Poll: 34 percent of NBA fans think MJ could beat LeBron 1-on-1 *right now*

Ball Don't Lie

Public Policy Polling reported Thursday that 34 percent of NBA fans who participated in a recent national poll are pretty crazy (emphasis mine):

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There's no such division when it comes to who NBA fans think is the best player of all time. 77% pick Michael Jordan on that question to only 14% who think it's LeBron James. In fact despite his being 52 years old, 34% of NBA fans think Jordan could beat James one on one now — as in the year 2015 — to just 54% who think James would win despite being in the prime of his career.

To review: more than one-third of 1,471 registered voters surveyed between May 7 and May 10 believe that the 52-year-old owner of the Charlotte Hornets would take out the bigger, stronger player 22 years his junior who's just two days removed from hanging 38 on a 25-year-old All-Defensive swingman in a playoff game. Better still: 12 percent of respondents said they were "not sure." Certainly important to hedge your bets in such a high-stakes game!

Asked for comment on the matter, Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera simply screamed, "I GOT NEXT," before hanging up the phone.*

* Not really.

Perhaps you're one of the 34 percenters who believe that the quinquagenarian M.J. would get old-man-gamey all over LeBron, treating him like he did a young, spry O.J. Mayo nearly a decade ago. Perhaps all you need to believe that Jordan would reign supreme over James in the here and now is His Airness' say-so while promoting a video game. To you, I say, feel free to embrace this particular debate to your heart's content — so long as you don't literally assault your roommate over it.

Some other NBA-specific takeaways from PPP's new national poll on fan interest in pro sports:

• 37 percent of respondents consider themselves fans of the NBA, third in fan identification behind the NFL (56 percent) and MLB (46 percent);

• NBA fandom, not unsurprisingly, tends to be split along racial lines (66 percent of African-American respondents considered themselves NBA fans, compared to 29 percent of white respondents) and political lines (43 percent of Democrats consider themselves NBA fans, compared to 26 percent of Republicans);

• Among the teams still remaining in the playoffs, NBA fans would most like to see either the Golden State Warriors (19 percent of respondents) or Chicago Bulls (17 percent) win the 2015 NBA title;

• More NBA fans polled have a higher favorable opinion of LeBron than of Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, James Harden or Kyrie Irving, but more fans also have an unfavorable opinion of James than they do of the other six All-Stars.

Hat-tip to Dan McQuade of Philly Mag.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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