LeBron Vs Jordan Goat Debate: If Neither Side Gives In, What’s The Point?

LeBron James and Michael Jordan

For the 1000th time, are you ready to settle the debate of all debates? Who is the GOAT, LeBron James or Micheal Jordan?

A popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Over the course of a decade, sports media members on television shows, podcasts, and online publications dedicate a portion of the offseason to one question – who’s the GOAT, LeBron or Jordan?

In typical debate fashion, one side argues for Jordan. Jordan has six championships and six Finals’ MVPs. Jordan won those championships with two three-peats in 8 years and in the two years in-between, he was playing baseball.* The other side argues for LeBron, who going into this season, had three championships and three Finals’ MVPs. Although most people claim they hate watching this debate, the Internet loves controversy and getting #madonline so the Jordan v. LeBron debate is an easy way to go viral if you have an outlandish take.

Although I fear for my life, I have to mention that Jordan returned towards the end of the 1994-1995 NBA season, which resulted in a second-round loss to the Orlando Magic. If I don’t write an article next week, then you can assume angry Jordan fans kidnapped me for mentioning the 1995 playoffs.

After the Lakers won the championship inside the NBA Bubble, the debate has more heat than Hulk Hogan joining the NWO. LeBron became the only player in NBA history to win three championships and three Finals MVPs with three different franchises.

We know Stephen A. Smith will defend Michael Jordan to the end of time and we know Nick Wright will continue to back LeBron James for as long as he lives. Stephen A and Nick Wright are good representatives for each side of the debate. The strength of the Jordan argument lies with his career peak, the three-peat, 90s dominance, and the phrase, “six for six.” On the other hand, the strength of LeBron’s argument lies with his statistics, playoff success, NBA Finals appearances, and three championships with three different franchises.

LeBron continues to strengthen his case, which is a rallying cry LeBron’s troops to attack Jordan fans. If LeBron loses in the playoffs next year, Jordan’s army of stans will infiltrate Twitter with MJ propaganda, and “LeBron can never be the GOAT” tweets. Consequently, Jordan’s two seprate three peats is something LeBron will never do, which quiets parts of LeBron’s case.

At this point in time, if neither side will give an inch, what’s the point of the debate? If both sides remain show steadfast loyalty to LeBron or MJ, why bother? Is the GOAT debate Einstein’s definition of insanity?

We’re asking the wrong questions. We shouldn’t be asking about the identity of GOAT. We should should be asking if the argument is capable of change. Can LeBron do something to either weaken or strengthen his claim as the GOAT?

The first part of that coin is easy. If LeBron loses at any point in the playoffs, Jordan backers will be the first to point this out. Somehow, losing in the second round is better than losing in the finals, which is the most egregious talking point in the entire debate.

The other side of the coin is trickier and clouded with uncertainty. Let’s throw stats like points, rebounds, and assists out the window. The media has taught us the importance of rings so what matters are championships. Jordan has six to Lebron’s four. If LeBron were to win seven rings and win seven Finals MVPs, would that be enough to push him over the top? If LeBron ties Jordan with six rings, what’s the tiebreaker? If LeBron wins one or even zero rings throughout the rest of his career, can he still reach GOAT status?

As an Internet user, it’s been drilled in my head that that rings matter so if LeBron wins seven rings, he’s the GOAT. For now, I’m going to wait until LeBron’s career ends to make my decision. Am I taking the easy way out? Possibly, but until either side proves they can give an inch, the debate will remain a never-ending circle of insanity.

Who’s the GOAT, LeBron or Jordan? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

The Last Dance: Michael Jordan’s Views On Winning And Leadership Will Be The Biggest Takeaways

Michael Jordan

On behalf of America, I want to personally thank The Last Dance for airing during the quarantine. Seriously, The Last Dance has been a small beacon of hope these past few weeks. Michael Jordan went six for six in the NBA and now he’s one for one in airing great documentaries during global pandemics. Take THAT, LeBron!

Note: I like and appreciate LeBron James. I can’t wait to watch your documentary in 20 years.

Tonight marks the final two episodes of The Last Dance. However, no matter what airs tonight, my biggest takeaway from The Last Dance happened last week. The clip I’m referencing focuses on MJ and the perception that he’s not a nice guy. These two minutes gave us insight into one of the greatest winners of all time.

“Winning has a price, leadership has a price.”

Was an MJ an asshole? I think it’s safe to say that at times, Michael Jordan was an asshole. MJ punched Steve Kerr in the face, insulted Scott Burrell 24/7, ran teammates out of town, and pushed guys farther than anyone had ever pushed them in their lives. There are different types of leaders. Some leaders get in your face while other leaders tend to back off. There’s no right answer to this question. The only way to measure the greatness of a leader, in this case, is through success. Did Michael’s methods lead to victories?

