The beginning of the season looked bright and hopeful. The Los Angeles Lakers had signed the biggest name in the NBA and possibly the greatest player of all time, LeBron James. Taking his talents to Southern California, LeBron was betting his legacy on this team of young uncertainties and washed up veterans past their prime. Unfortunately it did not work out. The Lakers missed the playoffs by a wide margin, making it the first time LeBron has missed the playoffs since the 2004-2005 NBA season, LeBron’s second year in the league.
Earlier this week the Lakers announced LeBron would sit out the remainder of the season, after failing to make the playoffs. This came as a surprise to Laker fans and NBA fans alike who never would have expected LeBron to sit out while still healthy. Many have brought up how this will affect his legacy. LeBron has consistently been the best player in the league for years now and him sitting out is not what great players do. Throughout his career and even as far back as high school, LeBron has been compared to Michael Jordan, who is considered by most still the best player ever to play in the NBA. Statistics, awards, and style of play has been used to compare the two, and it has always been a close match. Now with LeBron sitting these last few weeks in the season, his competition with Jordan comes into question, as Jordan had never sat out games to tank and he never missed the playoffs besides his rookie year.
The truth is, this season should not affect LeBron’s legacy, no matter how much of a failure it was. Many people forget Jordan left the NBA twice to retire. In one of those retirements he left to go play baseball, forgoing his legacy in the NBA. LeBron has never left the league and in reality may have a better resume than Jordan at this point. The level of competition in the league has increased from the Jordan Era as guys are stronger, faster, and smarter. With the rise of the internet, players can easily build upon their skills with trainers, new drugs, and new treatments at the touch of their finger. Jordan also never had to face the Golden State Warriors and the Splash Bros, who have revolutionized the NBA and quite honestly may be the greatest dynasty/team of all time. For the past four years, LeBron had to face the Warriors with sub par teammates most years. Despite not winning as many finals as Jordan, there should be some consideration into the competition LeBron had to face.
LeBron’s career is still not over, and he will have plenty of time to win more rings in the future. The Lakers have a good amount of cap space this summer, where they can sign some all-stars like Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, or even Klay Thompson. Despite a lackluster season, LeBron fans should not be worried as at the end of his career he will still have an amazing resume that should outshine Jordan’s, and quite possibly give him the title as greatest player of all time.