And yes, I do consider Michael Jordan the GOAT. Career wise, he is the GOAT.
But you are talking about pick ONE player to start a basketball team. Lebron James is the most versatile player out of these three. He can score, he can rebound, he can assist, he play any position, he can be the damn coach!
I’m also looking at what have these guys done when they had average or bad teammates.
Jordan – it wasn’t until Scottie Pippen became one of the best defenders of all time and perennial all star that he got past the first round. When he came back with the Wizards, he didn’t make the playoffs.
Kobe – missed the playoffs without Shaq in 2005, and bounced in the first round with bad teammates in 2006 and 2007. Same in 2012 and 2013. He only got past the first round playing with either Shaq (top 5 center) or Pau Gasol (top 15 PF).
Lebron – never missed the playoffs since his rookie year, made it to a Finals with Zydrunas as his second best player in 2007 (I consider this his most impressive accomplishment), and made it to another Finals in 2018 without Kyrie. He also took the Warriors to 6 games in 2015 with Matthew Delladova as his second best player.
I choose Lebron because he can get me the most with the least supporting cast. The Cavs literally went from the Finals to worst team in the league without him. Jordan is the GOAT, but in this situation starting with an empty team – I’m taking Lebron.