Recently, The Athletic conducted an extensive survey among active NBA players, posing the question that has been the subject of countless debates for decades: who is the best basketball player in history? The results have sparked further discussion and controversy, with Michael Jordan and LeBron James emerging as the two frontrunners.
Michael Jordan: The Unanimous Choice Among NBA Players
Out of the 103 players who responded to the survey, an overwhelming 58.3% of them deemed Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player of all time. One player was quoted saying, "M.J., for sure.
Definitely 6-for-6 (in the Finals) is a big thing for me. But the way I look at basketball is (it’s) about the winning, and if I feel like I need (somebody) to go win me a game, I’m picking M.J. over everybody. (I’d pick) whoever is going to carry me through a series, carry me through the playoffs, and is setting the tone.
I think M.J. checks all those boxes."
LeBron James: The Closing Gap
LeBron James, who recently became the NBA's all-time leading scorer, finished in a close second place with 33% of the vote. It is worth noting that the gap between Jordan and James has significantly closed since The Athletic conducted the same survey four years ago, where Jordan won 73.0% of the vote and James only received 11.9%.
Kobe Bryant received 6.8% of the vote, but interestingly, no players voted for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Wilt Chamberlain. Surprisingly, Bill Russell and Tracy McGrady each received 1 vote.
Five players received a vote for GOAT in our anonymous NBA player poll.
◽️ Michael Jordan
◽️ LeBron James
◽️ Kobe Bryant
◽️ Bill Russell
◽️ Tracy McGrady@sam_amick and @JoshuaBRobbins have more:https://t.co/tNDGsJJj27 pic.twitter.com/NkYOushO7F — The Athletic (@TheAthletic) April 18, 2023
Amidst the discussions about the close MVP race this season, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid received a few votes, with players praising his dominance and impact on both ends of the court.
One player was quoted saying, "There’s not many people in the league you may fear, but I think he’s one of those few people that you have appropriate fear for every time you go out." Another player noted, "He’s the hardest player to stop in the league, and his team is winning." The results of the survey have once again sparked debates about the greatest basketball player of all time, with Michael Jordan and LeBron James leading the pack.
However, it will be interesting to see if the gap between the two continues to close and if any other players will emerge as contenders in the future.