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The Contender
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Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/28/2013 Category: Sports
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,878 times Debate No: 30827
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing that Michael Jordan is the greatest NBA basketball player of all time. In order to keep the debate simple, I'd ask you to choose one player to compare to MJ. Otherwise it could get confusing using many players and throwing out all kinds of stats. This is 4 rounds. Once accepted you can open if you wish or you could leave it to round two and I will start. Thank you.


Wilt Chamberlain statically is better than Jordan. Give credit to the man when the credit is due. The man holds so many more NBA records than Jordan, not to mention he also holds several different team records. These records include Rebounds of all time which would go along with averages per game. Not to mention he holds the record for most points in one game 100. You want the reasoning yourself on just records alone? Check out my source:

As I quote from, "With 72 records (68 of which he holds by himself), Wilt Chamberlain dominates the NBA record book. And he's not just the top guy on the lists below. In several cases, he's No. 1, 2 and 3. It's hard to believe that there will ever be another player who can dominate as many statistical categories as the Big Dipper did."

Wilt Chamberlain is believed to be the most dominant basketball players of all time. Jordan meres to be a brand these days. Jordan does however only hold one record in total along with team records with one team maybe two if he broke any with the Wizards his last year of play, average points per game. But to think about it, they both averaged 30.1 and Jordan only holds the record because of a few hundred more points, which is outstanding. Not many 7 footers ever even average 30 points a game let alone 50.4 while holding the record for most points in a game ever. Which is outstanding to even think about it because he is a center for one, and 250 lbs + during his NBA career. For a big man that is something difficult to do. To maintain a high level of career when there is so much torque and energy that a man of that size has to endure. Also Michael Jordan is a shooting guard which means that a center is so close to beating him at his own game, it was Jordan's job to score. A centers job requires some scoring but their size is mainly for rebounding and defense. He obviously dominated scoring and rebounding so far in all time. Not to mention holding the record for rebounds per game at 22.9. Dominating I think so.

Before getting into my next point, Jordan wouldn't even of surpassed him in scoring if he didn't come out of retirement just to play 2 seasons with the Wizards, by this time Jordan was just a brand and nothing more. Also if were getting technical I know one argument would be the competition is higher and people back then wouldn't be able to do the same things as they do now. So with that in mind there are even more people saying LeBron James has surpassed Michael Jordan now. The rings are the difference maker those supposedly. It took Michael how long to lead the Bulls to get a championship? Exactly, that argument is thrown out the window especially for the fact both superstars had a good background team with also another superstar. Go back to Wilt, everything he has done in the NBA broken records and all has been pure domination of the NBA in his time. Also no one has dominated the NBA quite like Wilt Chamberlain.

So in your observation, A mere simple just scorer and very talented Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player of all time. Most dominate person that has ever stepped foot in the NBA. Who do you decide?
Debate Round No. 1


First off I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I appreciate it and look forward to a good debate. I would like to add one more detail I forgot to mention. Please no new arguments in the final round, just conclude the debate. Other than that let us begin.

Before I get into Wilt Chamberlain I will first point out Michael Jordan's accomplishments. Jordan came into the NBA as a rookie in 1984 where he played all 82 games and averaged over 20 points per game (28), over 5 assists per game, and 5 rebounds per game, now only one of four players to ever accomplish this feat. The others are Oscar Robertson, LeBron James, and Tyreke Evans. This can be found here ( Jordan also averaged 2.39 steals per game his rookie year setting the tone as not only an offensive threat but an all around player. From 1986 to 1993 Jordan averaged over 30 points per game every year. In 86-87 he averaged 37 points per game followed by 35 the next year. Jordan dominated these years including 1991 when he won his first championship at the age of 28. You pointed out that it took Michael Jordan a long time to reach a championship much like Michael Jordan. While LeBron was actually younger (27) Jordan had only been in the league for six years since he went to North Carolina for college ball and didn't enter the league until 22. LeBron on the other hand came into the league at 18 and won his championship nine years in. So that argument doesn't work. It's not about age it's about years in the league. Anyway, after his first title Jordan and the Bulls went on to 3-peat then something unusual happened, Jordan retired at the age of 30! His reasoning was he ran out of challenges. As in the NBA was too easy! We all know what happened next with his stint in baseball but then he returned right where he left off winning another three titles. Rings don't matter? They are a team accomplishment? Then why didn't the Bulls win a ring while Jordan was gone? Jordan would have won eight straight titles had he not retired. Jordan was not only dominant in the regular season but the postseason where he got even better. Player Efficiency Rating or PER, was developed by John Hollinger as an attempt to determine the most efficient players of all time. This formula can be explained here: ( This is not some random formula, it is used by many networks and analysts including ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports. Micheal Jordan has the highest regular season PER ever with 27.91. But Jordan doesn't stop there, he gets better as the pressure builds. He also has the greatest PER in the postseason at 28.59.

