LeBron James catching up to Michael Jordan in The Athletic’s GOAT poll

The Athletic has conducted a yearly poll with anonymous NBA players for years, and one of the questions they ask is simply, “Who is the GOAT?” Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan has led the poll since the question started getting asked, but this year’s numbers continue the trend of years past: LeBron James is catching up.

“Do you think MJ’s getting nervous? King James almost took his (player poll) GOAT crown this time around, and he’ll do just that next year if this voting trend continues,” wrote Sam Amick and Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “In this endless debate, His Airness has experienced serious slippage for the third consecutive poll. Jordan had a huge edge in 2019 (73 percent to LeBron’s 11.9 percent) and was still nearly doubling him in 2023 (58.3 percent to 33 percent). Now the gap is only 3.8 percent.

“It makes some sense, though, as James is doing things at this late stage of his career that players this age have never done. And these many feats, it’s quite clear, are changing the way some players see this debate. Consider the highlights of his past 14 months…”

In the poll, Jordan earned 45.9% of the votes, but James was right behind him with 42.1% of the vote. Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, Magic Johnson, and Paul Pierce also received votes.

Story originally appeared on Lonzo Wire