In the last 10 or so years there have been many debates in basketball about Lebron’s status among the greatest. Where does he rank among the greatest NBA players of all time? Is Lebron top 10 as of right now? Is he top 5 or even the Greatest of All Time? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section upon reading.
A few years back the idea of Lebron being the greatest of all time wasn’t a serious thought simply due to the fact that he needed to build and stack his resume. Now that Lebron James is entering his 13th year in the NBA a case can be made that he at least deserves a top ten spot amongst the Greatest NBA players of all time.
To call Lebron James one of the Greatest we must first define what greatness is. Greatness is measured not only by an individual’s skill and physical talent, but also by what I define as “tangibles.” The literal definition of tangible is something that can be physically touched, like an award. In basketball certain tangibles are MVP awards, Scoring title awards, All-Star MVP awards or of course an NBA Championship, to name a few. The most important tangibles are NBA Championships, Finals MVPs, MVPs, and Scoring Titles. Also there are certain honorary tangibles like All-Star Game participation, All NBA first Team, All Defensive First Team, etc.
By setting these standards it is easier to list your top ten Greatest of all time. Lets take a look at mine for example.
Top Ten w/ Lebron James:
- Michael Jordan; 6 Championships, 6 Finals MVPs, 5 MVPs, 10 scoring titles, etc.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar; 6 Championships, 2 Finals MVPs, 6 MVPs, 2 scoring titles, etc.
Magic Johnson; 5 Champions, 3 Finals MVPs, 3 MVPs, 4 time assist leader, etc.
Shaquille O’neal; 4 Championships, 3 Finals MVPs, 1 MVP, 2 scoring titles, etc.
Bill Russell; 11 Championships, 5 MVPs, 4 time rebounding champion, etc.
Kobe Bryant; 5 championships, 2 Finals MVPs, 1 MVP, 2 scoring titles, etc.
Larry Bird; 3 Championships, 2 Finals MVPs, 3 MVPs, 1 All-Star MVP, etc.
Tim Duncan; 5 Championships, 3 Finals MVPs, 2 MVPs, 1 All-Star MVP, etc.
Wilt Chamberlain; 2 Championships, 1 Final MVP, 4 MVPs, 7 scoring titles, etc.
Lebron James; 2 Championships, 2 Finals MVPs, 4 MVPs, 1 scoring title, etc.
Hakeem Olajuwon; 2 Championships, 2 Finals MVPs, 1 MVP, 3 time block leader, etc.
By looking at the top ten list you can see that the players are not listed necessarily based on their awards and NBA championships, but by their Greatness. From a brief look at each player’s career you can understand the reason behind their spot on the list (even if your list might be different). Michael Jordan in addition to his overall dominance in the 90s he was considered, by most, the most skilled player playing in the NBA from 1987-1998, even during the period he was playing baseball. Now Jordan is still considered, by most, the best to ever play the game. Kareem Abdul Jabbar dominated in the 70s and continued to help his team win championships in the 80s. He also might be the only player in the history of the NBA who developed an unstoppable shot, maybe besides Dirk Nowitzki. Magic Johnson was one of the main reasons basketball was revived in the 80s his skill and showmanship sold out arenas throughout his career. In addition to that he was not only a triple double machine, but also, in my opinion the greatest passer of all time. The list goes on until we arrive at ten, Lebron James.
Currently, Lebron is at the ten spot, which is pretty good considering the fact that he is not done with his NBA career yet. It was hard for me to put him over Hakeem, but he earned that spot. Lebron James have been known for having the individual skills for years and he has continued to improve his skill. The only thing he was missing was the most important “tangible,” an NBA Championship. Now that he has two championships he no longer be considered subpar or overrated and he has earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath as the All-Time greats.. Not only has he proved to be the most dynamic forward the game has ever seen, he also has a unique combination of strength and speed, not to mention his size at 6’ 8” 250 lbs. And to top it off he now has the accomplishments; MVPs, Finals MVPs, and of course 2 championships. Not to knock Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon, he had any accomplishments, too, however, it pains me to say Lebron’s skill and his resume gives him a small edge over Hakeem “The Dream.” Another fact that helps Lebron’s case, is that he was able to take his team to the finals 6 times. Having lost four of them, the fact that he was able to get there counts for something, not to mention his tremendous effort in the road to the finals and in the finals (with the exception of 2011).
Now, this section is for those out there that believe Lebron James as of right now 2015 is he greatest of all time. In one brief statement your wrong. In my opinion, to call the Lebron James we watch right now the Greatest of all Time is disrespect to those other 8 or 9 people on the list, especially the Greatest of all Time; Michael Jordan. However, if you think Lebron James is the most skilled and talented player of all time (your still wrong in my opinion) then you have a debate.
Tune in for my next article about Lebron skills in comparison to the rest of the Greats. As for now, feel free to comment on the article; your likes and dislikes; your opinions about the Greats; or even share your top ten list.
Article By: Hashim Ashimi