Another Jordan vs. LeBron Debate? | Stephen A. Smith Is Walking Joe Budden’s Sports Talk Ambitions To A Fast Death

Looks like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith will be a guest on Joe Budden’s eponymous podcast sometime this summer to debate the NBA GOAT: LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan. Smith responded on Twitter to an open invite from the rapper.

“Open invite, Stephen A., whenever you want to come sit on either one of these fine couches,” the former Slaughterhouse MC said on “The Joe Budden Podcast.” “Let’s embrace debate.”

Budden has a platform where has logged countless hours debating a myriad of topics, so no doubt he can hold his own. But this is what Smith does all day, every day.

“My Brother, I will happily accept that invitation,” the ESPN talking head tweeted. “Nothing but love for you and your show. Just let me get through these Finals. The second I have time this Summer, I’ll gladly accept your invite. See you soon, Bro!”

Selling The Drama

Two dudes with popular platforms doing a bit of cross promotion. Smith and Budden are known within their spheres of influence, and while there is definitely crossover, there may be some people who are fans of one that don’t know much about the other.

Smart move for both, and they can tease it all summer.

“Stephen A., I would love to have that debate with you,” said Budden. “And unfortunately for you, I’m way more armed in that debate today than I was whenever you heard that clip.”

Even a bit of trash talk to help promote the “event.”

Many will tune in but what will actually be solved?

Nothing. That’s the point.

Neither will convince the other of their respective player’s GOAT status. Jordan vs. Bron has to be a “debate” topic for at least another decade. Networks and platforms will suck all the marrow out of that bone before moving on.


Because that’s what people want to see and hear.

Who Is The GOAT?

Both players are all-timers and among the only three in this writer’s estimation that can lay claim to GOAT status, the other being Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

You could realistically make a case for either. Isn’t it enough to say they were all great?

No. Our simple minds need rankings. We have to know who was “better” than the other. Whatever that actually means.

We count NBA championships, despite it being a team accomplishment. We count number of All-NBA and All-Star appearances, but that’s a function of how long you played not necessarily how good you were. Especially All-Star appearances late in a career.

Then you venture into territory like for one game who would you choose? For one season? If you were starting a franchise today, who would you take first?

The reality is between both men you’d do a lot of winning. They rank in the top five in total career win shares. Top two in total career playoff win shares. Top eight in WS/48. Top six in career points per game.

This is a debate that in many ways is never-ending.

The one thing we can say definitively about LeBron that we can’t say about any other player in the history of the NBA is nobody has been as good as him at this stage of their careers. 20 years in and he’s still an All-NBA level player and by many metrics still a top-10 player in the league.

Back to top