Many regard Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all time, and for good reason. Jordan won 6 NBA titles during his stint with the Bulls, and no player in NBA history has dominated the league quite as he did in his prime. But LeBron James has consistently proven to be the most dominant small forward ever, and the only thing truly standing in his way of reaching or even surpassing Jordan as the king of the NBA is the number of rings.
If LeBron captures his 5th NBA title this season with the Lakers, it might finally be time to submit to The King as the best player to have ever lived. James has too much evidence, stats and talent to be ignored. 5 rings will place LeBron ahead of Michael Jordan as the GOAT, and here is the argument why.
LeBron’s Longevity Is Unprecedented
LeBron James has pled 18 seasons in the NBA and has recently made his 17th straight All-Star Team which is the most in NBA history. LeBron has dominated the league since he came into the league in 2003, which of course resulted in the Rookie of the Year Award. James has remained consistent around his career averages of 27.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 7.4 APG. James is a triple-double threat every single night, and he has averaged over 20 PPG during each season of his career.
James has been consistent every single season and has actually found ways to improve his game with time. Early on in his career, James was an athletic phenom that got to the rim anytime he wants and he struggled with his shot. As he matured, James became a more consistent jump shooter which allowed him to win the number of titles he has now. LeBron has no weakness anymore, draining 37.8% from three this season. Despite being 36 years of age, James is still one of the most physically dominant players in the NBA, and nowhere comes close to his basketball IQ. James can possibly play 20 seasons before he hangs it up, and no player in history matches LeBron’s longevity including Michael Jordan or even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
LeBron Has Some Advantages Over Michael Jordan
LeBron's impact on the game is undeniable. Whether it's on the court or off the court, no player has the tools that LeBron has. Off the court, he is as pristine as one can get. Almost every single great player has some sort of off-court legal issue, but LeBron James doesn't have a single one. But LeBron James is truly one of a kind on the basketball court.
His basketball I.Q. is second to none, and he might be the best passer ever despite naturally playing the forward position. James has found a way to use his athletic gifts to dominate the game while his mind leads the way. LeBron knows every play, can make any adjustments, and knows how to win games. As athletically gifted Michael was, LeBron might be the most athletic star in NBA history. He is built like Karl Malone but moves like Julius Erving. He can jump out of the building and is a powerhouse around the rim. That is why LeBron’s accolades are hard to ignore. His career stat line is 27.0PPG, 7.5 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, and 0.8 BPG while shooting 50.4%. LeBron has a record 16 All-NBA Selections, 17 All-Star Selections, 6 All-Defensive Team Selections, 4 MVPs, and the Rookie of the Year Award. 5 Rings and a 5th Finals MVP would be too much for any player to come close, especially considering that LeBron ranks 3rd all-time in points behind Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. LeBron also ranks 8th all-time in assists, and the 7 players in front of him are all point guards. The King might also catch Kareem for first in points scored, which would be yet another achievement that was previously regarded as impossible.
Lastly, no player has had to carry pressure like LeBron James, even Michael Jordan. James was the most hyped high school prospect in the country, and many were immediately comparing him to a hybrid of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson before he stepped foot on an NBA court. LeBron took that pressure on his shoulders for 18 years and counting, and he has performed admirably. No player has been criticized like LeBron either, with the media looking at every detail in his life. The fact that LeBron James has these accolades to his name while carrying the amount of pressure he has is suitable for a GOAT.
The 3-1 Comeback, Then Defeating The Most Talented Superteam Ever
LeBron James completed arguably the most incredible postseason comeback in NBA history by fighting off a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA title in 2016. James and the Cavaliers had their backs against the wall, with a 3-1 hole against unanimous MVP Stephen Curry and the sharpshooting Warriors that finished 73-9. LeBron’s legacy was in deep trouble, and many thought he would never have a sniff at Jordan’s throne ever again. But James did the impossible.
He put up sensational performance after sensational performance, averaging 29.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 8.9 APG, 2.6 SPG, and 2.3 BPG. LeBron James also pulled off the game-saving play in Game 7 known as “The Block’, where he ran the length of the floor to block an Andre Iguodala layup to keep the Cavs in the game. Nobody in the world thought LeBron would come back from this deficit, but he did the unthinkable and brought home an NBA title to the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise.
If LeBron James can have the opportunity to defeat yet another superteam in the Brooklyn Nets, no player would have LeBron’s Finals heroics. The Nets have 3 of the top-10 scorers in the NBA right now in Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. While LeBron has Anthony Davis with him, 3 always outmatches 2. If LeBron can do the unthinkable yet again, he would have to be placed as the greatest of all time as a superstar with 5 NBA rings and 2 massive Finals victories.