By: Armando Perez
In game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron James scored 37 points, had 18 rebounds and 13 assists. The Cavs are one win away from going to the NBA Finals. This was the 34th time in LeBron’s career that he has led his team in points, rebounds and assists in a playoff game. That is 21 more times than any other player in the history of the NBA.
Before LeBron’s career is over he will probably lead his team in points, rebounds and assists in 50 games. I look at this accomplishment and record, like I look at Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a game. Neither record will ever be broken.
The most common theme amongst LeBron James “Haters” is that James couldn’t win on his own, and that is why he left Cleveland for Miami. I am here to tell you… this is the greatest lie ever perpetrated in American Sports. No one wins on their own. Michael Jordan had a plethora of Hall of Fame players and great three point shooters. Phil Jackson won 5 rings after he stopped coaching Jordan. Pat Riley won without Magic Johnson, Larry Bird had numerous Hall of Fame players on his roster as well.
The LeBron detractors can’t have it both ways. They can’t say, “That he couldn’t win on his own” when he is clearly the best player on his team every night. During his time in Miami, Chris Bosh didn’t score a point in the Game 7 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Dwayne Wade missed a ton of games due to injuries. LeBron is on the precipice of going to his 5th straight NBA Finals. He is doing this with role players. Kevin Love is out for the season, and Kyrie Irving hasn’t played the last two games. When Irving has played, he has been hobbled by injuries. There is not one healthy player on this Cleveland Cavalier roster that is averaging over 15 points per game for their careers. J.R. Smith is the team’s second option and he only averages 13.2 points per game for his career. 5 straight NBA Finals, despite their talent-laden teams, that is something Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson or Larry Bird never accomplished.
Another argument that NBA Fans make is… Jordan went 6-0 in the Finals. You can’t use that as a barometer for being the greatest of all-time because Bill Russell won 11 Championships. Robert Horry won 7. Is Horry better than Jordan?
If I was going to make my own Mount Rushmore for the NBA it would go in this order:
Here is why James is slightly ahead of Jordan.
LeBron James took the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. This was probably the worst team to every make it to the NBA Finals. There was only one player on that Cavalier roster that averaged over 14 points a game for his career. That player was Larry Hughes, he averaged 14.2 points per game. There was not one Hall of Fame player on that roster. Jordan played for the greatest coach in the history of the game (Phil Jackson). James played for Mike Brown. Brown won the NBA Coach of the Year in 2009. LeBron leaves for Miami, Mike Brown gets fired by Cleveland. He became the Head Coach of the LA Lakers and got fired after two seasons. He then came back to Cleveland and got fired again. Under LeBron, Brown was an elite coach. Now, he can’t even get a head coaching job.
Jordan’s most efficient year in the playoffs (where he played at least 16 or more games) came in 1989. He averaged:
29.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.8 steals per game
This post-season LeBron James is averaging:
27.9 points, 10.5 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 1.77 steals per game
Jordan: 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
James: 27.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game.
In 1993 the Chicago Bulls won their 3rd Straight NBA Championship. They finished that year with a 57-25 record. The Following year Jordan retired from basketball, the Bulls went 55-27 without Jordan. They lost in the conference Semi Finals to the Knicks in 7 games.
In 2009 the Cavaliers with James had a record of 61-21, James goes to Miami and Cleveland went 19-63.
The Miami Heat went to four straight NBA Finals with James. He leaves for Cleveland and they failed to make the playoffs this year.
Jordan was a slightly better scorer than LeBron, but LeBron is a better passer, rebounder and can guard all five positions, Jordan could only guard three positions. If you think Jordan is clutch and LeBron isn’t… Think again, look at this stat below:
Go- Ahead or Game Winning Shots in the Post-Season with 5 seconds or less to play.
Jordan 11 Attempts …. 5 Makes… 3 Buzzer Beaters.
James 11 Attempts… 6 Makes…3 Buzzer Beaters.
If you want to “hate” on LeBron for the “Decision” go ahead. But even at LeBron’s most selfish moment he still raised over 2 million dollars for charity by televising it. We live in an era where players are constantly getting in trouble on and off the court. James has been a model citizen and is one of the hardest working players the NBA has to offer.
If you don’t know the Truth about LeBron James, now you know. He will go down as the greatest, most complete player of all-time.
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