As for Wilt Chamberlain. He played in an era that benefited him greatly. I will only use one point for right now. Really, it's the only point that needs to be made. Wilt Chamberlain was 7'1 in a basketball era that was played by less athletic and shorter players than now. Humans are also taller (over 1 inch) and wiegh more (over 25 pounds). Wilt was not only towering over his competition but outwieghed them. He had a body built to play in the league today at 7'1 275 pounds. You say his durability at that size is amazing but it actually helps him. He has bigger and stronger bones to help support his body. 275 pounds at 7'1 is the perfect size to stay fit and stay durable for the entire career. An example of the hieght discrepancy would be on Wilt's very own 1967 championship team. Wilt was 7'1 while the next closest player in hieght was Luke Jackson at 6'9. That's four inches shorter. The next closest after him were three players at 6'6. That is seven inches shorter. Even Nate Thurman the "protege" to Wilt was 6'11. While that's a solid hieght it isn't 7'1. 7'1 in today's NBA would be considered tall and he was that hieght during the 1960s. As you can see Wilt played in an era that benefited him greatly.


Height doesn't measure talent. By that logic Yao Ming should of been more dominating then anyone of his era. Being the fact he was 7 foot 6 and the closest person to him maybe 3 inches shorter. Not to mention the college baller Kenny George 7 foot 7 hasn't even made it to the NBA. Which goes into logic about the fact that having such height does require skill in order to dominate the game. What has Michael Jordan dominated over Wilt like Wilt has dominated over Jordan statistically. Nothing. Rookies doesn't make fourth a great basketball player. By that standard a rookie year could make anyone the greatest ever just given they put on the best rookie year, Even if they don't later on. Jordan went to college, yes and he learned more about the game than LeBron. Given the opportunity LeBron went to college and did the same. Then LeBron would be in way greater his rookie year considering the fact that he keeps getting better, but that's hearsay.

Basketball is still a team effort more than a individual effort. Your going by rings although clearly Jordan benefited the Bulls tremendously it is still a team effort. He couldn't of earned those championships without the great players along side him. It's a ongoing thing, Kobe had Shaq and in later years Pau Gasol. Plenty more examples I don't think it needs to be identified seeing how if you know basketball, it is true. But going to rings, Jordan doesn't have the most rings. Bill Russel has what 13.

To argue the fact that they weren't as athletic back than is merely hearsay. The people in the earlier years paved the way for athletes today. If they weren't as athletic they wouldn't be athletes.
Debate Round No. 2


Height certainly doesn't measure talent, but it helps. I am not saying hieght is the sole reason why Wilt Chamberlain was a great player, but it contributed to it. If Wilt Chamberlain played today would he average 30 points per game with over 20 rebounds? I think anybody that knows basketball would say no. He probably wouldn't even come close to those amazing numbers. You brought up Yao Ming which is a good point. Yao Ming had injury problems and had nowhere near the muscle that Wilt Chamberlain had. Even despite that during Yao Ming's prime (about three years) he was the second most dominant big man in the NBA next to Shaq. From 2005 to 2008 Yao Ming averaged over 20 points per game, and 10 rebounds per game while barely playing half of each season. ( He was very dominant over his competition. Height, size, and era must be looked at when talking about the greatest of all time. Jordan dominates Wilt in career efficiency.

