Greatness. How do we as a society distinguish someone as great? In my opinion, it’s their actions and the impact that they have had on others. Who do you think of when I say, “greatness?” I think of LeBron James. He personifies greatness. His dominance over 17 years, and counting, in the NBA has solidified his place as one of the greatest to ever play basketball. Even before he stepped foot onto an NBA court, people dubbed him as “The Chosen One.” Even though the expectations towered above him, he exceeded them all. But, is he truely the greatest?
This March, the NBA cancelled all games due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. After a 5 month hiatus, however, They planned to open the season again; the remainder of the season would take place in “The Bubble,” which was located in the Walt Disney Complex in Orlando. These games would take place behind closed doors, and the season and the playoffs would end there. The Lakers, which have been championship contenders from the beginning of the season, have had many hardships over the past year, including the death of the great Kobe Bryant.
This October, we saw LeBron take his Lakers to their first championship since 2010. It was his 10th finals appearance, his 4th championship, and his 4th finals MVP. He led his team in points, rebounds, and assists for the second time, and remains one out of only two people to ever do so. For the first time in history, he became one out of four people to ever win a championship with three different teams.
This resume, which only includes achievements in his finals appearances, is already overwhelming to look at. The league, in my opinion, has never seen someone that has been so dominant in every aspect of the game.
But, there is the argument that the 2020 championship shouldn’t be considered an actual ring, and that there should be an asterisk placed next to it. One reason people say this is because the playoffs occurred in “The Bubble.” “The Bubble” had many effects on the way that basketball was played. One major negative was many players opted out as they would have to spend months away from their families. Another negative effect was that players had an unusually long time to take rest, meaning many players wouldn’t be in “game shape”. Finally, many people are bashing the Lakers as they had an especially easy path to their ring this year. Skip Bayless, a sports analyst that co-hosts the Undisputed Show said, “The Lakers had every break and opportunity imaginable.”
After defeating the Portland Trailblazers and the Houston Rockets in five games, in the first and second rounds, the Lakers had their spot in the conference finals. The other favorite to be in the conference finals was the Los Angeles Clippers. But after one of the biggest chokes in NBA history, the Nuggets had their spots in the Western Conference Finals, which was a major break for the Lakers in many peoples’ opinions. After defeating the Nuggets in five games, the Lakers were off to the finals, as they faced against the fifth seed underdogs, the Miami Heat. Even statistically, according to JmxyHighroller, using an advanced stat known as SRS, (Simple Rating System), the 2020 Lakers Championship had one of the easiest paths to a ring in recent history.
But does this change LeBron’s legacy? His impact on the league? In my opinion, no. This championship has proven the fact that he is one of the toughest players in history. Even with all the hardships that he and his team have had to endure over the past year, they still made it out on top. He helped his teammates improve while still consistently putting up MVP like numbers at the age of 35 in his 17th year in the NBA.
In my opinion, LeBron is greatness. He embodies the definition of greatness.