Former teammate reveals how LeBron reacted when he told him Michael Jordan was better to his face

Robert Marvi
3 Min Read

Over the last several years, more and more people have been of the belief that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, and not Michael Jordan, is the greatest NBA player of all time.

But there are still plenty of holdouts, and one of them – former Cleveland Cavalier Brendan Haywood – recalls how James responded when he told the four-time NBA champ that, in his view, Jordan is the greatest ever.

“One of the more interesting things is that I had the GOAT conversation with LeBron,” said Haywood to Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. “We were on the plane and I told him: ‘I love you, brother, but I have to go with Mike.’ I told him my reasons. I’ve had this conversation with him face-to-face. Six rings. Six MVPs. The guy has had two different three-peats and has never been to a Game 7. He was MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. I played with both of them and what LeBron has slowly but surely turned into from a confidence standpoint, MJ was that the first time he walked in the league. LeBron has gotten so much better at that. He has grown into a guy that close out games. Michael always had that ability. Michael always competed defensively. Both of those guys are incredible competitors. They do things differently. The biggest difference is that MJ is a cold-blooded killer. He is an assassin. LeBron is more respected and loved. He is loved by his teammates and he is respected by his opponents. So when we had the GOAT debate, LeBron was just kind of nodding his head. He didn’t really say much. Mike Miller and James Jones said some things on his behalf. I don’t think LeBron agreed with me. But at that point, he hadn’t beaten Golden State. He didn’t have the ring he just got with the Lakers.”

Ever since James won his first NBA title in 2012, the debate has raged on about where he ranks on the list of all-time NBA greats, and whether he has surpassed Jordan for the top spot on the list.

Even if James hasn’t quite gotten there, he has greatly enhanced his argument of late by leading the Purple and Gold to the NBA championship in October.

The fact that he’s by far the all-time leader in career postseason points certainly doesn’t hurt either.

Now that James has Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell by his side, the Akron, Ohio native may eventually convince all observers that he indeed is the GOAT after all.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif., and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s and fell in love with the Nick Van Exel-led Lakers teams. He truly cherishes the Kobe Bryant-era of Lakers basketball and the five world championships that came with it, and is looking forward to the team's next NBA title.