Basketball

LeBron James Legacy Today and Tomorrow

LeBron James
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 18: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers scores on a layup past Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half at Staples Center on January 18, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Is LeBron James already the GOAT?

“That one right there made me the greatest player of all-time. That’s what I felt.” – LeBron James

LeBron James is arguable the best NBA player to walk Mother Earth so far. He possesses all the skills needed to consistently maintain greatness. James can score 40 points on any giving night, or he can score 25 points, get 10 assists, a few steals, and a game-winning block. His game shows up every time he walks on the court, there are no off nights for Lebron. But as LeBron approaches 40 years of age, what can we say about his legacy today? What can we say if he wins it all this year? what can we say if he reaches six rings like Michael Jordan?

In many circles of society, LeBron can retire today and be ranked as the best to ever do it. But in many circles that number one spot belongs to Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan and many say that James doesn’t have the resume to stack against those two. Winning four NBA Finals is no easy task, but losing six NBA Finals is no easy task also, especially if you’re the best to ever do it. So where do we rank LeBron James today if he retired today after releasing Space Jam?

In my book and by others, LeBron is ranked number three. Behind Jordan and Bryant, and it wouldn’t be because of rings won, more because of rings lost. It would be because of the lack of share dominance he holds in the NBA Finals. Jordan’s 6-0 finals record is still as shiny today as it was in the late 90s. Kobe’s 5-2 NBA Finals record says that she showed up every time. LeBron’s 4-6 record feels like he got lucky in the four he won, except the 3-1 comeback, he earned that.

This is not a LeBron James diss. This is modesty. The two Miami Heat rings felt less than what they were. That’s because NBA fans knew the Heat were the best team in the league the day James signed. To many fans, including myself it felt like a disappointment not seeing Miami winning four straight rings. Yet, winning a ring in Cleveland changed everything. Not only was this a childhood goal of James, but the fashion it had to be done in solidified LeBron in the G.O.A.T debate. Coming back from down 3-1 in the Finals had never been done before and the NBA was changing into a sharpshooters league. LeBron James had to will himself along with Kyrie Irving to deliver Cleveland the crown jewel of the NBA, the NBA Championship.

LeBron James is not done. Many may dislike the bubble championship and create narratives for why the Lakers won, but that is exactly what happened, the Laker won. That leaves LeBron at four rings. With the addition of Russell Westbrook, LeBron is back in the conversation of reaching his fifth ring. LeBron James fans could say he has nothing else to prove, I say four rings is not enough to be the G.O.A.T so the Lakers need to win another ring if we’re going to call LeBron James the best to ever do it, and not just one more ring, LeBron needs six rings and has to show utter dominance to reach the level of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Six rings over two different eras of basketball show the world that he can dominant any giving game in any giving era and that it when we have to call him King James forever.

If anyone can do it, LeBron can. He has all the pieces around him to make the game easier on him. He has a post scorer, another ball-handler, and a championship-winning head coach. The rest is up to him. LeBron James has to shore more of his greatness now more than ever with a likely Laker-Nets NBA Finals, possibly winning his last rings against the person he won his first rings against. LeBron’s legacy is just beginning.

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