LeBron James is one of the greatest players of all time. He’s also arguably the best small forward in NBA history. However, he’s by no means one of the greatest Lakers ever and that’s a fact. All of those statements are true and can coexist.
That’s why ESPN’s expert’s crew snubbed him off the Los Angeles Lakers’ all-time starting five, along with some other notable omissions like James Worthy, Elgin Baylor, and Wilt Chamberlain.
ESPN then went with Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal to round up the franchise’s greatest starting lineup, which seems pretty fair, to say the least.
However, it definitely raised the question about James’ potential legacy in the purple and gold, and that’s why Jay Williams addressed Get Up! ESPN to reveal what LeBron must do to crack the franchise’s all-time lineup once it’s all said and done:
“He has to win multiple Championships in a Lakers uniform. There’s no way that he’s going to pass Kareem with 5. There’s no way he’s going to pass Kobe Bean Bryant with 5, Magic Johnson with 5, Shaquille O’Neal with 3. The only person that he could potentially eclipse would be ‘Mr. Clutch’ (Jerry West). Now, the thing that works against LeBron James for Mr. Clutch is that Mr. Clutch was a Laker his entire career. He was pretty much an All-Star every single year that he played. The logo, he won a Championship in 1972 (…) That’s going to be a hard feat to accomplish but I think that he’ll be the only one he’ll be able to potentially do if he were to win two Championships in the next couple of years and that’s still going to be a far stretch” Williams claimed.
LeBron is still playing at his best but he’s already finishing his 17th season. He’s not getting any younger and winning NBA Championships isn’t easy, especially coming out of the West. But hey, if someone can do it, even towards the sunset of his career, that’s definitely LeBron James.