LeBron James is one of the greatest players in NBA history. The King has dominated the NBA for so long, winning 4 NBA titles, 4 Finals MVPs, and 4 MVP Awards with 3 different teams. LeBron is also the greatest small forward to have ever lived, cementing his legacy as an all-time great athlete.
But there are two versions of LeBron James that remain in fans' memories deeply. Miami Heat LeBron James was the most dominant physical specimen in the league and won the first 2 titles of his career. Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James is the smartest player in the world and knows how to win any game. But which LeBron was better? It is time to find out.
Miami Heat LeBron James Won His First Rings, And He Was Completely Unstoppable On Every Level
The King was great ever since his rookie season, but he took it to a different level when he played with the Miami Heat. LeBron James was the best player in the world with Cleveland but he couldn't win a ring. He simply didn't have the experience of getting it done in the brightest moments and he didn't have the best supporting cast either.
With Miami, he had the likes of Dwyane Wade who won an NBA title already and could leverage LeBron to being a champion. In fact, it was Wade who deserves most responsibility for helping LeBron in his career. Still, LeBron was the best player in the world and he averaged 26.9 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 6.7 APG while playing for the Heat. His 37-point Game 7 performance against the San Antonio Spurs in 2013 is still the best performance in his career and it happened with Miami.
Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James Is Smarter Than Anyone In The League, Even With A Slight Loss In Athleticism
The current Lakers LeBron James has experienced a slight decrease in athleticism. The King can't play every game at full throttle like he used to, especially after playing 17 full seasons at the highest possible level. While he isn't as physically dominant as Miami LeBron, James is at his best mentally. James knows when to set up his teammates, when to score, and when to take over the game and be selfish. The King is at his best right now.
We have seen multiple instances where LeBron James single-handedly wins games on his own, the most recent example being his big shot-making against the Boston Celtics in the 96-95 victory a few nights ago. LeBron knows he is the best player in the world and there isn't a better leader in the NBA right now. The King is on his 3rd NBA season so far and he is averaging 26.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 9.1 APG through 144 games with the Purple and Gold.
Playing for a renowned franchise like the Lakers is only fitting because LeBron is the most dominant player in the game and the fact that he won an NBA title in only his 2nd season with the Lakers is a testament to his greatness. But which version of LeBron James is better?
Lakers LeBron James Is The Best Version We Have Seen
When LeBron was in Miami, there wasn't a better physical athlete. James was faster, stronger, and could explode to the rim better than anyone else. Even when James had an off night, which was rare, he could dominate the game physically. His size and athleticism helped him dominate the likes of the Thunder, Spurs, and Pacers no matter the quality defenders he came up against.
James was also a better shooter with Miami than he was in his first stint in Cleveland, averaging 36.9% from three. But Miami LeBron also had hiccups that would never happen to Lakers LeBron. His loss against the Mavericks was due to inexperience, which he has plenty of now. The loss against the Spurs was very telling that he couldn't make adjustments when necessary.
Lakers LeBron knows how to make any adjustment, lead his teammates in the right way, and time his on-court dominance. James is shooting 35.5% from three over his 3 seasons with the Lakers, but he is nailing 40.9% of them this season alone. He is a better shooter without a doubt, and that means he has 0 weaknesses. As physically dominant as Miami LeBron James was, Lakers LeBron James is a smarter player with a more well-versed jumper which gives him the most complete version of The King.