The answer is a resounding yes. If Jordan didn’t win six championships and six finals’ MVPs, then we’d look at his leadership methods a lot differently. Frankly, there would be no documentary about him either if he wasn’t one of the greatest basketball players of all time. I can’t shake this quote. “The one thing about Michael Jordan was he never asked me to do something that he didn’t fucking do.” It’s not like MJ was barking out orders and sitting comfortably on the sidelines. If you took 100 shots at practice, MJ was going to take 200 shots. If you’re lifting weights for one hour, MJ would do it for three hours. He talked the talk and walked the walk. Jordan was no hypocrite.

It’s difficult for me to comment on Jordan’s impact in the 1990s because I was 6 years old when he won his sixth championship. Through no fault of my own, I’ll never fully appreciate his greatness, both on the court and off because I couldn’t witness it firsthand. However, one thing I can value is his drive to greatness. Watching Jordan discuss the price of winning and leadership makes me want to run through a wall for him. I’ve been waiting for the moment where I won’t like Michael Jordan, and yet, after every episode, I find myself liking him more and more.

MJ may not have been perceived as a nice guy, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. The results speak for themselves.

The Greatest Buzzer Beaters In NBA Playoffs History

NBA greatest game winners and buzzer beaters in NBA history

It’s hard to find anything in basketball more thrilling and exciting than a buzzer beater. Just like a walk-off in baseball, buzzer beaters are the ultimate “go home” moment. Buzzer beaters can add to a player’s legacy and their reputation as a clutch performer. After Damian’s Lillard miraculous game-winner against the Thunder, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and list the greatest buzzer-beaters in NBA Playoffs history. Just a couple weeks later, Kawhi Leonard hit the first buzzer-beater in a Game 7. Some of the greatest players like Michael Jordan and LeBron James have hit game winners.

Big Shot Rob Beats The Kings- Robert Horry

There’s a reason why Robert Horry is known as “Big Shot Rob.” (Some might refer to him as “Big Shot Bob” depending on who you talk to.) Horry is widely known as one of the greatest clutch players and winners in NBA history. Horry is a seven-time NBA champion, but I’ll remember Horry for his game-winning three-pointer against the Kings in the 2002 Western Conference Finals. Think about this. Horry wasn’t the first or second option on this play. Kobe Bryant missed his attempt and then Shaq missed his attempt. However, after a Vlade Divac tip out to try and clear the ball, Horry was “Johnny on the Spot” and grabbed the loose ball and sunk the winning shot. This was just another example of Big Shot Rob doing Big Shot Rob things.

LeBron James Delivers Game Winner

It’s hard to create any list and not have a play from LeBron James on it. LeBron is not known for his outside shot, but in crunch time, LeBron can hit a deep jumper. Down two points to the Magic with one second left, LeBron put on his Superman cape and hit a spectacular three-pointer to nod the series at 1. Unfortunately, the Cavs went on to lose the series, 4-2. I call this the “Series That Ruined Everything” because had LeBron and the Cavs won the East, they would have faced Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Thanks a lot, Hedo Türkoğlu and Rashard Lewis.

Dame Called Game- Damian Lillard

Is this a case of recency bias? Maybe, but the buildup for this buzzer beater was spectacular. I am pro trash talking in sports if you can back it up. If you back up your talk, never shut up. However, when you’re down 2-1 in a series and Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schroder are taunting like they’re about to sweep the Blazers, then you must back it up or you will look silly. It’s safe to say Westbrook and Schroder look like fools right now. In one of the greatest playoff performances I have ever seen, Damian Lillard scored 50 points including the game-winning 37-footer to send the Thunder into the offseason. Dame called game and waved bye-bye.

https://twitter.com/FootBasketcom/status/1120917476215181312

The Fish Who Saved LA- Derek Fisher

In terms of the degree of difficulty, Derek Fisher’s 2004 buzzer beater over the Spurs is one of the toughest shots ever made to win a game. Luck definitely played a factor in the setup to this hot. With .4 seconds on the clock, there is enough time to catch and shoot. If it’s .2 seconds less, then it has to be a tip in. Also, the ball was being inbounded on the left side of the court so Fisher was watching the ball on his strong side. If he catches it on the opposite side of the court, the odds of him making the shot are practically zero. What’s crazy is before Fisher’s shot, Tim Duncan made an equally impressive fadeaway at the top of the key. Fisher saved LA this series.

