As the confetti is being swept up in Miami, sports writers, pundits, fans and even your mother are beginning to have their cold feelings towards LeBron James thaw. People who still hate James and his “Decision” to leave Cleveland and head to South Beach are finding it difficult to have their complaints heard.
After his 37 point performance in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, including the game clinching jump shot with under a minute to go, James has put himself in the list of the top 10 NBA players of all-time.
He now has two rings, two NBA Finals MVP awards, four time regular season MVP awards and is a nine time NBA All-Star. He is a seven time All-NBA First teamer and five time All-NBA defender. He can beat you at every facet of the game and proved against San Antonio that he can will a team to victory.
I am quick to say that we should neither get too excited nor try to downplay James and his accomplishments. Saying that he is a top 10 NBA player of all-time is not stretch. Saying he is more than that is a stretch.
Players like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlin and even Kobe Bryant had more sustained success. Right now, James has more in common with Hakeem Olajuwon than he does with any other of the all-time greats.
Yet, just because people don’t like him doesn’t mean you can ignore his greatness. People not being able to put him in the top 10 of all-time would be hard pressed to find 10 better than him.
You cannot put players like Karl Malone, Charles Barkley or Scottie Pippen above LeBron James. James game is so complete that he is in a class all of his own when it comes to skill set. No one in the history of the league, outside of maybe Oscar Robertson, could fill up a stat sheet like James does.
In the end, if James continues to win NBA titles, NBA MVPs and receive accolades, he will end up in the top three all-time. There is so much more of his career left to see played out. We could see him suffering some debilitating injuries, loss of a solid supporting cast and other teams out to capture their glory.
To me, it is fun to see such a dominating player in his prime take over an entire league. And I leave it at that. It doesn’t bother me that he left Cleveland or that he’s not Michael Jordan. He’s just one of the greatest players of all-time playing at the height of his career and dominating the game.