The enigmatic LeBron James doesn’t compare to past NBA greats

David Friedman Columnist

By David Friedman, David Friedman is a Roar Expert

Tagged:
 , ,

96 Have your say

    LeBron James is an indisputably great player. He has been a legitimate contender for the MVP award in virtually every season of his career. James received the honour four times before his 30th birthday and a good case can be made that he should win the 2015 MVP.

    Yet, despite James’ greatness, despite his immense individual accomplishments and despite his two championship rings, there is something missing that is not missing from the sport’s other great multiple-time MVPs/multiple-time champions like Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

    Russell, Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, Jordan and Bryant did not always win (though Russell came close, with 11 championships in 13 seasons) but they were rarely, if ever, the reason that their teams lost.

    James at his best may be as good as anyone who has ever played but there have been some baffling occasions when, at the biggest moments, James was not at his best.

    How could the game’s best and most talented player just disappear in Game 5 of the 2010 Eastern Conference semi-finals versus Boston?

    James’ Cleveland Cavaliers had posted the best record in the league and enjoyed home court advantage but in that pivotal contest James came up empty with 15 points on 3-14 field goal shooting. That is the kind of game in which Jordan or Bryant would have scored 40 or 50 points or Johnson would have produced a line like 22 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.

    In 2011, James took his talents to Miami and during the NBA Finals he was not only outplayed by Dirk Nowitzki but for long, critical stretches of the series he was outplayed by Jason Terry.

    James is often classified as a pass first player even though he has the third highest scoring average (27.4 ppg) in regular season history and the fifth highest scoring average (28.0 ppg) in playoff history. James is a dominant scorer who also happens to be a gifted passer; he and his teams have enjoyed their greatest playoff success when James has accepted the responsibility of being a big-time scorer.

    In 2012 and 2013, James lived up to expectations by playing at an extremely high level while leading the Miami Heat to back-to-back titles.

    Miami’s run ended as Kawhi Leonard, previously considered a good but not great player, outplayed James and won the 2014 Finals MVP as Leonard’s San Antonio Spurs dethroned the Heat.

    James could have stayed in Miami and tried to lead the Heat to a fifth straight NBA Finals appearance – a feat that has not been accomplished since Russell’s Boston Celtics advanced to 10 straight finals (1957-66) – but instead he returned home to Cleveland and the comforts of a younger, presumably more talented supporting cast.

    When James’ Cavaliers started slowly, James proclaimed that he was in “chill mode” and it seemed reasonable to wonder if physical ailments and/or mental fatigue had taken the edge off of James’ game.

    Once the calendar turned from 2014 to 2015, James flipped from “chill mode” to, as NBA Radio commentator Tom Byrne called it, “kill mode” and again became a dominant player as the Cavaliers posted the best record in the league (26-6) since January 15.

    Jordan did not have a “chill mode.” He insisted that he gave his all in every game because at each arena there might be someone who is seeing him for the first and possibly only time. Jordan wanted each such person to know just how great he is.

    Jordan played in all 82 games in nine of his 15 seasons. He missed 64 games because of a broken foot in his second season (1985-86) and he only played in 17 games in 1994-95 when he returned to the NBA after his minor league baseball sojourn.

    Jordan only played fewer than 80 games in two other seasons. In his final season, he played all 82 games, dragging a gimpy leg up and down the court at 39 years of age.

    LeBron James has already accomplished a lot and if he stays healthy he probably has another half dozen excellent seasons left in his career – but he just seems somehow to lack that ‘it’ factor that oozes out of Russell, Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, Jordan and Bryant.

    David Friedman
    David Friedman

    David Friedman has covered the NBA for more than a decade, and in doing so, has interviewed nearly two dozen members of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players List. You can find his work at 20SecondTimeout.

    Have Your Say



    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (96)

    • March 23rd 2015 @ 9:40am
      Johnno said | March 23rd 2015 @ 9:40am | ! Report

      Jordan was smoked by the Piston’s in the 80’s, and schooled by Larry Bird often. And Magic was cleaned up by Scottie Pippen in 91.

      • March 23rd 2015 @ 11:30am
        marc said | March 23rd 2015 @ 11:30am | ! Report

        Jordan was beaten by the Pistons at the start of his career before Chicago won the 6 rings. He wasn’t “smoked” by the Pistsons – Jordan was still easily the best player on the court. They had to double/triple/4 team him to beat him. They came up with the “Jordan Rules”. Read the book you might learn something.

        He was only beaten by Boston in his first/second year.

        • Columnist

          March 23rd 2015 @ 4:08pm
          David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

          Marc:

          You are quite right on all counts. Bird and the Celtics were a championship team at the height of their powers, while the 1986 Bulls had Jordan (coming off of foot surgery) and not much else. In 2010, James had the best team in the regular season and he enjoyed home court advantage for game five. The team that wins game five wins the series about 80% of the time–and in the biggest game of the series, he completely disappeared.

      • Roar Guru

        March 23rd 2015 @ 1:45pm
        peeeko said | March 23rd 2015 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

        you really have a thing for Pippen dont you Johnno?

      • Columnist

        March 23rd 2015 @ 4:06pm
        David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

        Johnno:

        This is the relevant quote from my article: “Russell, Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, Jordan and Bryant did not always win (though Russell came close, with 11 championships in 13 seasons) but they were rarely, if ever, the reason that their teams lost.”

        Jordan was not the reason that the Bulls lost to the Pistons. His numbers, effort and effectiveness did not plummet the way that LeBron James’ numbers, effort and effectiveness plummeted versus San Antonio in the 2007 Finals, Boston in the 2010 playoffs and Dallas in the 2011 Finals.

        Magic was in the last full season of his career (and likely already had HIV, which would be diagnosed just a few months later) when the Lakers lost to the Bulls. Yes, Magic was outplayed by the younger MJ and Pippen but it’s not like Magic was terrible in that series or that he was the primary reason that the Lakers lost.

        I said that Russell and the others were “rarely, if ever, the reason that their teams lost.” I stand by that. Even if we agree that you were right about Magic in 1991, one time in a career that included five titles counts as “rarely.” James has been the reason his team lost in at least three playoff series during his prime. That is not “rarely.”

    • Columnist

      March 23rd 2015 @ 10:20am
      Ryan O'Connell said | March 23rd 2015 @ 10:20am | ! Report

      David, I’m sorry, but there are a few things that need to be addressed within your article.

