LeBron James names the two most influential NBA players, excluding Michael Jordan for a completely non-offensive reason.

The basketball podcasting landscape has become over-saturated with numerous shows. However, there’s a dearth of podcasts that focus on the nitty-gritty’s of the sport. Of course, there are podcasts like The Old Man And The Three, but such podcasts are few and far between. LeBron James and JJ Redick aim to fill this void with the launch of their new show, “Mind The Game.”

The first episode of the show dropped a little over two hours ago. Throughout its 44-minute run time, LeBron and Redick discussed a variety of topics. However, LeBron’s insightful remarks about Stephen Curry and Allen Iverson’s impact are what garnered the most attention. LeBron called Steph and Allen Iverson “two of the most influential guys” in modern basketball. However, he left out Michael Jordan from his list for a non-basketball-related reason. He said, “Allen Iverson and Steph, they were just so relatable. And kids felt like they could be them. They were guys that was not always counted on. They were small in stature, and they just defied the odds.”

LeBron further added, “Those two are the two most influential. When you say their game, how they changed the game, and the kids. Those are two guys you want to watch every single night.” LeBron is right with his assessment of Steph and Allen Iverson’s impact on the NBA, but Michael Jordan’s influence on and off the court is on another level.

Is LeBron James wrong about Michael Jordan’s influence?

It’s safe to suggest that Michael Jordan is the most transcendent to have played in the NBA. He joined the league back in 1984, and in his very first season, he made his first All-Star game appearance. His incredible on-court brilliance completely revitalized the Chicago Bulls’ fanbase. Before Michael Jordan arrived in the ‘Windy City,’ the United Center was almost empty, as a result of subpar performances. However, in Jordan’s very first season, attendance surged by 87%.

Michael Jordan’s impact wasn’t just limited to Chicago. It even encompassed the entire NBA. During the glory days of the Bulls dynasty (from 1991 to 1998), the viewership numbers of the NBA reached stratospheric heights. The NBA experienced its highest average viewership between 1995 and 1999, coinciding with the era of the dominant Bulls led by Michael Jordan. In fact, the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season recorded an average viewership of 3.10 million. The NBA hasn’t seen such figures ever since.

However, Jordan’s most significant impact was felt off the court rather than on it. In 1984, Jordan signed a five-year endorsement deal worth $2.5 million with Nike. Few could have predicted the impact that Nike and Jordan would have on the world with this collaboration. In 1985, Nike launched the Air Jordan 1. Nike expected to recoup around $3 million in the first four years of the shoes’ release. However, it shattered those expectations, as the sneaker netted Nike around $126 million in just a year. Since then, Michael Jordan has earned over a billion dollars from Nike in royalties. With facts and figures like these, it’s safe to suggest that Michael Jordan is the most influential player in NBA history. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!