Although the 2021-22 season ended up in flames for the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James still managed to have an excellent season.
If not for injuries and a poor record James would’ve received more buzz for MVP, but the Lakers were a mess from start to finish and now find themselves struggling to reclaim their throne atop the NBA. Fortunately, they still have James who has shown no signs of slowing down and can conceivably lead the team to a title if the right pieces are put around him.
His game has aged beautifully as he has moved farther and farther past his prime, using his basketball IQ to outwit opponents on a nightly basis. Former NBA star Grant Hill played in a similar fashion, which is why he compared his own play style to the King when asked for a contemporary comparison, via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports:
“I know this may sound incredibly arrogant to say, but LeBron [James]. I mean, obviously, he’s a bigger guy who’s more powerful, but he’s a guy 6’8″ who handles the ball, who is a pass-first kind of guy, who I think tries to use his intellect to really outthink the opponent, but also has some great physical gifts as well,” Hill told NBC Sports Washington.
“And then a guy who just fills up the stat sheet. I mean, he’s somebody at least in terms of the approach to the game, I don’t think LeBron approaches a game like, ‘I’m going to beat you.’ I think he tries to be inclusive and say, ‘okay, we’re going to beat you, how can we beat you?'”
Hill admitted that it was a lofty comparison to bring up James, but the former All-Star forward has a point as he was also a larger playmaker who did well with the ball in his hands. Before injuries got in the way, Hill was also an explosive athlete but not to the degree that James is.
James is squarely in the GOAT conversation and his new head coach Darvin Ham as him top-5 dead or alive. Hill obviously doesn’t have the same stature or resume as James does, but the comparison is there if you look hard enough.
James hoping to honor Russell by wearing No. 6 in 2022-23
As James goes into the 20th season of his NBA career, he will look to get the Lakers back into championship contention and will be doing so wearing the No. 6. The NBA decided to retire the number in honor of Bill Russell, but players like James who also have it were grandfather in.
James is hoping that by wearing the number he can honor Russell’s legacy after the former NBA great recently died at the age of 89.
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