Kawhi Leonard Gets Four Bounces For Buzzer Beater

Kawhi Leonard hit the first game-winning buzzer beater in a Game 7 in NBA Playoffs history. This shot rivals Derek Fisher for the most difficult on this list. He ended the series against the Philadephia 76ers with a ridiculous fadeaway shot over the outstretched hand of 7’2″ Joel Embiid. The most insane part of the shot was that it seemingly hit every part of the rim before bouncing in. The crowd stood still and every person watching was silent for what seemed like an eternity. Skip Bayless said the shot was lucky. I believe it was 100% skill.

Michael Jordan Hits “The Shot” x2

Poor Craig Ehlo. Out of all the clutch plays in Michael Jordan’s career, this is the one that started it all. This play changed the course of history not only in Jordan’s career but the landscape of the NBA. In Game 5 of the 1989 Eastern Conference First Round, the 6-seeded Chicago Bulls were down one point to the 3-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers with three seconds on the clock. Jordan defeated a double team to catch the ball, dribbled to the middle of the cylinder, hung in the air, and hit the shot to send the Bulls to the next round. Although the Bulls went on to lose in the Eastern Conference Finals, this shot was the catalyst for the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty of the 1990s. Speaking of Ehlo, what’s forgotten is the fact that Ehlo hit a layup to give the Cavs the lead before Jordan hit a buzzer beater. However, now he’s known as the defender in “The Shot.”

*Note: Despite being the most iconic shot in NBA history, Michael Jordan’s shot over Bryon Russell in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals was NOT a buzzer beater. There were five seconds left on the clock after his make. I’ll hear the argument for less than two seconds left on the clock as a buzzer beater, but not five.

What buzzer beaters are on your list? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter, @unafraidshow.

Who Is The Greatest Athlete Of Your Lifetime?

greatest athlete Brady Jordan LeBron Serena

Tom Brady won his record sixth Super Bowl, which is the most of any player in NFL history. Brady passed linebacker Charles Haley, who won five Super Bowls during his tenures with the 49ers and Cowboys. But is he the greatest athlete of your lifetime and generation? Do Serena Williams, Tom Brady, LeBron, Michael Jordan, Jimmy Johnson, and Michael Phelps make your list?

Brady stands alone on the mountain as winningest NFL quarterback to ever play the game. Over the years, as the wins, records, and Super Bowls began to accumulate, Brady has started to earn the nickname of the “Goat,” which stands for greatest of all-time. For what it’s worth, I do believe Brady is the greatest of all-time in football, but I understand there are many sides to the argument. I did not see Jim Brown play and many believe he is the greatest football player of all-time. I also did not see Joe Montana play in the NFL and many also believe he is the greatest quarterback of all-time. These are all fair points.

However, I’m going to specify the question. Who is the greatest athlete of your lifetime? The answers will all differ depending on what year you were born, but I believe it’s a fair way of determining “Goat-status.” These are the athletes you have watched the most during your time on Earth so it will be easier to narrow down finalists for your selection as opposed to encompassing the entire history of sports.

I was born in 1993 and I have narrowed my list down to four athletes. You can call it my Mount Rushmore of “Greatest Athletes of my Lifetime.” Here are selections (in no particular order).

Tom Brady

Tom Brady / Getty

Am I a prisoner of the moment for including Brady on this list? Absolutely not. Brady has earned the right to be called one of the greatest athletes of all-time. Brady has 207 wins and 60 losses in the regular season, which is a .775 winning percentage. The next closest percentage is Brett Favre at .618. Brady completely separates himself from the pack due to his postseason dominance. Brady has an unprecedented 30 wins in the postseason. Joe Montana is second with 16. Brady is the Goat quarterback in my book.

LeBron James

LeBron James Injury Lakers
LeBron James / Via USA Today Sports

“You bro. Who is the Goat, Michael or LeBron?” Every time I hear this question, I want to gauge my eyes out. It’s unfair to both players because LeBron James is still playing. When his career is over, then start the debate. Anyways, LeBron is currently the greatest living and breathing basketball player on the planet. LeBron is a 3x NBA champion with 3x Finals MVP in nine appearances (eight straight trips to the finals and counting). The 15x All-star and 12x All-NBA First Team player is fifth all-time in scoring with 32,008 points. LeBron easily cements his place on my Mount Rushmore.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams / AP Photo

If I had to describe Serena Williams in one word, I would use “dominant.” Serena has dominated her competition ever since she turned pro as a 14-year-old in 1995. Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, which is most in the Open Era and second on the all-time list behind Margaret Court. Between singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, Williams has won 39 major titles, which is second in the Open Era. Williams has been the world’s No.1 ranked player eight times and has been the No.1 ranked player for 319 weeks total. Perhaps the word “dominant” is undervaluing Serena’s legacy. Serena is a Goat in my eyes.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps / Getty

