Golfer Tiger Woods knows something about chasing greatness since he's been pursuing Jack Nicklaus' record 18 majors, and he weighed in on LeBron James' pursuit of Michael Jordan in the argument regarding who is the best basketball player in NBA history.
"They're both great in different ways," Woods said Tuesday, per Bill Speros of Golfweek. "If you look at MJ, he was a prolific scorer and played defense like no other, was always first-team all-defense. But LeBron is different. He's like a hybrid of MJ and Magic [Johnson], which is so different. He's bringing up the ball a lot. MJ never really did that. I mean, he had Pip [Scottie Pippen] as a point forward a lot of times, and you would think that was kind of LeBron-ish, but they're very different in how they help both teams."
Woods noted that the longevity of the all-time greats such as Jordan, James and Wayne Gretzky is what makes them special and allows them to be "peppered in our memories."
He specifically pointed to James' ability to continue thriving in his 15th season in the league after he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Eastern Conference Finals with a sweep of the Toronto Raptors.
"What LeBron has done for, what, 15 seasons now is just remarkable because it's that type of longevity, and to be able to be up for that long a period of time, and to be able to adjust, as well, because we all know as we age that we're not going to be as athletic as we used to be, and so we have to do it different ways. And to be fluid and adjust and still be that talented and that good, and hats off to not just LeBron but the people I just named."
At this point, the Jordan and James argument has developed into proponents of each arguing circles around each other.
Jordan fans point to his undefeated record in six NBA Finals and the fact that he has six rings to James' three, while James fans note the Cavaliers star has been to the Finals twice more than Jordan even though he is just 3-5 when he reaches that stage. James fans acknowledge his overall game and ability to pass and rebound, while Jordan fans point to his incredible scoring prowess and one-on-one attacks.
Each side has statistical arguments they can point to, but Woods' recognition of the greatness in each and ability to look at the bigger picture and appreciate them both stands out.
Woods, like James, is still looking to add to his own legacy in 2018 as he chases Nicklaus. While he hasn't won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, he has returned to the PGA Tour following multiple back surgeries and finished in the top five at the Valspar Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
He is four majors short of Nicklaus but just three Tour victories shy of Sam Snead's record 82. He will look to move a step closer at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, this weekend.