Stephen A. Smith: Michael Jordan Greatest Scorer Ever, Not LeBron James
The First Take host spoke in front of a live crowd at Super Bowl 57 and said he was happy for James but standing by MJ in the greatest of all time discussion.
Stephen A. Smith: Jordan greatest scorer ever, not LeBron originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
On Tuesday night, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James broke the NBA’s all-time scoring record, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
And this milestone has kicked into gear another round of NBA’s Greatest Of All Time debate, LeBron or Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan.
In the wake of the scoring record, it seems like LeBron can at least stake claim to the greatest scorer of all-time title, having scored more points than anyone in NBA history.
Not according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith though.
“The greatest scorer ever was Michael Jordan,” Smith said on First Take in front of a live crowd that responded with a chorus of boos.
Smith continued: “Very, very worthy of all the adulation, all the celebration. This man has not only been one of the greatest players in NBA history, he has been one of the greatest ambassadors and one of the greatest people. He has represented himself, his teams and the sport in exemplary fashion. And he was worthy of it. And I personally want to congratulate him on everything that he achieved last night.
“He is a great and arguably, I don’t think, arguably the greatest all around player.
“But when you talk about an assassin or scorer, no, that’s going to be Michael Jordan. It’s been that way and it’s going to stay that way. And it’s just that simple.”
Mic drop. No one from Chicago is going to question Smith’s point.
But there could be some merit to Smith’s claim.
James has one season scoring title to his name (2008), compared to Jordan who has a staggering 10 season scoring titles.
Jordan averaged 30.1 points per game in his career, the highest mark in NBA history. James is fifth on that list with 27.23 points per game, behind Kevin Durant’s 27.28.
James has played five more seasons than Jordan and 338 more regular season games. If Jordan played as many games as James, and maintained that lofty 30.1 PPG average, Jordan would have roughly 42,474 points.
Jordan of course played three seasons at North Carolina after high school, had two different retirements truncate his professional career, and is still top five on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Of course we’re biased.
“We as a society, we have to grow up and recognize the fact that just because you don’t consider him the greatest scorer ever doesn’t mean that he isn’t one of the greatest players ever,” Smith said. “Doesn’t mean that he’s not on the Mt. Rushmore of basketball. Doesn’t mean that he wasn’t worthy of the celebration last night.”
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