Is LeBron the best ever?
No player in sports history has endured the same criticism as LeBron James. Even when he was balling out in his high school days, LeBron was touted to be the next Michael Jordan. But has he done enough to be considered the Greatest of All Time? Here we’ll take a look at some of the factors surrounding the debate and whether they swing in LeBron’s favour or not.
As it stands, Michael Jordan leads the line with the most impressive NBA championship run. Six years. Six Championships. Six Finals MVPs. Nobody even comes close to that feat. But there are a lot of moving factors to discuss. For instance, during his finals run, Jordan never faced a team with more than 2 all stars on the roster. To say Jordan had it easy is a misconception, but it still must be noted that arguably the best player ever never played against a fit-to-rival team.
LeBron on the other hand, has had the odds stacked against him numerous times. In his fourth year in the league, at the tender age of just 22, LeBron led the Cavaliers to their first ever appearance in the NBA Finals. Carrying the team on his back, LeBron suffered a clean sweep of losses to the San Antonio Spurs. For Jordan fans, this is where their argument begins as they claim MJ would never have let his team be swept in the finals. However, MJ didn’t reach the Finals until he was 28 years old and was accompanied by fellow NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. LeBron did not have the experience nor the firepower to fight off the Spurs, but to reach the Finals at such a young age as the star player is something that must be looked at.
As the years went on, LeBron suffered more finals heartache with the Cavs and made the move to Miami. There, he engrained his name in history when he won his first and second championship alongside D Wade. When LeBron hit his peak, he moved back to Cleveland and delivered the city their first sporting championship in over 60 years. That feat alone is impressive, but it is made even sweeter when you look at the opposition. The Golden State Warriors were led by future Hall of Famer Klay Thompson, one of the best defenders in the league in Draymond Green and Steph Curry – the greatest shooter of all time.
On top of these noteworthy wins lies LeBron’s most recent victory – the 2020 NBA Championship. Life in the bubble could not have been easy. In order to win this season, LeBron became what can only be described as his third peak in his career. He dominated the Lakers playoff run and ended with yet another Finals MVP.
LeBron at his peak was so good, that organisations needed to create super teams in order to compete with him. The Warriors got the best out of LeBron’s peak, but all eyes are now on the Brooklyn Nets to take home the next championship. If you want to argue that LeBron should’ve won more championships to be in the discussion of GOAT talk, then looking at the opposition he faced must be debated.
In the regular season, it can be argued LeBron has been harshly let down by votes. Even with 4 regular season MVPs, Bron has pipped the post on a number of occasions. And it can be argued that he should have deserved more recognition. Most recently, last year’s MVP was given to reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, but a lot of fans say LeBron was hard-done by and rightly so.
With 4 Finals wins, James has picked up the Finals MVP award each time. If he were to win another championship while picking up the MVP again, LeBron status as the greatest will have to be given the green light. Simply for the longevity of his career and for the opponents he came up against, LeBron must be recognised as the greatest of all time once he wins again this year. Longevity is the key here for LeBron because even though players like MJ and Magic fought at the top for years, none of them have the resume of James dating back for 18 years of constant title contention. It all hangs on this year for LeBron. If he can hold off the super team in Brooklyn, he should win another ring and MVP. This will surely silence LeBron haters and cement him as the GOAT.