LeBron James has some historical achievements in his career including being the best player on the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals in 2016. James also has 4 MVPs, 4 NBA titles, and 4 Finals MVPs.
But if LeBron James can manage to guide the Los Angeles Lakers to a victory against the Brooklyn Nets in the Finals this season, he will surpass Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all time. While many claim Jordan is the greatest to have ever lived, LeBron's victory over Brooklyn solidifies him as the best player ever, and here are the reasons why.
3. The Lakers Have A Ton Of Quality Contenders To Play Against
Brooklyn is clearly the favorite. But there are a host of other teams with tremendous talent in LeBron's own conference, and even in the East.
In the West, the Utah Jazz are the best team in the NBA right now. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are leading the Jazz to the best record in the league, and the team currently ranks 3rd in scoring and 2nd in rebounds. The Jazz are no pushovers, and head coach Quin Snyder could be the favorites for Coach of the Year.
The Los Angeles Clippers are also a massive title contender thanks to the duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Clippers are 3rd in the Western Conference right now, ranking 6th in scoring and 7th in field goal percentage. The Clippers can dominate both ends of the floor and are very efficient, especially with the addition of "Playoff" Rajon Rondo.
Even the Phoenix Suns are a difficult team to play against thanks to the offseason addition of Chris Paul, while the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets can easily make the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers have a lot to overcome, especially without a top-2 seed in the West.
2. LeBron James Overcomes Adversity And Injury Concerns To Beat The Favorite Team
The Brooklyn Nets are the favorites in the NBA, especially with the recent additions of Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. The accumulation of All-Stars on one team is clearly to stack the deck to win the chip, to solidify their legacies as players. LeBron has to overcome this adversity.
Perhaps more recently, LeBron will have to lead the Lakers at 36-years old. James has lost half a step with his stamina and physical ability, and the burden he has to carry with his playmaking and leadership is unprecedented. Adding to that, he is nursing a leg injury, and not being 100% healthy at his age is adversity he has to overcome.
Most importantly, Anthony Davis will enter the playoffs after missing multiple weeks with an injury. Davis is the most consistent scorer on the Lakers due to his age and skill, and if the Lakers don't have a healthy Davis, there is no shot. LeBron has to lead the team despite injury concerns of Davis, which ultimately means lower seeding. Despite not holding one of the top two seeds in the West, if LeBron defeats Brooklyn, he will be the GOAT.
1. Taking Down Golden State And Brooklyn Is Historically Great
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit against the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. The Warriors had an undisputed MVP in Stephen Curry, arguably the second-best shooter in Klay Thompson, and a Defensive Player of the Year in Draymond Green. The Warriors were up 3-1, but LeBron turned into an unstoppable force.
James finished the series averaging 29.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 8.9 APG, 2.6 SPG, and 2.3 BPG. LeBron had help from Kyrie Irving who hit the game-winner in Game 7, but LeBron captured Finals MVP and carried Cleveland in the series. Following that up with a victory over the most talented team in NBA history would place him as the greatest Finals performer ever.
The Nets have 6 All-Stars in Durant, Harden, Irving, Jordan, Griffin, and Aldridge. The Lakers have 3 with James, Davis, and Drummond but they do not match up with the Nets. Even if the Lakers have Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell as well, Brooklyn's talent is much greater. Durant is 2-1 against LeBron James in the Finals, with 2 victories with Golden State and a loss with the Thunder.
James exacting revenge against Durant would be iconic, along with defeating Hall of Fame stars in James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Overcoming adversity is what LeBron does best, and he would be the GOAT if he does it this year.