One of the most common arguments used to discredit a player’s success — and particularly that of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James — is the idea that they couldn’t win without building a “super team.” NBA legend Julius Erving is the latest to do so after comments about James made the rounds on social media.
Over the course of his 18-year career, James has had some incredible teammates. From Dwyane Wade to Kyrie Irving to Anthony Davis, all of James’ championships have come when he had at least one other All-Star caliber player on his roster. However, almost all championships were won when a team had two or more All-Star caliber players, including Erving’s lone NBA title.
Erving, when discussing his all-time first and second teams, said that James “led the charge” on super teams, making it difficult to include him, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“You look at LeBron [James] and anybody he sort of picks [to play] with him. You know, playing with so many guys, he’s the guy who has led the charge in terms of super teams being put together. He put together the team in Miami, he put a team together in Cleveland as well, and put together a team in Los Angeles. So he can pick his own team, I’m not going to pick him.”
There is still not a clear definition of what a super team is, despite the fact that the term gets thrown around in almost every basketball discussion. Many times, people simply confuse good roster-building for a super team, as evidenced by Erving referring to last year’s Lakers team as a super team.
In the postseason, the team’s third-best player was likely Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a player who has never made an All-Star Game and has never averaged 15 points per game for an entire season. It appears that any team James is on that has at least one other All-Star instantly becomes a super team in Erving’s eyes.
Beyond being a difficult thing to define, players too often get criticized and have their legacies diminished simply because they had good teammates. No player has ever won a championship by themselves, and it’s absurd to expect them to do so.
James returned to action against Kings
After missing six weeks of action due to a high ankle sprain, James returned to action on Friday night against the Sacramento Kings.
While James didn’t look like his usual self, it was good to see him back on the floor as he begins to ramp up for another postseason run.
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