OpinionOpinion: James narrows G.O.A.T. debate with fourth championship

Opinion: James narrows G.O.A.T. debate with fourth championship

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“Who is the greatest basketball player of all time?” This question typically evokes one of two responses from basketball fans: “Michael Jordan” or “Lebron James”. As James celebrates the fourth championship of his career, the answer to the question might now be clear.

Jordan and James are one-of-a-kind players with their own legacies that should each be individually respected. That this debate has been narrowed down to these two players at all is a testament to just how great Jordan and James really are.

Sure, there are plenty of other names that come to mind when talking about great athletes in NBA history, but none have changed the league as much as Jordan and James have. Their fame extends far beyond the basketball court. Both are transcendent, highly marketable superstars that changed the entire landscape of the NBA.

Unfortunately, sports fans love to compare. When this debate inevitably comes up, Jordan’s accolades speak for themselves. In the span of 15 years, he was an All-Star 14 times and won all six of his championship appearances. He finished his career averaging 30 points per game, which is the highest in NBA history. 

James, meanwhile, just finished his 17th season in the NBA. During his career, he has won four MVPs, four championships and made an All-Star team every season except his rookie year. Statistically speaking, James has surpassed Jordan in almost every career totals category. James leads Jordan in points, rebounds and assists in both the regular season and playoffs.

However, many question James’ status as the G.O.A.T. due to his reliance on his star support. During his career, James has played with the likes of Dwayne Wade, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, Anthony Davis and many other key players in the league. Jordan’s only All-Star teammate that he played with was Scottie Pippen, possibly giving him a physical edge.

However, James has changed the debate this year, drawing attention to what he has and what he will accomplish. Even with the difficulties of the NBA’s bubble experiment this season, James and the Los Angeles Lakers persevered to win the club’s 17th championship.

James became the fourth player in NBA history to win a championship with three different teams. He has appeared in nine of the last ten Finals. Before this season, the Lakers had six straight years with a losing record, which was by far the longest in their history. James not only brought the Lakers back to the playoffs again in his second year with the team, but he fulfilled his promise of winning a title.

At 35-years-old, James switched to point guard and put some of the best numbers up in his whole career. He had a career-high of assists and also led the league in that category. He finished second in MVP votes, though some people still think he deserved to win instead of Giannis Antetokounmpo. With Anthony Davis set to sign a long-term contract with the Lakers, the sky’s the limit for the team. Davis and James have proven what they are capable of doing in even the worst circumstances.

While last year seemed to foretell a decline for the star, James bounced back with a vengeance. It was a year of redemption and an opportunity to reclaim his throne. This season proved James isn’t done, with no signs of slowing down until he shatters the NBA’s record books.

This G.O.A.T. debate will probably last until James plays his final game. Perhaps it may never be settled. James has proven his worth, though, and ceased any rumors of decline. Now, it’s time to sit back and watch what else he will do in his career.

Sure, there are plenty of other names that come to mind when talking about great athletes in NBA history, but none have changed the league as much as Jordan and James have. Their fame extends far beyond the basketball court. Both are transcendent, highly marketable superstars that changed the entire landscape of the NBA.

Unfortunately, sports fans love to compare. When this debate inevitably comes up, Jordan’s accolades speak for themselves. In the span of 15 years, he was an All-Star 14 times and won all six of his championship appearances. He finished his career averaging 30 points per game, which is the highest in NBA history. 

James, meanwhile, just finished his 17th season in the NBA. During his career, he has won four MVPs, four championships and made an All-Star team every season except his rookie year. Statistically speaking, James has surpassed Jordan in almost every career totals category. James leads Jordan in points, rebounds and assists in both the regular season and playoffs.

However, many question James’ status as the G.O.A.T. due to his reliance on his star support. During his career, James has played with the likes of Dwayne Wade, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, Anthony Davis and many other key players in the league. Jordan’s only All-Star teammate that he played with was Scottie Pippen, possibly giving him a physical edge.

However, James has changed the debate this year, drawing attention to what he has and what he will accomplish. Even with the difficulties of the NBA’s bubble experiment this season, James and the Los Angeles Lakers persevered to win the club’s 17th championship.

James became the fourth player in NBA history to win a championship with three different teams. He has appeared in nine of the last ten Finals. Before this season, the Lakers had six straight years with a losing record, which was by far the longest in their history. James not only brought the Lakers back to the playoffs again in his second year with the team, but he fulfilled his promise of winning a title.

At 35-years-old, James switched to point guard and put some of the best numbers up in his whole career. He had a career-high of assists and also led the league in that category. He finished second in MVP votes, though some people still think he deserved to win instead of Giannis Antetokounmpo. With Anthony Davis set to sign a long-term contract with the Lakers, the sky’s the limit for the team. Davis and James have proven what they are capable of doing in even the worst circumstances.

While last year seemed to foretell a decline for the star, James bounced back with a vengeance. It was a year of redemption and an opportunity to reclaim his throne. This season proved James isn’t done, with no signs of slowing down until he shatters the NBA’s record books.

This G.O.A.T. debate will probably last until James plays his final game. Perhaps it may never be settled. James has proven his worth, though, and ceased any rumors of decline. Now, it’s time to sit back and watch what else he will do in his career.

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