Michael Jordan on LeBron James Comparisons: 'We Play in Different Eras'

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IJanuary 24, 2020

Former NBA star and owner of Charlotte Hornets team Michael Jordan looks on as he addresses a press conference ahead of the NBA basketball match between Milwakuee Bucks and Charlotte Hornets at The AccorHotels Arena in Paris on January 24, 2020. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP) (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

His Airness has spoken on one of the hottest debates in basketball.

"We play in different eras," Michael Jordan said in part of the comparisons between him and Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James at a press conference in Paris on Friday:

Jordan, who won six championships and earned six NBA Finals MVP awards among countless other accolades en route to the Hall of Fame, is regarded by many as the best basketball player ever. However, James' dominance since the Cleveland Cavaliers selected him first overall in 2003 has challenged that notion.

James has won three titles and earned three NBA Finals MVP awards as well as 16 All-Star nods. He continues to move up the league's all-time career assists leaderboard, passing Isiah Thomas for eighth place earlier this month:

James eclipsed Jordan's career points total last March. His 33,626 points rank fourth all-time, just behind Lakers legend Kobe Bryant (33,643) and ahead of Jordan (32,292).

The 35-year-old gushed over what Jordan meant to him growing up after passing him (h/t the Associated Press):

"You guys have no idea what M.J. did for me and my friends growing up. Just in a sense of, some days where you just don't feel like you're going to make it to the next day where I grew up, because of everything that's going on. Like I wrote on my shoes today, I thank M.J. more than he would ever know. I've got to carry it on to the next kid. Hopefully I can inspire the next kid."

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The next generation is expected to be led by rookie top overall pick Zion Williamson, who made his NBA regular-season debut with the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. Jordan also commented on Williamson in Paris:

Regardless of where Jordan and James compare among the general public, there seems to be nothing but love between them.