Since entering the NBA out of high school as the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, LeBron James has more than lived up to the lofty expectations, emerging as a generational player and, for many, possibly the greatest active player in the league at the moment. However, in a recent appearance on CNBC’s Power Lunch, one of James’ longtime on-court rivals – Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green – had some interesting comments as he talked about what he feels is LeBron’s biggest contribution to the game of basketball.
As quoted by Silver Screen and Roll, Power Lunch host Tyler Mathisen opined that the 2019-20 season has stood out for the “really very high” levels of anticipation in the lead-up to the first regular-season games. While Mathisen acknowledged that the annual draft and summer league play have helped make the NBA a “year-round conversation topic” for sports fans, he also observed that the “really significant” player movement that took place in the summer of 2019 was a major driving factor behind this phenomenon.
Reacting to Mathisen’s observations, Green agreed that “a lot” of people have indeed been talking about the NBA these days and credited this mainly to James. He suggested that James showed other NBA players that they have the power to control their own futures in the league by choosing where they want to play and who they want to team up with.
“We’ve taken control of our destiny. And I think a lot of people hate that but I think that’s one of – you know, everybody celebrates LeBron for his basketball career and the things he’s been able to accomplish. I think the doors that he’s opened for athletes and especially basketball players is his biggest accomplishment.”
Although Silver Screen and Roll wrote that the above statement is “debatable” because everyone has their own ideas of what constitutes achievement, the publication agreed that James truly made an impact by making it “more accepted” for players to look out for their best interests in free agency. Not surprisingly, Silver Screen and Roll noted that James’ decision to join the Miami Heat in free agency in 2010 after seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers was most likely what set the precedent for players gaining greater control of their destinies when it comes to free agency and trades.
Furthermore, Silver Screen and Roll opined that James’ impact on player movement in the NBA is similar to how some of the NBA’s legends of the past affected the game outside of their on-court contributions. Among other examples, the outlet cited Boston Celtics icon Larry Bird, whose namesake “Bird rights” now allow teams to exceed the salary cap after re-signing certain players.
In addition to how James has arguably influenced many players to orchestrate their own moves to their preferred teams – while often bringing other star players along with them – the 34-year-old Los Angeles Lakers superstar has also more than made his name off-court through his charitable work. As reported by The Inquisitr, James opened the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, last year, in an effort to provide quality education to at-risk children from “challenging” backgrounds.