      Your basis that LeBron isn’t as good as other time greats is largely based on one playoff game in 2010?

      C’mon, every single NBA player – Jordan included – has had a stinker at some point.

      And then you say that “That is the kind of game in which . . . Bryant would have scored 40 or 50 points.”

      What about the NBA Finals Game 7 (the biggest game there is) against the Celtics in 2010, when Kobe shot 6-24 for 23 points? What about the playoff game against the Suns in which he refused to shoot in the second half? Kobe has had plenty of bad NBA playoff games.

      “Johnson would have produced a line like 22 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.”

      The same Magic Johnson who was re-nicknamed ‘Tragic Johnson’ after he choked in the 1984 NBA Finals?

      “ . . . Kawhi Leonard, previously considered a good but not great player, outplayed James and won the 2014 Finals MVP.”

      In that series, Leonard averaged 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks.

      LeBron averaged 28.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

      Leonard didn’t outplay him, he just had the better teammates and was on the winning team.

      “LeBron James . . . just seems somehow to lack that ‘it’ factor that oozes out of Russell, Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, Jordan and Bryant.”

      I’m not even sure what that means. He doesn’t have ‘it’??

      This piece seems like you’re pouring on LeBron for no apparent reason, and with no actual facts or validation to back it up.

      The only empirical data you brought up were the games played. Sure, Jordan rarely took a night off, and LeBron started this season slowly, and even needed a couple weeks off this year.

      But Jordan played 41,011 total career minutes. LeBron has already clocked up 35,452 minutes his career (at age 30). Plus he played in four straight NBA Finals coming into this season – something Jordan never did. Throw in his Olympic commitments during the summer in 2008 and 2012, and I think we can cut him a little slack if he was fatigued, don’t you think?

      • Roar Rookie

        March 23rd 2015 @ 11:32am
        Squidward said | March 23rd 2015 @ 11:32am | ! Report

        Well said.

        It was a shame LBJ had gone missing in those games. But damn Dwyane Wade was even more missing in most

        And that Boston team while old was still pretty good. Big 4, while Cleveland 2010 had just nufties

        • Columnist

          March 23rd 2015 @ 4:40pm
          David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

          Squidward:

          Cleveland had enough in 2010 to post the best record in the league, earn home court advantage and have game five at home, where the Cavs had been virtually unbeatable. I sat in press row for that game and I can tell you that LeBron’s complete lack of effort and total disengagement astonished all of us who had watched him firsthand throughout the season and the playoffs. None of us, including people who had covered the league for a long time, had ever seen a player that great look that completely disinterested. It was not just about stats (although LeBron’s stats were awful), it was about how he just stood around and looked like he did not care. We had all seen LeBron play hard and dominate, which made it that much more jarring when he just loped around like he did not care at all.

      • Roar Guru

        March 23rd 2015 @ 1:10pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | March 23rd 2015 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

        Have to agree with all of that Ronan. People often look at past players with rose coloured glasses and look at individual incidents in the career of someone like James to say he’s not as good because these other players would have never done that, even though they had all the same weaknesses James has.

        James never played college ball, so he’s likely had to learn from some mistakes in the NBA that other players got past in college. LeBron is just a player, that for whatever reason, some people simply don’t like, and look for anything that can find to knock him down a level and suggest he’s just not up there with the all-time greats. When his career is over, we’ll all look back at it and think that he’s well and truly among the greats. Unless he decides that he’s just had enough and wants to retire while still right at the peak of his powers, then he’s likely to finish his career holding many all-time records.

        It’s hard to compare anyone to Jordan, largely because he’s probably the one all-time great player who’s fully transcended the game. Brand Jordan was actually bigger than brand NBA, and the NBA brand was significantly bigger because Jordan was in it. Basketball flourished around the world because of the promotion of brand Jordan. I have no doubt that the NBL prospered because Jordan got people interested in basketball, and that it was no coincidence that the glory years of the NBL actually coincided with Jordan’s career.

        That’s the legacy Jordan left, well beyond just being a phenomenal all-time great player. No other player compares to Jordan in that regard. But comparing LeBron to this group of all-time greats purely on basketballing terms, he’s definitely right up there!

        • Columnist

          March 23rd 2015 @ 2:30pm
          Ryan O'Connell said | March 23rd 2015 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

          Haha! ‘Ronan’ loves his NBA!

        • Columnist

          March 23rd 2015 @ 4:42pm
          David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

          Chris:

          LeBron is up there with the all-time greats. That is why I am comparing him with the all-time greats. When he is compared to that group, he falls short in some ways. That does not mean that I don’t think he is an all-time great.

        • March 25th 2015 @ 1:42am
          lao hu said | March 25th 2015 @ 1:42am | ! Report

          Jordan was to basketball what Ali was to boxing or Tiger Woods was to Golf.

          Bigger than the sport itself.

      • March 23rd 2015 @ 1:11pm
        astro said | March 23rd 2015 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

        The best line for me is regarding the Dallas series where “for long, critical stretches of the series he was outplayed by Jason Terry.”

        Really? What evidence is there of this ever occurring?

        Honestly, if you don’t like Lebron, just write an article about that. No need to try and disprove his achievements, which are there for all to see. In fact, his achievements have their own wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_career_achievements_by_LeBron_James

        • Columnist

          March 23rd 2015 @ 4:27pm
          David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

          Astro:

          The “evidence of this ever occurring” is plain to anyone who watched the series. Heck, even if you didn’t watch the series you can get a sense of what happened by looking at the stats. During the series, Terry, a role player, scored more points on fewer shots than James, in addition to taking it to LeBron one on one in games five and six as described in this ESPN article:

          http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/nba/columns/story?id=6655990

          My article is not about liking James or not liking James. I think that James is the best player in the NBA and that he has been for at least the past six years. I think that he deserves this season’s MVP more than any other player. I also think that he has had some bizarre, puzzling and subpar playoff performances. He seems to quit at times. Some people have suggested that James is not actually quitting but that when the other team’s strategy surprises him he takes a step back and tries to figure out what is happening. That may be true but he is the best player on the floor and his team needs for him to attack at all times.

