Decoding the GOAT Debate: Key Stats Differentiating Michael Jordan and LeBron James

ESPN’s documentary series “The Last Dance” showed a generation of young NBA fans just how great Michael Jordan was. For those who witnessed Jordan’s brilliance, it reinforced the belief that he was the greatest player to ever play in the NBA.

Of course, the emergence of LeBron James shakes the argument that MJ is the GOAT. Many people believe that James’s extraordinary persistence and persistence make him worthy of becoming the GOAT, especially when the LA Lakers star just became the first player to reach the 40,000 point mark.

Join Sporting News to take a look at the important statistics of these two stars, and who has the more impressive stats.

(All statistics current as of March 3, 2024)


Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Statistics in Regular season

Based on match-by-match statistics, Jordan is superior in scoring, but James is better in rebounds and assists. Both are excellent wing defenders, Jordan led the entire league in steals three times, while James never topped this stat.

But in terms of playing time, James clearly has the upper hand. The gap between the two will become longer and longer, because James is still healthy and shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 39.

Jordan Every match LeBron
30.1 Point 27.1
6.2 Rebounds 7.5
5.3 Assist 7.4
2.3 Steals 1.5
0.8 Blocks 0.8
2.7 Turnovers 3.5
38.3 Minutes of competition 38.0
49.7% Finishing rate 50.5%
32.7% 3-point shooting percentage 34.7%
83.5% Free throw percentage 73.5%
Jordan total LeBron
1,072 Match 1,474
32,292 Point 40,017
6,672 Rebounds 11,046
5,633 Assist 10,847
2,514 Steals 2,255
893 Blocks 1,106
2,924 Turnovers 5,140
41,011 Minutes of competition 55,987

Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Advanced statistics in Regular season

VORP and Win Shares favor James, but PER and Box Plus/Minus favor Jordan.

Jordan Advanced LeBron
27.9 Player Efficiency Rating 27.1
116.1 Value Over Replacement 150.4
9.2 Box Plus/Minus 8.7
214.0 Win Shares 260.8
56.9 True Shooting % 58.9
33.3 Usage % 31.6


Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Playoff statistics

There is not much difference compared to the regular season, when Jordan excels in scoring, while James is better at rebounds and assists.

Although James has continuously changed himself, from a player who specializes in hitting close to the basket and relying heavily on physical strength, becoming a smarter player and clearly improving his 3-point shooting ability. However, the truth is that his three-point shooting rate is not too superior to Jordan’s in the Playoffs.

Jordan Every match LeBron
33.4 Point 28.5
6.4 Rebounds 9.0
5.7 Assist 7.2
2.1 Steals 1.7
0.9 Blocks 1.0
3.1 Turnovers 3.6
41.8 Minutes of competition 41.3
48.7 Finishing rate 49.5
33.2 3-point shooting percentage 33.1
82.8 Free throw percentage 74.1
Jordan total LeBron
179 Match 282
5,987 Point 8,023
1,152 Rebounds 2,549
1,022 Assist 2,023
376 Steals 471
158 Blocks 270
546 Turnovers 1,015
7,474 Minutes of competition 11,654

Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Advanced Playoff Statistics

Jordan is the leader in PER and Box Plus/Minus in the Playoffs, while James is the leader in VORP and Win Shares.

Jordan Advanced LeBron
28.6 Player Efficiency Rating 27.9
24.7 Value Over Replacement 35.4
11.1 Box Plus/Minus 10.0
39.8 Win Shares 57.9
56.8 True Shooting % 58.3
35.6 Usage % 31.8


Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Titles and awards

Michael Jordan is famous for his 6-0 record in the NBA Finals and never needed game 7 to end the series.

Meanwhile, James has a 4-6 record in 10 NBA Finals appearances, but consecutively reaching the finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat is still an achievement that cannot be underestimated.

Jordan Achievements LeBron
6 Champion 4
5 MVPs 4
6 Finals MVPs 4
11 All-NBA 19
9 All-Defense 6
14 All-Star 20
ten Scoring titles first


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