The players who are on the record saying Michael Jordan is the GOAT

Just as fans argue about who the GOAT of the NBA is, so do the league’s current or former players.

The debate is most often between LeBron James and Michael Jordan, though Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has some backers, too. Prior to the James era, the consensus pretty much was that Jordan was the NBA’s GOAT, but now there is very much a debate.

And this debate is not one that is going away anytime soon unless James pulls a Tom Brady and unequivocally ends the matter by winning another championship or two before retiring.

Either way, it’s a fun argument, with multiple players making a strong case.

Jordan has 39 endorsements from players since we began keeping track, compared to James’ 31 endorsements.

Below, check out all the players who have gone on record as saying Michael Jordan is the NBA’s greatest player of all time – or GOAT.

Magic Johnson

First of all, let’s not take anything away from LeBron James,” Johnson said. “Because LeBron James is a great basketball player, one of the all-time greatest that’s ever played the game. LeBron James to me, when you think about all-around basketball players, he’s probably the best of all time. An all-around basketball player. But when you want to say ‘who’s the greatest ever’ it’s still Michael Jordan.

May 24, 2020

Shaquille O'Neal

I’m going to have to say Michael Jordan because Michael paved the way for all the great guys that we have now. And 6-0 in the Finals without a legitimate big man. Went through a lot. Took a year off. Came back and won three in a row. He’s definitely the greatest player.

May 8, 2020

Charles Barkley

Michael’s [Jordan] one, Oscar Robertson’s two, [Bill] Russell, Wilt [Chamberlain] and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], no particular order after Michael.

May 2, 2020

Dwyane Wade

Steve Nash

I think MJ is my guy for sure. When you talk about LeBron and Kobe, I totally understand why people have LeBron where it is, first or second in many people’s eyes. When you look at the whole picture of everything LeBron has done over the course of his career, it’s hard to argue with. I think at his best, Kobe right up with any of them. I don’t know where the knock is but when he was flying and playing at his best, he was as good as we’ve ever seen.

May 9, 2020

Dominique Wilkins

James Worthy

If I had to make my choice, I’m going with MJ because I played with him. I know he’s deadly, and I don’t think there’s anybody in the league today that has the tenacity that he had. Michael’s not nice. I don’t know man, I love LeBron. I’m going to have to go with my boy, cuz he chose me.

April 28, 2020

Damian Lillard

Carmelo Anthony

You know, M.J. is the GOAT. He’s the greatest ever. We all know that and we all agree to that. Why can’t we say that, but also give LeBron his flowers while he’s here too?

May 28, 2020

Ray Allen

In my opinion, M.J. is the GOAT. LeBron is a product of M.J., so a lot of what’s in LeBron — in his DNA — comes from Michael. For anybody that says that LeBron is the GOAT, they’re growing up in today’s era, and they believe what they believe based on how it feels and what he means to them, and that’s OK. But the way M.J. affected the game, man, he had a stranglehold on the league and he struck fear in everyone because he was an unstoppable player.

February 9, 2021

Vince Carter

Matt Barnes: So for the record, you’ve got MJ, then Kobe, then LeBron.

Vince Carter: Yes.

Barnes: Does LeBron have the opportunity in your mind to possibly jump Kobe?

Carter: He has an opportunity based on what he gets done. If he gets to the Finals again… You’re just gonna give him more credit. Now, ten times in the Finals?!

May 19, 2020

Shawn Kemp

I’mma say Michael Jordan. I think LeBron James has done great, but only thing Michael Jordan ever did was win. There’s players as myself who haven’t won a championship that were very good. There’s guys who I’ve seen win championships, they’re good players, but they had a good team also around them. And I look at Michael Jordan, he played with the Bulls, and he had Scottie Pippen. But without Michael being there, the Bulls wasn’t gonna win the championship. It came from Michael Jordan.

November 4, 2020

Antoine Walker

Jamal Crawford

Zach LaVine

I remember going back and watching all his highlights. ‘Come Fly With Me.’ ‘Michael Jordan Playground.’ Obviously, every kid watched ‘Space Jam.’ He was the idol of all idols. I don’t think anybody can touch his legacy or his greatness.

For me in my books, I always have MJ as the best player ever because without him, there’s nobody coming after him. He inspired us.

