In Monday night's victory over the Indiana Pacers, James tallied 32 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. It was the 74th time he eclipsed the 25-5-5 plateau in the playoffs, so he now owns a piece of postseason history:
King James' record-setting performance came in his 151st playoff game. Jordan's last 25-point, five-rebound and five-assist effort came on May 31, 1998. It was his 173rd career playoff game, which means James accomplished this feat while playing in 22 fewer postseason contests.
Ergo, James is better than Jordan.
Relax, he's not. Indulge your sense of humor for a moment.
What James has done is incredible. It reinforces his individual dominance and, as Pro Basketball Talk's Dan Feldman points out, lends a helping hand to a great, never-ending basketball debate:
Is LeBron the greatest player ever?
No. Not yet. He just hasn’t played long enough to deserve it. Being the greatest player ever requires both an incredible peak — check — and a lengthy run of being at least very good. LeBron doesn’t quite have the latter yet.
But he’s getting there. LeBron will retire as the greatest player of all time, and the more he passes Jordan in counting stats, the more difficult that will be to deny.
Rather than use James' latest conquest as another means to pose mind-bending, profanity-laced arguments, though, let's just agree to appreciate this for what it is: spectacular.
As Feldman notes, Jordan still holds the edge if you reset the benchmarks to 30 points, five rebounds and five assists; he has 51 of those to James' 47.
But who gives a flying Lance Stephenson? James has appeared in fewer playoff games than Jordan thus far, so he's going to break that record, too. And when he does, it won't change much, if anything.
Both players are all-time greats. There is no debating that fact. They're two of the best. Instead of pitting them against each other right now, let's zero in on the one guy who is still, you know, actually playing.
Thanks to James, the Miami Heat are one win away from advancing to their fourth straight NBA Finals and five victories away from successfully completing their three-peat. Focus on that.
You know James is.
"I'm motivated enough to try to get back the Finals," James said of Stephenson's trash talk following Game 4, per USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt. "That's motivating enough, and being one of the leaders of this team, I have to do my job."
His job is to contend for a third consecutive championship now and worry about his ties to Jordan later.