When it comes to the GOAT, Chris Broussard does not believe that LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan. But if James leads Cleveland to NBA titles this year and next, well, it might be a different conversation.
“It would be a three-peat,” Fox Sports 1’s Chris Broussard said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “So he would win it this year, next year and obviously that’s three in a row. I think for some people winning it this year will do it because he will obviously have beaten a Big Four, assuming Golden State gets there, or a very good San Antonio team. But he has to win the next two for me. Look, he would then have the longevity argument over Jordan, which he’s going to have anyway. Jordan really only had 11 full seasons with the Bulls. He was injured his second year, played only 18 games, came back in ’95 from retirement and played only 17 games. LeBron has already played 14 years. He’s probably got, I think, four more years left as a top-five player. So his numbers individually are going to be far better than Jordan’s. He’ll probably be the first player and only player ever (to be in the) top five scoring all time and top 10 assists.”
Broussard would also give James the edge over Jordan in terms of foes conquered.
“I think he will have beaten better teams assuming he can do this three-peat,” Broussard said. “You got a Big Three he beat last year in Golden State – best regular season team ever – and in historic fashion the way he did it, too. Then you will have beaten a Big Four. When Jordan was winning rings – and he’s the GOAT, I take nothing away from Michael – but there were no Big Threes. There were very few Big Twos back then. When there were Big Threes in the 80s – Boston, the Lakers, Detroit was a great team – they were beating Michael’s teams. When he won it, the Lakers had Worthy and Magic. Portland had Drexler. Phoenix had Barkley. Seattle had Kemp and Payton. Then Utah, of course, (had) Stockton and Malone. Jordan had three Hall of Famers on his team and an all-time great coach. He didn’t ever beat a team with three Hall of Famers.”
Even in the East, Indiana had Reggie Miller and some really good players. New York had Patrick Ewing and some really good players.
“I think that will be an argument, too,” Broussard said. “And remember when Jordan left Chicago the first time: they went from 57 wins with him to 55. They were still pretty good without him. When LeBron leaves Cleveland, they go from 61 wins to 19. When he leaves Miami, they go form 54 wins to 37 and don’t make the playoffs. So again, I’m not saying LeBron is better than Michael. I think Michael is better. But if LeBron can pull off this three-peat – which I don’t think he will. I picked Golden State in the preseason to win it all this year. But if he does do this, then I think you can rightly say he’s the GOAT.”
Interestingly, both Broussand and Gottlieb believe Jordan is a better clutch player than James, but certain statistics suggest otherwise. Each player had three game-winning buzzer-beaters on his resume. And, on go-ahead field goals in the final five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime, James has shot 6-of-13 (46.2 percent), while Jordan shot 5-of-17 (29.4 percent).
“I view Michael as better in that clutch situation, but LeBron’s numbers are favorable to Michael’s in those situations,” Broussard said. “And my feeling is this: I don’t like the notion that the best player has to take the last shot. I don’t like (the mindset of), Okay, we’re down one with 10 seconds left. Let’s give it to our best player and pretty much clear out and let him go 1-on-4 or whatever. How about running a play with options?”
In 1993, for example, John Paxson hit the Finals-clinching three-pointer, and Jordan was uninvolved in that play. That doesn’t diminish Jordan’s greatness, but it might diminish James’ greatness if the roles were reversed.
“If LeBron does that, we’re killing him,” Broussard said. “We’re saying he doesn’t want the rock.”