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Stephen A. Smith Says LeBron James Is Still The Best Player In The World

(via Mental Floss)

(via Mental Floss)

For almost two whole decades, LeBron James has dominated the basketball world. 15 All-Star selections, 4 NBA MVP's, 15 All-NBA selections, and 3 NBA Championships in 16 seasons. It has been a miraculous run.

But this past season for the Lakers has presented, perhaps, the biggest challenge yet for James.

In a new environment, with the lights shining brightest, the superstar was placed with a young team who still hadn't found their way in the league yet. A toxic locker room culture, a front-office who had no clue what they were doing, and a slew of unfortunate injuries made it nearly impossible for James and the Lakers to meet expectations.

As a result, folks looked at "The King," with eyes ready to remove him from the pedestal of greatness he had occupied for years. No longer, people said, was James the best in the game -- it was Giannis, it was KD, and some thought it was the reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

If you ask Stephen A. Smith, he'll tell you why that honor still goes to the 34-year-old Laker.

“LeBron is better than Kawhi,” Smith said during “First Take” on Thursday. “LeBron is better than the Greek Freak. LeBron James is still the best player in the world.

“The only evidence you have, Max, is the fact that he wasn’t participating in the postseason and they were. Injury should not take away the mantle. If you were injured and you weren’t playing, let’s see what you have when you come back.”

It is true that Kawhi, Giannis, and the field made it into the postseason while LeBron (for the first time in years) did not. It is also true that injuries played a significant role in that situation, with James missing a total of 27 games in the 2018-19 season.

Had LeBron and other key players on the roster stayed healthy, it seems reasonable to expect that they would have made the playoffs.

So, this will be the test. With Anthony Davis and a revamped roster, there are no more excuses for The King if he stays healthy. He must find success this season, or face the permanent retirement of his title as the best in the game.