To the best of my knowledge, Michael Jordan is probably the best player to ever live because of the worldwide impact that he has had as a player. There has been no other player to do the things he has done, in the fashion he has done. He managed to change the game by taking the reins from Bird and Magic and transforming the game to a whole new WORLDWIDE level. And he did it on so many levels, such as skill level, fashion, movie stardom, mega-endorsement deals, books, and transforming one of the largest segregated cities in America at the time into a welcoming, friendly city. Before Mike, Chi-Town was notorious for its racial battlelines, at least among its citizens. But after he won a couple rings, people of all races just became friendlier to one another, it seems, because we now all had something in common. NO ONE REALLY DISCUSSES THE IMPACT MJ HAD ON THE CULTURE OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO. And to me that is bigger and more important than the 6 championships he helped bring to the city.
And his fame never diminished after he left the game. NEVER. He caught a little flack for playing in D.C., but he has become a rather successful NBA owner in his own right. It has been a pleasure to watch him grow as a player, a father, a man, and now a businessman. He is the 1st former player to ever be a majority owner of an NBA team. He has had the greatest impact on the game, as players still dress like him on the court and receive lucrative shoe deals like he did.
Kobe, I believe, is the closest thing to MJ. And if it weren't for that Colorado incident and Shaq going to Miami, he just might be working on ring #7, 8, 9, or 10. Lebron has a long way to go to reach the pinnacle of MJ, and it will take more than stats to get there. Get 6, then we can talk. He hasn't gotten 1 yet.