LeBron James Will Never Be In The Same Conversation As Michael Jordan … Unless He Wins Another Ring

Is LeBron James the highest IQ basketball player ever? And is it possible that he could be the greatest all-around player without achieving the G.O.A.T honor? We’ll start with the first question first.

One thing that is often lost in regards to James’ greatness is his consistently intelligent decision-making. He’s currently eighth in NBA history in assists with 9,696. Most of the names above him are some of the most revered point guards of all time, including Oscar Robertson, Chris Paul, Magic Johnson, and John Stockton, who tops the list. 

It feels like LeBron’s brilliant decision-making may often get overlooked for the more highlights-worthy windmill dynamite Tik-Tok powerslam. But in all seriousness, he usually makes the right pass every time down the court. This is tremendously unselfish, considering he’s the third all-time leading scorer in NBA history with 35,367 points.

It’s probably a key reason why players flock to join whatever team he is on. And while some players may not like him, such is life. Names like Kevin Love, JR Smith, and Anthony Davis have all joined him and walked away NBA Champions in the process. C’mon, you knew JR had to be on there.

And while some may disagree, LBJ’s style could be considered akin to an athletic Magic Johnson. The main difference is Magic’s passes had more flare while LBJ’s are more direct.   

LeBron has averaged 7.4 assists per game throughout his career, up 3.2 from the point guard league average in 2019-20, at 4.2. 

League Averages For Point Guards 2020 | StatMuse

He’s dropping dimes dude. 

And he’s been doing it ever since his rookie season in which he averaged 5.9.

His high IQ is something that deserves the utmost respect, and we’ve all been honored to watch “The King” play basketball the right way.  

But now for the second question. 

Can he be considered the greatest all-around player without being considered the G.O.A.T? Maaa (goat talking), maaa is also close to the initials of MJ, who is still the greatest player of all time.

But there is also no denying that James is a multi-faceted weapon on the court. His combined ability to score, rebound and pass is probably the best we’ve ever seen in NBA history, and it’s not even close. He’s fifth all-time in triple-doubles with 99, but stats can prove misleading. He’s likely the most dominant athlete in league history.

But it feels like something’s missing and it’s that cold-blooded killer mentality that Michael Jordan had. 

When Mike had the ball at the end of the game, you and everyone in the world knew he was about to make that final shot. Just ask Craig Ehlo, Bryon Russell, and whoever made that game-winning shot against in the 1982 NCAA National Championship.

With James, it feels like he may be just as likely to pass the rock rather than take the shot himself. Which, from an IQ standpoint, is the right play, but is it really?

LBJ has made notable game-winners throughout his career, with the most iconic likely the three-pointer in Game One of the Eastern Conference NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic in 2009. And surprisingly, he has the most postseason game-winning buzzer-beaters of all time with 5. But again, stats can prove misleading. 

NBA players with the most game-winning buzzer-beaters in history (clutchpoints.com)

To answer the question. There really is no answer. But it just feels like he’ll never be considered in the same realm as MJ unless he gets another ring. 

So looks we’ll have to re-examine this issue next year. 

About Nick Bartlett 150 Articles
My Name is Nick Bartlett and I am a staff writer here at OregonSportsNews, The Broadcast Manager at SportsPac12, and I am a youth Basketball Coach at Lakeside Middle School. I’ve had my articles featured in the Seattle PI, OregonLive, and various other publications. I also have my own Podcast/YouTube Show titled “The Nick Bartlett Show.” I am from Shoreline, WA (North Seattle) and I am a graduate of the Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University. For business inquiries, you can find my contact information below. Email: NB206wsu@gmail.com, Twitter: @WordsByBartlett