LeBron James Talks Michael Jordan, NBA GOAT Rankings After Lakers Win Title

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2020

FILE - At left, in a July 30, 2018, file photo, LeBron James speaks at a news conference after the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. At right, in a Feb. 12, 2019, file photo, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan speaks to the media about hosting the NBA All-Star basketball game during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C. LeBron James is finally going to pass Michael Jordan. In scoring, at least. While the debate will rage forever about which player is better, James will soon have scored more points than Jordan. James is 211 points shy of passing Jordan (32,292) for the No. 4 spot in NBA history. (AP Photo/File)
Uncredited/Associated Press

LeBron James is going to leave the debating to everyone else.

After he helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the championship over the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals, the internet and sports commentators did what they always do following one of his performances and started debating whether he or Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player in NBA history. 

"That's not for me to question or wonder or debate," he said in an interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols (around the two-minute mark). "I think that's what you guys will do."

Rachel Nichols @Rachel__Nichols

Sat down with LeBron & Anthony Davis for a post-championship conversation - on the partnership that powered the Lakers, whether LeBron wanting some "damn respect" means ranking him over Michael Jordan, plus just how much of a long-term future they both see for themselves in LA: https://t.co/R0zU4cMGRH

James bolstered his own case while winning his fourth championship as the 2020 NBA Finals MVP.

At this point, it is the tiredest debate in all of sports. The same talking points will be echoed by both sides with things such as 6-0, 10 trips to the NBA Finals, hand-checking, the physicality of different eras and more brought up in repetitive fashion.

Even LeBron's latest championship is ripe for debate.

On one hand, it is a credit to his greatness that he won it under incredibly unique and trying circumstances with the season suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic before it was finished in Walt Disney World Resort. However, critics can point to the fact he played the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals and didn't have to face potential challengers in the L.A. Clippers or Milwaukee Bucks.

It is largely a hypothetical anyway, as they played at different times and never faced each other.

One thing there is no doubting is that James is firmly in the discussion with the all-time greats alongside Jordan, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Winning a championship at 35 years old inside a bubble will do nothing to change that.