LeBron James surpassed Michael Jordan on Thursday night to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in playoff history. James did so in a dominant 35-point performance (on 72 percent shooting) against the Celtics in Game 5 to close out the Eastern Conference Finals and advance to a third straight Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors – and his seventh consecutive Finals appearance overall.
James’ performance in these playoffs and the fact that he’s beginning to creep up on or outright eclipse some of Jordan’s career records has reignited the debate about whether James is indeed the greatest basketball player of all-time. Most are still not willing to cede that title to James yet, usually noting Jordan’s six rings as the primary reason, but James is still only 32 and has plenty of time to build his resume. A win in this year’s NBA Finals over this Warriors team would be an extremely meaningful step in reeling in Jordan as the GOAT, and, for some, it would be enough to pass him.
Charles Barkley is not among those people that think like that. After Game 5, Barkley plead for the debate between LeBron and Jordan to stop, noting that, for him, a Finals win this year would still not move LeBron into his all-time top five, but would simply move him ahead of Kobe Bryant for sixth.