On Monday evening, ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith spoke with Los Angeles Lakers legend, five-time NBA champion, and Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Sparks co-owner Magic Johnson about the ESPN docuseries “The Last Dance” and about what it was like to face and know six-time champion Michael Jordan.
A few minutes into the conversation, Smith asked a question on the minds of many who watched the ESPN series: Who, between Jordan and current Lakers star LeBron James, is the better player and the greatest of all time?
Johnson’s answer may surprise some:
“First of all, let’s not take anything away from LeBron James. Because LeBron James is a great basketball player and one of the all-time greatest that’s ever played the game.
“When you think about an all-around basketball player, he probably is the best of all time as an all-around basketball player. But when you want to say ‘who is the greatest ever?’
It’s still Michael Jordan.
“Now LeBron James’ chapter is not closed yet, right? He still has some basketball to play. So maybe he has a chance to catch (Jordan) later on if he can get some more championships under his belt.
“At the end of the day, they’re both great. They played the game the right way. They made their teammates better. They won championships. And thank god for LeBron, because, right now, that’s what we’re watching.
“This is his time. This is his era. And he’s dominating this era and in his time.”
James has three titles on his resume and a career NBA Finals record of 3-6. He turns 36 years old in December.
The debate rages on.