As for rings, I agree, they aren't everything. That idea is just stupid. Jordan needed his Bulls teams but it wasn't as much as they needed him. I am not saying rings are everything but the NBA is a star driven league. There are 12 active players on an NBA roster at a time usually. Yet almost everybody knows the saying, "One to compete, two to win," in reference to the number of superstars a team needs. There is a reason it doesn't say, "Twelve to win." The other players are just the minor parts of the vehicle. The superstars are the engines that drive the force behind them. Rings do hold some importance. Not all.

As far as the athletism of early athletes goes, I won't argue your points. I cannot prove that players back then weren't as athletic as they are now but I can prove that leagues weren't as diverse as they are now which allow more of a pool of players to choose from. Which in turn, naturally means more athletic players today. At the time Wilt Chamberlain played the unnofficial NBA rule was no more than four blacks to a team. In the 1960s there were far less african-americans in the NBA but now they make up about 78% of the league. Larry Bird himself said this, "And if you just had a couple of white guys in there, you might get them [the fans, not the guys] a little excited. But it is a black man's game, and it will be forever. I mean, the greatest athletes in the world are African-American." Larry Bird said "african americans are the greatest athletes in the world." Yet in 1960s most teams barely had four. 1960s and early 70s of course are the decades Wilt dominated. All of this information can be found here:

Now that I have addressed all of those points I can get back to Michael Jordan and his very own era which was comprised of some of the all time great NBA players. Players like Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Larry Bird, the league was stuffed with them. This era also allowed hand checking. That is when the defender is allowed to use one of two hands to force an offensive player where he wants them to go. Today you can't touch a player with more than a forearm in the lower defensive box unless maintaining his defensive position. An example would be in the post. This can be found here. Jordan played in the most difficult era and came out with six championships, 10 All NBA First Teams, Nine All Defensive teams, a Defensive Player of the Year Award, a Rookie of the Year Award, 14 All Star selections, and five MVP awards. I rest my case.


It's completely hearsay to argue the fact of what Wilt would average during this era. Without mentioning what Jordan would. The game has changed dramatically sense he's played as well. Exactly my point with the Yao Ming. He had a lot of injuries, it is incredibly hard for bigger man to play at a higher level to measure in size. Dwight Howard himself has injury problems despite the fact he is strong. Shaq had his. Considered big man problem in the NBA. The injuries that would usually slow down the bigger man's career. Okay you want to factor in the efficiency then you have to take out some statistics that weren't available back then.

Credited under the picture for Wilt blocking a shot on:
On the right side of the info.
"If blocks were counted before he retired, this list might be longer."

So you can see, Not everything that was measured during Jordan's time was measured in Wilt's so efficiency ratings for Wilt could surpass Jordan if it was. Statistics keep changing and different variables are being added always. If you do that then you'd have to go back and see what's accounted for back than as well to argue the fact that Jordan is better than Wilt. Sad to say those statistics weren't accounted for and Jordan has been accredited for more things. Still scoring and rebounding is not one of them. The Big Dipper (Wilt) takes the cake.

Like I said, all the information you put in that about it's very diverse to todays basketball. The athletes back then, paved the way for the people today. If it wasn't for Wilt and the others that defined that era than Jordan wouldn't even seize to be half the man he is today. He'd still be trying to play some baseball.

Yeah Jordan dominated his era. Wilt didn't dominate his?
His Era 1959-1973 includes 50 of the greatest people of the era part he dominated, His scoring slowed down in his later years around late 60s early 70s but he was still pretty good at rebounding.

The people that made the top 50 list in his own era Includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when he played for the Bucks (1969-1975), Nate Archibald when he played for the Cincinati Royals / KC-Omaha / Kanasas City Kings (1970-1976), Paul Arizin he played for the Philadelphia Warriors (1950-1962), Bob Cousy: Boston Celtics (1950-1963), LAL (1969-1970). Bill Russel Celtics: (1956-1969). Go down the list and there is plenty more of the top 50 Greatest in NBA history that played at least 3 or 4 seasons at the same time as Wilt and also even more than half of their careers.

If you want to go by how hard it is how come the outstanding players of today that play on such a high level isn't already the top 50. The competition level increases many argue but the facts are the facts so many of the greatest players of all time NBA history come out of Wilt's Era though. Case closed.

Very good debate though I must add on to it. Kudos.
Debate Round No. 3


As my first debate this has been very fun. Once again I would like to thank my opponent, he clearly did good research and knows the game of basketball. I should have made this five rounds. But anyway, in this round I will only discuss points already made and not bring in any new information.

The era Jordan played in was much more difficult than Wilts. While it's true Wilt played with alot of top 50 players, Jordan played with top 10 players. Players like I mentioned, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Shaq (briefly), Kobe Bryant (briefly). Jordan also went up against the best perimeter defender ever in Gary Payton. The only top 10 player Wilt played against was Bill Russell (Where he would get dominated every match-up.) and Kareem Jabar towards the end of Wilt's career.

To say that if blocks had been recorded for Wilt he would have had a better PER than Jordan is untrue. Blocks are only a small portion of the PER formula and whether that had been recorded or not Jordan would still lead him in it. Jordan was more efficient, had more rings, better competition and played in the hardest basketball era.

Vote Pro.


First debate as well as my opponents. It's certainly a toss up if your going on Team Jordan don't think of him as a brand look at it statistically. As I pointed out how many records Wilt holds til this day. I also said the art of competition is always growing so think about that for one.

Wilt and Jordan are both legends in their own right. My basic thing in the debate his who has dominated their era more efficiently. Wilt or Jordan? My money's on Wilt.

The PER is a great tool in today's basketball but not all statistics could be traced for the people that paved the way for basketball is what I initiated last round.

Nevertheless this is a great battle my opponent has researched a great deal of stuff. So have I. So I ask in the debate who is more dominant.

Let's reach for big dreams, Vote for the Big Dipper.

Kudos to my opponent in his efforts in this debate. Let the best person win.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Dobbythefreeelf 3 years ago
I didn't see any mention of one of Jordan's biggest accomplishments. The year he won his first scoring title he became the first player ever to record 100 blocks and 200 steals in the same season. The next year he did it all again! 9 time all NBA defensive first team. An accomplishment nobody has ever come close to. 10 scoring titles. 6 rings (and we all know we're looking at at least 8 straight if he doesn't retire for baseball). 5 regular season MVP awards 6 NBA finals MVP awards. One Michael Jeffrey Jordan!
Posted by BradyP55 3 years ago
Of course he is. No one is better.
Posted by Stebo 3 years ago
Michael Jordan's legacy is to big for any other upcoming player to surpass.
Posted by TimmyFitz 3 years ago
Statistically Jordan is not the best but as far as the legacy he left he is the best of all time. He was able to control a game unlike anyone else.
Posted by Landon_Fairbanks 3 years ago
People try to argue Lebron and Kobe are better than Michael but its no where close to a fight. Michael Jordan is by far the best player that has ever played in the NBA. But don't take this in the wrong way I think Lebron and Kobe are good just not better than MJ
Posted by jbeh 3 years ago
Maybe Kobe Bryant is the best...... Who knows?
Posted by josh2you 3 years ago
Michael Jordan is not the greatest basketball player ever he is one of the greatest you must think about to be the greatest you have to have the most rings Wilt Chamberlin has 11 rings and Jordan has 6 But talent wise I would have to go with Lebron James Lebron has the ability to play every position he an unselfish player and nobody can guard him lebron is just like jordan exceopt its easier for lebron to get to th whole then it is for jordan
Posted by mattmatt 3 years ago
What about Bill Russel? What about Karem Abduljabbar?
Posted by JeremyMcNamee 3 years ago
thats another great player
Posted by flashgirlt1 3 years ago
I actually think Magic Johnson was the greatest player ever
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by twilke 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Great debate!