LeBron James or Michael Jordan? Latest Poll Settles ‘Greatest of All Time’ Debate

By Colin Fredericson

A poll revealed that Americans choose Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player of all time over LeBron James, by a huge margin.

A poll by Business Insider shows 66 percent of respondents chose Michael Jordan as the GOAT to James’s 10.4 percent. In third place was Larry Bird, with 4 percent of respondents’ votes. The list also included NBA greats Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Russell, Stephen Curry, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Aside from the above mentioned players and former players, people chose other basketball players unnamed in the poll results, aggregated at 5.1 percent of the total vote.

The results appear to correlate with certain age groups. Of those in the 18 to 29 age group, 20 percent chose James. O’Neal had similar success among that age group.

In the 30 to 44 age group, 74.1 percent chose Jordan, which is higher than any other age group. The results appear to reflect those who were most likely to have grown up during the Jordan era and remember watching him play. The fact that the majority of James fans were in the youngest age group reflects the fact that he’s still currently on the court.

Similarly, Wilt Chamberlain received his highest success among the 60 plus age group, a reflection of the era of his professional career, which lasted from the end of the 1950s to the early 1970s. James did the worst among that same age group.

The poll was conducted through SurveyMonkey, with 1,082 adult respondents.

Last year LeBron James proclaimed himself the greatest of all time, leading to a backlash among NBA greats, who hold longstanding unspoken codes of humility regarding such a claim, according to Business Insider.

James called himself the GOAT when talking on ESPN’s “More Than an Athlete.” He said that after the Cavaliers comeback during the 2016 NBA Finals, leading to the franchise’s first ever championship, he became the greatest to play the game.

“That one right there made me the greatest player of all time,” James during the interview, according to Business Insider. “That’s what I felt.”

“Everybody was just talking about how [the Warriors] were the greatest team of all-time, like, it was the greatest team ever assembled. For us to come back the way we came back in that fashion, I was, like, ‘You did something special,’” James explained.

Around the time James made the comment, an old interview with Jordan was posted by The Undefeated, in which Jordan brushes off claims that he is the greatest.

He mentions the names of NBA greats that came before him, and says that because he never had the opportunity to play against them, it’s not possible to prove who really is the best of all time.

Jordan responded to how he felt when others referred to him as the GOAT.

“When I hear it I cringe a little bit, because it’s a little bit embarrassing, because no one knows,” Jordan said. “If you ask me, I would never say that I’m the greatest player. And that’s because I never played against all the people that represented the league prior to Michael Jordan.”

College basketball phenom Zion Williamson had a similar response to the argument of greatest player ever. The 6-foot 7-inch Duke freshman chose Michael Jordan over LeBron James.

“Growing up, my favorite player was Michael Jordan,” 18-year-old Williamson told the Insider. “For those people that just think Michael Jordan was an offensive player, he was a great defensive player. He won defensive player of the year and I’m just striving to be like that. … He’s the greatest player of all time.”

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