Opinion: LeBron is the Greatest Even When He Isn’t

LeBron James smiles when facing the 76ers. Photo by Ian D'Andrea, licensed via CC 2.0.

There are some things I will never understand.  Why didn’t Ben pick Jojo in last season’s Bachelor finale?  Why weren’t the streets of Boston devised in a grid system where streets run perpendicular?  Why does every good player on the Mets get injured every year?

The latest thing I don’t understand, which has gotten to the point of infuriation, is why do people take credit away from LeBron James and not give him the credit he deserves?

I get it.  He whines to the referees after every call. He comes across like this ultimate family man on social media, which some people think seems manufactured. And still, he has the negative aura around him from his “Decision” night on ESPN.

But folks, we’re witnessing the greatest player in NBA history.  Yes, I said it; LeBron James – skill-wise –is the best player ever.  There’s nothing he can’t do on the court.  He can guard point guards and centers, grab rebounds and dish out assists, shoot 3-pointers and, of course, drive to the hoop.

If the conversation is who’s the greatest, legacy-wise, it’s Michael Jordan.  His story, accolades, and persona may never be matched.  LeBron is right behind him, though, and has a chance to pass him.  Right now, in that regard, Jordan is #1.

LeBron had a “bad” game 3.  Kyrie Irving “carried” the Cleveland Cavaliers in game 4.  LeBron “came up unclutch, again.”

Um, did you watch game 4?  Did LeBron not put up 34 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds that game?

People love to rip on LeBron whenever they get a chance.  And those chances come up whenever one of his teammates has a great game.  When Kevin Love grabs 17 rebounds, some say, “It was all Love.  Where was LeBron?”

News alert: Other players on your team having good games is actually good for your team, and good for those players.  Do you think it was fun playing with Kobe Bryant, where the story seemingly always had to be about him?  Jordan is another story, and admittedly, I can’t speak from a first-hand account, as I wasn’t even 6 years old when he played his final game with the Chicago Bulls.  But I’ve seen videos and I listen to NBA junkies who say Michael could do no wrong.

LeBron understands he doesn’t need to always do it all himself, and sometimes shouldn’t do it all himself.  It’s not good for building the confidence levels of Kyrie, Love and J.R. Smith, among others.  They’re all scorers and they need their shots to stay fresh and remain confident when they’re given the ball in the corner for a 3-pointer.  Leaders make people around them better, and that’s exactly what LeBron does.  I mean, do you see how excited the Cavaliers bench gets when LeBron makes a spectacular play?  He’s their guy.  He’s the coach, the GM, the owner.  And his teammates understand that without him, their game wouldn’t be as good as they are with him (maybe not Kyrie).

Let’s get to LeBron’s game 3, where he scored 11 points in the Cavaliers 111-108 loss.  Was it a bad performance? Yes. Not one of his best games?  Certainly.  But it’s one game.  Cry me a river, man:  Did you see what LeBron did in last year’s NBA finals?

This postseason, through last night’s game 5 win, he’s averaging 32.5 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists per game, with that PPG average being his 2nd highest in his postseason career.  He’s also averaging a playoff career-high 1.4 blocks per game and 2.2 steals per game this postseason.  His team has lost exactly one game, with only four wins being decided by 5 points or less.  Can we not rip apart his every single move?  He’s playing out of his mind.

Bad games happen.  These guys play 82 games, plus around 23 playoff games, per year.  So when Kyrie puts up 41 points, don’t say LeBron got bailed out when he scored 34 points on 15-27 shooting, with 15 of those points coming in the 4th quarter.

Don’t be the contrarian who likes to go against what’s true – LeBron is unreal.  It’s like your friend who talks about sports like he knows everything and says things like Crosby sucks and believes it, or says Mark Sanchez was the reason the Jets advanced to back-to-back AFC championship games.

Don’t listen to them, or the commentators in the sports media world who make their bread and butter making outlandish comments.  What LeBron James is doing – and has been doing since basically the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season (and perhaps his entire career), is unbelievable.  Our parents witnessed Michael Jordan.  We get to witness LeBron James.  He’s putting on a show.  Enjoy it.

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