          A big moment for James, by his own admission, is when Dwyane Wade told him that he had to accept the responsibility of being the best player on the court at all times: http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/2014/02/lebron-james-explains-how-dwyane-wade.html

          For whatever reason, Russell, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic, Jordan and Bryant seemed to intuitively understand this. Even now, James still seems to not get it at times (“chill mode”).

      • Columnist

        March 23rd 2015 @ 4:19pm
        David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

        Ryan:

        In this article I cited several examples, not just one:

        1) 2010 Boston series
        2) 2011 Dallas series
        3) 2014 San Antonio series
        4) Leaving Miami because he thinks he needs more help (Russell, Magic, Jordan and Kobe never did that; Kareem left Milwaukee for personal reasons more than because of feeling he needed more help on the court)
        5) Starting out the 2015 season in “chill mode,” which would be foreign words to Russell and the others.

        If you can find a Jordan “stinker” in his prime that cost his team a series, let me know.

        Magic led the Lakers in assists, rebounds and steals while shooting .560 from the field in the 1984 Finals. One Kevin McHale quip does not tell the whole story of that series. It obviously was not the high point of Magic’s career but it also cannot be compared to LeBron’s aforementioned playoff duds.

        Check out this ESPN article titled “Kawhi Leonard wreaking havoc on LeBron”: http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/91407/kawhi-leonard-wreaking-havoc-on-lebron

        Regarding Kobe’s game seven performance in the 2010 Finals, he led both teams with 15 rebounds and he scored 10 fourth quarter points to seal the win. He, like many other players in that defensive-minded series, shot a poor percentage but he had a major impact on the outcome (winning the Finals MVP) and he certainly showed more energy than LeBron did in the games/series that I mentioned in my article.

        I provided plenty of facts and examples in the article. You just chose to ignore them or do not know the history well enough to appreciate what I wrote.

        I am not “pouring on LeBron for no reason.” I stated at the outset that he deserved the MVPs he won and that I think he deserves this year’s MVP as well. I don’t understand why people even bother comparing him to Curry or Harden. LeBron’s only competition is the dozen or so greatest players of all-time. LeBron is so great that it puzzles me when he seems to not play hard or when he permits lesser players to outplay him. I greatly respect his talent and accomplishments, which is why I find some of his words and actions puzzling–hence the title and theme of this piece.

        • Columnist

          March 23rd 2015 @ 5:03pm
          Ryan O'Connell said | March 23rd 2015 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

          1) So you’re suggesting that he had a bad series against Boston in 2010?

          The same series in which he averaged 26.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks? He had ONE bad game in the 5th match of that series. Yeah, it was a weird one. Still is weird to watch today actually But it was one game. In the very next game after the one you mentioned, he put up 27 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists.

          Kobe has a dozen or more horrible playoff games. The Pistons Finals series in 2004 comes to mind, when he flat out refused to pass to Shaq. Or the time he REFUSED to shoot against Phoenix.

          2) Bad series. No question. But he was also learning to play with Wade. And again, every great player has a bad series in their resume.

          3) A cramp in game one aside, and somewhat giving up in game 5 when the series was over (fair enough, considering how overmatched his team were), he was great in this series. Played a lone hand.

          4) He DID need more help. Who was his best player in Cleveland? Mo Williams?!

          Russell had Cousy, Sam Jones, and number of other great players. Magic had Kareem and Worthy. Why would they ever need to leave to win? They already had their Wades and Boshs.

          And Kobe DID ask for a trade! He only relented with they signed Pau Gasol.

          And if Jordan didn’t start winning, do you honestly think he wouldn’t have as left as well? (In fact, never mind on that – we’ll never know. Poor example by me).

          5) So we’re comparing LeBron only to Jordan now? Seems fair. Only the greatest player of all time.

          Magic choked in 1984. He admits himself. It’s proof that even the greats can have an off-series.

          As for you link to the Kawhi article, it didn’t work.

          Personally, I think this whole narrative around LeBron not being able to be compared to the other all-time greats is ridiculous.

          If he retired tomorrow, he’d still be in the conversation. Never mind the fact he’s 30 and far from done yet.

          • Columnist

            March 23rd 2015 @ 5:36pm
            David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

            Ryan:

            LeBron quit in game five of the Boston series, when a victory would have all but assured a series win. I am not “suggesting” this. I saw it with my own eyes, live, after watching him play live in many other games that regular season and postseason. I also listened to him make excuses and say that he had “spoiled” the fans.

            The game in which Kobe supposedly refused to shoot is a myth. He had a big first half scoring (23 points on 8-13 shooting) and the Lakers were down by 15. Coach Phil Jackson asked Kobe to spread the ball around more in the third quarter, he did and the Lakers fell behind by 10 more. Kobe attempted more shots than any player from either team in that game and he sat out the final five minutes of the fourth quarter because it was a blowout. This myth persists much like the myth that Wilt Chamberlain was such a loser that his team lost his 100 point game (they actually won, 169-147).

            The only game that the Lakers won in the 2004 Finals came courtesy of Kobe’s heroics. You might want to research that series a little more in depth. Malone and Fisher were hurt and Payton by that point could not guard Chauncey Billups’ grandmother, let alone Chauncey Billups in his prime. Those factors are why the Lakers lost.

            Regarding LeBron, I am not talking about “bad” games. Everyone has had “bad” games, even Jordan. I am talking about quitting when LeBron’s team was on the verge of a series victory. I am also talking about multiple series in which inferior players outplayed LeBron.

            LeBron was not great in the 2014 Finals. Try the link again. I just clicked on it and it worked fine. If you really cannot find your way there, I will cut and paste some direct quotes in a future comment.

            LeBron’s Cavs won 60 games multiple times. He had an ensemble roster around him of defenders and three point shooters. He did not have another superstar but his supporting cast was much better than most people say. One guy, even as great as LeBron, does not win 60-plus games alone.

            Magic made some gaffes in 1984. He did not flat out quit.

            • March 23rd 2015 @ 6:29pm
              Iain Quinn said | March 23rd 2015 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

              How do you know he quit? What if there was something much deeper going on that day? Unless you have a window into his mind you can’t say for sure he quit! If his cavs teams were so good why did they fall in a heap after he left? The bulls won 55 games the first year Jordan was retired. That illustrates the help he had (not knocking MJ I think he is the greatest of all time). Lebrons first stint in Cleveland the best played he played with was Mo Williams. Let’s pretend Lebron was drafted to the same laker team in 96 instead of Kobe, and all the variables are the same. (They sign shaq, Phil Jackson etc) In my opinion the lakers win more than the 5 they got with Kobe. Lebron is s

              • Columnist

                March 23rd 2015 @ 11:43pm
                David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 11:43pm | ! Report

                Iain Quinn:

                I know that he quit because he spent that game standing around listlessly on the perimeter and did not attack the hoop. After covering him for multiple seasons and playoff runs, I have a good idea what he looks like when he is fully engaged. I am not blaming him for his stats as much as for how he played.

