There are certainly plenty of people out there who believe Michael Jordan is the GOAT as it pertains to the NBA. And there’s certainly an argument for that, although fans of LeBron James might have something to say on the matter. But that’s not what we’re doing here today. Well, not overall anyway.
You see, both Jordan and James were recently included in a 16-person bracket titled the “GOAT of GOATS,” which features not just NBA players but athletes from numerous sports, specifically hockey, tennis, track and field, boxing, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, swimming, and baseball.
Now, while this is a fun concept, here’s my issue with this bracket. If you’re going to have a “GOAT of GOATS” bracket, can you really include two players from the same league?
As mentioned, Michael Jordan and LeBron James were both included from the NBA. In addition, two NHL legends, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, made the bracket, as did two male soccer players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The other 10 participants were lone representatives of their respective sports but you see the issue here, right?
But let’s go ahead and see how the “GOAT of GOATS” bracket played out anyway.
Michael Jordan defeated Mario Lemieux, Tiger Woods, and Tom Brady to reach the ‘GOAT of GOATS’ bracket finals
Constructed by The Score and seemingly voted on by followers of their Facebook page, the left side of the “GOAT of GOATS” bracket featured (in order from top to bottom) Michael Jordan, Mario Lemieux, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Usain Bolt, Muhammad Ali, and Lisa Leslie. First off, one could certainly argue against the inclusion of Lemieux, Tiger, and Leslie.
We’ve already covered that there should only be one GOAT from each sport so Lemieux loses out to Wayne Gretzky. Although very close, Woods should probably be replaced by Jack Nicklaus and Leslie could easily be replaced by a number of WNBA stars with more accolades. But I digress.
The first round saw Jordan beat Lemieux, Tiger taking out Serena, Brady besting Bolt, and Ali knocking out Leslie. MJ then defeated Woods in the second round while TB12 took the vote over Ali, setting up a Michael Jordan vs. Tom Brady matchup for the right to go to the finals, which was won by the six-time NBA champ.
Wayne Gretzky beat out Mia Hamm, LeBron James, and Michael Phelps
The right side of the “GOAT of GOATS” featured the following first-round matchups: Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Phelps vs. Roger Federer, Wayne Gretzky vs. Mia Hamm, and LeBron James vs. Babe Ruth.
So at least the two male soccer stars played each other in the first round, although a women’s golfer, likely Annika Sorenstam, should have been included somewhere in here, as should have a women’s track and field star and a female swimmer. For those keeping score, there were 13 men and just three women in this bracket. And Babe Ruth is the MLB GOAT? Come on. But, again, I digress.
Messi beat out Ronaldo but then lost to Phelps, who defeated Federer. Gretzky took out Hamm and then defeated LeBron, who beat “The Babe.” Gretzky then knocked off the 23-time gold medalist to put himself into the finals with Michael Jordan.
Michael Jordan lost out to Wayne Gretzky in the ‘GOAT of GOATS’ bracket finals
As you can see by the above headline, Wayne Gretzky defeated Michael Jordan in the ‘GOAT of GOATS’ bracket finals (the winner was announced over the weekend), which may surprise some but it’s not as if “The Great One” doesn’t have an impressive resume.
Sure, he didn’t win as many titles as MJ (Jordan leads six to four in that department) but Jordan also isn’t the all-time NBA leader in points and assists like Gretzky is the all-time leader in goals and assists in the NHL. For the record, His Airness currently ranks fifth on the all-time list in points and 47th in assists.
You want a stat that shows just how incredible Gretzky was? He has more career assists (1,963) than any other player in NHL history has points. Jaromir Jagr ranks second on the all-time overall points list with 1,921 with “The Great One” leading the way with 2,857.
So here’s the big question in all of this: Do you think Michael Jordan will take this personally?
Stats courtesy of Sports Reference