You may have heard recently that 34% of voters in a Public Policy Polling poll said that 52-year-old Michael Jordan could beat LeBron James in a game of one-on-one today. This only highlights what I’ve known for a long time: There is a huge group of basketball fans that simply cannot let go of the past, and over time have come to view Michael Jordan as some kind of basketball messiah who never missed a shot, won six titles by himself, and is far and away better than anyone else to ever play the game.

To be certain, Jordan was one of the most dominant players of all-time. His postseason resume speaks for itself, he set the standard for non-big men superstars that have come after him, and in a discussion of Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant, I view it as a blowout in MJ’s favor. He is certainly one of the first names that should be mentioned as the greatest of all-time.

That being said, he is not the undisputed best ever as 77% in that same poll declared him to be, and LeBron James might be one player poised to pass him up in that discussion.

One of the most commonly used arguments by people who want to dismiss the idea that LeBron could even be considered an equal to Jordan is the fact that Jordan;s Bulls won six titles, while LeBron is trying to get his third ring against the Warriors. While you can’t take away from Jordan’s postseason performances, you can point out that from his third season onward in the NBA, he played with Scottie Pippen. Basketball Hall of Famer and typically ranked in the top 20 or 30 players of all-time Scottie Pippen. The closest thing to Pippen that LeBron James has played with in his career was Dwyane Wade, who in addition to being on the downswing of his career when he teamed up with LeBron in 2010, only played with him for four years. For the rest of his career in Cleveland, James was paired with the likes of Larry Hughes, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, and Mo Williams. The team consistently whiffed on bigger ticket additions that could have put them in the Finals on a more consistent basis and added to LeBron’s ring collection.

Consider this: Michael Jordan was joined by Scottie Pippen in his third season as an NBA player (before which he failed to advance past the second round of the playoffs) and played the rest of his career with Pippen, as well as being joined later by another Hall of Famer in Dennis Rodman. In LeBron James’ third season, the other starters on the Cavaliers were Jeff McInnis, Ilgauskas, Gooden, and Ira Newble. Through the end of his first stint in Cleveland, the level of support didn’t get much better. It wasn’t until Miami, in his 8th season as a pro, that LeBron had anything approaching the level of support that Jordan had in his third season forward.

If LeBron James started his career in Miami, and then was Joined by a younger Wade and Chris Bosh a few years into his career, then it would be a fair comparison to Jordan’s Bulls. As it is, it’s comparing apples and oranges. To put it another way, when Michael Jordan retired to play baseball in 1994, the Bulls won 55 games in their first year without him, led by Scottie Pippen. Be honest with yourself and answer this question: How many of LeBron’s teams in Cleveland from 2003-2010 could have 55 games without him? The better question is probably how many could have won 30.

Probably the second most used argument is that because Jordan played in a different era with tougher defense, he’s better by default. This is of course unprovable, because we can’t know how LeBron would have performed in a different era. My guess would be that a monster athlete with immense talent would adjust to any style of play and find a way to dominate. If other players like Jordan were allowed to hand-check, LeBron would be too.

The point is not that LeBron is better than Jordan, which we won’t really know either way until he decides to call it quits. The point is that he could be, which is something most Jordan fans are not willing to concede.

And if LeBron James defeats a 67 win Golden State Warriors team with both Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving lost for the season, after the media wrote him off completely, it will be a more impressive single feat than Jordan ever accomplished.