                Look at the roster the year after LeBron left; almost the entire roster changed, plus the team fired the coach and the GM (the same GM who has now built Atlanta into the team with the East’s best record). The comparison of the Cavs with and without LeBron has to take that into account. A great, MVP level player is typically worth about 20 wins and that is how much the Cavs would have declined without LeBron, all other things being equal.

                The ’94 Bulls lost MJ but they kept the rest of the team and coaching staff intact and some of their young players (like B.J. Armstrong) improved.

            • Columnist

              March 23rd 2015 @ 6:44pm
              Ryan O'Connell said | March 23rd 2015 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

              Kobe Bryant not shooting against the Suns is NOT a myth. Don’t try to re-write history, especially against a life-long Lakers fan. In the game in question, Kobe took three shots (total) in the last 24 minutes. That’s not a ‘myth’.

              And as a Lakers fan, I don’t need to be told what happened in 2004. I know. Kobe stunk the joint up, and was his selfish worst. While shooting less than 40%. And he was clearly looking off Shaq.

              ‘Multiple series’ in which LeBron was outplayed by inferior opponents. Tell me, were the TEAMS he played against inferior? I would say only Dallas could legitimately be called that.

              So LeBron doesn’t get credit for taking multiple teams to 60 wins? But he takes the blame for them losing in the Finals? Which is it?

              As for the ‘quitting’, that is purely your opinion. You have no evidence, apart from your ‘eye test’ to verify that.

              He’s 30. He’s made 5 Finals already. He’s won 4 MVPs. He’s won two titles. That’s puts him in ‘the conversation’ whether you like it or not.

              Let me ask you, is LeBron worthy of being mentioned with Larry Bird?

              • Columnist

                March 23rd 2015 @ 11:46pm
                David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 11:46pm | ! Report

                Ryan:

                I gave LeBron credit for being the best player in the game for the past several years, including this season. To suggest otherwise indicates that you just have not read my article very carefully.

                I am saying that LeBron is not as great as some of the very greatest players ever. You may agree or disagree. You cannot honestly say that I am “hating” LeBron or not giving him credit for being great. I am only comparing him to great players precisely because he is great.

                I am not rewriting history. Kobe took more shots that game than any other player. He did not stand around and play without effort at any point. The Lakers were trailing by 15 at halftime even after he scored 23 points. Phil Jackson decided that the Lakers should slow the game down and try to pound the ball inside. Even if Kobe had shot 50 times the Lakers still would have lost. It is funny to me that the same people who say Kobe did not shoot in that game also blame him for shooting too much against Detroit in 2004. So, basically, no matter what Kobe does the Kobe-haters will blame him.

                In game five versus Boston, LeBron played completely differently than he did throughout the season and during the playoffs. This was not part of the game plan. He quit. He did the same thing the next year in the Finals versus Dallas. That is when Wade told him about his responsibility as a great player and LeBron did much better in the 2012 and 2013 championship runs.

              • March 24th 2015 @ 3:06am
                express34texas said | March 24th 2015 @ 3:06am | ! Report

                It should be clear that James has had a lot of bizarre(to put it at best) games/series, relative to the other all-time greats. I actually think David gives James too much credit here. Having 6 amazing teams in a row, and now 7, and only 2 titles, while playing in the East. That’s quite the underachievement for how awesome he’s perceived overall.

                James often puts up big numbers, but his impact isn’t always there. This is why he’s known as a stat stuffer. He had great stats in game 6 of 2010 ECF; however, while he was quitting like he did in game 5, he certainly wasn’t his usual self. Being outplayed 2x in finals by role players is absolutely ridiculous for an all-time great. Terry dominated James in 4th qtrs. in the 2011 finals, including defensively at times, too. Leonard was certainly the better player in games 3-5 in the 2014 Finals. Everyone has bad games, but there’s more to it than just that.

                While Kobe only shot 3x in 2nd half of game 7 in 2006 vs. Suns, he shot 18x overall. He didn’t quit, he kept playing hard, while many others at the game, including Suns assistant coach Alvin Gentry admitted to. The Lakers kept getting good looks in the 2nd half, but his teammates stunk. It’s amazing he actually got them to a game 7 against a very good Suns team. If you look at the series overall, Kobe only once tried to go off and score a lot, and the Lakers lost that game in OT. By doing what Phil told him to try to slow up the game and get his teammates involved is what he did for the most part in that series, and they ended up winning 3 games.

                No denying Kobe played poorly in the 2004 Finals. But, getting his team there was still a great achievement. But, by the time they got there, they were done for. Outside him and Shaq, the rest of the team was awful. Shaq put up good offensive #’s, but his usual impact wasn’t there, and his defense was horrible. Malone/Fisher were injured. Payton was so bad in that series offensively/defensively, he couldn’t have made a D-league team. How many wide open 3’s did he brick? Devean George might’ve been the Lakers 3rd best player. Even if Kobe played amazing, the Lakers still would’ve had little chance to win.

              • Columnist

                March 24th 2015 @ 3:17am
                David Friedman said | March 24th 2015 @ 3:17am | ! Report

                Express34texas:

                I agree that a case could be made that I am letting James off too easily. I was actually a bit more critical prior to 2012 and 2013 but I think that James deserves credit for finally, belatedly realizing the responsibility that is incumbent on him as the best player. He has admitted that he mishandled the “Decision” and that he did not take the right approach during the 2011 Finals. He took a bit of a step back in last year’s Finals, though, and his “chill mode” comment (and the way he played in matching that comment) was strange. The Cavs have been the best team in the league the past two months and may very well win the 2015 championship–but I also would not be surprised if James plays listlessly in the ECF or the Finals. That is the “it” factor that is missing. Russell and the others I mentioned were never the primary reason that their teams lost. As you mentioned, LeBron has had great casts around him for years in the East and it could easily be argued that he should have won more than two titles.

