LeBron James vs Michael Jordan—Fox Sports Host Brings Actual Goat Into Studio to Settle Debate

The Los Angeles Lakers' triumph in the NBA Finals has reignited the debate over whether LeBron James deserves to be considered the greatest basketball player in history, even ahead of Michael Jordan.

James secured a fourth NBA title and a fourth NBA Finals MVP crown as he led the Lakers to 4-2 win over the Miami Heat to end the franchise's 10-year wait for an NBA title and becoming the first player in the history of the NBA to be named NBA Finals MVP with three different teams.

With six NBA Finals MVP crowns, only Jordan has been named the most valuable player in the Finals more than James, who still needs two more championships to equal the Chicago Bulls legend's tally of six.

FOX Sports anchor Shannon Sharpe took an innovative route to settle the debate on Monday night, bringing a real goat on set to surprise The Undisputed co-host Skip Bayless, who has long maintained James can't be compared to Jordan.

To make his point as clearly as possible, the goat was wearing a crown and James jersey. The word goat has become an accepted acronym for "Greatest Of All Time" and the emoji displaying the animal is often used online during discussions over who deserves to be considered the greatest in a particular sport.

"You've been unbelievable," Sharpe told the goat.

"That's my guy. That's a real GOAT, Skip."

Lil' Bron aka GOAT/Goat James aka Spanky shakes hands and takes treats from Shannon 🤣@ShannonSharpe: "That's a real GOAT Skip Bayless!"@RealSkipBayless: "This goat's real name is Michael." 🤣 pic.twitter.com/TKTuS2hxnz

— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) October 12, 2020

It didn't take long for Bayless to fire back, suggesting his co-host had got the name of the animal wrong.

"You know what a little bird told me? This goat's real name is Michael," he replied.

"That's what they call him, Michael."

Bayless waded into the debate between James and Jordan on Sunday night, shortly after LeBron had delivered a record 11th NBA Finals triple-double as the Lakers defeated the Heat 106-93 in Game 6.

Bayless tweeted: "MJ > LeBron", suggesting Jordan was a far greater player than James. Judging by the amount of > symbols used, Bayless doesn't think the debate is particularly close either.

James, who in Game 6 set an NBA record for the most appearances in playoff games with 260, ended the NBA Finals averaging 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists.

It means he is the only player in NBA Finals history to average at least 25 points per game in the playoffs on three different franchises' championship-winning teams.

He is only the fourth player over the age of 35 to be named NBA Finals MVP after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Jordan, and is the second-oldest to receive the award after Abdul-Jabbar, who was 38 years old when the Lakers won the 1985 NBA Finals.

After a difficult first year in Los Angeles ended James' run of ninth consecutive NBA Finals appearance, the 35-year-old embarked on what he called a "revenge season".

Desperate to prove critics wrong, James ended the Lakers' six-year wait for a playoff berth—the longest in franchise history—and then returned the Purple and Gold to the top of the NBA world.

"We just want our respect," he said after Game 6.

"Rob [Pelinka, Lakers general manager] wants his respect, coach [Frank] Vogel wanted his respect, our organization want their respect, Laker Nation want their respect and I want my damn respect too."

LeBron James, NBA, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers holds his MVP trophy and Finals trophy after winning the NBA Championship over the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on October 11 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Mike Ehrmann/Getty