The Two Kings of the NBA


Image derived from The Sports Rush

Archie H (Year 12)

Michael Jordan is a name known on an international scale. When people think of the greatest NBA player of all time, the only name that will pop into people’s heads is that of Michael Jordan.  


M J started his legacy in North Carolina playing for the University of North Carolina Tarheels. In only his freshman year, Jordan would go on to win the national championships. In 1984, Jordan was signed to the Chicago Bulls as the 3rd overall pick, and he was quickly elevated to stardom. Jordan enlightened fans with his eccentric scoring prowess, aggressive playstyle and as well as his signature dunks which garnered him his signature nickname: Air Jordan or His Airness. Jordan’s scoring ability allowed the Chicago basketball scene to explode, and the Chicago arena saw more filled seats than any other period in their existence. Jordan would see his first NBA championship in 1991, and he would go on to repeat this success in 1992 and 1993. Joran would abruptly retire for the 1994 season and go on to play minor league baseball.  


He would then return after 2 years and win another 3 titles with the bulls, cementing an otherwise flawless career. Jordan’s success is attributed to him becoming one of the most marketed athletes in history. Everybody knew who Air Jordan was, and he would eventually star in his own movie starring the Looney Tunes cast, ‘Space Jam’. Jordan’s stellar career of five NBA Championship wins, ten times NBA scoring leader, five-time MVP and two Olympic gold medals have cemented him as the greatest NBA player to ever live.    


But enter Lebron James. It’s 2003 and James is drafted to join the Cleveland Cavaliers. Calling him the King of Ohio, James is the 21st-century Jordan. And a recent debate has been brought up that he might just be able to dethrone MJ. Playing for a Catholic high school with many of his close friends, James had been a rising star for years with many of his games being broadcasted on ESPN 2 whilst still in high school. Entering the 2003 draft, James was certain of a first-round pick, and to his luck, he was picked for his home state and became a Cleveland Cavalier player. In Cleveland, Lebron would go on to have arguably one of the greatest rookie years in history, winning rookie of the year in the process. James would not strike a championship with Cleveland, but he would receive an MVP award.  


And as such, after 6 years with the club, he would move on to the Miami Heat. With the Heat, James reached arguably one of his biggest cultural peaks and he won back-to-back championships in the 2012 and 2013 seasons.  


James would return to the Cavaliers in 2014 and his time in Cleveland was summarised by the continuous rivalry between him and the Golden State Warriors in which both teams made the playoff finals four years in a row. James would only win one of those finals, however, he was instrumental in their record-breaking comeback, a 3-1 game against the warriors were James would regularly score above 30 and in the 3-3 tiebreaker he would get a triple-double and MVP.  


In 2018 Lebron made the change and moved to the LA Lakers where he would win his 4th championship in 2020, which he and the rest of the Lakers dedicated to recently deceased legend Kobe Bryant. In 2021, Lebron James would feature in his own movie, ‘Space Jam a New Legacy’. But James’ defining accomplishment would come just a couple of weeks ago when he broke the NBA’s all-time scoring record, which had been held by Kareem Abdul Jabbar since 1984.  


James’s career continues and he shows no signs of wanting to retire, as he has stated he wishes to play with his eldest son, Lebron James Jr. With 4 MVPs, 4 championships and an all-time scoring record under his belt, he argues a solid side in being the NBA’s GOAT.  


The Jordan vs James argument continues.  


But with Lebron’s recent successes, is King James the new GOAT of basketball?