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NBA

Who is the greatest NBA player of all-time: LeBron James or Michael Jordan?

Now that LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have won the 2020 NBA title, it's time to bring back a debate that never really left.

Who is the greatest player of all-time, LeBron or Michael Jordan?

It's an argument that often leaves both parties heated, still sitting on the same side of the fence they were on when the argument began, as there's really no wrong answer in choosing between the two best players to ever play the game.

While we won't take one side or another in the debate, we're here to set you up with the numbers behind one of the best arguments in sports.

LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan: Awards and accolades

Jordan's six rings outweigh LeBron's four, and fans of Mike will be quick to tell you he went 6-0 in the NBA Finals. Is that more impressive than making it there 10 times total, including a stretch of eight consecutive Finals appearances?

Jordan never had to play past a Game 6 in The Finals - so there's some firepower for you MJ fans. But James just became the first player in NBA history to win three championships and three Finals MVPs with three different franchises - a counterpunch for LeBron fans.

Take a look at how their career awards stack up against each other.

Jordan Accolades LeBron
6 Championships 4
5 MVPs 4
6 Finals MVPs 4
11 All-NBA 16
9 All-Defence 6
14 All-Star 16
10 Scoring titles 1
0 Assist titles 1

LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan: Playoff stats

Next, we present you with their playoff stats - both per game and total.

LeBron playing in the most playoff games in NBA history certainly gives him an edge when comparing totals but that's a part of the argument. On the all-time playoffs leaderboard, James ranks first in points and steals, second in assists and sixth in rebounds while Jordan ranks second in scoring, third in steals, 11th in assists and 42nd in rebounds.

Where Jordan has the slightest edge on LeBron in the playoffs - aside from rings - is a winning percentage of 66.5% with a record of 119-60. In comparison, James' playoff record is 172-88 with a winning percentage of 66.2%. It doesn't get much closer than that.

Jordan vs. LeBron: Playoff Averages
Jordan Playoffs Per Game LeBron
33.4 Points 28.8
6.4 Rebounds 9.0
5.7 Assists 7.2
2.1 Steals 1.7
0.9 Blocks 1.0
3.1 Turnovers 3.1
48.7 FG% 49.5
33.2 3P% 33.6
82.8 FT% 74.2
Jordan vs. LeBron: Playoff Totals
Jordan Playoff Totals LeBron
179 Games played 260
5,987 Points 7,463
1,152 Rebounds 2,334
1,022 Assists 1,861
376 Steals 444
158 Blocks 250
546 Turnovers 949
7,474 Minutes played 10,769

When it comes to the NBA Finals alone, James has the advantage in every statistical category due to the number of times he's reached the championship round. For Jordan fans, it's best to stick to the six rings, 6-0 in the Finals argument there.

LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan: Regular season stats

Lastly, a comparison of their regular season stats - both per game and totals.

Again, you'll see how James' longevity gives him an advantage in totals as LeBron ranks third all-time in points and eighth all-time in assists, whereas Jordan's points include being fifth all-time in points and third all-time in steals.

However, MJ's 30.1 points per game is the highest career scoring average of all-time and, if you want to get into advanced stats, his Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 27.9 is also the best of all-time, just ahead of James' PER of 27.5. Sticking with advanced stats, LeBron's Value Over Replacement Player rating of 133.7 is the highest of all-time, well ahead of Jordan's 116.1, which is the second-highest of all-time.

In short, before diving into the stats, these guys are incredible.

Jordan vs. LeBron: Regular Season Averages
Jordan Regular Season Per Game LeBron
30.1 Points 27.1
6.2 Rebounds 7.4
5.3 Assists 7.4
2.3 Steals 1.6
0.8 Blocks 0.8
2.7 Turnovers 3.5
49.7 FG% 50.4
32.7 3P% 34.4
83.5 FT% 73.4
Jordan vs. LeBron: Regular Season Totals
Jordan Regular Season totals LeBron
1,072 Games 1,265
32,292 Points 34,241
6,672 Rebounds 9,405
5,633 Assists 9,346
2,514 Steals 2,015
893 Blocks 957
2,924 Turnovers 4,424
41,011 Minutes 48,551

So after presenting the stats, awards and accolades to you, who is the greatest player of all-time: LeBron or Jordan?

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