LeBron passes Kareem for most points all-time. Is he the G.O.A.T.?


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LeBron passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most career points on February 7 against the Thunder.

Last week, on February 7th, LeBron James accomplished the most prestigious feat in all of basketball. The Kid from Akron scored 38 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which propelled him past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA’s All Time Scoring List. His 38,388 points (and counting) broke Kareem’s record which had been held for thirty-nine years. This accomplishment is a long time coming for the King, as he has been the youngest player to reach the 10,000-, 20,000-, and 30,000-point milestones.

Jordan played thirteen of his fourteen seasons with the Bulls, winning them six championships. (Steve Lipofsky)
This news has taken the sports world by storm and has initiated more and more G.O.A.T. debates than ever before. The two players in question in this debate, of course, are none other than Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Both men are athletic specimens, and they each have the pedigree to back up any argument that could be made for them. That being said, even after LeBron becoming the NBA’s All Time Scoring Leader, there are still people who believe that MJ is the greatest to ever do it. Allow me to break down both arguments.

Proponents of His Airness argue that his undefeated record in the finals is enough to call him the greatest hooper of all time. Add on all of his additional achievements and it only cements their argument. His ten scoring titles (most all time), six MVP awards, six Finals MVP awards, Defensive Player of the Year award, and various other achievements are without question nothing short of impressive. They say that Mike possessed all of the intangible qualities that the G.O.A.T. would have as well. His killer instinct was unmatched, and his intensity and dedication were S tier. Michael undoubtedly belongs near the top of the basketball hierarchy.

LeBron dunks with authority in a matchup against the Knicks of New York during his tenure as a Cavalier. (Erik Drost)
The argument for LeBron is just as formidable, if not more. The King was drafted into the league as an eighteen-year-old kid from Akron Ohio to his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was the highest touted prospect in the history of the league, and with that came immense expectations. In his rookie campaign, LeBron would take home the rookie of the year award and proceeded to be named to the All-Star Game in nineteen out of his twenty seasons (and counting). Since then, he has won four MVP awards, been nominated to an NBA best sixteen All-NBA teams, won four NBA titles, along with four Finals MVP awards, and countless other accolades. He is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, while also being fourth in all-time assists. He has been to ten NBA Finals and has only endured one first round exit to Michael’s three. LeBron has potent accomplishments to support his GOAT argument, and he has something Michael doesn’t: longevity. LeBron has continued to be great year in and year out. He has been dominant for twenty years, playing in six more seasons than Michael. And not just seasons, long, grueling, deep-playoff-run seasons. When Michael was thirty-eight, in his final season, he averaged twenty points, six rebounds, and four assists. Comparatively, since LeBron turned thirty-eight this past December, he is averaging twenty-nine points, eight rebounds, and seven assists per game. 

This debate has gone on for years and will continue to be argued over for generations to come. Many have their minds made up. Some say Jordan, some say LeBron. So, I ask you, given the information and the raw data, who is the greatest of all time? We may never know, but I’m sure we will have a lot of fun talking about it.