Kareem played in an era in which he had a 7 footer in his face every night. Great, not average centers GREAT. Centers Kareem had to deal with would be All Stars and 15 million dollar contract guys today. Artist Gilmore, Wilt, Nate Thurman, Marvin Webster, Bill Walton, Elvin Hayes, Pat Ewing, The Dream, Ralph Sampson, I can go on all day. Kareem did all this and had to wait for the ball to be passed to him before he shot or assisted. Anyone can jack up 26 shots per game, shoot 45 percent, play 40 minutes per game if they have the green light. Especially if they are in control of the ball 75 percent of the time. Jordan was one of the first of his kind, he revolutionize play but don't think for one second he played against better competition night in and out than Kareem and Kobe
Nobody is discrediting him for playing 20 years. I'm saying that Kareem's 38k points, compared to Jordan's 32k, doesn't make him a better scorer because Kareem's total was racked up over the course of 20 seasons.
Yeah, longevity is huge, because I always mention that with Kobe Bryant.
However, Jordan accomplished what Kareem did in seven less seasons, as far as championships and MVPs go. He also had the better overall seasons, and won all six of his rings as the MAN, with no co-captain. KAJ helped Magic significantly, but everyone (even causal fans) knew who sailed the ship for at least three of those five Laker rings in the 80s.
Again, Garnett over Iverson is a great example. I know Elgin Baylor falls a little lower on the list as well. Kareem had 20 years to rack up 38,000 points. Karl Malone had 18 seasons to slide into second place on that list (19 seasons, but one was a lockout, the other being his injury-prone season in LA).
Jordan was never, ever second fiddle to anyone in Chicago, and for good reason. He was the best player in the NBA for nearly every season he played over 20 games in while wearing a Bulls uniform, and while I'll take Bird over him in 1984-85 (MJ's rookie season), I COULD argue that he was already the best by the time that season ended.
Regardless of what he could've done in seven more seasons, Jordan already matched Kareem's hand...and at that point, individual career numbers (including assists, which I pointed at a bit ago) favor Kareem only because he played 20 years. It didn't make him a better passer than Jordan, didn't make him a better scorer, and overall, it didn't make him a better player...it just sticks him into the GOAT discussions the same way Wilt's 50 PPG and ridiculous rebounding averages did (all due to his era and minutes played).
Edited by lakersince75, August 26, 2013 - 06:06 PM.