Defining Greatness…

Mohammad Y Al Onaizi
5 min readApr 11, 2018


…And why Lebron should never be considered the GOAT

Every time I log into Instagram these days, I see a post about a random stat to suggest that Lebron James is better than Michael Jordan. My favorite that I saw today was showing the postseason net efficiency of the teams that Lebron faced in the finals, and that they were higher than any team MJ faced. Postseason net efficiency!!! What the hell is that? Lebron fans will dig up any stat that will make him look good when compared to MJ, no matter how irrelevant it is. But before they start comparing him with MJ and calling him the GOAT, they need to first learn the definition of greatness, or goatness. Greatness is not stats, otherwise Wilt Chamberlain would be considered the greatest cause he has numbers that will never be touched. Its not about rings either otherwise Bill Russell would have that title.

Greatness is not what you did, but HOW you did it.


For me, my favorite athlete ever is Muhammad Ali. And it was much his greatness outside the ring that catapulted him to become the beloved figure that he is, and will always be. But I am more concerned with what he did in the ring. He doesn't hold the record for most titles won, but he is regarded as the greatest because of how he did it. How he came back at 32 and beat the younger and stronger George Foreman to regain the Heavyweight championship after it was stripped from him…that is greatness!

In football, Pele and Maradona are always in the debate for the greatest player ever not because they won the World Cup but because of HOW they did it. Pele soaring above the defender in the 1970 World Cup final to score the goal that gave him and his country their 3rd World Cup win, defines greatness. Or Maradona, making the England players look like amateurs and whizzing past them to score one of the most memorable goals in football history, and leading his country to victory…that is greatness!

Greatness is not just numbers and stats.

Why MJ Is The GOAT!

I wanna first point out that I am not a Lebron hater, I honestly admire him, and I love how he is outspoken in political and social issues, something that he is way better at than Jordan. But when you say that he is a better basketball player than Jordan, you are crossing a “red line in the sand!”

Michael Jordan for a long time has been regarded as the greatest of all time, even though Kobe gave it his best shot. He has been regarded as such because of HOW he did it. After losing to the Pistons for some time, he finally overcame that obstacle and beat a legend, albeit aging legend, in Magic and the Lakers, to win his first ring...that is greatness! How did Lebron win his first ring? By going to Miami and asking his buddy D-Wade, who already had a ring without him, to help him…not so greatness!

MJ was a man that relished a challenge, relished coming up against something or someone that people said he can’t overcome. Against the Trail Blazers, he put up a 3-point show just because they said that Clyde was a better 3-point shooter than him. This is a trait that is engraved into the greatest players to play the game. When they see a wall in front of them, they want to smash through it. Like Magic, who as a rookie in the Finals, stood up, put the onus on himself, and said play me as the center for the injured Kareem. Or Kobe also as a rookie, in the playoffs of a big game, air-balled 3 3’s only for him to go on and become arguably, the most clutch player in the history of the game. This is what makes champions, what separates the men from the boys. Lebron on the other hand shrinks in the face of a challenge. Just like when he went to Miami for help, he did something similar this season. Halfway through the season, his new teammates weren’t gelling, and instead of rising to the occasion ala Magic and carrying the burden for his team, he asked for 3/4 of his team to be traded! Then he says he should be the MVP! If anyone should be the MVP from Cleveland, it should be the young guys that came in and gave the “King” a boost. When Lebron faces that wall, he will ask someone to help him climb over it.


I said before that winning is not the main aspect of greatness, but it is the cherry on top. For MJ, its not the six rings that matter, it is HOW he got those six rings. He won three, retired for two years, came back and won three more…that is freaking greatness! Think about that, the man retired on top, went to play Baseball, then came back and sat on his throne at the top again just like a true King would. Lebron LOST FIVE TIMES! I’m sorry, but nobody who loses five times should ever be considered the goat in anything. And don’t say that he went to the finals for 8 years in a row because you are saying that coming in second place is an accomplishment.

ZERO Finals Losses

Moments of Greatness

Michael Jordan has so many legendary moments in the finals; changing hands in mid-air, the shrug, the flu game, the last shot. They are so legendary that they have their own names. Then someone comes and says Lebron averaged a triple-double in the finals…yeah but he lost. MJ did all those things and won. Mentioning that he had a triple-double, in a losing series no less, is not a sign of greatness…this is…

Again, this goes back to my previous point of not rising to the challenge. Lebron will get his triple-double, but when it is time to seal the finals win, it was Kyrie with the 3 over Steph. Lebron’s greatest finals moment is missing that 3 in Miami, because if he hadn’t missed it then Chris Bosh wouldn't have gotten the rebound, and Ray Allen wouldn't have made that 3.

Lebron lacks the winners mentality that MJ and Kobe had.

Top Ten Player

Lebron cracks the top ten list of greatest players in history, and he will have a few stats records to his name when he retires. But this is the point I am trying to get across; Is MJ considered the GOAT because of stats? Was he considered the GOAT because he had the record for most consecutive double-digit scoring games? No, and neither should Lebron.

But for Lebron lovers, what I just said is meaningless, and they will stick with stats like teams Lebron faced had a better postseason net effi…(oh man, I can’t even say it)…better postseason net efficiency than teams MJ faced. Wow! That is greatness! (that was sarcasm by the way)

You can follow me on Twitter@Onaizm or just follow me here :)



Mohammad Y Al Onaizi

Published author of ‘Retribution’ available on Amazon. Aspiring screenwriter. I write blogs about my life, sports, and politics because that’s what I studied!