Why is LeBron James not receiving the respect like Michael Jordan?


  • He is still active and people tend to be biased in some way to athletes that they have actually seen. For example, how many people have an opinion of John Havlicek? only the older fans probably. As for Kevin Durant on the other hand? Well everybody has an opinion about him. So recency bias plays a lot into it.
  • Lebron is more outspoken and political than Jordan. This means the crowd who just wants him to ‘shut up and dribble’ do not like his activist pursuits. And just being on social media and talking more in general means more to criticize. People scrutinize everything Lebron says and blows it up. Of course, when Bill Russell or Kareem were outspoken, people retrospectively praise them for that.
  • Lebron called himself the GOAT. Jordan didn’t. But hey, Wayne Gretzky was called the ‘Great One’, Muhammed Ali was called the GOAT etc, nobody ca
  • Lebron is considered a ‘whiner’ ‘crybaby’ ‘quitter’ and the truth of this may be exaggerated. Lebron complains to refs a lot and flops a lot, but no more than any other modern NBA player. And the ‘quitting’ footage is either taken out of context or it’s taken from his recent seasons where Lebron has slacked off on defense due to his age and declining energy levels. Still, nobody has ever accused Jordan of slacking off on defense even into his older years.
  • Lebron is criticized for ‘teaming up’ with superstars and jumping teams. However, 3 teams in 19 seasons isn’t actually a lot. That’s the same amount of teams Steve Nash and Kevin Garnett played for in a similar timespan. So it’s not about the jumping teams, but how he did it. The Decision turned him into a villain and despised by nearly everyone. However we have to take into account that Lebron has never demanded a trade and played out every contract. He stayed 7 years in CLE, 4 years in MIA, 4 more years in CLE and then left because.. that’s exactly his right to do as a free agent. And ‘recruiting’ other players to play with you means those guys also wanted to play with him too, and the front office of the teams agree. So there’s nothing here that Lebron actually did wrong, it’s just that NBA fans want players to ‘suffer’ through hardship and stay with one team in order to be an all time player. Yes Jordan stayed with his Bulls his entire career.. Wilt and Kareem didn’t and nobody seems to criticize them for demanding a trade and jumping teams.
  • Lebron is criticized for his Finals losses. Because apparently those are the only losses that matter. However only people who are casuals and don’t really research basketball would say this. Because when you dig deep into it you can understand why his Finals record is the way it is. Wade would only have 2 more years of his prime left to give. Bosh had never gotten past the first round before. Erik Spoelstra was an inexperienced coach. Kyrie and Love had never made the playoffs before and Kyrie was a headcase of a player. David Blatt was a rookie coach. Ty Lue was an inexperienced coach. AD had one healthy year in LA. And his losses in the Finals was to a 58 win Spurs team that he had to face as a 22 year old with no other help, a 57 win Mavs team that went 12–3 in the playoffs, a 62 win Spurs team with 4 hall of famers and a bench deeper than anything we’ve seen before, a 67 win Warriors team that he faced with his ‘superteam’ teammates out, another 67 win Warriors team that some consider one of the greatest ever, and another 58 win Warriors team with the same 4–5 hofers on it. Can you really blame Lebron for losing 6 times in the Finals in those circumstances? Jordan of course, never lost in the Finals but we have to recognize that he had an all time great coach in Phil Jackson and his competition in the Finals was good but not all time great teams like the ones Lebron faced.
  • On court there’s very little to criticize Lebron because he performs so consistently well throughout his entire career, and especially takes it up a level in the playoffs and in the clutch. But there are a lot of haters out there that exaggerate and spread misinformation about Lebron. i.e 2011 Finals is the prime example. People keep repeating the line that Jason Terry and JJ Barea outplayed Lebron. This evidence is based on Terry outscored Lebron by 0.2 PPG in the series and Barea scoring the same # of points as Lebron in ONE game. Thing is if we comb through all the playoffs and Finals games of every superstar in NBA history we can easily find games like this for everyone. Do people realize Jalen Rose outscored Kobe by 8 PPG and 10% better efficiency in the 2000 Finals? or that Rip Hamilton outscored Kobe by 20 in a Finals game? Do people realize Detlef Schrempf outscored Jordan in a Finals game? Do people realize Andrew Toney consistently outscored Magic in the Finals? Do people realize Mike Dunleavy outscored Bird by 20 in a Finals game? See if we go over every superstar we can find bad games. It happens, but people zero in on Lebron and make it a lot bigger of a deal than it actually is. And the perception that he isn’t clutch comes from the numerous times Lebron passes it to a teammate for the ‘right basketball play’ which leads to people saying he is afraid of the moment when in reality, Lebron has made 5 buzzer beaters in the playoffs before (more than any other player) and had game saving steals and blocks like in the 2013 Finals Game 7 or 2016 Finals Game 7 but people don’t really make a big deal out of that. For example They don’t show that Lebron scored 16 straight points in the 4th quarter of the 2013 Finals Game 6 they only focus on the Ray Allen shot and then assume he had to save Lebron which just isn’t true. Matter of the fact is, Jordan gets all his best moments shown of him and Lebron’s worst moments are the ones people talk about. That’s the issue with people cherry picking stuff in online debates these days.