LeBron James and Michael Jordan are widely considered to be two of the greatest basketball players of all-time, but which one of them is the greatest?
It's a question that has been the subject of much debate in recent years and one that has only picked up steam since James led the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2019-20 NBA championship, resulting in his fourth title and fourth Finals MVP award.
For Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, there isn't a clear answer. When asked to weigh in on the GOAT debate on a recent episode of "Jalen & Jacoby," the 2019-20 Coach of the Year said they're at the same level.
"You can't get me on that one, Jalen [Rose]," Nurse responded. "They're absolutely tied at the top.
"Listen, my era is Jordan was the greatest, but I've gone against LeBron enough to know that he's the greatest too. It's just two of the greatest players.
"With all he's done - I usually, when I bump into LeBron, I tell him thank you for all he's done for the league. Obviously, you do the same any time you see Jordan because we're all happy and lucky to be a part of what they've helped create."
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Nurse never got an opportunity to coach against Jordan, but he's gotten a close look at James a number of times since making the jump to the NBA. Nurse first joined the Raptors in 2013 as an assistant coach. In 2016, James led the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Raptors in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals. In 2017, he helped the Cavaliers sweep the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He did the same in 2018, bringing an end to Toronto's winningest season in franchise history.
James had a number of big games in each of those series, his best being a 43-point, 14-assist double-double in Game 2 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Semifinals to win back-to-back games in Toronto.
43 points, 14 assists and 8 rebounds for LeBron as the #Cavs take a 2-0 series lead over the #Raptors #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/FhHKDz9SYD- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) May 4, 2018
Nurse has actually had a lot of success against James since taking over as head coach of the Raptors - Toronto has won all four games it has played against him since joining the Lakers - but as we just witnessed for the umpteenth time, there's a big difference between regular season LeBron and postseason LeBron.
The scariest part of it all? Even at age 35, James is showing no signs of slowing down. Whether you think he's the greatest or not, this debate is only going to become more heated the more James adds to his resume.
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