What LeBron James has done in his 17th NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers is nothing short of amazing.
James took on the role as the team’s point guard, leading the league in assists while they established themselves as a championship favorite, holding the best record in the Western Conference.
As the 2019-20 NBA season wore on, James’ performance seemed to get even better, doing great work on both sides of the floor and inserting himself as a legit Most Valuable Player contender next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. James’ unreal level of play caught the attention of the entire basketball world, including Magic Johnson.
Johnson has continued to support James and the Lakers despite his controversial decision to step down as president of basketball operations at the end of last season. In a recent appearance on ESPN’s First Take, Johnson would give the highest praise to James, calling him the top sports player in the world as transcribed by Adam Wells of Bleacher Report:
“When we got to January, and LeBron kept dominating. Then on the [March 6 game], he defended Giannis Antetokounmpo and did an amazing job. LeBron did, and dominated in scoring, rebounds and assists. Then he turned around [on March 8], they beat the Clippers…he dominated on both ends of the court. I said ‘that’s your MVP.’ So LeBron James, to me, right now if the season ended today, is the MVP of the league. … I like Patrick Mahomes, but he’s no LeBron James. And LeBron James is the No. 1 sports player in the world.”
It’s hard to argue Johnson’s point. James’ ability to sustain this high level of play for such an extended period is unbelievable. While recent surveys suggest that he hasn’t quite overtaken Antetokunmpo in the race this season, he has undoubtedly re-established himself as arguably the best player in the world after a down Year 1 with the Lakers.
It is extremely difficult to measure players from different sports against each other, but James would certainly have a great case as the top sports player in the world. Patrick Mahomes has been great in his first couple of NFL seasons but doesn’t have the longevity that James has. Plenty of other athletes would also have to be thrown into the debate as well such as Serena Williams, Mike Trout, Lionel Messi, and Simone Biles.
Regardless of who actually is at the top of the list, there is no doubt that James has to be in any discussion of the world’s top athletes.