Michael Jordan has more rings, but LeBron James can close the gap and even overtake the icon by repeating as champion over Golden State's superteam.
There’s a reason why the phrase is called ‘chasing ghosts’. There’s either nothing there to chase or it’s a pursuit that’s simply impossible.
For the longest time, that’s what it felt like for anyone who ever played in the shadow of Michael Jordan. He set the standard, but placed the bar so high that no matter the ambition of players who followed him, it just wasn’t possible to come all that close.
That is, until now.
LeBron James has a laundry list of incredible feats and achievements on a basketball court, but his greatest accomplishment may very well end up being snatching away the title of GOAT (Greatest of All Time) from Jordan.
And while it would seem only fair to wait until LeBron’s career is all said and done for a legitimate claim to be made, he has the chance to bypass that waiting period and seize the throne now if – and this is a big ‘if’ – he wins another championship in a few weeks time.
Call it ‘recency bias’ if you want, but just know it has a cousin called ‘nostalgia bias’ and we often fall victim to that, especially when it comes to Jordan’s legacy. There’s no doubt the Chicago Bulls legend stands alone at the top of the game’s pantheon, yet this is less about picking Mike apart than it is about recognising equally overarching greatness in LeBron.
James isn’t there yet, but if he pulls this off – beating the Golden State Warriors again – there will be no further reason to deny him. A fourth ring would still put LeBron behind Jordan’s six, but the strength of what would be his last two would be enough to surpass Jordan.
LeBron has already won one for his beloved home and that too in improbable fashion by historically overcoming a 3-1 Finals deficit to defeat the greatest regular-season team ever. If that was a storybook ending, then repeating would be like the typical superhero sequel in which instead of saving just a city, he saves the world. The villains from the original movie? They’re now more powerful and have a new weapon in Kevin Durant that makes them pretty much unstoppable. If anyone can do it though, it’s LeBron.
The ‘rangzzz’ argument should never be the hill people choose to die on, but in this case, it isn’t about quantity of titles, rather quality. You can only beat what’s in front of you and Jordan did that. If LeBron does it in these Finals, he may as well be a Ghostbuster.