The Case for the GOAT

Kareem, Kobe Bean, Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Some of the names that have been tossed up in the conversation of “Greatest of All Time”. Can we truly decide who the best ever is? Absolutely not. When we’re gone, there will be some kid who comes up in the game and will possess the type of talent you only see every ten to twenty years.

However, if one man were to be able to truly make a case for the title of “Greatest Ever”, it would be the Kid from Akron himself, Lebron James. If you’re reading this and were born between 1959-1980…you are more than likely calling me an idiot right now. And that’s fine, because you don’t have to agree. The conversation of the GOAT is literally all opinion over fact anyway. But with the best logic I can muster, I will give you my argument on why LeBron Raymone James is the best player to ever lace them up…thus far.

Michael Jordan is widely considered the best player to ever put on a pair of sneakers, and deservingly so. He absolutely changed the game. LBJ however, looks like he’s making attempts to perfect it. He is on pace to finish top five in practically every major statistical category (both regular and postseason), and has played in now ten NBA Finals, winning his fourth championship with his third team.

Now, I know what you’re about to say, “6-0 is still better than 4-6!!!” Honestly, if that is the ONLY argument you have…you might as well hang it up. The NBA’s All-Time leading scorer Kareem is considered the greatest by many and his Finals record wasn’t perfect, winning 6/10. Kobe (my personal GOAT), wasn’t perfect either. And if we look at the rosters (excluding Miami, 2016 Cavs and this year’s Lakers squad), he took to basketball’s biggest stage, MJ could never. Because he literally never did. Multiple first round exits…sweeps in fact. Whereas James has never lost in the first round.

So, let me predict the next argument: “The Eastern Conference was so much tougher back then! LeBron could never do this in the Wes…” While I do understand the thought on the East being tougher back then, look at how many all-star teams LeBron faced, and beat to come out the East. Often times, he did that WITHOUT a single all-star other than himself on the roster. Remember when he beat that Atlanta team who had not 1, not 2, not 3 but FOUR all-stars? Remember when we all said he couldn’t do it in the West? Then he went to LA in year 16 and had the Lakers at 4th in the conference before injuries sidelined most of the Lakers starters for 60% of the season? And now this year, with AD, the Lakers clinched the one seed with LeBron putting up 28-7-10 (leading the league in assists). In the West. A conference that people said he could not and would not EVER dominate in. Well he did…convincingly.

Then of course, there is the “Well the league is so SOFT these days! And LeBron doesn’t even have that killer instinct!” You know what? I will give you half of that argument. The league is soft. But that doesn’t mean Bron isn’t a killer. Statistically, he is one of the NBA’s best ever when it comes to clutch play. Did you know that LeBron has hit eight shots to either tie or win games in the final seven seconds? That is TWO more than his Airness, Michael Jordan himself. And his five buzzer-beaters…those would be the most in league history. As far as players who have posted 500pts, 150 rebounds and 150 assists in the postseason? Well, only two guys have done that: Larry Bird in 1987 and LeBron James in 2007, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020. And then there’s the most triple doubles in NBA Finals history. I could go on and on but I think you get the point.

When he signed to the Lakers, LeBron said he wanted to bring this franchise back to the top. And it happened in six games against the Miami Heat in this year’s finals. Wrapping up his fourth Finals MVP award. Doc Rivers said it best: the difference between Michael and LeBron is that when Michael came in the league, he surprised everybody with how great he was. When LeBron came in the league, they expected him to be great, so it was already on him. Michael in some ways, we allowed him to grow into greatness. We didn’t allow LeBron that. And he STILL overachieved…LeBron is better than anyone ever thought. Can we ever truly say who is the undisputed GOAT? Nah…but you can no longer say LeBron James isn’t in the conversation.

About Author

A Los Angeles native, AJ grew up watching sports from the age of two and his love for basketball and football never died. He started playing sports at age seven and went on through collegiate and minor league levels (local and overseas) as well. After nearly twenty years of athletics, AJ decided to hang it up and retired from minor league football in June of 2018. Since then, he has continued his love of sports by writing for the Suave Report as a sports and culture contributor as well as coaching and refereeing sports in the OKC metro area. He currently lives with his wife, Beth and daughter, Gianna in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, working as a coach and gym owner.

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