Stephen A. Smith isn’t ready to hand LeBron James GOAT status, not yet. Instead, the NBA expert is willing to call him second. Here is what he said on a segment on ESPN’s First Take about the subject:
Smith concedes that James is putting on an impressive display this season, averaging a career-high in assists to go along with 25 points and 7.9 rebounds. Unfortunately for LeBron, Smith (and no doubt many others who share the same opinion) are unwilling to put him in front of MJ for what they identify as a lack of “assassin” mentality, or “killer” instinct that was so prevalent in others, including Jordan.
While this mindset is not something that can be quantitatively measured, some would argue that it’s something that displays itself in the biggest on-court moments.
According to Smith, James did not adopt this mentality until he won his first Championship with the Heat in 2012. All those years prior, in Smith’s eyes, makes up the difference in James’ status.
Statistically, Bron is closer than anyone in matching Jordan’s resume. He’s a 3x Champion, 4x MVP, and 15x All-Star. If he continues at this pace, he could very well become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
We will see what the conversation looks like when LeBron finally calls it quits in a few years.