The Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debate has been ongoing for years. It certainly won’t be ending any time soon.
J.R. Smith had an up-close and personal look at LeBron as his teammate for several seasons. In 2016, James and Smith were part of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA championship unit.
In an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show yesterday, Smith addressed a number of topics, including LeBron and the comparisons between him, Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
In fact, Smith said it is tough to truly compare LeBron to those guys, because they are totally different types of players.
“He’s not a scorer. A scorer is a person who has a one-track mind to do an individual thing. That’s like a sniper,” Smith said. “Jordan and Kobe, they did play defense but they’re scorers. They’re going to put up 50, 60, 70 points a night. When you get somebody so well-rounded, rebounding, scoring, passing, dribbling, a good teammate. It’s a totally different atmosphere. He’s a totally different person than those guys. There’s no comparison. Because you can’t compare a lion and a tiger. They’re both cats but they are not the same.”
Expounding on that lion vs. tiger analogy for LeBron and Jordan, Smith dropped an all-time quote.
“The lion is the king of the jungle. Everybody bows down to the lion. But that don’t stop the tiger from going ‘Listen motherf—er, I’m a bad motherf—er too,'” he said.
Smith did hit on an important point here. Jordan and LeBron don’t operate on the court in the same way. Jordan was capable of being a playmaker and great passer, but his main objective and skill was always his scoring ability.
On the flipside, LeBron scores at a high rate, but has always been more of a facilitator and exhibited a more pass-first mindset than Jordan did.
Depending on what you value more will likely depend on how you evaluate them.