I’m going to go out on a limb here, LeBron James is a great basketball player . However, knowing his personality, do we call him the greatest of all time?
Let’s look at some of the facts. Historically he’s had trouble dealing with coaches. He didn’t necessarily get along with Mike Brown, he definitely did not get along with Tyronn Lue or Erik Spoelstra and we suspect he got David Blatt fired. Now he’s feuding with Luke Walton in his short time in Los Angeles. Sure you can argue Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant each played for the greatest coach of all time, but do you ever remember them getting a coach fired, at any level?
Now let’s look at his loyalty. He left Cleveland to join and form the first ever super team (allegedly) with his best friend. He then went back to Cleveland and did indeed win them a title (great accomplishment) but once again left them, this time for the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles. Jordan only left the Bulls because he retired and going to the Bulls upon his return was not an option. Jordan also never formed any kind of super team, at least not on purpose. The Bulls got him good pieces in place but nothing like we see with Golden State or Miami from the LeBron years.
Meanwhile Kobe played his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, they got him Shaquille O’Neal but that relationship was always in turmoil (it seemed) and deep down I believe Kobe would have preferred going against great players not joining them.
Another point is his focus off the court. This doesn’t make him a bad person or man or even diminish his basketball accolades, but it does bring into question how much actually winning titles is important to him. Many people often wonder if he’s working on his brand more than he’s working on his team winning a title. Moving to LA certainly didn’t help that impression, especially considering his title chances were better in Cleveland right now.
Lastly let’s look at how he gets along with other players…. this may be his best attribute in fact. Early in Cleveland he had a mediocre supporting cast that he made much better (and he likes to pass). His issues with Kyrie Irving have surfaced that maybe Kyrie was part of the problem. So I don’t see his relationships with teammates keeping him from being the GOAT. Jordan’s infamous practice etiquette will either make the GOAT race even out in LeBron’s favor, or be the final verdict in claiming Jordan as the GOAT..it just comes down to your personal taste.
Whatever the answer may be we can’t ignore the fact that currently his Lakers are missing the playoffs, he’s feuding with his coach and he’s single-handedly decimated the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise by leaving again.
Readers may think I’m crazy for even posing this question but the razor-thin margin between him, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and more leaves no room for simply comparing stats. These were all great players with great stats and great accolades.
This season may be a humbling test and possibly even fuel his fire. The Lakers are in trouble and we may just see how desperate LeBron becomes, or maybe he becomes a rock. Does he insist on Lakers management unloading the bank and forming an All-Star team or does he mentor young talent and try and do it organically? Time will tell and this man is under a huge microscope….and if he cares whether or not he’s considered the GOAT he may want to consider doing what some would call impossible – turn this current roster into a title contender. One thing is for sure, whatever he does will likely be frowned upon. If he tries to mold this current roster we can assume they never get out of the West. If he asks management to load the roster, he’ll get criticized for that.
GOAT or not, he’s definitely earning his salary.
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About the Author:
Beck is owner, janitor, author and show host on 12 oz Sports Radio. Catch his periodic articles and online.
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