Michael Jordan vs LeBron James: Comparing Free Throw Stats of Two of the Greatest Players Ever

The GOAT debate often has numerous names thrown into the hat when a discussion is underway. But the two names that have been brought up consistently are none other than Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Fans of Michael Jordan often bash heads with LBJ fans on who the better player is out of the two. Well, here is a comparison of their free throw stats over the years to put things in perspective.

Michael Jordan played a total of 15 seasons with two teams that also consisted of him retiring twice from the league as well. Jordan’s 15 seasons will be in direct comparison to LeBron’s 21 and counting.

During his third year in the league, Michael Jordan averaged the most free throws per game ever throughout his career. During the 1986-87 NBA season, Michael Jordan attempted 11.9 free throws per game, draining 10.2, making it his highest free throw percentage year with 85.7%.

Coincidentally LeBron James, too averaged the most free throws attempted per game during his third year in the league. LBJ attempted 10.3 free throws during the 2005-06 NBA season, making an average of 7.6 free throws per game. James shot from the charity line with 73.8% efficiency.

Noting down the year LeBron James shot the least free throws was the 2020-21 NBA season. LBJ had the same free throws attempted average the year before (2019-20) as well, however, James only played 45 games in this season.

During the 2020-21 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James attempted the career-low 5.7 free throws per game, draining an average of 4.0, bringing his yearly free throw percentage to 69.8%.

As for Michael Jordan, his final year with the Washington Wizards marked the year he attempted the least number of free throws. MJ only attempted 4.0 free throws per game, converting an average of 3.2, making his free throw percentage for the year he shot the least amount of free throws at 82.1%.

Who was the better free throw shooter out of LeBron James and Michael Jordan?

LeBron James and Michael Jordan impacted the game in their own way, from different positions. However, draining free throws has always been a crucial part of the game, so let’s break down their free throw numbers further.

After comparing the years when both superstars attempted the most free throws as opposed to comparing when the two shot the least, let’s compare their career free throw average, taking in attempts, conversions, and overall percentage.

During his 15-year career in the NBA, Michael Jordan attempted 8.2 free throws per game and made 6.8 free throws with an 83.5% career free throw average. Whereas, having played 21 seasons in the league, LeBron James has attempted 7.7 free throws, and drained 5.6 out of them, bringing up his career free throw percentage to 73.5%.

Now at least fans know who the better free throw shooter was whenever another GOAT debate breaks out, giving ammunition to MJ fans.


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