February 17, 2023

BJ Armstrong

Appearing on ESPN’s First Take, when asked by Mex Kellerman who the next best player is after Jordan, BJ Armstrong answer was none other than the Big Fundamental.

April 18, 2020

Kendall Gill

I’m gonna go: Michael. Kobe. LeBron. That’s how I put ’em.

April 27, 2020

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Evan Turner

Shane Larkin

In addition, Larkin considers Sergio Llull the most clutch player and Vassilis Spanoulis a super legend, enjoys watching Facundo Campazzo, picks Michael Jordan over LeBron James, and selects Allen Iverson as his favorite player.

April 20, 2021

Isaiah Todd

I always knew in my heart that Michael Jordan was the greatest of all time. I looked up to LeBron and KD because he’s from Baltimore, but now I kind of look at the same guys but I look at Ja Morant’s game, too. I look at Ja Morant and Anthony Davis.

Mario Chalmers

He [Michael Jordan] is the GOAT, not even a question.

May 6, 2020

Derek Harper

He’s the GOAT,’’ Harper said. “I like everything about LeBron. He’s up there. When it comes to winning, Michael is like Tom Brady. For my buck, MJ is the best basketball player to ever play — bar none.

May 10, 2020

Quinn Cook

Bruce Bowen

Jordan Poole

Poole always sided with Jordan. His father, a Chicago native, had told him stories about Jordan’s greatness.

May 15, 2020

Matt Barnes

My list would be Jordan at number one, Kobe number two and LeBron number three. LeBron can pass Kobe if he can capture another title. That would be a title with three different teams. He’s moving up the scoring list, he’s on the assist list and as far as all-around, he’s one of the greatest we’ve ever seen. Right now, it’s Mike number one, Kobe number two and LeBron three, but depending on how long he sticks around, LeBron can pass Kobe and he’ll definitely be in the discussion with Jordan.

May 17, 2020

Enes Freedom

Udonis Haslem

Mike the greatest of all time. But you can’t call me the b-word and the h-word. Nah, alright Mike. We gonna have to square off.

May 22, 2020

Tomas Satoransky

Deonte Burton

Rony Seikaly

The debate is endless, but the only reason I’d give the nod to Michael Jordan is because he had more of an assassin mentality. If he smelled a little bit of blood, he would come after you and you were finished.

September 8, 2020

Marreese Speights

I think the LeBron vs. MJ stuff is annoying as hell. You can’t really compare these guys right now, man. That’s disrespecting the career that Jordan had. At this point, I don’t think you can compare the two. I don’t think you could put them in the same category right now. When Bron’s career is over, then we can go back and talk about that. When a guy is still playing, you can’t say, “He’s the best player to ever play the game.” You can’t do that. Everybody has their own opinion, but some people have never played the game of basketball or touched the court and you can tell. You cannot put that man in the same category as MJ right now. When his career is over, that’s a whole different story. But right now, while he’s still playing, you can’t do that.

October 15, 2020

Brendan Haywood

One of the more interesting things is that I had the GOAT conversation with LeBron. We were on the plane and I told him: “I love you, brother, but I have to go with Mike.” I told him my reasons. I’ve had this conversation with him face-to-face. Six rings. Six MVPs. The guy has had two different three-peats and has never been to a Game 7. He was MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.

December 11, 2020

Larry Hughes

MJ is the greatest basketball player of all-time, in my eyes. If we look at the Jumpman symbol, LeBron is right there on his shoe. That’s really how I look at it. He’s not too far behind. If I had to answer then I’d say MJ. But I’m never going to discredit what LeBron is doing. It’s just a different time. I give credit where it’s due.

December 11, 2020

Scott Williams

That was about the only difference between Michael and LeBron that made me think that his competitiveness and fuel were a little bit more than what LeBron had and that’s why MJ would never lose in the NBA Finals. He just wouldn’t let it happen. I don’t care who was wearing the other jerseys across from him. You knew that he was the ultimate weapon. It’s not a knock on LeBron. That’s just what separated Michael from everybody else including Magic, Bird, the greats of the greats.

December 11, 2020

JJ Redick

Vassilis Spanoulis

I can understand Michael Jordan. He is the greatest player in the history of basketball for me, and everybody can understand him.

November 3, 2022

Doc Rivers

Story originally appeared on HoopsHype