LeBron James – Appreciate Greatness
In today’s NBA, it’s very difficult to listen to an NBA broadcast or show without someone alluding to the LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan comparison. The conversation is very intriguing, that a majority of fans spend a lot of their time debating. This article, however, is not an argument about who the greatest of all time is. In sports, often times we focus too much on comparing athletes rather than respecting and enjoying their individual greatness. That is the purpose of this article. To take a minute to respect the individual greatness of LeBron James.
Whether or not you believe that James is the greatest player of all time, it’s not debatable that he is a once in a lifetime player. James is unlike any other player we have seen in the NBA. The combination of size, strength, and speed at which he plays is simply breathtaking. On numerous occasions, you will hear analysts refer to him as the all-around best player this league has ever seen. And this is true. There is nothing that James cannot do on the court. He can score, assist, rebound, defend, and lead; not to mention all of the other intangibles that do not show up in the box score.
One of the most underplayed aspects in regards to the greatness of James is his longevity. Here are a couple stats to put this into perspective. James is the only player in NBA history to record 27,000+ points, 7,000+ assists, and 7,000+ rebounds. He achieved this accomplishment during last season. Meaning, he has two-to-four really good seasons left to further that gap on something that has never been done before. Most players start to break records towards the tail end of their career, but James has been breaking records during his prime. Which leads to the next point.
LeBron James has had the longest prime of any player in history. In year two, James was third in the league in points per game, and sixth in assists per game. Since that point, James has been a top-five player in the league with a majority of that time as the undisputed best player on the planet. At the end of last season, James became the first player to record 13 consecutive seasons with 25 or more points per game. It does not look like that streak is going to end this year.
LeBron James Now
Looking at James right now, fans have the opportunity of witnessing one of the most incredible careers in NBA history. In his 15th season, James has gone to seven straight finals and, led the league in minutes played last season. Even with all of that against him, he has put together maybe his best season that we have seen. In 21 games played this season, he is at 28.2 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, and 8.3 assists per game, while shooting 58 percent from the field. All of those happen to be above his current career averages.
To put this in perspective, in year 15, Magic Johnson was retired, Larry Bird was retired, and Michael Jordan averaged 20 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, and 3.8 assists per game on 45 percent shooting. It is simply incredible that James has been able to keep up this level of play for so long.
At the end of the day, fans are going to debate and anoint their own personal greatest of all time. For some, James is the greatest of all time, but that is a discussion for another time. These constant comparisons get in the way of what is happening right now. And right now we have the privilege of watching one of the greatest to ever play the game of basketball. Let’s not take it for granted.
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