LeBron James dominates the game with his size and strength, and puts up very gaudy numbers. He is a phenomenal athlete and defines the word athlete in every possible way. But what defines the greatest of all time? Here's what I think, you have to at least be considered in the conversation in all of these aspects in order to be put in the greatest of all time.
- Best one-on-one player
- Great on the ball defender
- Best teammate/Make your teammates better/Have a good team around you
- Most clutch
- Possess all the offensive skills necessary to score on anyone
- Win championships
- Receive superstar treatment from the referees
Kobe Bryant , Lebron James, and Dwayne Wade possess most, but not all of these traits. You can argue about it if you want, but Wade is not the best teammate for the Heat , nor does he have all the offensive skills. Lebron doesn't have all the offensive skills, or championships (yet), and would not even be considered to be the top five clutch players of all time. Kobe arguably isn't the best teammate ever, but he has gotten much better than in previous years with the Lakers so he is getting close. If you want to break it down further try putting Kobe, MJ, Lebron, and Wade in the low post. Tell me which one of them will score on the best defenders of all time regardless of position or height. I will speak on what I have seen, and that's Kobe and MJ posting up and scoring on ANY defender in the low post. So as for Wade and Lebron, I haven't seen those skills yet. In fact I wouldn't even put Lebron in the Top 20 of the best low-post players in the game, Kobe and Jordan have proven they can at least be in that conversation. I'm not even sure Lebron can play with his back to the basket consistently because what are the highlights that you see from Lebron, fastbreak dunks (no defenders), driving into the lane, and the occasional long range shot.
Lebron may be considered one of the greatest athletes to play in any sport, so as a sports fan you have to respect that possibility. But if you are just talking about basketball, Lebron is not even close to being the greatest. I mean picture the four players mentioned playing a game of one on one against each other and give me an honest opinion. Who has the most skills and likeliness to win the game, my list would go Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, Wade. In a one on one, you're not going to get all that room to drive into the lane, and you're not going to get a ref calling for a hand check, so you are going to be forced to get into the low post, forced to play with your back to the basket, forced to take the deep shot, forced to show the depth of your game.
All of them play excellent defense with slight variations, but offensively you can't even say Lebron or Wade has the skills that Jordan or Kobe have, you just can't. And if that is true then the first two are not in the conversation of the second two when it comes to being considered all-time. Now I have eliminated Lebron and Wade from the conversation which only leaves Kobe to be compared to Jordan. To end my portion of the debate, I want you guys to consider the NBA of old, and the NBA of new. You can say that the refs blow thw whistle when anyone breathes on Lebron, Kobe, Jordan, or Wade, but Jordan dominated the game in the hand check era, and also the pre-3 second in the key era with the Knicks and Pistons taking advantage of that. Consider how important those two rules were in changing the NBA forever, hand checking is what would keep Lebron from driving into the lane like he does, and that is the reason none of you have seen a player ever play like Leborn does because only in the new NBA could you ever be let into the lane without effort, ball handling skills, and finesse. The 3-in-the-key rule keeps the big men in the game from standing in the paint all day, and Jordan played in the era where if you took it in the paint, you were guaranteed to be met with a big man down low because there was no three second rule. Kobe and Lebron play in the modern NBA, and I don't care if the players of old were even physically or athletically capable of guarding Lebron or Kobe. If hand checking were allowed, I would like to see what Lebron would do then because I know Kobe has other ways of scoring where Lebron does not. But those two aforementioned rules are what seperates Jordan from Kobe, and thus Michael "Air" Jordan is the greatest player of all time.
Here's a video that shows the NBA of old, if you need to refresh your memory, or if you are too young to have seen. Then besides "witnessing" Lebron, try witnessing this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2JG1AFFTnk
Lets see the Cavaliers , Heat, or any team currently in the playoffs go up against the goons of old school NBA.