blocks | 4,402 Turnovers | 48,329 Minutes

Michael Jordan was a scoring machine and is on top of Lebron James on this category. But Lebron is superior in rebounds and assists per game, revealing a more versatile style and impact in the overall picture of the game. Both are great in the defensive area of the game, but Jordan has multiple trophies in one category that Lebron is yet to achieve: MJ finished first in the NBA in steals 3 times in his career. Lebron James has way more longevity than Michal Jordan and looking to his numbers at the age of 35, the King will for sure extend his advantage.

GOAT Debate: Playoff comparison

1997: Michael Jordan speaks reporters during practice before a playoff game against the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Getty Images North America.

Michael Jordan playoff stats (per game):
33.4 Points | 6.4 Rebounds | 5.7 Assists | 2.1 Steals | 0.9 Blocks | 3.1 Turnovers | 41.8 Minutes | 48.7 FG% | 33.2 3-Point % | 82.8 FT%

Michael Jordan Playoff Totals:
179 Games | 5,987 Points | 1,152 Rebounds | 1,022 Assists | 376 Steals | 158 Blocks | 546 Turnovers | 7,474 Minutes

MAY 17: LeBron James #23 reacts after a basket in the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 17, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images.

Lebron James playoff stats (per game):
28.9 Points | 8.9 Rebounds | 7.1 Assists | 1.8 Steals | 1.0 Blocks | 3.6 Turnovers | 42.0 Minutes | 49.1 FG% | 33.2 3-Point % | 74.3 FT%

Lebron James Playoff Totals:
239 Games | 6,911 Points | 2,122 Rebounds | 1,687 Assists | 419 Steals | 232 Blocks | 866 Turnovers | 10,049 Minutes

It's safe to say, and stats don't lie, that the idea that Lebron James underperforms in big games isn´t correct. Lebron's postseason stats usually exceed his regular season numbers. As seen in regular season stats, Jordan excells Lebron in scoring, while Lebron shows more consistency in more stat categories.

GOAT Debate: Awards comparison

1997: Michael Jordan celebrates in the locker room after the Bulls win game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Jazz 90-86 to win the series and claim the championship. Photo by
Getty Images North America.

Michael Jordan Awards:
6 Championships | 5 MVPs | 6 Finals MVP | 11 All-NBA| 9 All-Defense | 14 All-Star | 10 Scoring Titles

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) is congratulated by his teammates as he holds the Larry O'Brien trophy after defeating the Golden State Warriors, 93-89, in Game 7 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, June 19, 2016. Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images.

Lebron James Awards:
3 Championships | 4 MVPs | 3 Finals MVP | 15 All-NBA| 6 All-Defense | 16 All-Star | 1 Scoring Title

Careers are defined by titles and here, Michael Jordan has the edge. The Bulls celebrated 6 rings under Jordan's reign, as MJ went to a perfect 6-0 record in the NBA Finals. Jordan was never forced to play a Game 7 in his career.

Lebron James has 3 NBA titles in 9 NBA Finals appearances, controlling the East for almost an entire decade with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat. If he's able to win with the Lakers...

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Written By,

Miguel Prazeres