LeBron James is playing in his 14th career NBA season. At the age of 32, he has already left a legacy but still has more to leave.
In a few weeks, he will play in yet another year of NBA playoffs. His goal is to be the best that has ever played the game. As LeBron James said last summer in an interview with Sports Illustrated, “My motivation is this ghost I’m chasing. The ghost played in Chicago.” LeBron James is clearly referring to chasing after Michael Jordan’s title as the best.
LeBron James also told Sports Illustrated,
“My career is totally different than Michael Jordan’s. What I’ve gone through is totally different than what he went through. What he did was unbelievable, and I watched it unfold. I looked up to him so much. I think it’s cool to put myself in position to be one of those great players, but if I can ever put myself in position to be the greatest player, that would be something extraordinary.”
Last year, LeBron James came one step closer to becoming the best. His team was down 3-1 about to head back on the road to play the Golden State Warriors at home. The Warriors had 73 wins that season, the most in history, and were on a current 54 game home winning streak. The odds were certainly against him.
However, he did what the greatest do. He rose to the occasion and led his team to the eventual NBA Championship. In games five and six he carried his team on his back and scored 41 points each game. In game seven, he had a triple double with the iconic poster block with seconds to play.
LeBron may have had the best Finals in history, even greater than Jordan’s six Finals. LeBron James led both teams in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. The argument continues to build for why Lebron James could be the best player of all time.
Although LeBron James now has three titles to his name, Jordan has six. He held a flawless 6-0 record when it came to his Finals’ appearances. Jordan had more talent and support surrounding him the years he was playing. Even when Jordan retired for the first time to play baseball, his team still made the playoffs. After LeBron left Cleveland for Miami, his team was by far one of the worst teams in the league.
Michael Jordan could have won an extra championship or two if he didn’t take off the two years to play baseball. These are all hypothetical scenarios, and when deciding the best NBA player, the argument should not be about the hypothetical scenarios. It is best to simply check the facts.
LeBron still has a few more years to prove his legacy but these years are not going to be easy. The already-great Golden State Warriors signed an MVP over the offseason. The Cleveland team that barely scraped by in last year’s NBA Finals will now have to compete against an even better team this year. The Warriors are a team of All-Stars, and their track record proves it. No other team comes close.
LeBron James has proved time and time again he is the best player in the league right now. He has won four MVPs to Michael Jordan’s five. However, the years LeBron didn’t win the MVP was only because everyone knew he was the best, but someone else should be given a chance at the renowned title. Last year was a great example of this. Though Curry won the MVP, LeBron dominated defensively in the Finals. LeBron again proved his athletic prowess, and certainly his legacy is not completely written yet.
At age 32, LeBron may not be at the peak of his physical ability but he may be at the peak of his playing ability. Year after year, LeBron shows how smart of a basketball player he has become. He tirelessly works on his efficiency and improvements needed in his game. LeBron may be chasing a ghost, but perhaps it is a ghost that can be caught.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]