As Los Angeles Lakers’ star LeBron James continues to make NBA history time and time again, the continued debate over who is the GOAT of the NBA becomes more fierce. For many, it winds up being boiled down to LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan for who is the greatest player the league has ever seen.
But there are plenty of other names who get brought up in the conversation as well. Fellow Lakers legends like Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and Wilt Chamberlain are mentioned as is Bill Russell, who has won more rings than anyone else. One name who isn’t brought up quite as much but certainly should be is another Lakers legend and the all-time scoring leader, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
NBA Hall of Famer Isiah recently spoke on the GOAT argument during his appearance on ESPN First Take and had a ton of praise for LeBron while also revealing that the debate for the NBA’s best player in his opinion comes down to LeBron and Kareem:
I can speak from experience, and I can speak factually and accurately […] By the time LeBron James is done, he is the only player in the history of our game that will probably be ranked top-10 or top-5 in every statistical category, never been done before […] we have never, ever in my lifetime or anybody else’s lifetime seen a player that is so thoroughly dominant in every statistical category.
And when I say he’s the GOAT here’s what I mean. When you talk about he and Kareem in terms of their 20-year dominance over a sport and then both of them being able to touch every single aspect of the statistical categories and be leaders in those categories, you can’t be considered the GOAT and you don’t lead in no statistical categories. When you talk about Kareem and you talk about LeBron James, that is the conversation in terms of, in my opinion of who’s the best to do it. Because from a winning percentage standpoint, from a statistical standpoint, from an impact on a game standpoint, any criteria of measurement you want to use, these two are in the top-5 in almost every single category.
As far as where it stands at this moment, however, Thomas admitted that he still holds Kareem ahead of LeBron, but once James surpasses him on the all-time scoring list, there can be no argument:
Not until he passes him in the scoring title, but as an all-around player yes. And by the time that LeBron James is finished, see we’re measuring and he’s still in his basketball playing career. But we can safely say that by the time he’s done playing, he may have passed Kareem. When he passes Kareem in scoring you have to anoint him as the GOAT.
This debate can and will rage on forever as there are so many factors that must be taken into account and much of it is subjective and what a person values more. As Thomas notes, LeBron is truly a one-of-a-kind player who will find himself high on nearly every statistical list so it is hard to argue against him. But that won’t stop many from doing so as there are just too many legends that have come through the NBA.
James ‘humbled’ to be amongst NBA’s Top-75 Players
LeBron recently got to spend time with many of those legends as the NBA honored their top 75 players of all-time in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary and the Lakers’ superstar was humbled to be amongst the greatness, as well as it taking place near his home.
“I am just honored and humbled by the simple fact that I am one of the top 75 players to ever play the game of basketball. Being voted in, and the fact that it’s happening 35 miles north of my hometown makes it even more special.”
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