For years, NBA fans have debated whether LeBron James is a better player than Michael Jordan.
Some argue that he’s already surpassed Jordan with his longevity and all the things he’s accomplished, while others believe he’s never going to be ahead of the Chicago Bulls legend because of his record in the NBA Finals.
Notably, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith falls into the second group, as he’s always ranked James as a close second to the original No. 23.
However, the controversial pundit recently stated that he would understand if people were to put James ahead of Jordan if James wins his fifth NBA championship this season.
If LeBron wins a fifth NBA title, @stephenasmith says "it would warrant a discussion" of passing MJ on the basketball Mount Rushmore 👀 pic.twitter.com/YR3tuBkCpu
— First Take (@FirstTake) May 9, 2023
Of course, that prompted plenty of reactions on social media.
Last week Stephen A. was saying Steph could get LeBron off of Mt. Rushmore…pretty quick reversal in the discussion! 😄
— Grade A USA (@gradeausa) May 9, 2023
ya whole arguement is finals records and 6 rings.. how does 5 make you change ya mind
— Jayson A. Rivera, Esq. (@_jayesq) May 9, 2023
C’mon guys, not even debatable! 6 titles in a row, DPOY, MVP, stayed with one team, once he got his titles, MJ stayed on top. Most feared man in the NBA during his playing days. Bron can’t touch him!
— BYG56 (@DMVSportsfan56) May 9, 2023
was MJ every CLEARLY the second best player on his team during a championship run (or ever)?
— Pat Bev Fan Account (@ayodostrece) May 9, 2023
But he isn't the best player on this playoff run the Lakers are making.
— Mykell Mathieu (@MykellthePG) May 9, 2023
Smith did say that he still wouldn’t think James should be ahead of Jordan, but he would no longer look down on those who think that’s the case.
Truth be told, winning an NBA championship as a go-to guy at age 38 and in your 20th season in the league, let alone the very same season you became the league’s all-time leading scorer, is a remarkable achievement, even by James’ standards.
But this still feels like a never-ending debate.
Some will always say that Jordan would’ve broken more records if he had played longer, which is obviously the most likely scenario.
But there’s just no way of telling, and there’s no point in comparing players from different eras who played different positions and under a different set of rules.NEXT: Lonnie Walker Has A Message After Big Game 4 Performance