Jack Kyle ’24
Fresh out of high school, 18-year-old LeBron James had high expectations, getting compared to basketball legends before he even stepped foot onto an NBA court. Now, 18 years later, he has gone above and beyond, making his mark in NBA history and placing himself among the greats of the game. In fact, judging by the accomplishments that he has made throughout his career, LeBron James has done enough to declare himself as the greatest player in NBA history.
The achievements, statistics, and impact that James has on the game are unmatched by any player ever. Elevating the game by hitting clutch shot after clutch shot and single handedly changing the course of many of his teammates’ careers further attests to the greatness of LeBron.
With career averages of 27.0 points, 7.4 assists, 7.4 rebounds, and highlights spanning the course of 18 seasons, James has a very convincing case for being the GOAT. Championships with the Miami Heat (two of them), Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers display James’s undeniable ability to win in whatever situation he is thrust into.
Other players like Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Kobe Bryant are often mentioned in these debates over who is the greatest player ever. But none of these players had the career that James has had. And James still has more of his career to play.
One fact that is often brought against James is his record in the NBA Finals, 4-6. Surely the greatest player of all time would have the skills to win more championships.
However, I believe that people gloss over the most important part of this statistic: LeBron has been to 10 NBA Finals. From 2011-2018, LeBron James was a constant face in the Finals, going up against the league’s best competitors for eight straight years. Even reaching the playoffs early in his career with a Cavalier’s team that had finished 17-65 the year before he was drafted is a testament to just how much he impacts the team and the people that play around him.
Furthermore, the pool of talent in this current NBA realm is undoubtedly the best it has ever been. Dynasties like the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs constantly battled James in the Finals, contending for championships year after year. A statistic shows that James has faced 30 Hall of Fame potential players over the course of the finals.
The biggest argument against LeBron’s case for being the GOAT is the sheer presence of Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan. And the case between the two is a fairly close one.
Throughout his 15 year career, Jordan had a historically groundbreaking run of 6 championships in a row, defeating stars like Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Reggie Miller along the way and preventing a generation of stars from gaining the elusive prize of a championship.
Even outside of basketball, the parallels between the two stars are uncanny: both starred in their own Space Jam movies, and both are the figureheads of their own brand (LeBron with his media brand UNINTERRUPTED and Jordan with his aptly-titled Jordan brand).
To try and find a definitive answer, I turned to the most reliable source that I could find: Brophy students.
“I think it’s Michael Jordan because he has 6 championships and Lebron has 4,” said Shaan Keole ’24. Jordan’s 6 championships are often a point of contention when discussing the topic of who is the greatest.
After a successful first response came some other candidates for GOAT. Mario Molinari ’24 said, “Alex Caruso because he’s the best dunker of all time. He can cross people up, he’s the best shooter, dunker. Follow me on Instagram.”
Krish Patel ’24 said, “It’s obviously Grant Williams because he’s versatile and very good defensively. Also he’s a Shaqtin’ a Fool MVP.
Troll answers aside, I still think that LeBron has the advantage. In my opinion, LeBron and Jordan are the definitive 1st and 2nd best players in the history of basketball. However, LeBron has the edge due to his success year after year, combined with the longevity that his career has had is the best player ever.