By Stephen D. Riley, Special to AFRO

The LeBron vs. Jordan debate has raged since James’ rookie season back in 2003. It’s time to cut it out, LeBron’s better. No, he’s not better skill-wise and probably will never have the amount of rings, MVPs and accolades that Jordan has. But it’s LeBron, he’s just better. Where’s the proof you ask? What metrics am I using? Where’s the evidence? Just hear me out.

I was born in the early 80s so by the time I was of age to understand basketball, there was Jordan. Before birth, through adolescence and into adulthood, there’s always been Jordan. The shoes, the championships, the famous black and red colors and the bald head, those are the things that made Jordan, Jordan. Jordan to many kids born in the 70s and 80s was like the unbeatable boss in “Super Mario” and “Mike Tyson’s Punchout.” He was flawless. Perfect even. Almost too perfect. And that’s what makes LeBron better.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (23) goes up for a shot between Toronto Raptors’ OG Anunoby, left, and Jonas Valanciunas during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Through the losses, playoff exits and his own city turning on him; we’ve seen James deal with adversity. We’ve seen him emotional, we’ve seen him at his worst and we’ve seen him struggle, all on several different occasions. I remember seeing Jordan crying like a baby but that was only after he won his next title after his father passed. This isn’t to say Jordan didn’t have his own challenges, getting cut from his high school team and the murder of his father would’ve floored any normal man. But when it comes to LeBron, it’s been challenge after challenge after challenge. That makes him normal and that makes him better.

We love people we can relate to. Jordan was untouchable but LeBron is like me. He’s lost like me, he’s had a receding hairline like me and he’s been embarrassed in mass public like me. I almost feel like I know him even though we’ve never met. Jordan was great, he was cool and he was unbeatable. LeBron’s been mortal and that makes him better.