Lebron James is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer after breaking Kareem’s 39-year-old scoring record. In light of this accomplishment, this author will take a look at Lebron’s career, his body of work, his accomplishments, and failures, and make the case for why he is the greatest player of all time through a three-part series of weekly articles.
In the final installment of the “GOAT” Case for Lebron James, we will look at his accomplishments and resume throughout his illustrious 20-year career. In previous articles, I have made the case as to why Lebron would have thrived in the 90s and demonstrated that contrary to popular belief, Lebron is one of the greatest playoff performers of all time. Now we focus on his career accomplishments as a whole and we look to see if his accomplishments and accolades, both from an individual and team perspective, are proficient enough to be considered the greatest of all time.
In the regular season, Lebron James has been one of the most dominant forces in the history of the game. He has been selected to 19 All-Star games and has been selected to a record 18- All NBA teams. For perspective, Michael Jordan made the All-NBA team 11 times, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Tim Duncan with 15 a piece. He has been the league’s MVP four times and has been selected to the All-Defensive team six times. On defense, one of his greatest strengths was that he was capable at the peak of his prime to guard All-Star level guards such as Derrick Rose, while at the same time guarding centers and center/forwards like Roy Hibbert or Tim Duncan through crucial stretches. He is the only player in the history of the game to have at least 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists. To put that into perspective, no other player in NBA history has reached 10,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists. At his pace and health permitting, he should reach 40,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists by next season. He is the only player in history to be top five in both scorings (1) and assists (4).
In a previous article, I spoke about Lebron’s clutch playoff factor. There is more to Lebron in the playoffs than just his clutchness, as his accomplishments are plenty. He has made the finals ten times in his career including a preposterous stretch of making eight straight finals. That means that outside of the Lakers (32), Celtics (22), and Warriors (12), Lebron James has more final appearances than every other NBA franchise. James is also the only player in NBA history to win with three different franchises. He has won four NBA Championships and is the only player besides Jordan (6) who has won the Finals MVP award at least 4 times. Lebron is also the all-time leading scorer with 7,631 points scored; to put it in perspective, no one else has reached 6,000 points.
Lebron has also had a very successful international career. LeBron James was an integral part of the USA basketball team for over a decade, and his contributions helped the team win multiple gold medals. James made his debut for the USA basketball team in 2004, at the Athens Olympics. Although the team was expected to win the gold medal, they had to settle for bronze after losing to Argentina in the semifinals. This was a disappointing result for the team, but it was also a valuable learning experience for James. He would go on to win gold medals in 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics.
In the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, LeBron James played a crucial role in helping the USA win the gold medal. He was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 15 points per game, and he also led the team in assists and steals. James’ performances were crucial in several key games, including the gold medal game against Spain. James was also a key player in the 2012 Olympics in London. He once again led the team in scoring, averaging 13.3 points per game. His performances in the gold medal game against Spain were particularly impressive, as he scored 19 points and had seven rebounds and four assists. The USA won the game 107-100, and James was named the tournament’s MVP.
As time continues to pass, and Lebron continues to play at a high level, I believe that it will become harder to mock the idea of someone else other than Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all time. Lebron’s consistently high level of play, and his accomplishments, already have made him at minimum one of the three most accomplished players overall. What was once seen as impossible is now arguable, and if health permits, I believe that by the time all is said and done, his overall career will be too overwhelming to ignore.
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