New ESPN-commissioned poll found 73% of NBA fans believe Jordan to be the overall top player, and Chicago Bulls legend swept the 17 questions comparing him to James by measurements on both and off the field.
To account for the generation gap – Jordan played the last time in the season before James entered the league in 2003 – the 600 respondents were divided equally into two age groups: 18-34 and 35 and over. Jordan naturally led by almost 4 to 1 (79%) in the older half, but even in the younger group, Jordan was preferred by almost 2 to 1 (66%).
|Best sneaker for fashion||79%||21%|
|Best sneaker to go home||77%||23%|
|Choose a winning move||76%||24%|
|Come through the clutch||74%||26%|
|Spectacular to watch play||74%||26%|
|Best player overall||73%||27%|
|The NBA was better at all levels||71%||29%|
|Win one against one at 21||67%||33%|
|First choice to create a team||66%||34%|
|Best Offensive Player||65%||35%|
|Have a drink with||65%||35%|
|Choose as a teammate||63%||37%|
|Positive impact outside the field||62%||38%|
|Best defensive player||59%||41%|
|Trust yourself to pass the ball||57%||43%|
There is no doubt that fans would prefer to see the ball in Jordan’s hands with the game at stake, as 76% thought it was the better choice than James for taking a winning shot, and 74% trusted His Airness to go into the clutch. .
Fans also said that Jordan was the best offensive player (65%), more spectacular to watch play (74%) and would beat James head to head in a 21-point game (67%).
James fared best in questions asking which player was the top defensive player, while Jordan only won by 18 percentage points, 59% to 41%.
Fans were also more evenly divided on who was the best passer, James receiving 41% of the votes, and on which players fans trusted more to pass the ball to them, for whom the Los Angeles Lakers star scored 43% . However, fans have always said they would prefer Jordan as a teammate by a margin of 26 points. Jordan was also favored as the first choice with which to start a team (66%).
Kendrick Perkins ranks LeBron James as # 1 on his list of the best NBA players of all time.
Aside from basketball, 65% of fans said they would rather have a drink with Jordan than James, and 62% said that Jordan – now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets – had a more positive impact off the field . And as for shoes, there is no debate: 79% of fans think that the Air Jordans are more fashionable than the Nike line of LeBron, and 77% think that they perform better on the field also. Fans even love Jordan’s overall “look” – preferring his shaved head to James’ signature headband by a margin of 30 points.
But what about the argument that James faces tougher competition in today’s NBA than Jordan in his heyday? The poll rejected this point, with 71% of respondents saying the overall league was better during Jordan’s play days.
So Jordan dominated James in the head-to-head poll, but does that make him the goat? Respondents said yes, although with a slightly smaller margin – 65% say Jordan is the biggest of all time, while 14% say it is James, and 13% said it is was too close to call. Only 8% chose someone other than Jordan or James.