You know, I just got into a debate with someone on social media about this. I posted that Lebron has generated an equivalent of 60k+ points being #1 all time in scoring and #4 all time in assists.
And he says Kareem is better (ofc he didn’t give any reasons why, but I don’t expect haters to ever back up anything with evidence)
Instead, I’ll give evidence why Lebron has surpassed Kareem:
-Lebron has more All-NBA selections
-Lebron has passed Kareem all time in scoring (Kareem’s most recognizable record)
-Lebron has more FMVPs than Kareem, meaning he was the best player on more teams than Kareem was
-Lebron has equalled Kareem in All-Star selections
-Kareem has the edge in rebounding but his edge in rebounding is not as much as Lebron’s edge in assists. Lebron is by far the better all around player.
the only things Kareem has over Lebron is then: rings, MVPs and All-Def selections. Ok let’s talk about these.
-Rings: There’s a reason why MJ’s 6 rings is brought up more often than Kareem’s 6 rings or Bob Cousy’s 6 rings or Pippen’s 6 rings. It’s because MJ was the best player for all 6 rings. In Kareem and Cousy’s and Pippen’s case, they weren’t. Kareem was the best player for 3 of those rings – 1971, 1980, 1985. In 1982, Magic won FMVP. Kareem averaged 18/7 in the series.. respectable, but he wasn’t even the leading scorer on his team, Jamaal Wilkes was that Finals. In 1987 and 1988 Kareem was a shell of himself and close to retirement. Magic was clearly the better player in 1987 and Worthy the better player in 1988.
So Kareem has 3 rings where he was the best player – Lebron has 4. That’s the context there.
-MVPs: Kareem has 6, the most all time. However, that was in the 1970s where the league’s talent was split between the NBA and ABA. I might suggest that it’s easier to win MVP when you are the best player out of a league where half the talent is missing. Kareem even had one MVP (1976) where they missed the playoffs.
-All-Def: Kareem has more All-Def selections than Lebron. Ok, but peak for peak, Miami Lebron was DPOY material (and came in 2nd in voting in 2013 a robbery since Marc Gasol wasn’t even 1st team All-Def that year). At Kareem’s Bucks peak he was a fantastic defender too. But better? I’m not sure. I think in terms of pure rim protection yes Bucks Kareem was better, but he was not as versatile as Miami Lebron. Miami Lebron literally guarded every position – see his defense on Tony Parker in the 2013 Finals for example. So peak for peak, I’d say it’s a wash, they are both great defenders at their peaks. But I wouldn’t say Kareem was overall better just because he had more All-Def selections. If # of All-Def selections determined who was the defensive GOAT then Kobe would be better than Jordan at defense and Duncan would be better than Rodman at defense, and nobody says that.