Unlike the three previous athletes, Michael Phelps might have the best case for Goat-status. Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all-time, having won a total of 28 medals in both individual and team events. Now you might think to yourself that because of Phelps’s silver and bronze medal totals, that is the reason why he has the most medals. If that was your belief, you would be wrong. Phelps has 23 gold medals, which is obviously first on the list. The second most decorated athlete in the Olympics is Larisa Latynina, a Russian gymnast, who accumulated 18 total medals. Phelps has more gold medals than any other Olympian’s total amount of medals. Phelps rarely lost in the Olympics and when he did, he’d usually walk away with a silver or bronze. Don’t expect any athlete to break Phelps’s record any time soon.

After laying out all of their cases, who is the greatest athlete of my lifetime?

I may need some more time to think…

Let me know who your greatest athlete selection is in the comments below!

*Disclaimer: I’m not selecting Michael Jordan because I was too young to watch and appreciate his greatness. Michael walked away from the game twice: once when I was five-years-old and then when I was ten-years-old. I simply did not see him play enough even though he is one of the greatest athletes of all-time.

Michael Jordan vs LeBron James Teaser Commercial: Who Would Win?

Michael Jordan

On Sunday, basketball aficionados got a rare treat.  His Airness himself, Michael Jordan, graced the airwaves of millions of Americans during Sunday Night Football. He appeared in a short commercial spoof addressing the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) debate. Jordan shocked the sports world by simply acknowledging that there was a debate.  Fans were in awe when he stated that the debate involved two players who wore the same the numbers. Jaws dropped when he suggested that the players face each other to settle the debate.

True basketball fans immediately gushed at Jordan seemingly addressing the GOAT debate between him and LeBron James, who both donned the number 23. Not only did he address it, he seemingly suggested that the two compete to determine who was the best.   For a brief second, avid basketball fans alike were overwhelmed with excitement at the mere thought of His Airness squaring off against King James.  Then reality hit when the commercial revealed its true purpose, the promotion of this seasons biggest Sunday Night Football game. The showdown between the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady and the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rogers who both wear the number 12 will take place this Sunday. While the GOAT debate between Tom Brady and Aaron Rogers is a worthy one, the focus here is on the greatest showdown basketball fans will never get to see.

LeBron James or Michael Jordan

LeBron James emerged on the NBA scene in 2003 at only 18 years old. He immediately became a dominant force in the NBA.  Many have speculated where he would fall in the line of NBA greatness.  Would LeBron James overthrow Michael Jordan as the Greatest Player of All Time?  The jury is still out on this issue, namely because James is still playing and has given no indication that he intends to stop anytime soon.  In fact, James signed a 4-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers to start his 16th season in the NBA.

However, the fact that James is still writing his NBA story does not stop basketball fans from debating who is better between him and Jordan. How do the two compare?  This is a simple, quick comparison that is sufficient for fantasizing about a game between King James and His Airness, not a full detailed stat for stat comparison.

In one corner, there is LeBron James who opted out of college and went straight to the NBA draft.  James was the number one pick in the first round of the draft. In the other corner, there is Michael Jordan an NCAA Champion and number three draft pick in the first round. King James has been to the last eight NBA finals and has won three.  His Airness made six NBA Finals appearances and won all six times.  James has three NBA Finals MVP awards to Jordans six. Additionally, James has four league MVP awards to Jordan’s five.  However, a showdown between two of the greatest to ever touch a basketball would put all of these stats comparisons to rest.

What would a Game Between King James and His Airness Look Like?

Although King James replied via Twitter that he was ready for a face-off, basketball fans will unfortunately never get to see such a show.

However, that unfortunate reality does not stop one from dreaming about what such a showdown would look like. Would the LeBron James who scored 51 points in the 2018 NBA finals show up to face the Michael Jordan who scored 63 points in a playoff game against the Boston Celtics? A game between James and Jordan would certainly be one for the record books.  The game would be riddled with first place slam dunk contest quality dunks.  It may even resemble some components of an NBA All-Star Weekend three-point contest (although Jordan may have a slight advantage from that aspect). The game would surely be a close one, with both players putting on a clinic riddled with crossovers and other spectacular moves that would be discussed for generations.

However, the looming question is who would emerge as the victor?  The outcome of the game would likely come down to the last play. Would His Airness pull up and clinch the game-winning shot as he did in game six against the Utah Jazz? Or would King James come from behind with the block as he did in game seven against the Golden State Warriors?  Unfortunately, the basketball world will never know, but what fun it is to imagine.