Pat Caputo: LeBron about to pass Jordan as GOAT

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LeBron James or Micheal Jordan? Seems like the debate about the greatest basketball player of all time has been going on forever.

The issue appeared to be settled.

LeBron was terrible last season and 'The Last Dance' perpetuated Jordan’s legend.

Yet if the Lakers defeat the Heat in the NBA Finals, the debate will undoubtedly be on again.

I have tended to lean toward LeBron, although his behavior last season was so bizarre I wavered.

However, if the Lakers win this series, I will definitely go with James.

You start with their ability. Pretty much everything Jordan could do, James can do just as well.

And he’s two inches taller and considerably stronger.

Jordan won six titles in six finals appearances, but he benefitted greatly from the aging core of the Pistons and Celtics, and Magic Johnson’s sudden retirement.

Conversely, James has made 10 finals.

He is just 3-6 so far. Two of those three titles, though, were against dynasties: the Spurs and the Warriors. Also, if LeBron gets this title, it will be with his third different team, which is rare for somebody not named Robert Horry.

The idea James would have struggled in the rugged era of the “Jordan Rules” is preposterous given his size and strength. The Warriors tried roughing him up with Draymond Green in 2016 and it backfired.

What LeBron doesn’t get enough credit for is adjusting to an NBA that is much more perimeter-oriented and analytics-driven than when he arrived in 2003. He shot more than six 3-pointers and averaged more than 10 assists per game for the first time in his career this season -- at age 35.

I know, he’s got Anthony Davis. But ask yourself what Davis accomplished before he got together with LeBron?

It may be difficult to admit for some, but if the Lakers win this series, LeBron becomes the GOAT.