Coach K weighs in on Jordan-LeBron

Updated: October 16, 2013, 6:10 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says there is plenty of time to debate whether Michael Jordan or LeBron James is the greatest player in NBA history -- after James retires from the game.

"I think LeBron's career is not over. Michael's career is over," Krzyzewski told ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell on Tuesday. "Michael has been the greatest, I think, player to ever play the game and greatest competitor. I think LeBron is the greatest player right now. He's the best player. And I love LeBron. And I know Michael really well, I mean really well. Let's wait until LeBron finishes his career. He's won two championships, won two Olympic gold medals, MVP. I think he's in his prime right now.

"And the thing that Michael did is Michael put six (championships) up on the board. LeBron's not through though. The thing is instead of comparing them I'd like both of them to be on the same team. And throw a Kobe Bryant in there with them. I'd love to coach that group I tell you that."

An ESPN The Magazine poll of 26 players found that almost one-quarter of them believe James will end up as the best NBA player ever. Eighty-eight percent of the players picked Jordan as the player they would want to take the last shot.

Jordan recently said he believes in his prime he could have beaten James in one-on-one. Krzyzewski said the one-on-one talk is nice, but the ultimate barometer for greatness -- winning -- is done in a team setting.

"The game isn't about one-on-one, it's about winning," Krzyzewski said. "At the end of the day the greatest players in any sport will be judged not just by their stats individually but they'll be judged by what they have done in a collective unit as a team to win championships. That's the nature of sport, and I think that's the right nature and that's why comparing anybody, it's tough to compare while one of the guy's career is still going on. The one thing you have to say about (the comparison) is Michael set the bar really high. Michael deserves all the accolades that he's gotten and more. Nobody's been more competitive than that guy."

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