Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to ever step foot on an NBA court. The argument as to who is the best ever between LeBron and Michael Jordan will continue to rage on, especially as the former continues to produce at a high level despite being in his 20th NBA season.
But the opinions of those who have been on the court with James or Jordan will always hold a little more weight. Anyone can comment from the outside looking in, but those who’ve shared the court with those legends have a viewpoint unlike any other. And one player who was right next to James at his absolute apex is point guard Mario Chalmers.
Chalmers was LeBron’s teammate with the Miami Heat for all four seasons he was there, winning two championships and making four NBA Finals appearances. The point guard was right there for some of LeBron’s best performances of his career, but in an interview with Playmaker, Chalmers believes no one really feared James in the same way they did Jordan:
“Nobody fears Bron. Nobody’s like, ‘Damn, I gotta go play against Bron tonight.’ Nobody said that. I don’t know why, because I’ve seen people be scared when they actually line up to him, but they’re not scared thinking about that matchup. You hear anybody from that era talk about going against Jordan, there’s a fear. So when you have people that fear a player, then that tells you something different already. Like Jordan is just that guy. Like everything was, ‘I want to be like Mike.’”
This is an interesting take, but one that does fall in line with a longtime criticism of LeBron. Fair or unfair, there is a belief by many that he lacks that real killer instinct as when players faced off with Jordan or Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, they knew those players were trying to destroy them at all times.
Perhaps while opponents knew it was nearly impossible to stop LeBron, it simply wasn’t the same from a mental aspect of a player coming for your throat every second they were on the court and that is what Chalmers is getting at. It’s also possible that there simply hasn’t been enough time passed, considering James remains an active player with the Lakers, for his contemporaries to speak on those stories the same way players do with Jordan.
But whether or not players feared LeBron, they could not stop him from compiling accolade after accolade throughout his storied career. And if you ask any head coach who has had to gameplan against James, they will surely tell you how much they feared his abilities.
Darvin Ham anticipates LeBron James returning to Lakers ‘at some point’ this season
Currently, James remains on the sideline due to his foot injury and with the season winding down, there are questions as to whether he will be back at all. But Darvin Ham believes he will return to the Lakers this year.
“Yeah, we anticipate him coming back at some point,” Ham said.
And the Lakers coach is among many wanting LeBron back on the court, he believes his time away has allowed the rest of the Lakers to show what they are capable of. “LeBron being out has revealed that we have a lot of different weapons that are very capable players on different sides of the ball that can help us achieve the goal that we’re trying to achieve and when he comes back, he’s just gonna add to it,” Ham added.
“But guys just got to play. We got to stay together and like I’ve been saying all year, we just got to continuously compete, stay together and hold ourselves accountable.”
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