                LeBron is a great player but it does seem like he should have accomplished even more than he has. The same thing could be said of Shaq. Imagine if Shaq had been wired like MJ or Kobe!

    • March 23rd 2015 @ 12:06pm
      cokemichael said | March 23rd 2015 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

      100% disagree with this article and 100% agree with Ryans facts – this is purely written by someone in the “anti Lebron” camp which I just dont understand – he is currently the best player in the game (over the past 2-7 years)

      • Columnist

        March 23rd 2015 @ 4:30pm
        David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

        Cokemichael:

        If you read the first paragraph of my article then you know that I am not in the “anti-LeBron” camp. I am in the “LeBron is one of the greatest players of all-time but he has had some bizarre playoff moments that most of the other greatest players did not have” camp.

    • March 23rd 2015 @ 1:54pm
      Swampy said | March 23rd 2015 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

      This piece is drivel from someone who clearly doesn’t like Lebron James. It is pure click-bait. The selection of evidence is poor. The ignorance of contradicting evidence is poor.

      I feel I’m being trolled.

      Lebron may well take his team to his 5th NBA Finals in a row. That will make it 6 Finals series all up in 12 seasons. So for half his career he has made it to the NBA Finals.

      His awards bio is about a 1000 words he has achieved so much. We have memories of games where he just eviscerated the opposition. See Detroit for the best example.

      Lebron is one of the greatest players ever. No question. No question whatsoever. Line up the 50 greatest players of all time in their prime at a playground and Lebron is getting picked within the first few by anyone who knows anything at all about basketball.

    • Columnist

      March 23rd 2015 @ 4:35pm
      David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

      Swampy:

      If I don’t like LeBron James then why did I just write an article for this very site saying that he deserves this season’s MVP? Why did I open this article by saying that he is one of the greatest players of all-time?

      Within the space provided, I cited a lot of very relevant evidence and I have added to that evidence here in the comments section. When I wrote the article, I assumed that my audience was familiar with the 2010, 2011 and 2014 playoffs. Perhaps that was a false assumption.

      LeBron would indeed be picked very highly even among the 50 greatest players–but would he be picked ahead of Russell, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic, Jordan or Kobe? That is what this article is about. I am not comparing LeBron to Curry or Harden, as some people do. I think that those comparisons are silly. Ten years from now, people are going to look back on that and laugh. I am comparing LeBron to the very best of the best. I think that LeBron does not quite measure up to those guys, for the reasons that I listed.

      I understand that you and other commenters may be fans of LeBron or some other particular players–but I am analyzing the players and the teams, not just writing only good things about ones I like and only bad things about ones I don’t like.

      • March 23rd 2015 @ 6:37pm
        Swampy said | March 23rd 2015 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

        I am by no means a Lebron fan. His play doesn’t excite me, his general personality is one that puts me offside. I’ve never followed any of the teams he played for. But he is a great player. An all-time great. He is better than Kobe and you could definitely make a case he is better than Magic. You will realise this once he’s 5 years retired.

        My memory of the playoffs goes far beyond 2010. I saw Showtime (at its peak) live if that gives you a clue.

        Ragging on Lebron for not dominating every playoff game he’s ever contested is just not right. Jordan didn’t score 50 every game either (unless Craig Ehlo was guarding him). Magic had some awful games and Bird was incredibly inconsistent. Miami, when you look back at them, didn’t have great teams. It was the big 3 and a bunch of role playing vets and spare parts. As can be seen this season they are only borderline playoff team in the weakest conference in history without Lebron.

        MJ is número uno but I’d debate spots 2-7 in the GOAT debate. And Lebron is in that conversation.

        • Columnist

          March 24th 2015 @ 3:28am
          David Friedman said | March 24th 2015 @ 3:28am | ! Report

          Swampy:

          Again, I agree that LeBron is an all-time great and I stated this at the start of the article.

          My point is that in comparison with other all-time greats LeBron has had some puzzling and disappointing playoff performances.

          Considering all factors, including work ethic and leadership (not just looking at stats, as so many people do), I doubt that many GMs would take prime LeBron over prime Kobe. You could see the difference in championship mentality when they were on Team USA together. LeBron failed when he was with a star-studded Team USA that did not include Kobe but when Kobe was added to the mix that made the difference after Team USA had been embarrassed in several previous FIBA events. I spoke with people who had firsthand knowledge of Kobe’s approach, his practice habits and his influence on the team and they stated that Kobe changed the team’s whole culture.

          Magic took his team to nine Finals in 12 full seasons, winning five titles, and he did so in perhaps the most competitive era in the league’s history, battling against the likes of Bird, Dr. J, Moses Malone, Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan. Magic won a championship as a rookie and played in the Finals in his final full season. So far, LeBron has a 2-3 Finals record in 11 seasons (he is playing his 12th season now and obviously could add to that Finals total now or in the next few years). Winning two championships is very good but does not compare favorably to Magic’s accomplishments.

      • March 26th 2015 @ 3:08am
        Toni said | March 26th 2015 @ 3:08am | ! Report

        David, is nice that you know how to use a computer. Jordan was the best player based on his drama on the offensive end. But, the history of the NBA has never seen a player who can do it at both ends like a super-star.
        Russel was not gifted on the offensive end. Magic and Bird were weak on the defensive end. Jordan was much weaker than Lebron on the defensive end.

        One can really make an argument that Lebron is the second best player the NBA has seen. But some can say that if Lebron had Pepin instead of Mo Williams he might have won 4 btween 2007 to 2010. That Lebron was better than the on in Miami. In Miami he lost some of his defensive edge.

        Now in his 12th season most other great had retired or were reduced to playing role ball.

        • March 26th 2015 @ 5:50am
          express34texas said | March 26th 2015 @ 5:50am | ! Report

          Yea, well, we could say a lot of ifs about any player. Each time Jordan’s teams won 61 games, they not only reached the finals, but won it all. James 09/10 teams led the league each year. Given how great most he think he is, it should be assumed that he could not only take both of those teams to the finals, but win them both. At the very least, at least once. It’s revisionist history after the fact now, since he failed both times. And people forget that those cavs teams were about defense first. Even in 07, James had a good enough team to win it all. They held SA to 86.5ppg in the finals. They just couldn’t score, and that starts with James playing so poorly. Every game was winnable, especially games 3/4.

