Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas made a guest appearance on Whistle Sports, where he gave a very insightful and detailed explanation of what makes LeBron James the GOAT. This never-ending debate is something many fans engage with daily, and usually, it all depends on various personal preferences people have for various players. Alongside LeBron, two players that end up in these conversations more often than others are Michael Jordan and the late great Kobe Bryant.
According to Arenas, neither Kobe nor Jordan would lead that Cavs team to the playoffs, let alone to the NBA finals. Decision-making and the ability to make the right basketball plays at the right time separates LeBron from Kobe and Jordan.
The reason I felt that LeBron is the GOAT is because during pressure times, he still makes the actual right decision vs. what us fans and the public wants him to do. That is what separates him from Jordan and Kobe, where if you give Jordan or Kobe those Cavs teams, they wouldn’t make the playoffs, and they wouldn’t make it to the championship. Jordan would just average 60 and say, ‘the hell with it’.Gilbert Arenas, via Whistle
Arenas remembers the playoffs series against the Cavs in 2006 when he was still a Washington Wizards member. It was an exciting but also grueling series that ended in a Cavs win after six games. LeBron led the way for the Cavs averaging 35 points per game, but his ability to include other Cavs players stood out and impressed Arenas.
He decoyed to give everybody else a chance to get involved in the game before he took over, and I thought that was special. He decoys himself to get everybody else involved, and then he takes over, and then he decoys again. He could score 70 against everybody else.Gilbert Arenas, via Whistle
LeBron’s ability to be one of the best, if not the best player in the world at the age of 36 is astonishing, and his consistency is something rarely seen in the NBA. Arenas argues his incredible basketball IQ and ability to read and understand the opposing teams were the biggest reasons for success and longevity in the league. On top of that, he has the right mindset in which he is not afraid to involve his teammates and trust them in crucial times that Kobe and Jordan didn’t often do.
From year 17,18th, to year 1 what set LeBron apart was his IQ, his ability to adapt, his ability to read. That is something we didn’t understand first time matching up against him, is how smart he really was. There were times where we are leaving, a certain guy opened knowing no one in their right mind would pass it to him, which he would, and the outcome was great. I understood he understands the game really well, but I didn’t realize then he is willing to sacrifice his name, his integrity of being bashed to make the right play. He believes in his teammates, which gives them a sense of believing in themselves too. Because he still believes in his teammates, they still believe in themselves too during crucial times and that is what makes LeBron the GOAT.Gilbert Arenas, via Whistle
Arenas was completely right when explaining how LeBron is a different player than Kobe and Jordan, who were predominantly in constant attack mode, while LeBron involves everyone first. Obviously, we’ve seen him take over in games on multiple occasions, but his mindset is different, and he plays the game differently. Whether some fans like him or not, nobody can deny that he is an ultimate team player who is still building his legacy and is on the right track to win his fifth NBA championship, which will get him closer to any GOAT debate fans indulge these days.