With ESPN’s “The Last Dance” coming to an end Sunday, the Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debate reached yet another fever pitch.
This conversation has been ongoing for a couple years now, but the documentary has helped to solidify people’s beliefs. NBA players and executives weigh in on this constantly, with general consensus being fairly split on who they believe to be the G.O.A.T. James usually has statistics on his side, while Jordan has accolades and impact on his.
It’s an un-winnable topic of discussion that will never truly have a definitive answer, but still the debate rages on. A map collecting geotagged Twitter data used public perception in each state of this country to show where people think James is the greatest vs. Jordan, via BetOnline:
Strangely enough, there is very little rhyme or reason within the map, making it difficult to find a pattern. James is believed to be the G.O.A.T. in 24 out of 50 states, including all three he’s played in: Ohio, Florida and California.
Some of the most noteworthy states that side with James are Utah and Washington, as the Utah Jazz and Seattle Supersonics were eliminated by Jordan in three consecutive NBA Finals. Meanwhile, James has had almost no interaction with these two teams.
Jordan is obviously considered the G.O.A.T. in Illinois, where he played almost his entire career. The same goes for Virginia and Maryland, where Washington D.C. borders, as Jordan played two years for the Washington Wizards at the end of his career.
Of the 29 NBA teams in the United States, 13 reside in states where Jordan is considered the G.O.A.T., while 16 are in states that side with James. But on the same note, 10 of the United States’ 14 Eastern Conference teams are in states that are on Jordan’s side.
Clearly, there is absolutely no right answer when it comes to this debate, as some metrics will lead to Jordan and others will say James. Some metrics might even point to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Despite that, this debate will continue to live on until a new G.O.A.T. candidate comes along.