          • Columnist

            March 26th 2015 @ 11:48am
            David Friedman said | March 26th 2015 @ 11:48am | ! Report

            Express34Texas:

            Those are excellent points. It is funny how some people want to give James all of the credit for the ’07-’10 Cavs’ success but then absolve him for his playoff failures during that era. Even in some of the series in which he put up big numbers, he performed very strangely and passively at key moments.

        • Columnist

          March 26th 2015 @ 11:46am
          David Friedman said | March 26th 2015 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          Toni:

          Nice to know that you can use a computer as well, though you might look into spell check.

          Russell ranked in the top ten in the league in field goal percentage four times. He also ranked in the top ten in the league in assists four times. He was not a big-time scorer because his team did not need him to be one, but his rebounding and passing made Boston’s fast break attack very deadly.

          In the 1982 Finals, the Lakers switched Magic on to Dr. J–one of the deadliest offensive players in pro basketball history–because Dr. J was killing the Lakers on the offensive boards. Magic did not shut down Doc by any means but Magic did a credible job of limiting Dr. J’s offensive rebounding. Magic was also great at playing the passing lanes and he was an outstanding defensive rebounder. A defensive possession is not complete until the defensive team controls the rebound. I agree with you about Bird’s defense but he did make the All-Defensive Team a few times and he also played the passing lanes well. Jordan won the Defensive Player of the Year and was arguably the greatest perimeter defender of all-time.

          You can make the argument that James is the second greatest player ever if you feel like it but that argument would be pretty weak and would not fly against someone who actually knows about basketball history prior to 2005.

          Russell, Kareem and Jordan were all still major forces in their 12th seasons. Dr. J was an All-NBA First Teamer and a star on one of the greatest single season teams of all-time (1983 76ers) in his 12th season.

          I don’t know what else to tell you other than just about every assertion you made is flat out wrong.

    • March 23rd 2015 @ 4:39pm
      Ryan said | March 23rd 2015 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

      Another anti-Lebron piece about why he is not the single greatest player of all-time because someone else is and isolating partiular incidents to prove such a fact.

      If you are going to say he is the reason his teams lost, than he is also the reason they win. Therefore, he has single-handely taken a team to 4 straight NBA finals and could take a different team there; making it 5 in a row. Amazing.

      Lets just wait for him to retire so we have all the facts.

      • Columnist

        March 23rd 2015 @ 4:54pm
        David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

        Ryan:

        LeBron has been in the league for a decade. We have plenty of facts. We know that he is one of the greatest players of all-time. We also know that he has said and done some things that are strange for a player of that status, things that the players I cited in my article would not/did not do.

        Of course LeBron was the primary reason his teams won. However, he is 2-3 in the NBA Finals. Russell went 11-1 in the Finals. Abdul-Jabbar went 6-4. Magic went 5-4. Jordan went 6-0. Kobe went 5-2.

        LeBron’s resume looks great compared to almost anyone who ever played but it does not look so great compared to those guys.

        • Columnist

          March 23rd 2015 @ 5:04pm
          Ryan O'Connell said | March 23rd 2015 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

          Except he’s not done yet . . .

          • Columnist

            March 23rd 2015 @ 5:43pm
            David Friedman said | March 23rd 2015 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

            Ryan:

            I think that we can make some evaluations after a decade:

            1) LeBron is not going to catch Russell’s 11; he will be hard-pressed to match five, for that matter.
            2) LeBron is not going to go 6-0 like Jordan; he is unlikely to have a better Finals winning percentage than any of the players I mentioned.
            3) LeBron has already quit and/or been outplayed by inferior players more often than all of the other players combined. Even when Jordan lost (in playoff series before the Finals) he played very well. The Jason Terrys of his era were not outplaying him. Likewise for Russell and the rest.

            Let’s say that LeBron goes 2-1 in the Finals before retiring as a Cav. That would leave him at 4-4 in the Finals, which is very good–and it is also worse than every player I mentioned.

            I think that comparing LeBron to these players makes more sense and will stand the test of time more than comparing him to Curry and Harden (though I actually did that, too, in an earlier article).

            • Columnist

              March 23rd 2015 @ 6:32pm
              Ryan O'Connell said | March 23rd 2015 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

              Just to be clear, the original ‘Ryan’ comment here wasn’t me; not that it matters much.

              1. True. LeBron is not going to catch Russell’s 11 rings. But guess what? Neither is anyone. Ever.

              2. LeBron could easily finish with another two Finals appearances. Regardless of whether he wins them or not, that would give him 7 Finals appearances. Surely that counts for something? It would be more than Jordan. Sure, Jordan never lost one, but just making that many would be impressive. Heck, making 5 already is impressive.

              3. I’ll ignore the silly ‘quit’ comment. You can’t prove he quit, and it’s insult of grand proportions. As for ‘outplayed’, are you outplayed if your team loses the series? Is it really that simple? How many times has LeBron lost a playoff series? Is it more than Magic? More than Kobe?

              If your measuring stick is just Jordan and Russell, LeBron is going to come up short. But you’re comparing him to the greatest player that ever lived, and the greatest winner that ever lived. Not really fair, in my opinion. Put him up against Magic, Wilt, Bird, Hakeem, Shaq, Kobe, etc, and even his harshest critic should be saying he matches them, if not betters them. So he’s top 10 player, at a minimum.

              You say that if LeBron finishes at 4-4 he’ll have a worse Finals winning percentage than all the players you mentioned, but what about giving him the respect for making 8 Finals series? More than Jordan. More than Kobe. More than Bird.

              • March 23rd 2015 @ 6:41pm
                Swampy said | March 23rd 2015 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

                You’re clearly banging your head against the wall Ryan.

                Not even time will settle this one.

              • Columnist

                March 24th 2015 @ 3:35am
                David Friedman said | March 24th 2015 @ 3:35am | ! Report

                Ryan:

                LeBron is also not likely to catch Kareem, Magic, MJ or Kobe in terms of championships–which is kind of the whole point.

                LeBron is great and deserves to be compared to the all-time greats–and when that comparison is made objectively, he falls a bit short in some areas.

                I already explained why I–and many others–believe that LeBron quit. If you covered James on a regular basis and saw how he normally played then you know that he quit. Put it this way: if someone told you that your life depended on how well you played in a given game I am pretty sure that, even if you were so nervous that you missed all 20 shots you took, anyone could tell that you were playing hard and not quitting. It is not hard to tell if someone is trying hard.

