ESPN’s documentary series “The Last Dance” showed a younger generation of NBA fans that Michael Jordan is much more than just a guy who sells retro sneakers. For those who witnessed Jordan’s greatness over the course of two three mobs with the Bulls, it reinforced the belief that he is the greatest player to ever touch the court.

A current star has complicated that GOAT conversation (the greatest of all time), of course. There is an argument for putting LeBron James over Jordan, and James’s case only got stronger after he led the Lakers to beat the Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals.

MORE: MJ’s Best Game You Definitely Don’t Remember

Bill Bender of Sporting News has a helpful guide with the most important talking points if you’re ready to discuss MJ vs. LeBron, but we are simply here to provide you with the data you need to justify your choice. Don’t be the person who yells “six rings” without an alternative plan.

Here’s a closer look at where the GOAT debate is at. . .

(All statistics current as of December 24, 2023)

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Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Regular Season Stats

Jordan is superior in the scoring department, but James rebounds and dispenses assists at a faster rate. While both players are known for their tenacious wing defense, Jordan finished first in the league in steals three times in his career. James has yet to claim a robbery title.

In terms of longevity, James has a clear advantage. The gap in total numbers will widen as long as James stays healthy and doesn’t appear to be narrowing at 36.

Jordan Per game Lebron
30.1 Points 27.0
6.2 Bounces 7.4
5.3 Attend 7.4
23 Robberies 1.6
0.8 Blocks 0.8
2.7 Rotations 3.5
38.3 Minutes 38.2
49.7 Field goal % 50.4
32.7 % Of 3 points 34.5
83.5 Free shot % 73.4

Jordan Totals Lebron
1,072 Games 1,331
32,292 Points 35,930
6,672 Bounces 9,892
5,633 Attend 9,833
2,514 Robberies 2,098
893 Blocks 1,003
2,924 Rotations 4,667
41,011 Minutes 50,830

Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Advanced Regular Season Stats

It’s all about which category you choose when it comes to advanced stats. VORP and Win Shares favor James, but PER and Box Plus / Minus go for Jordan.

Pick a side, nerds! (That is a term of endearment).

Jordan Advanced Lebron
27.9 Player efficiency rating 27.3
116.1 Replacement value 138.9
9.2 Plus / minus box 8.8
214.0 Earn shares 244.8
56.9 % Of real shot 58.7
33.3 % Of use 31.5

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Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Playoff Statistics

The playoff statistics reflect what Jordan and James produce during the regular season. Despite James’ increased use and efficiency beyond the arc throughout his career, it’s worth noting that he shoots about the same percentage as Jordan from 3-point range.

Oh, and the lazy narrative that James shrinks in big games: His postseason lines are often more impressive than his regular-season performances. That is not a smart way to argue against him.

Jordan Playoffs per game Lebron
33.4 Points 28.7
6.4 Bounces 9.0
5.7 Attend 7.2
2.1 Robberies 1.7
0.9 Blocks 0.9
3.1 Rotations 3.7
41.8 Minutes 41.5
48.7 Field goal % 49.5
33.2 % Of 3 points 33.7
82.8 Free shot % 74.0

Jordan Playoff totals Lebron
179 Games 266
5,987 Points 7,631
1,152 Bounces 2,391
1,022 Attend 1,919
376 Robberies 454
158 Blocks 252
546 Rotations 975
7,474 Minutes 11,035

Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Advanced Playoff Stats

Jordan is the all-time playoff leader in PER and Box Plus / Minus, and has the highest usage percentage. But James beats everyone else in VORP and Win Shares.

So yeah, these guys are pretty good.

Jordan Advanced Lebron
28.6 Player efficiency rating 28.2
24.7 Replacement value 33.9
11.1 Plus / minus box 10.2
39.8 Earn shares 55.7
56.8 % Of real shot 58.3
35.6 % Of use 32.0

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Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James: Accolades and Awards

And here is the biggest one. Jordan fans have championships in their back pockets. MJ was a perfect 6-0 in the NBA Finals and never needed a Game 7 to win those series.

James is 4-6 in his 10 NBA Finals appearances, but he also controlled the Eastern Conference with the Cavaliers and Heat for nearly a decade.

Jordan Acknowledgments Lebron
6 Championships 4
5 Mvp 4
6 Finals MVP 4
eleven All-NBA 17
9 Total defense 6
14 All-star 17
10 Scoring titles one