Long Live the King: LeBron James is Still the League’s Best
What do fine wine, cheddar cheese, Jennifer Aniston, and LeBron James all have in common? That’s right, they all get better with age. Coming off an MVP caliber season and his 4th NBA championship, LeBron James is still the best basketball player in the world.
Before last season, I wrote a similar article about James still being the best player going into last season. I kept the receipts. People told me Kawhi Leonard was better. People told me Giannis Antetokounmpo was better. People told me Kevin Durant was better. People even told me that James Harden was better. I was told LeBron was washed up and his reign as the league’s best player was over.
Now after averaging 25 PPG, 10.2 APG, 7.8 RPG, finishing 2nd in the MVP race, winning his 4th NBA championship and 4th Finals MVP, and moving to point guard while leading the entire league in assists, it’s hard to say that the soon to be 36 year-old isn’t still on top of the totem pole. Challengers came and went. LeBron James has ruled the NBA for more than fifteen years. His reign on the league has been one of the greatest in basketball history.
The Lakers reloaded this short off-season by acquiring 2020 6th Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell from the Clippers, 6th Man of the Year runner-up Dennis Schröder from the Thunder, verteran big man Marc Gasol from the Raptors, and sharp shooter Wesley Matthews from the Bucks. Rob Pelinka also managed to re-sign key contributors Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris. It is very rare that the defending champion gets substantially better the next season, but the Lakers have done it. James and Davis have all the necessary pieces around them to defend their title.
Gets awful boring doesn’t it? As sports fans, we often get tired of something being the same for so long. Whether it’s a dynasty winning year after year, or in this case, a player dominating a league for more than a decade. Fans sometimes start ignoring amazing numbers or great performances from that player and start saying irrational things because they don’t want the athlete to be on top again. As the most scrutinized player, James has a wave of hate throughout the nation that also drives him. The standards he has set for himself have been the highest we have ever seen. It’s rare to see a player get criticized for great performances as much as LeBron James does.
How long will LeBron’s reign on this league last? Who knows. Until LeBron has a drastic drop in production, the crown for world’s best belongs to him. It’s a tough truth for you haters out there, but don’t worry, the Last Dance is still on Netflix for you to go watch and drown in your nostalgia.
LeBron and the Lakers will kick off their season on Tuesday, December 22nd, as they take on the Clippers on TNT.