Jalen Rose’s Five Criteria To Determine The GOAT Proves It Ain’t Even A Debate

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“Arguing over the G.O.A.T. is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.”
-Baz Luhrmann, kind of

The G.O.A.T. debate is one of those infuriating circular arguments that typically results in the deepening of original opinions and multiple holes in the drywall.

But, us humans are masochistic beings who often engage in behaviors that are bad for us. That is why the Big Bang Theory went 12 seasons.

[Related: How Current NBA Stars Would Do In A Game Against Players From The Early 1900s]

Typically, I avoid this topic like the kid with the cold sore in the blunt circle, but we recently sat down with Jalen Rose on our Endless Hustle Podcast and he offered a comprehensive five-step criteria for determining the greatest player of all-time.

“I’m going to give you five categories that you can look at to do cross-era comparisons that will get your really close to figuring out who the GOAT is, especially in the statistical era.”

Warning: LeBron fans, look away.

(Begins at the 17:50 mark)

1. MVP

“Anthony Davis is All-NBA. Giannis is back-to-back MVP. Just a different level of player, it just is.”

Michael Jordan: 5 (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998)
LeBron James: 4 (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013)

Advantage: Michael Jordan

2. Championships 

Michael Jordan: 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
LeBron James: 4 (2012, 2013, 2016, 2020)

Advantage: Michael Jordan

3. Finals MVP 

Michael Jordan: 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
LeBron James: 4 (2012, 2013, 2016, 2020)

Advantage: Michael Jordan

4. Defensive Player of the Year

Michael Jordan: 1 (1988), 9x NBA All-Defensive First Team
LeBron James:  0, 5x NBA All-Defensive First Team

Advantage: Michael Jordan

5. Scoring Titles

Michael Jordan: 10 (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
LeBron James:  1 (2008)

Michael Jordan has the most scoring titles in NBA history, and only he and Wilt Chamberlain have ever won seven consecutively.

Advantage: Michael Jordan

“Every time Jordan won a scoring title, he won a championship. Imagine James Harden leading the league in scoring six times, and each time, he won a championship. People would be calling him the greatest offensive player of all-time. OH WAIT. People are.”

LeBron has Jordan beat in All-Star nods (16 to 14), All NBA First-Team (13 to 10), and was the NBA’s assist leader in 2020, something Jordan never accomplished.

Keep in mind, it’s not unfeasible that LeBron match or overtake MJ in MVPs, titles, and Finals MVPs. The dude doesn’t appear to be slowing down and may be a cyborg.

You can listen to the entire electric interview with Jalen Rose below. 

Jalen remembers the infamous 2012 burying of Skip Bayless and where their relationship stands today.

He also talks about:

  • How getting shot at changed his perspective on life.
  • Guarding Kobe Bryant.
  • The Tyler Herro craze.
  • The brilliance of Larry Bird.
  • Much more!

We also talk to five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, who may be the chillest dude on the planet.

Subscribe and listen to the Endless Hustle below, and follow us on Twitter @Endless__Hustle.

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