LeBron James is already one of the greatest players of all-time and is looking to further cement his legacy with the Los Angeles Lakers heading into the 2018-19 NBA season.
With James having an understanding of the franchise’s history, there are expectations to win at least one championship during his four-year, $154 million contract.
Out of all the Lakers’ retired jerseys, Elgin Baylor is the only player to not win a championship as he retired nine games into the 1971-72 season.
As Lakers legends are also among the NBA’s best, Shaquille O’Neal discussed if James should be in the conversation for the greatest Laker of all time during an appearance on The Official Lakers Podcast:
“Stop it. You can’t come here and play one year and be involved in the conversation for best Laker ever. Stop it. Are you kidding me? … No disrespect to LeBron. He’s a great player, but you can’t come here one year and be in that conversation. Listen, Magic, Worthy, Kobe, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain. That’s a lot.”
With James winning three championships during his eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances, being a Laker presents a new challenge at this stage of his career. If the 33-year-old is successful in winning a championship in Los Angeles, he will become one of only three players (John Salley and Robert Horry) to win with three different teams.
In perhaps the greatest challenge of his career, James will look to win without a big three in the competitive Western Conference. However, with a young core and $38 million in salary cap space for 2019 free agency, James and the Lakers can quickly improve their chances and become perennial championship contenders.