Trail Blazers

LeBron vs. Jordan: Terry Porter weighs in on the debate

Trail Blazers

It’s a debate that happens between friends, between co-workers, between media members and between the Terry Porter family:

Who is the best NBA player of all-time? 

As Porter joined hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon on the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast, he had plenty to say about his foe on the court: Michael Jordan, and a player he has coached against: LeBron James.

We all know the former Trail Blazers point guard is probably one of the most credible people to have this debate.

The now 57-year-old tried to come up with one player he played against that he would compare to King James.

I think LeBron -- he has just been special in regards to how he’s been built. I wouldn't say he’s one guy, he’s like multiple guys from my era.

Terry Porter on the Talkin' Blazers Podcast

But, TP does believe the 2020 NBA MVP Finals could be compared to Magic Johnson and a former Trail Blazer, and oh by the way, one of Michael Jordan’s teammates.

He’s like a Scottie Pippin and a Magic.

At 6’9” and 250 pounds – that is what Porter believes really sets LeBron a part from players in his era. Not to mention, James is a position-less player, which we know was not a thing back in Porter’s day.

"There’s no guy in my era even close to the size," Porter said. "And again, my era didn’t have the ability to have guys who were playing multiple positions or what they say now – non-positions and playing three, four, five, spots."

Porter added with a big smile on his face, “back then, You had to be a point guard. You had to be a two-guard. You had to be a three-man, a four-man, a five-man. You didn’t have the ability to play two or three different positions.”


So what about the G.O.A.T. debate?

My kids -- we have this fight every day -- old generation vs. new generation.

Terry Porter on the Talkin' Blazers Podcast

But Porter hasn't changed his mind over the years.

I was blessed to compete against Michael at the highest level and this is not a knock against Bron, I never played against Bron, but I coached against him and seen some of the things he was capable of, but for me right now -- Michael is still the G.O.A.T. for me, and he will always be the G.O.A.T. in my eyes. 

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Porter also made a good point about the big difference from his playing days to the recent NBA landscape:

There was no teaming up for ‘super teams.’

“The free agency was different back then compared to now,” Porter said. “Guys would never look a partner up. I mean, [Larry] Bird would never go to Detroit. Isiah [Thomas] would never go to Chicago… The dynamics of superstars to now and the relationships they have off the court, again back then, was not the way it is today.”

Well said TP, well said. 

You can listen to the entire Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with Terry Porter here.