My favorite player growing up was Allan Houston but once he suffered a career ending injury I became marveled by LeBron around 2009. He dons a Chosen One tattoo and he proclaimed himself the GOAT after coming from behind to beat the 73-9 Golden State Warriors 2016. When LeBron wraps up his career the only player in NBA history that will have a valid argument for the GOAT crown is LeBron James. Michael Jordan is seen as the GOAT, marketing through movies and commercials made Michael Jordan global and once he became more unselfish in the 1990’s under a new coaching staff boasting Phil Jackson and Tex Winters. I was not old enough to remember Michael going through his first 3-peat but I do recall how convinced everyone was in the late 1990’s that he is the Babe Ruth of basketball. Back to LeBron, I’d say 25 percent of NBA fans would say LeBron is the greatest basketball player of all-time I would fall into that 25 percent but I do believe he needs to win at least 5 titles with 5 Finals MVP’s to have a more convincing argument as the greatest ever.
LeBron James has been fantastic in these playoffs but you can make the argument Anthony Davis has been the best player on the Lakers this season. I watch LeBron out there through these first 3 rounds and I don’t see a sense of urgency, it really does seem like the Lakers’s offense is running through Anthony Davis. Is LeBron James taking the backseat to Anthony Davis that Dwyane Wade took for LeBron James? I remember Dwyane Wade’s decline he wasn’t as quick and strong as he was when he was younger, LeBron James is coming down on fast-breaks and he is looking to pass much more than he did his days in Miami. Can LeBron James win a Finals MVP as a second option behind Anthony Davis? Will LeBron James take charge of the series against the Denver Nuggets and go for 40-50 points if needed? Those are questions I keep asking myself and if LeBron wants to strengthen his case as the greatest he needs to have big time performances. A 30 point triple double in Game 3 was impressive but LeBron did not wake up till the fourth quarter. Consistent scoring through 4 quarters has always been a problem for LeBron James, the 2014 NBA Finals and 2017 NBA Finals were a perfect example.
Kevin Durant was consistently scoring and LeBron James would disappear when the presure hit in the 4th quarter against the Golden State Warriors but the stats will show you how he lead in almost every category. 2014 I recall LeBron getting off to hot starts against the Spurs and his scoring would decrease quarter by quarter and LeBron became passive. I comprehend basketball is a team sport and LeBron is a pass first player at heart, but in order to win a 4th championship he will have to tap into his inner Jordan like he did in 2012 in pursuit of his first NBA title. With his back against the wall down 3-2 in Boston LeBron scored 45 points and sucked the air out of the building. The back to back 41 point games down 3-1 2016? That is what we need to see over the next 2-3 years from LeBron for him to become the greatest ever. Michael Jordan never left it up to Scottie Pippen to take over a series and never shied away from the moment that is why he is looked at as the greatest of all-time. LeBron James can’t afford to lose in these playoffs, the stage is set and he must deliver a title in dominant fashion.
To conclude, LeBron has always marveled me as a athlete,his brute force,court-vision, and guard skill-set in a 6’9 250-260 frame has been so unique to watch over the past 16-17 years but some believe LeBron will never touch Michael as a competitor. We can’t blame Michael Jordan for who he faced during his runs, most LeBron fans would say he has played against bigger,faster,stronger,and more skilled athletes but the game is different now with less physicality. I’ve always been an advocate of not being able to change people and believe me I wanted LeBron to shoot 30-40 times every game but he is not wired to play that game. Michael Jordan had a responsibility to score the basketball and be the leading scorer every night or he would not win. LeBron James would prefer to lean on Anthony Davis to be the leading scorer, that is something Michael Jordan never had to do. To sum it all up, LeBron James needs to dominate the next 3 years and win 3 straight titles to surpass Michael Jordan.