Column: Sophomore Explains G.O.A.T. Debate

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The great, G.O.A.T. debate centers around Michael Jordan and Lebron James.

The G.O.A.T conversation has been one of the most debated topics in basketball history. Everyone wants to make a point and push their favorite player to the G.O.A.T’s throne. But, to be the G.O.A.T one has to be the best player on the floor for as long as they play and you have to have the lasting effect on basketball culture and culture outside of basketball.

Of course, in order to be a G.O..A.T one must be the best player in the game while on the floor.. The players that come to mind to me are Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain. These guys dominated the league while in their prime and a few far outside of their primes like  Jordan and  James. are the two players that people argue about the most when it comes to the G.O.A.T. conversation. Some say Lebron, others say Michael. An argument that people use against Michael is that Lebron is statistically better than Michael, which is true. In their all time averages, Lebron is better except in one category which is steals. However, Michael has stopped all-time greats from gaining rings. Magic, Bird, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Patrick Ewing, and the list goes on for those who haven’t won a ring against Jordan. Lebron hasn’t truly stopped people of that caliber as of yet, with Tim Duncan, Dirk, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant just to name a few. All these people have made it past the hump that is Lebron and credit to all of them. Both Lebron and Jordan are those guys that can say that they are like the final boss of sorts while they are playing.

Finally, to be the G.O.A.T, one has to have a lasting effect on the game of basketball and the culture outside of basketball. Both Lebron and Michael have made a lasting impact on basketball, but when talks of G.O.A.T come up Michael is always thought of first. Michael has 6 rings never lost and never saw a game 7 in the finals. That is winning personified if you ask me and a strike against Lebron is that his finals record is 4-10. It’s amazing that he has been to 10 finals, but lost six finals. 6 rings will forever be iconic and be tied to Jordan forever. Jordan also represents something internal. Killer mentality is something that can’t be measured by stats. Jordan no matter who was in front of him wanted to kill them on the court, basically making that person want to quit the game of basketball and that’s something that Lebron doesn’t represent to the extent that Jordan does. People with this mentality are rare in today’s game, but when someone has it, they know exactly where and who they got it from.

The G.O.A.T conversation is tricky and a lot of ways very subjective. To me Kobe is the G.O.A.T, but that’s because that’s who I grew up watching. Seeing Kobe win his fifth  ring against the Celtics drove me towards the game as well as seeing him be the best player even against Lebron. However, as time moves on, Lebron will be people’s G.O.A.T because that’s who they grew up watching and those generations far before will say Jordan. 

At the end of the day the G.O.A.T is a person that a player looks up to that pushes them and makes them want to be the greatest they can be. That makes them want to strive for greatness.