LeBron's 4th NBA title and 4th Finals MVP has placed LeBron James in a special company as an elite player. Most of the younger generation are completely adamant that LeBron James is the single greatest player in NBA history. He is the most recent NBA superstars to have completely owned the league with dominant performances since his rookie season. LeBron James is the single greatest superstar of this era, so it is only natural for NBA fans to make this claim.
While these fans understand basketball very well and are in tune with LeBron's greatness, they seem to underestimate Michael Jordan's greatness on the basketball court mainly because the '90s seem so long ago. The younger generation is seeing LeBron James dominating the sport of basketball and are forgetting what Michael Jordan did before him, or even underestimating the talent MJ had to go through in comparison.
Nonetheless, here are the 5 biggest reasons why modern NBA fans think LeBron James usurps Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all time.
The Greatest Player During The Instagram Era
As a role model and athlete that makes the news every single day, it is no wonder why LeBron is a role model to NBA fans and that boosts his prestige in the argument for the best player ever. Even though many might argue that social media has put pressure on LeBron James due to the widespread criticism, that is simply not true because at the end of the day bad press is always good press. Seeing LeBron in headlines every day is abnormal and at some point, even casual fans will begin to think he is the single greatest basketball figure ever.
Every ridiculous pass or dunk that LeBron performs in games and every detailed statistic he breaks is being made known to the NBA Universe, and that also boosts his credibility. LeBron has his critics and supporters in the media, but both of these serve his purpose in boosting his name among all-time status. Michael Jordan never had to deal with the intense criticism that LeBron faces, and that is true, but they wouldn't have as much to criticize because Jordan never lost in an NBA Finals and certainly never had any flame-out moments. Nonetheless, LeBron's dominance on and off the court during the Instagram Era has led a wide portion of the fanbase to claim LeBron James is the greatest player ever.
NBA Dominance Through Longevity
LeBron is supposed to be known as one of the "old school guys" but he just keeps on playing. LeBron is a transcendent great because he has played and dominated 2 different eras. In year 17 going on to year 18, LeBron James has always been the best player on his team and that has led to 4 NBA titles and 4 Finals MVPs. This kind of sustained dominance while keeping healthy and free of injuries is truly unprecedented.
Younger fans are seeing a type of dedication and sacrifice for the game from LeBron James that is extremely rare, and he has done everything in his power to remain healthy. LeBron has played more playoff games than anybody else in NBA history and ranks third all-time in total points scored. No other player besides Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can make the case that they were the best player ever, and that is why modern fans claim LeBron is the goat.
Who Cares About The '90s?
A third reason modern NBA fans claim LeBron James is the greatest player ever is that who really wants to go back in time 20-30 years to revisit history?
Michael Jordan's name is often brought up in the goat discussion, and before him, it was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, or Wilt Chamberlain. The fact that Jordan's reign in the league was over 20 years ago means it is very difficult to either remember or inform the younger audience. LeBron's greatness is absolutely helped with recency bias, and that is just a part of the game. Most people won't even bring up Kareem or Russell's name in the goat discussion because their time was over 40 years ago. It simply isn't as exciting to go back decades to compare, when a player like LeBron James is breaking records right now.
Since it has been so long that MJ played the game, younger fans might neglect what Michael Jordan had to go through during his NBA career (mainly off-court issues) to achieve what he did in the game. LeBron is so dominant right now that it might block out what everyone else did before him.
Defeating The Golden State Warriors Superteam
The greatest achievement in LeBron's career is often the main argument for fans placing him as the best to ever do it. Down 3-1 against the 73-9 Golden State Warriors, LeBron James and the Cavaliers were in deep trouble. Many expected the Cavaliers to falter but LeBron James (and Kyrie Irving) put on legendary performances to come back and win the series. Incredibly, LeBron James delivered on his promise to bring an NBA title to Cleveland which was truly a great moment in sport's history.
By averaging a monster 29.7 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 8.9 APG, 2.6 BPG, and 2.3 SPG in the NBA Finals, LeBron led the Cavs against the greatest NBA team ever in terms of regular-season wins. In terms of pure adversity in this series, LeBron James came through when it mattered most. LeBron hit a height of productivity during this season which many fans claimed the greatest Finals performance in history.
LeBron's Incredible List Of Accolades And Records
LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to capture 3 Finals MVPs with 3 different teams. The younger fans are seeing one man make any NBA team a title contender as soon as he wears the jersey. Wherever LeBron goes, his team wins. He can be placed on the New York Knicks right now and they will be a contender in the East. LeBron's 10 Finals appearances resulted in 4 NBA titles and 4 Finals MVPs with 3 teams, which boosts his standing as an all-time great player.
LeBron's career stat line is 27.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, and 0.8 BPG while shooting 50.4%. LeBron has a record 16 All-NBA Selections, 16 All-Star Selections, 6 All-Defensive Team Selections, 4 MVPs, and the Rookie of the Year Award. His NBA records include most postseason minutes, most postseason points, and his record of averaging 25 PPG for 15 straight seasons. Not to mention, LeBron James is ranked 3rd in total points scored and 8th in total assists all-time.
Modern NBA fans are seeing a player, like Wilt Chamberlain back in the day, break records every month and using that as a key argument for LeBron James as the GOAT. As great as LeBron James is, and he is among the 5 best to have ever played, he does not match up to Jordan's greatness as a winner and competitor. MJ won 6 Finals MVPs, 10 scoring titles, and never lost a series in an NBA Finals. The younger generation is knowledgeable and correct with LeBron's achievements, but it is hard to argue against the great Michael Jordan.