                Did you find your way to the Leonard link at ESPN yet? It explains what it means to be outplayed. Ditto for the Jason Terry link that I cited earlier.

                I don’t think that LeBron matches the players I mentioned in my article and I have supported my opinion with a lot of facts and statistics. You are of course free to disagree but the vehemence of your disagreement makes you sound a lot more like a passionate fan than an objective analyst.

                It is valid to compare the five or 10 greatest players to each other and it is not an insult to rank them or to say that one is greater than another.

                I have given LeBron plenty of respect–so much, in fact, that I think the only valid comparisons are the best of the best. The people who are seriously suggesting that Curry and Harden are better than LeBron are the ones who deserve your ire.

            • March 23rd 2015 @ 6:33pm
              Iain Quinn said | March 23rd 2015 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

              The finals argument is ridiculous. Basically you are penalizing Lebron for carrying an inferior squad to the finals in 2007. Isn’t getting to the finals and losing better than going out earlier??? The only reason the cavs made it there was cause of him! They had no chance of beating the spurs that year… Yet you penalise him for it?

              • Columnist

                March 24th 2015 @ 3:44am
                David Friedman said | March 24th 2015 @ 3:44am | ! Report

                Iain:

                Yes, reaching the Finals and losing is better than not reaching the Finals at all. That is why I did not compare LeBron to Dominique Wilkins or Bernard King.

                I am not “penalizing” LeBron. Reaching the Finals in 2007, reaching the Finals five times overall and winning two titles are major reasons that LeBron deserves to be considered an all-time great–and the poor way that he performed in the 2007 Finals, the 2010 playoffs versus Boston, the 2011 Finals and (to a lesser extent) the 2014 Finals are why he does not quite measure up to the players I mentioned in my article.

                Is it really that hard to understand the concept that LeBron is great because of all that he has accomplished but that some of his failures suggest that he is not as great as a handful of other players?

                Grammatically, one can call someone “great,” “greater than X” or “the greatest.” I have made it clear that I think LeBron is “great” and that he is “greater than most.” I just don’t think that he is the greatest of all-time. Are his fans so sensitive that the merest suggestion that he might “only” be fifth or 10th or (heaven forbid) 15th greatest is really an outrage?

                A few years ago, I did a series of articles about the Basketball Pantheon, listing the 10 greatest retired players. In the last part of the series, I listed the active players who I considered potential future Pantheon members and I included LeBron even before he won his two titles. I have a very high regard for LeBron–and I also have a high regard for Russell, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic, Jordan and Kobe. We should not “hate” those players or forget what they accomplished just to praise LeBron because he is playing now.

        • March 23rd 2015 @ 6:55pm
          Ryan said | March 23rd 2015 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

          The real issue for me is the constant analysis and criticism of Lebron that takes place and the completely unachievable standard he is held too. Almost to the point where he is not considered to have been a success, despite his career being unbelievable and still in progress. It’s like his failed cause he is not outdoing Bill Russell or Jordan? The standard he is held up against is “Jordan”, and this essentially unattainable because he competing with the Jordan myth rather than reality.

          This is exactly what I’m referring too;

          “If you can find a Jordan “stinker” in his prime that cost his team a series, let me know.”

          It’s almost like he was faultless. Baffling to think he had a poor game at a critical moment. Games didn’t cost series, because he had an outstanding team and coach (you have too to be that successful). However, Jordan was undoubtedly the reason his team lost crucial games of playoff basketball. He had his moments where he was both poor in wins, and poor in losses.

          You keep saying Lebron is an all-time great but then seem to be explaining why he isn’t. He is. He is seriously great. Just how great we will have to wait and see. Because by this time Jordan had 3 rings and 3 MVP’s, Kobe had 3 rings and 1 MVP… Lebron sitting pretty on 2 and 4.

          Point to his early losses at Cleveland, point to his “chill mode” this year, or even the fact that his a pass-first player that is one of the leagues greatest scorers (which almost sounded like a criticism); but the writing is on the wall. The fact is you dedicated about 20 words of this article to his back-to-back Championship, MVP and finals MVP years; and that’s what we should really be looking at.

          • Columnist

            March 23rd 2015 @ 7:01pm
            Ryan O'Connell said | March 23rd 2015 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

            Well said.

            You’ve got great name too.

          • Columnist

            March 24th 2015 @ 3:53am
            David Friedman said | March 24th 2015 @ 3:53am | ! Report

            Ryan:

            I think that when you call yourself the King and have a Chosen One tattoo you are holding yourself to a pretty high standard. That is worth remembering when saying that LeBron is being criticized too much.

            We all agree that LeBron is great. If we are trying to put that greatness in historical context, to whom should LeBron be compared? The only meaningful comparisons are to other great players. Those players were also held to that standard. Most, if not all of them, welcome that. Kobe clearly patterned himself after Jordan. Jordan openly stated that he wanted to win at least as many titles as Magic and Bird.

            No one is saying that MJ was faultless. However, on several occasions LeBron was outplayed individually in playoff series by players who are clearly inferior. That never happened to Jordan. Never. Danny Ainge was not outplaying Jordan when Jordan’s Bulls faced the Celtics.

            In this article, I mentioned and praised LeBron’s accomplishments and then I listed what some other all-time greats did and how they approached the game. I am sorry that you cannot see the difference between LeBron and those players and that you don’t even think that the subject is worthy of discussion.

            I thought that some people would agree with what I wrote and some people would disagree but I am baffled that some people think that the subject is not even worth discussing and/or that I have somehow been unfair to LeBron.

            • March 24th 2015 @ 5:56am
              express34texas said | March 24th 2015 @ 5:56am | ! Report

              Yea, I don’t get it either. It’s like if anyone even dares to say anything bad about James, shame on us. Thank goodness for those people, they aren’t Kobe fans. Talk about constant idiotic criticism. My favorite is the 20 shots/game rule. If he shoots 19x or less, that’s good; but if he gets to 20, oh no. And he still shot 18x in that game 7 against the Suns, and people still blast him for it. The story always change, it’s a lose-lose.

