After winning his fourth NBA championship, LeBron James is slowly but surely making his argument for one of the greatest players of all-time. Even though he still doesn’t have as many titles as some other all-time greats, his impact and consistency make him one of the best players in NBA history. In these heated debates among fans on what makes a particular player better than some others, and in this specific case, the most famous discussion is whether LeBron is better than Michael Jordan.
The most logical response that even Jordan himself stressed out on multiple occasions is that it’s hard to measure it because of playing in different eras. Different rules applied. Therefore, it’s a sensible assumption that some of today’s players might have struggled in the ’90s, for example, or even be more efficient if they played in the early ’00s. Many fans who dislike LeBron argue he wouldn’t be as good if he played in the ’90s or ’80s, where it was more challenging, especially if you are driving in the paint and have to sustain severe contact from the opposing players.
Former NBA player Charles Barkley disagrees with that notion saying LeBron is a universal talent that comes once in a lifetime. He argues that there have always been great players that, in many ways, resembled players from older eras and that LeBron is unique in that way because we haven’t seen anything like him before.
I’ve been in the NBA for 30 years now. There has always been a player that you can compare somebody to. LeBron James is the first player that I’ve never seen another player that I can compare to. There have always been six, eight guys who are super talented, terrific players, and they all weigh in at 220,230 pounds. Guys like Scottie Pippen, Tracy McGrady are all around 6’7′, 6’8″ great defenders, great scorers, very athletic, but LeBron outweighs those guys by 30 pounds. This is a freak of nature.Charles Barkley, via Open Court
Kenny Smith also added that he resembles players like Magic or Oscar Robertson because he is a willing passer and an all-around player. However, the main difference is the unreal athleticism he possesses that separates him from every other player in NBA history.
He transitions eras, and I think he is athletic, three inches bigger Oscar Robertson. If you look at the 80’s he is an athletic Magic Johnson, and in this era, he is himself.Kenny Smith, via Open Court
LeBron is now in his 17th season, and when you look at his stats, you would think he is 5-10 years younger than he is. He’s been unbelievably successful in keeping his body in tip-top shape every year, and that is one of the main reasons for his consistency and pretty much the same type of impact as he had ten years ago. With his combination of size, skill, and basketball IQ, there is no doubt LeBron would be equally successful in any era he could’ve played in.