This is a Slice of Culture series where we’re breaking down the top NBA players of today and analyzing how their careers have gone up until now.
Photo courtesy of Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP.
LeBron James is commonly known as one of the greatest players of all time.
The lowest most analysts would place him would be second, right after Michael Jordan. This has led fans divided on who is truly the best player of all time. Both have reasonable arguments, but here is LeBron’s case.
James was drafted first overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, and came out of high school regarded as a generational talent. He had massive expectations coming into the NBA, and surpassed all of them.
Year after year, James attempted to drag his Cavaliers through the season, making five consecutive playoff appearances from 2006 to 2010, including a finals appearance in 2007.
However, he was never able to secure a coveted NBA title.
In 2010, James decided to take his talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat alongside stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Being the favorites for the 2011 championship, they were shockingly defeated by the Mavericks in the finals.
James was finally able to win a championship in 2012, and then repeated as a champion in 2013. After suffering a finals loss in 2014, he decided to rejoin the Cavaliers.
This time, LeBron was supported by stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. James made his fifth consecutive finals appearance in 2015, but was defeated by the Golden State Warriors.
In 2016, James completed a feat that he considers makes him the greatest of all time.
Facing the Golden State Warriors in the finals again, James found himself down three games to one in the finals.
With the Warriors just needing one more win and the Cavaliers needing three, the Cavaliers were able to win two straight and tie the series.
After a close game seven, James and the Cavaliers were able to squeeze out a win and claim their first NBA Championship.
This feat has never been done before, and James believes that completing it solidified him as the greatest of all time.
In 2017 and 2018, James extended his finals streak to eight, but was defeated by the Golden State Warriors both times. He decided to join the Los Angeles Lakers, where he proceeded to miss the playoffs in 2019, for the first time since 2005.
After the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis, the Lakers went on to win the 2020 NBA championship, making James 35 during his most recent title.
James is now in his 19th season and has shown no signs of slowing down.
At 37, he dropped 56 points in a win over the Warriors over this past weekend. He is averaging 29 points, 6 assists, and 8 rebounds per game, which is above his career average.
During his 19-year — and ongoing — career, James has four NBA championships, four Finals MVPs, four MVPs, eighteen All-Star appearances, 17 All-NBA appearances, six All-Defensive appearances, a scoring championship and an assists leader.
James is approaching the NBA’s all time scoring record, and will likely break the record.
Being as good as James currently is this far into his career is unprecedented.
He has the greatest longevity of all time. His accolades and competition he faced make him arguably the greatest player of all time.