Back in January when LeBron James’ return to the Cavaliers didn’t look like it would result in his sixth NBA Finals appearance, a reporter asked Hall-of-Famer Hakeem Olajuwon about the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time) debate. Was it Michael Jordan or LeBron James? Olajuwon didn’t hesitate, saying LeBron was great, but calling Jordan “a far more superior player.” (see video below.)
The Cavs were 19-21 when Olajuwon said this. They turned it around and went on a run to the Finals, with James performing at an unprecedented individual level. (The team-oriented James had to do more individually due to his best teammates’ injuries.) But Olajuwon wasn’t talking about the Cavs mid-season struggles. He was talking about the overall difference in domination between two unique superstars. The matter of who is the greatest will remain debatable and debated forever, but one thing about Olajuwon’s assessment seems indisputable. Both Jordan and James played in six NBA Finals. Jordan won each of his six trips. James is 2-4.
Some of what Olajuwon was talking about: