However, Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler believes the GOAT debate should go far beyond those two based off comments made to Adam Wexler and Adam Canton on Houston's SportsRadio Talk 790 on Tuesday (h/t Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest).
"I have a real problem with that, because out of all the guys that played the game, for you to have a conversation of these two guys as the GOAT when you've got Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two of the greatest players to ever live—I think you start with those two," he said.
"And then you've got guys like Dr. J [Julius Erving], Larry Bird, George Gervin, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West. All those guys are in the conversation, and so for people to bring this up today, to me it's just unbelievable. And I love Michael and LeBron. But still, let's not take something away from those other guys who played."
Drexler played with Jordan on the 1992 United States Olympic men's basketball gold-medal team and against him in the NBA Finals earlier that summer. Jordan's Bulls beat Drexler's Blazers in six games.
The 10-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA Team player enjoyed a great pro career in his own right and saw a few of those GOAT candidates firsthand, so his opinion shouldn't be discounted based on a tremendous resume.
Plus, all of those players have great resumes themselves. As far as the top two choices go, Chamberlain won four NBA MVP and seven scoring titles, and six-time NBA MVP Abdul-Jabbar took home six NBA championships and currently sits atop the league's all-time scoring list.
In addition, Larry Bird took home back-to-back-to-back NBA MVPs, and Robertson averaged a triple-double over a single season.
Arguably, no one has dominated quite like James and Jordan, who each stood alone on top of their sport for decades.
The ultimate GOAT winner may never be decided (or it could be Paul Pierce), but they likely stand head and shoulders above the rest despite the tremendous talent of anyone a tier or two below.