Even in Year 19, LeBron James’ Dominance Still Amazes Veteran Reporter Who Covered Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan and LeBron James will always be linked. The former was the latter’s childhood idol, and the two legends are widely recognized as the top two basketball players of all time.

Many Jordan supporters seem to bash LeBron as their way of protecting MJ’s legacy. However, it’s better to appreciate greatness since comparison is the thief of joy, and that’s the mindset K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago has.

K.C. Johnson, who covered Michael Jordan, appreciates LeBron James

Johnson, who covered the Chicago Bulls in the ’90s when Jordan led the franchise to six championships, isn’t one of those Jordan fanatics who hates on LeBron. In fact, the veteran Chicago reporter has always made it a point to appreciate greatness, which is why he’s amazed at how dominant LeBron has been in Year 19.

“We were fortunate enough to be around the dynasty era Bulls and just being able to appreciate greatness is something I’ve never taken for granted in this job,” Johnson said on Episode 43 of The Sharp Shooters Podcast. “At one point, actually last night, I had the thought bubble pop into my head like, ‘Should I take like a picture? I mean, could this be LeBron’s last trip to the United Center?’ And then I’m like, ‘No, of course not. He’ll be back.’ I mean ‘cuz he’s still playing at such a high level, but it is amazing to your point. I mean, this is season 19, and what I love about him is he just knows how good he is.”

Johnson was at the United Center on Dec. 19, covering the Los Angeles Lakers-Bulls game. LeBron put up 31 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists in 39 minutes. However, the Bulls beat the Lakers by five points.

This season, the Lakers have been a walking disaster and don’t look like championship contenders. However, LeBron is still playing like one of the top players in the world despite being 36 going on 37 and being in Year 19, something Johnson appreciates.

LeBron James is still elite in Year 19

The Lakers may be a mediocre team this season. However, LeBron has been anything but average. In fact, he’d probably be in the MVP conversation if his team had a winning record.

In 21 games this season, LeBron is averaging 26.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 6.5 assists while shooting 51.4% from the field, 34.6% from beyond the arc, and 76.6% from the free-throw line. These are numbers we have never seen a player in their 19th season put up. Many superstars don’t even make it to Year 19 due to injuries, but LeBron has taken such good care of his body that he’s still an athletic specimen.

Johnson is a basketball fanatic, so he’s pretty much in awe that LeBron is still able to dominate games at his age. While the Lakers look like a play-in team despite making a blockbuster trade in the offseason for Russell Westbrook, their lackluster season shouldn’t take away from how special LeBron has been in his 19th season. Although he doesn’t technically qualify since he’s only played in 21 games, LeBron is sixth in points per game.

It’s unknown who Johnson’s GOAT is between LeBron and Jordan. However, what is evident is that he’s had a front-row seat to basketball brilliance.

LBJ and Michael Jordan are basketball gods

Johnson is lucky he’s been able to cover Jordan and LeBron. After all, not many people can say they watched two generational players in their prime.

During his run with the Bulls, Jordan won six championships, six Finals MVPs, five regular-season MVPs, 10 scoring titles, and one Defensive Player of the Year Award. Chicago three-peated twice and never lost in the Finals during the Jordan era. The UNC product is first in NBA history in points per game and player efficiency rating in the regular season and playoffs. Jordan is also fifth on the all-time scoring list.

LeBron passed Jordan on the scoring list during the 2018-19 season. He passed Kobe Bryant in 2019-20 and currently sits in third place. The King is a four-time champion, four-time Finals MVP, and four-time regular-season MVP. He’s also the only player in NBA history to win three Finals MVPs with three different teams and rank top-10 all-time in points and assists.

The main difference between Jordan and LeBron is that the former went undefeated in the Finals and won all his championships with one team. LBJ is 4-6 in the Finals and has gotten swept twice. However, he did make history in 2016 by leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 3-1 series comeback against the Golden State Warriors. LeBron’s Cavaliers are the only team in NBA history to erase a 3-1 series deficit in the Finals.

The Jordan-LeBron debate will likely last forever. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and there is no right or wrong answer. At the end of the day, it’s all “barbershop talk.”

More people need to have Johnson’s perspective when it comes to Jordan and LeBron. Instead of constantly comparing them, just appreciate their excellence and be thankful you got to watch them play.

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