This is it. Today is the day. To all my avid readers: I know you have always wondered how I feel about the Jordan-LeBron debate. You must wait no longer.
Who is the GOAT? It is one of the most highly-debated topics in sports. It seems inevitable that this will come up when a conversation brings up both Michael Jordan and LeBron James. The same can also be said with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. In fact, NBC has made an advertisement featuring Jordan about Brady vs. Rodgers that pokes fun at the LeBron vs. Jordan debate. The GOAT question is front and center in sports and a hill to die on for many people whose opinions are so strong that they cannot consider the other side.
For me, it is pretty simple. Jordan is the GOAT. Brady is the GOAT. LeBron and Rodgers? They are both the Best of All Time (BOAT). Bear with me.
The term GOAT means “Greatest of All Time.” Merriam-Webster defines “great” as “remarkable in magnitude, degree or effectiveness.” It also defines “best” as “excelling all others.” That settles the argument for me right there.
Michael Jordan has six out of six possible championship rings. His iconic “Jumpman” image is the logo for a $3 billion clothing and sneaker brand. He has the most iconic plays in basketball, from the dunk for the logo to “The Shrug” and “The Shot.” He is a legend, one whom LeBron admits he is chasing. His footprints are felt on the court by every player who steps on it. Jordan is great. He is remarkable in magnitude and degree, in the sense that he fills NBA history as no one else has.
One thing though: LeBron is better than Michael Jordan at basketball. If we are talking about pure skill — from leaping ability to power — LeBron James has it all. He is bigger, faster and stronger. He is the best basketball player who has ever lived, playing in a time when many athletes have displayed peak physical condition. LeBron is the best. He excels beyond all others. Even with the amazing impact he has had on basketball, which I am truly trying not to diminish, he cannot catch the ghost who played in Chicago.
The Brady vs. Rodgers debate seems to be a more similar situation, but is more clear-cut. Brady is the GOAT. He has the rings and dominance. In terms of iconic plays, Brady’s Super Bowl comeback certainly helps but Rodgers has his own excellent compilation of Hail Mary successes. Brady also has more opportunity, having the GOAT coach on his side as well. Lots of football experts — and Brady — say Rodgers has more talent, though, making him the BOAT.
No matter side on which you stand, the GOAT and BOAT separation should be clear. People tend not to take the definitions into account, but they make the most prominent question in sports easier to answer. Also, we could just not worry about who is better and be happy to watch some of the most gifted athletes to ever grace this earth. Just a thought.