Since the day he hung up his iconic, eponymous sneakers, Michael Jordan has been the yardstick for NBA greatness. And thanks to a historic run of spectacular play over the past couple of weeks, LeBron James has sidled up to that measuring mark, inviting pundits to compare him against His Airness.
Look, it's silly to constantly be on the lookout for "the next Jordan." And any comparison between two such obviously dissimilar players as LBJ and MJ feels inherently forced.
But whenever a player so clearly stands above his contemporaries (as James presently does), it's only natural to contextualize his performance by comparing him to the man universally regarded as the best of any era.
By analyzing the notable similarities and differences between Jordan and James through their first 10 years in the NBA, it's actually easier to appreciate both of them. So don't think of this as a search for which one of these guys is actually better.
Instead, consider it a comparative history that celebrates a pair of dominant stars through their first decade of NBA play.
*All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated.