“LeBron will never beat Jordan. Call me when LeBron has six championships.” Those are the words of Jason Segel’s character, Russell Gettis, in the 2011 film Bad Teacher . He is responding to a pupil goading him that James is a better rebounder and passer than the man many consider to be the Greatest of All Time, Michael Jordan. “That’s your only argument?” says the kid. “It’s the only argument I need Shawn!,” Gettis responds. That the debate over James and Jordan is the most memorable scene from a comedy released nine years ago suggests what a joke conversations about who is the GOAT are. The comparison from football over Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is even more reductive. It’s a debate coloured by the generation of sport you grew up with and personal preference. It is a debate where people will not be swayed. It is also a debate that does not really matter – even if Anthony Davis called James the GOAT as he picked up his Finals MVP trophy. James and Bryant-led ‘Redeem Team’ in Beijing 2008 was most important US gold What James has proved is that while he might not be the Greatest of All Time, he is certainly the Greatest of This Time. The GOTT, if you will. James won his fourth ring and with it his fourth NBA Finals MVP. Yes, Jordan has six from six and a 6-0 record in Finals, which is a stick to beat James with compared to his own 4-6 Finals record. That’s missing the point. Reaching 10 Finals in this era – with three different teams, each in very different stages, while the Golden State Warriors redefined the game – is remarkable. Michael Jordan weighs in on the debate. pic.twitter.com/ZiKkeAoCmU — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 24, 2020 He spent his early days at a Cavaliers team that had long been the benchmark for Cleveland’s claim to being America’s worst sports city. Then there was the Heat where he joined superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, before returning to the Cavs and making them NBA champions. Then he joined the Lakers, who having not won since 2010 epitomised Hollywood’s fading glamour. Going to 10 NBA Finals across three teams is a sign of superhuman consistency, just as 16 All-Star starts is. That’s what you get with James and you have since he was hyped in high school and became a household name. His record 260 play-off games – set in the decisive game six – is more than three regular seasons and more than most NBA players reach in their whole regular season careers. Last season was the first time in 14 years James had missed the play-offs. It came at a time when people had started to say that he was no longer the best player in basketball – Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was named regular season MVP to prove it, just as he was this year. James leading Lakers to NBA Finals is fitting amid the chaos The last thing that the NBA needs is James having a point to prove. Upset at not being named the regular season MVP for this most irregular of seasons only spurred him on. He was named Finals MVP two months off from his 36th birthday and he did it with more points per game and rebounds than in 2012, 2013 and 2016. This came after a season where he took the Lakers back to the top of a loaded Western Conference and led the league in assists for the first time in his career. There are three kinds of lies, of course – lies, damned lies, and statistics – but what is an undeniable truth is that James is unfailingly consistent on and off the hardwood. Congrats to @KingJames of the @Lakers for becoming the all-time leader in #NBAPlayoffs GAMES PLAYED! pic.twitter.com/cuBYhux7oD — NBA (@NBA) October 11, 2020 At a time where things are more difficult than ever he has not shied away, despite being told to “shut up and dribble”. Plenty of others, Jordan included, have snubbed politics as a player. This season would have felt like the longest, even if it had not finished in October because of the coronavirus pandemic. It started with the fallout from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting Hong Kong’s anti-government protesters as the Lakers were in China to play the Brooklyn Nets. In between there has been the deaths of former NBA commissioner David Stern and Lakers great Kobe Bryant. ‘We did this for him’ – Lakers pay tribute to Kobe Bryant after NBA Finals win On top of that has been the Black Lives Matter movement spurred by the killing of African-Americans at the hands of police and fellow civilians, and the political divide in the US. All of this was under the microscope in the NBA bubble and James is the poster boy for those who oppose it. “This season restart was always about something bigger than basketball. It was about resilience and ingenuity, but it was also about racial equality and social justice,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said before handing over the Larry O’Brien trophy. “You hear Golden State always use the phrase ‘strength in numbers’. And that’s exactly what it was while we were here,” James said of the league’s push for social justice since the restart. “Everybody had a voice on what is going on in America. We know we all want to see better days and when we leave here we got to continue to push that. “Continue to push [against] social injustice, continue to push [against] voting suppression, continue to push [against] police brutality, continue to push [against] everything that is opposite of love. If we can continue to do that, all of us, America will be a much better place which we all love this country.” China buys sneakers, too – why NBA and players cannot escape politics “I have a feeling that this Finals MVP is going to have a trophy named after him one day,” Silver said before giving James the Bill Russell Trophy. The LeBron James Trophy certainly has a ring to it.