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TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: LeBron’s Heat Vs. Jordan’s Bulls

It’s a discussion that has been going on for several years yet we may be only scratching the surface on what should be a long lasting debate.  Which team is better, LeBron James’ Miami Heat or Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls?  Jordan won six NBA Championships in eight seasons while James, still only 29, has reached five NBA Finals and is hoping to win his third consecutive title this year. Since we can’t very well look into the future to see how LeBron’s career ends we’re just going to have to use what knowledge we have today and go from there.

LeBron's Miami Heat
Jordan's Chicago Bulls
(Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Source: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
(Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Source: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporting Cast
LeBron has always had his fellow 'Big Three'-mates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh alongside him, both of whom could very well end up in the Hall Of Fame next to James. Beyond that, the Heat have young point guards Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole to go along with veterans Udonis Haslem, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, Chris Andersen and Rashard Lewis to provide all the support that LeBron has needed to reach four straight NBA Finals, something Jordan never did.
Winner Aside from Scottie Pippen who was there for all six of Jordan's titles, the Bulls supporting cast varied between the two three-peat's. Early on it was John Paxton, Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant and B.J. Armstrong. In the late 90's there was Ron Harper, Dennis Rodman, Luc Longley, Steve Kerr and Toni Kukoc. Whether it was fellow starters or off the bench, Jordan always had top-tier talent around him to control the paint and drain outside shots. Jordan, Pippen and Rodman would all end up in the Basketball Hall Of Fame.
Star Versatility
Winner LeBron has led the Heat in several major categories during each season of their quest for the three-peat. He led Miami in scoring, rebounds and assists all three years while leading in steals in 2012 and tying for steals in 2014. James also doesn't hesitate to defend the opposition's best offensive player and shut them down when it matters most.
Jordan led the Bulls in scoring during each of their six championship seasons and led the team in steals four of those six years. He was also a great defender, not afraid to take on tough assignments though when the game was on the line he would usually focus on scoring more than anything else.
Bounce Back Ability
From 2012-2014 the Heat have not lost consecutive playoff games, a streak that has encompassed 47 straight contests. Since losing Games 3, 4 and 5 to the Boston Celtics during the 2012 East Semi's, Miami has lost a total of 13 playoff games and followed each one up with a win.
Winner The Bulls also had an impressive run without losing back-to-back games from 1990-1993, going a total of 52 straight games without consecutive losses. That trails only the 1962-1966 Boston Celtics, whose streak reached 54 games, for the longest such streak in NBA Playoff history. Should the 2014 Finals reach Game 7, the Heat will tie the Bulls run of 52.
Playoff Dominance
During Miami's chase for a third straight championship, the 2012-2014 Heat have had some challenging series' but always come out on top. Miami has had just two sweeps and played in three Game 7's but still hold a .721 win percentage (44-17)
Winner To be fair we'll just look at Jordan's first three-peat as that's what we can compare to LeBron's current run. The 91-93 Bulls completed five sweeps and only had to play in one Game 7, with a win percentage of .776 (45-13).
Finals Glory At Age 28
Winner LeBron has accomplished a lot through his first 28 years, winning four league MVP's, two NBA Championships and two Finals MVP's, reaching the Finals four times during that span.
Jordan was just beginning to enter his truly dominant years at age 28, winning two league MVP's, one NBA title and one Finals MVP. One difference is that Jordan entered the league at age 20 while James entered at age 18.

The Winner Is

(Source: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
Winner Jordan's Chicago Bulls
3 out of 5

At this point you have to give the edge to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls. They displayed true dominance and had very little competition, something that can be attributed to just how much better they were than everyone else. LeBron still has a lot of career left in front of him and could very well overcome Jordan by the time he calls it quits. James is in great position to challenge Jordan's legacy as he's on a team that will build around him as long as he stays there.

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