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The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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STAFF PICKS: Who’s the GOAT of basketball?

Sia DeyKoontz
Basketball going through a hoop

The Sports Staff shared who they think the greatest basketball player of all time is. 


Zaria Flippin (Sports Editor): Michael Jordan 

The greatest of all time in the sport of basketball has to be Michael Jordan. 

There’s no question about it. I get it; Jordan was not a part of my lifetime. But his work ethic and determination are unmatched. Jordan was the best to ever do it, and I don’t think anyone can change my mind on that. 

Another thing that puts Jordan above the other possible contenders of the GOAT is his loyalty to the Chicago Bulls. Jordan didn’t get up and request a trade so he could win a championship. Jordan and the Bulls proved that you don’t need a super team to win a championship, and this made me respect him even more. 

In today’s generation, there isn’t a lot of actual defense in the NBA. If anything, it is more running up and down a court where the defense is almost nonexistent. Jordan was the best player during an era where defense was at an all-time high. 

Oh, and we can’t just ignore the fact that Jordan is a five-time MVP, a six-time Finals MVP and he has six rings all with the same franchise. 

With all this being said, I apologize to all of the LeBron James fans and the Kobe Bryant fans, but Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. Hands down. 


Luther Yoder (Assistant Sports Editor): LeBron James 

I think LeBron James is the best NBA player because he has played at such a high level for a long time. 

He has played for 21 seasons, one behind Vince Carter who has the most at 22 seasons. In Carter’s last season, he was averaging five points per game and James is averaging 24.8 in his 21st season, which probably won’t be his last. 

Right now, James is 39 and according to statmuse, he has the most points per game after turning 39 years old. Michael Jordan, his usual competition for greatest NBA player, scored 19.4 points after age 39. 

Another aspect of James’ game besides scoring is his passing ability. His average for his career is 7.3 assists per game. Jordan has averaged 5.3 throughout his career, but in his last season at age 39, he averaged 3.8. James in this season at age 39 is averaging 7.8. 

James has also been rebounding at a high level throughout his career. He averages 7.5 rebounds per game and has had five seasons over the age of 30 where he averages over eight per game. 

Jordan has five MVPs compared to James’ four, but James has 13 All-NBA 1st teams, 11 of them in a row, while Jordan has 10, all in a row. James also had 19 total All-NBA teams, all of them in a row compared to Jordan who had 11 total. 

Overall, James is a really good all-around player averaging 27.1 points per game, 7.3 assists per game and 7.5 rebounds per game over his whole career, and he has played at that level longer than anybody. 


Payton Liggins (Sports Reporter): Michael Jordan 

Hands down Michael Jordan is the GOAT. The way he represents himself screams GOAT. 

Michael Jordan is widely regarded as the GOAT in basketball for several reasons. Jordan’s six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, along with his five regular-season MVP awards, solidify his legacy as one of the greatest players in basketball history. 

Jordan’s scoring ability, defensive prowess and clutch performances in critical moments earned him numerous accolades and championships. 

Additionally, his work ethic and dedication to constantly improving his game inspired generations of players to strive for greatness. 

Jordan’s work ethic, dedication to excellence and ability to perform under pressure have inspired generations of players to strive for greatness both on and off the court. 

These qualities, combined with his remarkable talent, have earned him the respect and admiration of fans, players and basketball enthusiasts around the world. 

Jordan’s influence transcended the sport itself, making him a global icon and a symbol of excellence and determination.  

Ultimately, his unparalleled success, combined with his lasting legacy both on and off the court, solidifies his status as the GOAT in the eyes of many basketball fans and analysts. 


Chloe Proffitt (Sports Reporter): Michael Jordan 

Michael Jordan is hands down the greatest basketball player of all time. 

Jordan’s work ethic is admirable. You could ask anyone on the street, and I almost guarantee you they know of Michael Jordan or have at least heard the name. 

Jordan has left in impact and was humble about it. He was skilled on both ends, defensively and offensively. When it comes down to the numbers, one has to take into account all his accolades he has earned over time. 

Jordan is a five-time MVP, six-time Finals MVP, 10-time All-NBA first team, nine-time defensive first team and even more. Jordan also has an impressive total of 10 scoring titles. 

He had an amazing shot and range; his athleticism on the court is noncomparable. Jordan dominates all other players, stats and history, as he also went undefeated in the finals. 

Michael Jordan is a name everyone will continue to recognize, therefore crowing him the GOAT of NBA history.  


Gabe Newman (Sports Reporter): Michael Jordan 

This definitely isn’t one of the hills that I’ll die on, but I don’t think I would be allowed to show my face anywhere north of Interstate 80 again if I didn’t say that Michael Jordan was the greatest of all time. 

If you take a look at both LeBron James (who is the GOAT-elect) and Jordan’s careers, it’s very telling. 

Jordan won six rings in two three-peats back in an era of the NBA when the egos were much lower, and the defense was better. Jordan dominated in an era of basketball when players were genuinely trying to win on both sides of the court every night. The same effort can’t be said in today’s game. 

Jordan also has five MVPs to his credit compared to James’ four.  

Jordan and James both made playing basketball look easy. 

The difference maker for me is the fact that Jordan won all six rings with the Bulls and didn’t leave until after he had his success. James is a different story. A real GOAT wouldn’t leave the franchise that drafted him, not to mention his hometown city. 

If James stayed in Cleveland and allowed the Cavaliers to build a winning team around him, it would be a different story, but because of his success and loyalty, Michael Jordan is still the GOAT of basketball. 


Patrick Schmitz (Sports Reporter): Michael Jordan 

There is no question as to who the greatest basketball player of all time is. The GOAT of basketball is, of course, Michael Jordan.   

Jordan led the Chicago Bulls from being one of the worst organizations of all time to a respectable organization with six championships.   

He averaged 30.1 points a game at a time when it was very hard to get points. Defense was a lot more physical in his era, and yet he still dominated. Even without a good three-point shot, he still dominated the league for years.   

People are going to say that LeBron James was able to carry bad teams to championships and Jordan cannot, however, James wasn’t able to win with scrubs either.   

James was only able to win with super teams, while Jordan only had Scottie Pippen and then Dennis Rodman for half of the time.   

Jordan brought so many fans into basketball during the 90s, which brought a lot of relevance to the game of basketball.  Yes, Jordan had help at times, but he was still able to carry the Bulls from obscurity to relevancy and lead the NBA through the 90s.   


The Sports Staff can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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