LeBron James donned the title of the best player in the world for at least the last eight or nine years when he inarguably stripped that honor from Kobe Bryant as he grew older and his health started to deteriorate.
James, too, is getting up there in age at 34-years-old and it might be time to pass that metaphorical torch onto the next superstar talent like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant or Steph Curry. Especially when you consider how abysmal his Los Angeles Lakers are right now, and have a virtual zero percent chance of making the playoffs.
But James just made NBA history the other day and here’s why you shouldn’t care.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that LeBron James has lost a step. Even taking statistics out of the equation, all you need is a set of eyes to see that he’s not the same player from a year ago.
Look no further than his horrendous defense that’s been mocked recently on Twitter to justify that. He just stands there and let’s players run right by him to the basket – then he’ll throw up his hands at his teams as if to say, “what are you doing?” It’s embarrassing to watch.
However, James made NBA history on Wednesday night when he surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list who was ranked fourth just behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant.
James tied Jordan at 32,292 career points with a fadeaway 19-footer midway through the second quarter, then passed him with an and-1 layup at the 5:38 mark.
But should any of us really care? All this does is spark the monotonous never-ending debate about whether he’s better than Michael Jordan when we all know that’s a resounding no.
Here’s why we shouldn’t even entertain this thought in the GOAT conversation.
It took James 118 more games to finally pass Jordan. That’s nearly a season and a half more basketball.
Not only that, but James scored 3,400 more points from 3-pt land and in Jordan’s era that facet of the game wasn’t emphasized yet.
Also, Jordan played for three years for his UNC Tarheels before entering the NBA, while James went straight into the league out of high school.
Not to mention that Jordan has six championships, never lost in the Finals and has more Most Valuable Player awards.
See, the debate isn’t even close.
James said postgame, “Of all the stuff I’ve done in my career, this ranks right up there at the top with winning a championship. For a kid from Akron, Ohio, that needed inspiration and needed some type of positive influence, MJ was that guy for me. I watched him from afar, wanted to be like MJ, wanted to shoot fadeaways like MJ, wanted to stick my tongue out on dunks like MJ, wanted to wear my sneakers like MJ. I wanted kids to look up to me at some point like MJ and it’s just crazy, to be honest. It’s beyond crazy.”
He talks about him as if Jordan will always be better than him but he admitted on his HBO show, The Shop, that he thought he was the greatest player ever.
James said that he came to that realization after he led his then-Cleveland Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat a 73-9 Golden State Warriors team to win the championship.
But how exactly did his Cavaliers get there in that hole in the first place?
And if power forward Draymond Green wasn’t suspended for Game 6 because of multiple technical foul infractions, then the series would have likely played out a little differently.
Surpassing Michael Jordan has a little bit of weight but not nearly as much as he thinks it is.
That’s why we shouldn’t care.