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LeBron’s Legacy: One of a Kind Reviewed by Momizat on . With Michael Jordan celebrating his 50th anniversary, the topic du jour has invariably shifted towards LeBron James’ brilliance on the hardwood and it how stack With Michael Jordan celebrating his 50th anniversary, the topic du jour has invariably shifted towards LeBron James’ brilliance on the hardwood and it how stack Rating:
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LeBron’s Legacy: One of a Kind

With Michael Jordan celebrating his 50th anniversary, the topic du jour has invariably shifted towards LeBron James’ brilliance on the hardwood and it how stacks up to the great Mike. Let’s just put an end to the silly argument right now: Jordan is the greatest to have ever played the game.

If the debate is going to continuously revolve around James’ exploits vis-à-vis those of the former Tar Heel, LeBron is always going to lose that battle; at least for the foreseeable future.

Instead, the better narrative to explore in my estimation is the uniqueness of the former Cleveland Cavaliers’ forward.

Indeed, much like there will only be one Magic Johnson, one Larry Bird and one Michael Jordan; an argument could be made that there will only be one LeBron James.

Never before in the rich history of the NBA have we seen a player possess such power, strength, quickness, speed and grace on the basketball court.

The three-time league MVP is not only a phenomenal and also efficient scorer, but he was also blessed with an impressive and yet rare passing gene for a non-point guard that very few superstars have been able to exhibit.

If one were to make a list off the top of the head of such players, the names of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Kevin Garnett, Jerry West (slightly cheating since he did play some point guard), John Havlicek and Bill Walton automatically come to mind; and James is undoubtedly part of that illustrious group.

Even more impressive, the nine-time All-Star is a permanent fixture on the All-NBA Defensive 1st Team by virtue of his exceptional play on that end of the floor as well as his ability to help out on the boards and grab tough rebounds in traffic.

In other words, James is an all around player of the highest order and that makes it somewhat difficult to pigeonhole him.

Never before have we seen a player with his set of skills.

Magic Johnson was an incredible point guard with excellent rebounding and passing skills, but he was not the scorer that LeBron is today.

Larry Bird was a cold-blooded shooter that often took games over with his multiple skills, but believe it or not, his efficiency falls short of the Chosen One’s. LeBron’s career true shooting percentage is actually superior to that of the Legend’s.

And then there’s Michael.

The former Washington Wizard is arguably the greatest perimeter scorer in league history as well as one of its most incredible offensive weapons given that he was also a great playmaker. Statistically though, Jordan falls short in the rebounding and assisting categories in comparison to King James, but that’s hardly a knock on Michael’s game given how dominant he still was in every facet of the game.

But the common thread for each player mentioned above is that James has at least one advantage over each of them, which is newsworthy considering that they are arguably the three best perimeter players the Association has ever seen; which is a huge testament to his impeccable overall game.

In order to illustrate the reigning league MVP’s multiple skills and all around brilliance, have a look at how he stacks up against some other notable superstars in terms of career playoff games with at least 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists:

Player

Amount of 20-7-7 Playoff Games

Kobe Bryant



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13

Larry Bird

34

LeBron James

42

Magic Johnson

36

Michael Jordan

36

The graphic above shows that James leads the list and is in fact comfortably ahead despite the fact that most of the players are either retired or close to it (Kobe Bryant).

Mind you, setting the bar at only 20 points might just be too low. So let’s run the numbers again, but this time we’ll put the gate at 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists:

Player

Amount of 30-7-7 Playoff Games

Kobe Bryant

8

Larry Bird

12

LeBron James

24

Magic Johnson

4

Michael Jordan

22

Again, James leads all of the players with 24 career playoff games in which he’s accumulated at least 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists; a clear sign of his ability to not only play well-rounded games but also to put up points when needed.

But just for good measure, let’s do the same exercise with 40-point games this time around:

Player

Amount of 40-7-7 Playoff Games

Kobe Bryant

1

Larry Bird

2

LeBron James

6

Magic Johnson

2

Michael Jordan

7

Michael Jordan leads all players with seven such games while LeBron James clocks in second with six playoff games where he’s produced 40 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The statistical achievements by themselves do not make him better than his peers or the greats that played before him, but they do paint an entirely different picture that few tend to mention: he has elevated himself into a class where he may in fact stand alone in comparison to modern NBA superstars.

Notwithstanding the center spot, James can play every position on the floor and do so quite well without compromising anything on either end of the court for his team.

James began to set up his path to basketball immortality with a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, a feat that helped put Michael Jordan’s first championship in perspective, but he has managed to continue to follow that same route with his superb play so far in the 2012-13 regular season.

There’s nothing wrong with shooting for the stars and embracing the challenge of possibly matching or surpassing the legacy of the six-time world champion, but there’s no shame either in being LeBron James.

The two-time NBA All-Star Game MVP is in the process of building his Hall of Fame résumé, and it’s a fairly remarkable one already.

Perhaps we should stop focusing on how he matches up with other players that are considered to be basketball royalty, and maybe, just maybe we should just include him in their group…

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at JM.Poulard@Warriorsworld.net.

About The Author

JM.Poulard

J.M. Poulard is the Warriors World editor. He is also a contributor to ESPN TrueHoop sites Forum Blue and Gold (Los Angeles Lakers), Piston Powered (Detroit Pistons) and Raptors Republic (Toronto Raptors). He has a particular fondness for watching Eastern Conference ball games and enjoys the history of the sport. Feel free to reach out to him on Twitter (@ShyneIV).

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