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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Case for LeBron James


Photo courtesy of Keith Allison via

Some Argument against LeBron James include:

  • “LeBron James is 3-4 in the Finals.”
  • “Michael Jordan never lost in the NBA Finals.”
  • “Michael Jordan didn’t need as much help as LeBron James did.”
  • “LeBron James had to leave his team to join two superstars to win. Jordan never did that.”

Stop comparing LeBron James to Michael Jordan. They are two different types of players who played in two drastically different eras of the NBA. A better comparison to Jordan would be Kobe Bryant, who closely studied Jordan and expanded on MJ’s style of play. There are many videos online that show Bryant copying the same moves from Jordan but adding his own twist and flair to it. If I were to compare LeBron James to a previous NBA player, it wouldn’t be Michael Jordan. It would be Magic Johnson. The crisp passes, the accurate lobs, and the willingness to assist more than score is a trait that Magic Johnson had during his career with the Showtime Lakers. Instead of comparing LeBron to Jordan, we should enjoy the greatness of one of the best basketball players of all time.

Statistics downplay the greatness of players and our overall appreciation for them. Taking a look at the losses LeBron suffered in the Finals, one can easily see that he was clearly under-matched, with the glaring exception being the 2011 Finals. In 2007, LeBron and the Cavs had no business in the Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, but the greatness of LeBron had to carry teams to the playoffs, let alone the Finals.. In 2014, LeBron was, again, carrying the shoulder of his Miami Heat team with an injured Dwayne Wade. The chemistry of the San Antonio Spurs was too much for his team, and they fell in 5 games. In 2015, the injuries suffered by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love was too much for the lone James against the sharp-shooting Golden State Warriors. The 2011 Finals was the only exception because LeBron didn’t play as well as he should have. Other than that, we should give him the credit he deserves. No player in recent history other than Michael Jordan has been dominating the league the way he has been. 2016 marked the sixth consecutive Finals appearance by James. Leading teams to Final appearances every year since 2010, LeBron James has proven over and over again that he is capable of winning. He knows what it takes to win, and that was shown on display during the 2016 NBA Finals against the 73-9 regular season Golden State Warriors in a Finals rematch. Down 3-1, critics were ready to write away LeBron as “old” and “washed-up,” but LeBron and his team stormed back to win three straight games to win the NBA Finals.

No one talks about Kobe’s losses in the NBA finals as much as they talk about LeBron’s losses. Critics, even fans like myself, chalk it up to the fact that in 2004, there was an internal feud between Kobe & Shaq that ruined the chemistry and tore the team apart. We say that although we lost to the Boston Celtics in 2008, we avenged our loss against them in 2010. Similar to how we praise Kobe’s achievements and brush aside the losses, similar should be done with LeBron.

Ever since high school, LeBron has been dubbed “The Chosen One”— the next heir to Michael Jordan. It’s safe to say that he has lived up to this nickname because of the work he has put in on-and-off the court. He entered the league at the young age of 18 and never caused any trouble as he adjusted from high school to the NBA. He lived up to expectations by becoming an MVP, winning multiple rings, and helping the city of Cleveland and Ohio to bounce back to financial relevance. After coming back from a 3-1 deficit and winning a championship for Cleveland, a promise he fulfilled after 13 seasons in the NBA, we should finally let the criticism stop and enjoy what we have left of LeBron. 13 seasons in, and undefeated Father Time is slowly creeping closer and closer, waiting to snatch the next player. While LeBron is still in his prime right now, both mentally and physically, he won’t be playing in the NBA forever. So instead of basing his career on the amount of championships he has, we should appreciate all he has done for the NBA. He has created more than many exciting basketball moments. Some moments include:

2007 Playoffs: Scoring the final 25 points against the Detroit Pistons

  • 2012 Playoffs: Down 3-2 in the playoffs against the “Big Three” Celtics, LeBron put up 45 points and 15 rebounds to bounce back and win the series
  • 2013 Finals: Other than Ray Allen hitting arguably the greatest 3-pointer in NBA history, LeBron was on full display as he dominated the Spurs and he clinched his second straight title.
  • 2016 Finals: Coming back from 3-1 against the Golden State Warriors, LeBron saved Game 7 by blocking Andre Iguodala in the final minutes of the game. This eventually secured his third ring, and his first with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bound to create even more memorable moments, let’s be thankful that we are able to witness one of the greatest players of all time in full display as he continues to break records and do the impossible.

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The Case for LeBron James