              David is comparing James to the elite all-time greats, not scrubs. They’ve all failed numerous times. However, he still doesn’t stack up to them for numerous reasons as explained already. Given a combination of athleticism/skill/size, James might be the perfect player. Shaq/Wilt have a case, too. But, there’s other very important traits as well such as desire, work ethic, and mentality. Shaq should be the undisputed best player ever if only he wasn’t so lazy, and this is why if he actually does crack someone’s top 10 list, just barely. He didn’t get the most of his abilities and didn’t squeeze every possible title he could’ve obtained.

              2007 is a good, maybe great, accomplishment for James. However, let’s put it into perspective. The Cavs won 50 games and were the #2 seed. DET as the #1 seed only won 53 games. After 05, DET certainly didn’t play as well the following years. Losing in game 7 in 05 probably had something to do with that. The 07 Cavs were marginally worse than DET at best. He played great, but it’s not a huge stretch to reasonably assume CLE would win that series. In the finals, he was punked by Bruce Bowen. If he played up to his average for the 07 season/playoffs, CLE would’ve won that series. However, he played extremely poorly. It’s revisionist history to say he didn’t have enough help in CLE, even in 07. Games 1, 3, 4 were all very winnable games and CLE probably wins all if James plays just average.

              • March 24th 2015 @ 7:37am
                express34texas said | March 24th 2015 @ 7:37am | ! Report

                And I don’t think anyone is taking Curry, Harden, or anyone else right now over James in a draft. However, if you evaluated every player ever in their primes based on intangibles as well, James would be probably be #1, too, based on strengths, weaknesses, skill, athleticism, and size. However, he’s clearly not the best ever. There’s more things involved, similar to this season. He admitted to coasting in games. Forget about playing poorly, which everyone has, he just doesn’t show up sometimes, even in playoff games. Based on individual and team success relative to who you’re playing with this season, not only do Curry and Harden have extremely strong cases for winning the MVP, but they are most likely the frontrunners, and deservedly so. James is playing with 2 other top 15 players in their primes plus a team who can go 12 deep. Sure, CLE’s had some injuries, but who hasn’t? For the entire season, he just hasn’t been the best overall player. For any future games, yes, probably, though, but MVP is for the entire regular season. CLE has struggled in the weak East, and will probably have around 52-53 wins. Not very spectacular given his personnel.

              • March 24th 2015 @ 9:44am
                Iain Quinn said | March 24th 2015 @ 9:44am | ! Report

                There’s nothing wrong with saying Lebrons resume doesn’t stack up to MJ’s I agree, he’s the greatest, I don’t think you are fairly comparing somebody like Kobe to Lebron though….

                In the playoffs Lebron goes for 28, 8 and 6 at 48%, Kobe goes for 26, 5 and 5 at 45%…. Yeah Kobe’s got 5 rings, but it’s a team game… let’s swap out Kobe for Lebron at the same age on all those teams… I think Lebron wins at least those 5, plus another couple…. Doubt he runs shaq and Phil out of town the way Kobe did too.

              • March 24th 2015 @ 1:50pm
                express34texas said | March 24th 2015 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

                That’s the thing about stats, Iain, there’s a lot more to it. Case in point is Leonard outplaying James in 2014 finals and James certainly had the big edge in stats if that’s all you’re looking at. Kobe would do anything and everything possible to try to squeeze every win or point. James doesn’t always do that.

                Team game indeed. Kobe’s only played on 4 teams that were able to secure a #1 seed. Each time making it to the nba finals, winning 3 of those times. James has 2x had the #1 seed and failed to make the finals. In nba history, 13 teams have won 66+ games with 10 of those teams winning the title. To say James would’ve won more than Kobe is pure speculation at best, and given what each has done with their respective teams, highly unlikely. Now if Kobe had James last 6 teams, given past evidence we have each, he would’ve made 5-6 finals, winning 3-4 minimum.

                Shaq ran himself out of town with his laziness and Buss refusing to pay him a max contract. Phil needed a break for a year, and yet somehow came back after just one year. Interesting how Kobe ran him out of town, but yet he’s back so soon. You’d think by now, 11 years after the fact, you could get your facts straight.

              • March 25th 2015 @ 12:02am
                Iain Quinn said | March 25th 2015 @ 12:02am | ! Report

                The most common theme of Phil’s book “the lost season” about the lakers 03-04 season was Kobe’s selfishness and uncoachability. That’s straight from a book written by Phil! Perhaps it’s not just myself who is struggling with keeping their facts straight!

                You say that Kobe will always try to squeeze every win, every point out… Why does he take so many bad shots then if he’s all about team? In my opinion Kobe was at his best in the 2001 and 2002 title seasons, he played more within the team. Yeah he worked on his body and skills tirelessly but if he’s all about team why didn’t he become a better teammate as MJ did?

                The lakers showed with the extension they just gave Kobe that they look after their own… Yet curiously they didn’t do the same for shaq… I’m sure even though Kobe was a free agent the lakers didn’t ask his opinion on what to do with shaq! How naive can one be?

                You say it’s pure speculation that Lebron would’ve won more than Kobe if they switched places while 2 seconds later claiming we have evidence that Kobe would’ve won 3-4 titles if he was in Lebrons place the last 6 years…. Not following the logic.

                At the end of the day both are great players, I would take Lebron though.

              • March 25th 2015 @ 3:13am
                express34texas said | March 25th 2015 @ 3:13am | ! Report

                I’m glad you brought up the uncoachability comment by Phil. As I already pointed out, Phil came back after just 1 year primarily to coach Kobe. If he felt so strongly about this, it doesn’t add up, that’s why I say get your facts straight. Phil likes to stir the pot, and he’s trying to sell books, plus that was a diary entry, which is much different than writing an essay or actual facts. It was a spur-of-the-moment comment. Do you ever feel upset about something, and then calm down later to give it more perspective?

                Take James, and enjoy some success, just less success than Kobe.

              • March 25th 2015 @ 3:40am
                Iain Quinn said | March 25th 2015 @ 3:40am | ! Report

                Fair enough you might be right and it was a throwaway comment…. Or perhaps he 100% meant it and it took a behind the scenes ass kissing from Kobe and 10 mil a year to get him to come back… Who knows.

                I don’t really like to boil a whole teams success down to one individual, but if that’s what we are doing I should point out that Kobe is unlikely to add much to his resume while Lebron figures to have at least a few more years at an all NBA level. Who knows how the final tallies will sit.

    Explore:
    , ,