Poll: 73% of NBA Fans Believe Michael Jordan Is Superior Player to LeBron James

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

FILE - At left, in an Aug. 21, 2015, file photo, former NBA star and current owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan, smiles at reporters in Chicago. At right, in a March 5, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James smiles in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, in Cleveland. With 10 points on Friday night, March 30, 2018,  James will pass Jordan’s NBA record by scoring in double digits in 867 consecutive games, a remarkable streak of consistency and durability that may stand as one of the Cleveland star’s greatest accomplishments. (AP Photo/File)
Uncredited/Associated Press

If the main purpose of The Last Dance documentary was to serve as a reminder of Michael Jordan's greatness, mission accomplished.

According to a poll conducted by ESPN, 73 percent of 600 NBA fans said His Airness is the superior overall player to LeBron James. It wasn't just a case of older fans living in the past either, as the respondents were split evenly into age groups of 18-34 and 35 and older with both picking Jordan over James.

Those 35 and older chose the Chicago Bulls legend 79 percent of the time, while those 18-34 chose Jordan 66 percent of the time.

What's more, Jordan came out on top in all 17 specific questions, including ones that asked participants to compare their individual skills on the court and categories off the court (Jordan is the first percentage and James is the second):

  • Better sneaker for fashion: 79 percent to 21 percent
  • Better sneaker to ball in: 77 percent to 23 percent
  • Pick for game-winning shot: 76 percent to 24 percent
  • Come through in the clutch: 74 percent to 26 percent
  • Spectacular to watch play: 74 percent to 26 percent
  • Better player overall: 73 percent to 27 percent
  • NBA was better all-around: 71 percent to 29 percent
  • Win one-on-one to 21: 67 percent to 33 percent
  • Top pick to start a team: 66 percent to 34 percent
  • Better offensive player: 65 percent to 35 percent
  • Better "look": 65 percent to 35 percent
  • Have a drink with: 65 percent to 35 percent
  • Choose as a teammate: 63 percent to 37 percent
  • Positive impact off-court: 62 percent to 38 percent
  • Better defensive player: 59 percent to 41 percent
  • Better passer: 59 percent to 41 percent
  • Trust to pass you the ball: 57 percent to 43 percent

Jordan also enjoyed a definitive advantage when participants picked the greatest player of all time, with 65 percent choosing the six-time champion, 14 percent saying James, 13 percent saying it was too close to pick and 8 percent choosing a different player.

The results are somewhat jarring considering many James supporters point to his ability to impact the game beyond scoring with his passing and rebounding when comparing him to Jordan, who owns the NBA record at 30.1 points per game for an entire career.

Jordan has six championships to James' three, and, if those polled are to be believed, he won those titles as a more clutch player with 76 percent picking him to take the game-winning shot.

It is fitting, then, that Sunday's episodes of The Last Dance highlighted some of his biggest game-winners, including the shot in the final seconds of Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. It was the last shot of his career with the Bulls and gave him his sixth ring.

James is still three championships behind, although he has been to more NBA Finals (nine) than his counterpart in this argument.


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