NBA analyst says LeBron James winning 5th title would warrant discussion of passing Michael Jordan

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith believes if LeBron James wins a fifth NBA title, it would warrant the discussion of passing Michael Jordan for the greatest player in NBA history.

Smith already said that he has James on his Mount Rushmore as No. 2 all-time, praising the Lakers star for all of his career achievements to this point.


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“I will acknowledge that I have found it insulting, for anybody, to think that he belongs above Michael Jordan,” Smith said. “If he were to win a fifth title this year, I would no longer feel insulted by that discussion. I would have to concede that.”

Smith said that even with a fifth title, he wouldn’t put James above Jordan, but he would understand others who would.

James and Jordan both have a ton of accolades in their NBA careers, but there are a few categories where Jordan has the edge, specifically in the number of NBA titles that he won.

Jordan was a 14-time All-Star and five-time MVP during his storied career. He is a Hall of Famer, won 10 scoring titles, six NBA titles and was named NBA Finals MVP six times.

However, even with that impressive resume, Jordan does not have as many NBA Finals appearances as James, and the Lakers star is now the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. A fifth NBA title would certainly help James close the gap between the two in the eyes of Smith and others in this debate.

For now, James has to get the Lakers back to the NBA Finals first.

Los Angeles is up 3-1 on the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals, putting it in a good spot to get to the Western Conference Finals this season. There, James and company would take on the winner of the Phoenix Suns-Denver Nuggets series.

James has already won a title in Los Angeles, giving him an NBA championship with three different franchises (the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers being the other two).

He’s certainly one of the greatest players of all time, and every accolade that he can add to his resume will only make it harder for others to say that Jordan had a better career.

James and the Lakers will look to take their next step towards a title on Wednesday night when they take on the Warriors for Game 5 at Chase Center.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.