Some would say it was Wayne Gretzky. Others would argue for Tiger Woods. But most would agree that LeBron James tops the list of the most hyped teenage athletes of all time. Here’s why.
LeBron James was in HIGH SCHOOL being told, “if you’re not a first ballot Hall of Famer, you’re gonna be considered a bust.”— Timeless Sports (@timelesssports_) November 25, 2020
Then still exceeded expectations. 👑 (2003) pic.twitter.com/RRtQ6pUNWa
“Take it 1 day at a time no matter how EXTREME the expectations they put on you before day 1 even starts.” This was LeBron’s response 17 years and one all-time great resume later. It’s safe to say he exceeded the expectations, as he became one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen. But to say it’s been an easy road here is an understatement.
First, it was the Decision. Then, it was one of the greatest superstar meltdowns in NBA Finals history. It then became about Ray Allen saving his legacy. After that, it was more about Draymond Green’s suspension than LeBron’s all-time great Finals performance. What followed was an insurmountable obstacle called the Warriors dynasty. It then became about making movies instead of enhancing the basketball legacy.
But all that was intertwined with unprecedented basketball greatness, and to this day, people refuse to give LeBron credit for it. Sure, he may not be your typical superhero-like NBA persona. He probably refused to take the last shot one too many times. Some of his off the court stands can be described as hypocritical. He’s dramatic, passive-aggressive, and probably too team-oriented for some. But in terms of what he’s able to do on the basketball court, the guy is great, and he’s done enough to earn respect of every single NBA fan out there.
He did it just by exceeding the Hall-of-Fame standard set on him at the age of 19. The pressure of having to live up to that is huge, especially being the kid playing for his hometown team. But LeBron James delivered. And he did it his way. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to admire it. But you have to respect it.
In ’03, it was Hall of Fame or bust. In ’20, it’s an all-time great. Give credit where credit is due.