How can we compare LeBron James and Michael Jordan? Pretty much impossible. Different eras, different routes to greatness. In my book, there’s no one better than Jordan, and probably never will be. But James deserves his fair shot, right?
A nice infographic showing the timeline of careers, age progression, and accolades adding up gives the year-by-year comparison between the two players. One big difference is James starting his NBA career at an earlier age, coming right out of high school. Jordan played three years in North Carolina, winning the national championship in 1982, hitting the game winning basket. And he wasn’t even considered the best player on the team, James Worthy was.
Both players have the two gold medals in the Olympics, and James, with three more NBA years, has gotten to three titles at about the same age as Jordan. However, Jordan had only 13 NBA seasons (well, 12.5) before his second retirement, winning three straight titles before he left the Bulls for good. He returned a few years later to show that a 40-year old Jordan can score, but never really succeed on a team-level with the Washington Wizards.
James is now entering an older stage. He’ll be 32 in December. The NBA Finals showed he’s probably still the best player in the NBA, but in order for him to be that good when it matters, he needs more rest, and more help around him. It’ll be interesting how he manages to keep up in the next few years, with so many games already behind him, and still no major injury inflicted on him once in his career. At some point, even his body has to break down for a little bit, right?