For anyone that followed sports in the 90s, two names were inescapable: Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky. Both will go down in history as two all-time greats, but how do these two legends stack up head-to-head? Let's take a closer look at their achievements to find out.

Scoring

Given it's what he's known for, it's no surprise that Gretzky posts elite numbers in goal scoring. He has 894 total career goals (NHL 1st all-time) and holds a goals-per-game average of .60 (again, 1st all-time). If you look up any NHL scoring record, there's a good chance you'll see #99 listed at the top.

What's a bit more surprising here is that despite his worldwide fame and success in other sports leagues, Jordan has racked up an abysmal 0 total NHL goals (NHL last all-time), with a goals-per-game average that's also 0 (again, last all-time).

To put that in perspective, Gretzky eclipsed both these marks as a 19-year-old rookie just 3 games into his career.

Edge: Gretzky

Championships

As the best player on the highest-scoring team in NHL history, Gretzky led the Edmonton Oilers to 4 Stanley Cup Championships between 1983 and 1988. He also had several deep playoff runs with teams like the Kings and Rangers, but only kissed the cup back in Edmonton.

Jordan, on the other hand, never got the chance to stand on center ice and hoist Lord Stanley's Mug above his head, a disappointment that surely haunts him to this day.

Had Gretzky remained in Edmonton instead of getting traded to LA in 1988, he might have a few more rings in his collection. But even still, it's a résumé Jordan would die for.

Edge: Gretzky

Penalty Minutes

Never one to drop the gloves or play recklessly, Gretzky nonetheless racked up 577 total penalty minutes over his career. It's not an insignificant figure, but definitely something he made up for in other areas of his game

Of course, the number looks a lot larger when you realize Jordan has never even seen the inside of a penalty box. That's right, His Airness posts a squeaky clean stat line of 0 total penalty minutes. A bit of a surprise, given his reputation as a fierce competitor, but it's a testament to the discipline and focus that great athletes are capable of.

Still though, if someone is truly dedicated to winning at all costs, doesn't that mean going beyond the rulebook every once in a while? To be sure, there's a certain level of selfishness necessary to never receive a penalty, and a true champion never puts himself ahead of the team's success. Given that, the choice becomes obvious.

Edge: Gretzky

Ice Skating

Look, if Jordan even owns a pair of skates, it's news to me.

Edge: Gretzky

Number of Times Not in a Movie Called Space Jam

This is a little confusing, but here's how it breaks down:

  • There is only one movie called Space Jam.
  • Michael Jordan is in this movie.
  • Wayne Gretzky is not in this movie.

Therefore, it follows that out of all the opportunities to not be in a movie called Space Jam, Jordan has done so 0 times, whereas Gretzky has not been in Space Jam once. Make sense? Anyway:

Edge: Gretzky

There you have it. I bet you thought it would be a lot closer, but any way you slice it—from Stanley Cups to non-Space Jams—Gretzky comes out on top. If you have any thoughts or comments on my judgement here, be sure to keep them completely to yourself. I consider this argument settled and do not wish to discuss.

Join upcoming comedy classes in Satire & Sketch Writing, Improv, and Stand-Up.