The Legacy of LeBron James


Courtesy of FiveThirtyEight

LeBron James will not make the playoffs this year.

Aidan Stroup, Sentry Staff Reporter

In the 2018 National Basketball Association (NBA) offseason, LeBron James made the decision to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers for $154 million over four years. James looked to continue his career in Los Angeles, who had a base of decent young players that needed a leader like James. Over the past month, the Lakers’ chances of making the playoffs have diminished drastically. During this period the Lakers have faced unending criticism, most of it aimed at James in particular. James made headlines in February for saying that he had to turn on his “playoff mode” earlier this year than in previous years. There have been many video clips uploaded to social media of James giving little to no effort during games with the mocking caption of “playoff mode”.

James is often recognized as the best player in NBA history and this results in him and his team being a constant focal point in the press. He has been receiving a lot of negative press because his team is in a poor position to make the playoffs, but by looking at statistics it can be argued that this position is not his fault. He is averaging twenty eight points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game and his team is somehow still finding ways to lose. The Lakers recently played the Phoenix Suns, the team with the worst record in the Western Conference, and lost by nine points. James exceeded most of his averages with the standout stat of sixteen assists. The Lakers are getting consistent performances from the biggest superstar in the NBA and they still have no answers to why they cannot win.

James has one of the most impressive résumés in NBA history with five championship appearances and three championship wins. He is a four time Most Valuable Player (MVP) and a three time finals MVP. He has only missed the playoffs twice in his sixteen year career, the last time being in 2005. Many believe that if he does not make the playoffs this year his legacy will be tainted, but that is not true. He has been performing at an incredibly high level consistently since he was nineteen years old. In high school he was put on the cover of Sports Illustrated and given the title of the chosen one. He has done everything in his power to live up to the unrealistic expectations that fans of the NBA have for him. He also recently passed Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, for the fourth most points in NBA -history. Accomplishments such as this should be celebrated and the NBA community should appreciate the greatness of James.

James and Jordan are the two most talked about players in the conversation of the greatest player of all time. Jordan was incredibly dominant winning six NBA Finals winning the MVP every time. He also led the league in points scored in ten separate seasons averaging thirty seven points per game in the 1986-87 season, setting an NBA record. Wilt Chamberlain is the only player who has averaged more points per game in NBA history. On the other hand, James has plenty of accomplishments of his own. He has fewer postseason accomplishments than Jordan, but has surpassed Jordan in all time points, rebounds, assists and field goal percentage. James still has many years to come so the conversation will inevitably continue for years to come.

James is undoubtedly one of the best players in NBA history and f his team has a poor season his legacy should not take a blow. Being the star of the league brings a plethora of criticism even when undeserved. If the Lakers miss the playoffs this year fans should move on and appreciate the greatness of LeBron James.