Originally Posted by KC_Connection
Stats allow us to compare the two players on equal footing and allow a story to be told about the two players without having to rely on memory or mythologizing (and without being impacted by nostalgia or their respective media images). It's a fair, objective, and unbiased way to compare.
When an argument boils down to MJ is the greatest player of all time just because he is, it doesn't work. It's not some kind of self-evident fact, it needs to be proven like anything else (or else you wind up looking like Yankees fans who baselessly believe Jeter is the greatest SS to ever play). MJ's stats and his obviously his team's titles make that argument work, just as LeBron's (wherever he ends up with) will do the same at the end of his career.
Stats are good for comparing players that play in the same time frame they are useless to compare players of a different generation.
Joe Montana is considered by many the GOAT NFL QB but his stats are pretty shitty compared to the QB's that play today. But all he did was win, like MJ did. In fact neither of them lost a championship game like others have (Brady, Lebron or Kobe..)