The debate on who the greatest player of all time is, or simply the GOAT, was reignited after LeBron James won his fourth championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. Yet again, he was compared with Michael Jordan.
The Chicago Bulls legend himself thinks such comparisons are unfair. During a sit-down interview with Marvin R. Shanken, Jordan talked about the GOAT debate in golf between Jack Mickelson and Tiger Woods and also brought in the same topic from the world of basketball.
While talking about the subject, Jordan did not mention LeBron, but instead compared himself with the legends from the older generation.
“First of all you’re never going to say who’s the greatest of all time. To me that’s more for PR and more for selling stories and getting hype,” MJ told Shanken. “Jack and Tiger never played against each other. They never played in the same tournament. They never played with the same equipment. They never played with the same length of golf course.
“I never played against Wilt Chamberlain. I never played against Jerry West. To now say that one’s greater than the other is being a little bit unfair. I think when you can see the similarities and you understand if this is one way you can judge the two. How much impact did each change or evolve the game.
“Jack during his time when he played or Tiger during his time. Now, obviously Jack won more during the time he played. Tiger evolved it to where it crossed a lot of different boundaries. Where it’s not just a white guy sport. You know the black guys Afro-Americans. You know all the minorities played the game. And you played at a level to where it generated so much interest financially. That it grew the game from a financial standpoint.
“Does that constitute him being the greatest? Does that he’s any less than Jack? I think it’s unfair. Yeah Jack probably has 18 more majors and Tiger’s got 14. I think that’s how people are judging certain things.
“I won six championships. Bill Russell won eleven. Does that make Bill Russell better than me and make me better than him? No. Because we played in different eras. So when you try to equate who’s the greatest of all time time, it’s an unfair parallel, it’s an unfair choice.
“Those are the demons that obviously Tiger had to live with it and he’s going to be challenged and he’s going to be graded upon that. But for me think they’re both great. I would never pick one over the other.”