No heir to Air Jordan's throne
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Michael Jordan at a basketball in 2006.
For those of you who are too young to remember Michael Jordan play during his prime with the Chicago Bulls, you are forgiven for asserting that LeBron James, the self-professed King of the National Basketball Association (NBA), is, or will be, the greatest NBA player of all-time by the time that his playing career is over.
However, with all due respect to sports fan such as myself who are old enough to remember Michael “Air” Jordan soar head and shoulders above everyone else whom he played against, here’s a reminder of just how great his Airness was.
While it is true that James has already won four regular season NBA Most Valuable Player awards, it is difficult to compare that number to Jordan’s five MVP awards. Why? Because Jordan earned them, and six more NBA Finals’ MVP awards, during the most talent- filled era in league history, an era filled with fellow top 50 all-time NBA players Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, John Stockton and Isaiah Thomas. Jordan outperformed each and every one of them during both the regular and post-seasons.
In addition to Jordan’s five regular season and six NBA Finals’ MVPs, Jordan’s resume consists of 10 All-NBA First Team selections, nine All-Defensive First Team honours, 14 NBA All-Star Game appearances, three All-Star Game MVPs, 10 scoring titles, three steals titles, and one Defensive Player of the Year Award .
And, as if those accolades weren’t enough, Jordan also holds the NBA record for the highest points per game (PPG) scoring averages during both the regular (30.12 PPG) and post-seasons (33.45 PPG). Jordan, like other clutch team sports athletes, found a way to elevate his game to whole other level when it mattered the most.
Game 6 of the NBA Finals (June 14, 1998) against Malone, Stockton and the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City is widely considered to be one of the greatest clutch performances in Finals’ history, punctuated by Jordan sinking the most climactic jump shot of his career, giving the Bulls their second three-peat of the decade.
In 1999, ESPN named Jordan the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, second only to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press's list of athletes of the century. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.