LeBron James is on the verge of entering his 21st season in the NBA. He’s on a mission to cement his status as the greatest basketball player of all time, having already earned four NBA championship rings. However, his pursuit of GOAT status faces skepticism from dedicated admirers and fans of Michael Jordan, who view MJ as the GOAT.
As the basketball landscape evolves, the debate rages on about who truly holds the title of the greatest player in the game. This heated debate serves as a testament to the unwavering loyalty of fans who continue to champion their basketball heroes worldwide.
LeBron challenged by Stephen A. Smith’s firm stance on MJ
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is a well-known NBA analyst famous for his bold criticisms. He recently joined a GOAT (Greatest of All Time) debate alongside his new colleague Shannon Sharpe, a devoted LeBron James fan.
During their conversation on a recent episode of the Club Shay Shay podcast, Sharpe declared LeBron James as the GOAT. However, this only added fuel to one of the most hotly debated questions in the NBA: Who is the true NBA GOAT, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, or someone else?
“How about the fact that they couldn’t even get the ball past half-court because Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan had them on lock? We’ve never seen LeBron do that! We’ve never seen LeBron do it! Stop it; we’ve never seen him do it”, Smith said while assessing a game between the Orlando Magic and the Chicago Bulls to make his judgment.
One of the topics most frequently brought up in the GOAT discussion is Jordan’s ruthlessness on the court, particularly during the playoffs. Even Smith seems to think that this distinguishes MJ from LeBron James.
Who is the best basketball player of all time?
1. Michael Jordan
2. LeBron James
3. Magic Johnson
4. Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/pcK3tDfPTM
— World of Statistics (@stats_feed) September 3, 2023
How many NBA rings does LeBron James have?
In the NBA, LeBron James has won four rings in three different seasons (2012, 2013, 2016, and 2020). As a member of the iconic Big 3 with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, LeBron James won his first two rings with the Miami Heat. They triumphed over the Tim Duncan-led San Antonio Spurs in 2013 after defeating the Kevin Durant-led OKC Thunder in 2012.
James later returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, where he secured his third championship in just their second season. It marked Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years and a historic achievement for the entire franchise.
The Cavaliers made the only 3-1 comeback in NBA Finals history in 2016, defeating the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the series after falling behind 1-3 in the series. Their victory over the 73-9 Warriors, who were led by Stephen Curry, the current MVP and back-to-back winners, was historically significant.
LeBron made the decision to join the LA Lakers in 2018, and in just his second season there, he helped them win their 17th NBA championship and a fourth ring. They won the ring against the Miami Heat, led by Jimmy Butler.