LeBron James Made NBA History at 28 by Achieving Feat Not Even Michael Jordan Accomplished
LeBron James has established himself as a once-in-a-generation player since entering the NBA in 2003. He’s the only player in NBA history to rank top-10 all-time in points and assists and win three Finals MVPs with three different teams.
Many basketball pundits believe Michael Jordan and LeBron are the two best players of all time. MJ and the King have combined to win 10 championships, 10 Finals MVPs, and nine regular-season MVPs, and both legends are top-five scorers in NBA history. The significant difference between Jordan and LeBron is that the former went undefeated in the Finals and won all his championships with one team, while the latter is 4-6 in the Finals and has been swept twice.
However, it’s worth discussing that LeBron made NBA history at 28 by achieving a feat not even Jordan accomplished during his Hall of Fame career, giving more ammo to LBJ supporters who believe the Akron native is the GOAT.
LeBron James is only player in NBA history to win four MVPs in five years
LeBron is the only player in NBA history to win four regular-season MVPs in five years. While Jordan won five regular-season MVPs with the Chicago Bulls, he never won four in five years.
LeBron won his MVPs in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. He captured his first two during his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers and his third and fourth with the Miami Heat. Meanwhile, Jordan won his five MVPs in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998.
LeBron averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.2 assists in 2008-09, 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 8.6 assists in 2009-10, 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 6.2 assists in 2011-12 and 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.3 assists in 2012-13. While the Akron Hammer didn’t win MVP in 2010-11, he beat the winner — Derrick Rose — in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals as a measure of revenge.
Several all-time greats have won championships and put up historic numbers in the regular season and playoffs, but only 10 guys can say they won MVP and Finals MVP in the same season. LeBron and Jordan are on that prestigious list, to no one’s surprise.
LeBron James and Michael Jordan are on select list
LeBron played with the Heat for four seasons. He won two titles in 2012 and 2013 and got regular-season MVP and Finals MVP both years.
In the 2012 Finals, LeBron averaged 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists against Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden to capture his first championship and first Finals MVP. One year later, he put up 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game in the 2013 Finals versus Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs to take home his second title and second Finals MVP.
Meanwhile, Jordan won regular-season MVP and Finals MVP in 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998. During the 1990-91 regular season, His Airness averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. Jordan then put up 31.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game in the 1991 Finals.
Superman averaged 30.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.1 assists in 1991-92 and 35.8 points, 4.8 boards, and 6.5 assists in the 1992 Finals. After playing baseball in 1994 and losing to the Orlando Magic in the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals, Jordan returned with a vengeance in 1995-96 by averaging 30.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists and leading the Bulls to 72 wins. He put up 27.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game in the 1996 Finals and won his fourth title and fourth Finals MVP on Father’s Day. The UNC product cried in the locker room since his dad was murdered in the summer of 1993.
Jordan’s final regular-season MVP, Finals MVP, and championship came in 1997-98. Black Jesus averaged 28.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in the regular season and 33.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in the Finals against the Utah Jazz.
Both LeBron and Jordan dominated their eras. It’s why they will likely be linked forever. The GOAT debate grew even louder after LeBron captured his fourth championship and fourth Finals MVP in 2020 with the Los Angeles Lakers since King James is now only two rings and two Finals MVPs away from tying Jordan.
However, Jordan and LeBron fanatics should keep a famous Theodore Roosevelt quote in mind when they feel the urge to have a spirited GOAT debate.
Comparison is the thief of joy
Jordan supporters put down LeBron to lift Air Jordan, and LeBron fans do the same thing with Captain Marvel. Instead of fighting all the time, Jordan and LeBron fans should appreciate greatness. Just because you love Jordan doesn’t mean you have to despise LeBron and vice versa.
There will never be another Jordan, and there will never be another LeBron. If you’re a true basketball fan, you should enjoy watching LeBron play just as much as you relish watching old Jordan highlights on youtube. They are both one of a kind, and it makes no sense to bash one guy to make the other man look better.
You can’t talk about the history of the NBA without mentioning Jordan and LeBron. The former is the all-time leader in points per game and player efficiency rating, while the latter is second all-time in PER and on pace to become the No. 1 scorer ever. While LeBron did win four MVPs in five years, something Jordan never did, that doesn’t make him better, just like Jordan winning six rings in eight years doesn’t make him superior. After all, they played in different eras.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference