The GOAT debate in the NBA will never end as people go on and on with their opinions of who they think is the greatest of all time to play the sport. The fact that everyone has a different opinion about the issue makes it still relevant.
Former Seattle Supersonics star player Gary Payton is more qualified than the normal audience to hold an opinion on this issue since he has played with both LeBron James and Michael Jordan. So recently when he was in Scoop Robinson’s podcast Payton tipped LeBron as a more all-round player than Jordan with usual arguments.
“Two different basketball players. Jordan was a guy who, he’s going to make big shots, he’s going to take the ball every time and shoot it every time he has to. I think LeBron is an all-around basketball player.”
“If you asked me, ‘Who’s the better all-around basketball player?’ LeBron James by far. He does everything, he passes the ball better than Jordan,” he opined.
“He can dribble it, I think, a little bit better than Jordan … shooting-wise, I don’t think so. Rebounding I think he did, but Jordan did rebound. But they’re two different basketball players,” Payton continued.
Payton, who spent a large part of his career with the Sonics was one of the best players to defend against Jordan during that era. The two went against each other in the 1996 NBA finals. When Payton was switched to MJ the Sonics came out with two big victories. However, Jordan replied strongly in game six and put the series beyond their reach and celebrated his 4th crown in NBA.
Payton shared a few anecdotes about that series regarding MJ. He said, “It’s like this to me. He wouldn’t be Michael Jordan if he would have bowed down there. Everybody knows about his competitiveness. He was a guy who came every night to play.”
“I respect him for that because I came every night to play. I was never gonna back down to him and he knew that. If it was my documentary and they asked me the same thing I would have laughed too and been like ‘no he couldn’t go at me neither,” he added.
“Every night I played Michael Jordan he brought the best out of me. Wish I could have started off on him in the championship and it would have been better, but their team was better than mine at the time and they won it all. He did a documentary, he felt the way he felt. What I can do is I can say the same thing hahah,” Payton concluded.
At the moment LeBron is out of action due to injury and the Lakers need him and Anthony Davis to return as early as possible with the playoffs just knocking on the door.