LeBron’s Greatness is Undeniable

After his 56-point performance against the Warriors, LeBron is now 208 points away from passing Karl Malone for 2nd-most career points scored in NBA history. LeBron will, barring injury or a radically uncharacteristic slump, surpass Karl Malone’s 36,928 points in the next 7 or 8 games. If he averages 27 points a game he will do it in 8 games, but if he has any more scoring outbursts like he did last night, he’ll do it sooner.

LeBron is also just 20 assists away from becoming the 7th player in NBA history to record 10,000 or more assists in a career. He’s at 9,980.

There is no player in NBA history who has both 30,000 career points and 10,000 career assists. He’s going to become the only one to ever do it.

In fact there’s only one player that has more than 20,000 points and 10,000 assists: Chris Paul.

LeBron is about to become the first and only member of the 30k-10k club. And by the time he retires, he will be the first and only member of the 40k point club–and of course the 40k-10k club.

We’re talking about the most complete player in NBA history here. And it’s really not even close.

LeBron is already over 10,000 career rebounds. The only other player in NBA history in the top 50 all time in assists that also has over 10,000 rebounds is Kareem, who has 5,660 assists. 

LeBron is a few games away from becoming the first and only member of the 10k assists and 10k rebounds club. He might even pass Malone and hit 10k assists in the same game.

I mean just think about this: no player in NBA history has ever recorded 10k career assists and 10k career rebounds. LeBron will be the first to ever do it. Just that alone puts him in the Hall of Fame discussion even if he hadn’t scored a single point his whole career.

There are only 42 players to reach the 10k rebounds milestone in NBA history. Of those 42, only four of them have more than 5,000 career assists: LeBron, Kareem, Malone and KG. And LeBron when all is said and done will double the other three guys up in career assists.

And we haven’t even talked about efficiency either. LeBron and Alex English are the only non-centers in the top 25 all time scorers who shoot over 50% from the field for a career. All the other wing players are under 50%. MJ is close at 49.7%. 

LeBron is the GOAT. It’s not even debatable at this point. I don’t care about the Jordan logo and all your documentaries and propaganda. I don’t care about your generational insecurity and desperation to cling to the belief that your generation was the best ever. The numbers are overwhelming. 

Honestly I hate that it’s even a debate where people have to pick a side, and feel they need to nitpick and tear down LeBron in order to defend MJ’s legacy. Or vice versa. It’s ridiculous. People are blinding themselves to greatness.

It’s really not even fair to MJ or any other player to be compared to LeBron. MJ was 6-6, 215. LeBron is 6-9, 260. Karl Malone was that big but he was not nearly as athletic as LeBron.

It’s honestly in a way unfair given the ridiculous talent and genetics LeBron has been blessed with. We’re comparing mortals to a god here.

If you wanted to construct the greatest possible basketball player of all time, the end result would look like LeBron: big, strong, fast, athletic, can shoot, drive, score efficiently, post up, defend, play all 5 positions, pass, rebound, and has the highest basketball IQ imaginable. That’s LeBron. Oh, and for like the first 16 seasons of his career he literally never got injured. His bones, joints, ligaments and muscles are made of Vibranium.

LeBron is a hybrid between MJ and Magic. You can’t get better than that. It’s not possible to conceive of a player that’s superior to that.

The only other guys I can think of that approach the LeBron “one of one”, “hybrid that that shouldn’t be allowed because it’s simply unfair” category are KD and Giannis. KD is a 7 footer with guard skills who can shoot. That’s an example of a combination that is simply unfair. He’s like a more athletic Dirk–who was a genetic freak of nature in his own right.

Giannis is a 7 foot slasher who plays elite defense. Again: simply broken. A human cheat code. I don’t think there’s been a player more obviously dominant than Giannis since Prime Shaq. I’m talking about obvious and undeniable physical domination–like a dad playing ball against his kids in the driveway. Giannis just reaches over people, goes through them, euro-steps past them–it doesn’t matter. He flies through the air to swat shots, he regularly dunks from the free throw line–he’s just too big, too strong, too long, too athletic. He’s OP.

But as insane as KD and Giannis are, neither guy is quite the full package as LeBron. LeBron has them both beat in passing, playmaking and basketball IQ. Neither KD or Giannis is a genuine floor general like LeBron is. LeBron is a coach on the floor, and to me that’s what truly sets him apart from everyone else.

Because the league has always been dominated by freakish outlier physical specimens. Just go through the history of the league: in the 1960s you had Wilt Chamberlain, in the 1970s you had Kareem, in the 1980s you had Magic (a 6′ 9″ point guard), in the 1990s you had MJ (he doesn’t seem like much of an outlier today because of uber-athletic guards like Kobe, D-Wade, T-Mac, Vince Carter and Russell Westbrook, but the only guy prior to MJ that was even comparable to him was Dr. J. MJ was a new paradigm in terms of athleticism). I also have to give a nod to Hakeem Olajuwon, who I have in my top-10 all-time. In the 2000s there was Shaq, Duncan and Dirk.

I mean, when you think about it compared against the overall population, the NBA is full of one-in-a-million athletic freaks. But I’m talking about guys who are uniquely gifted even when compared against other NBA players–one-in-a-billion type players. The league has always been dominated by guys with mind-blowing, borderline “unfair” physical traits. LeBron, when he came into the NBA in 2003, was just the next in a long line of never-before-seen athletic freaks.

But if LeBron had been born, say, 6′ 3″ and not been blessed with “one of one” genetics and athletic gifts, he still would be a Hall of Fame-level point guard. That’s what seals the deal for me: even if LeBron wasn’t one of the most incredible physical specimens in history, he would still be one of the greatest players of all-time.

He checks more boxes than any other player in NBA history. It’s not even close. Anyone who’s honest with themselves will admit it.

The guy is going to be the all time leading scorer in NBA history while doing it in the fewest amount of games (in fact he’s going to pass Karl Malone in points in about 100 fewer games than Malone played), and assuming LeBron averages at least 27 points a game at least for the rest of this year and the first half of next year, he will become the all time leading scorer in 1,418 games. It took Kareem 1,560 games to score his 38,387 points.

LeBron is going to finish top-4 all time in assists. The only guys he for sure won’t pass on the assist list are John Stockton and Jason Kidd. He will pass Magic, Mark Jackson and Steve Nash. It’s up in the air whether or not he’ll pass Chris Paul, because Paul is still playing and shows no signs of slowing down despite being the same age as LeBron. I’m going to assume LeBron never catches Chris Paul, because the only way he could is if he plays like 2-3 more full seasons after Chris Paul retires. It’s possible but highly unlikely. Chris Paul is currently about 900 assists ahead of LeBron.

But that’s it. When he retires, the only guys who will be ahead of LeBron in assists are Stockton, Kidd and CP3. Honestly, LeBron could pass Kidd. It’s not likely, but for what it’s worth LeBron averages about 540 assists per season in his career. He’d have to do that for another 4 seasons after this one in order to pass Kidd, who has 12,091 career assists. I don’t think LeBron passes him but it’s entirely possible. If LeBron averages 7 assists a game going forward it will take him 302 games to pass Kidd in assists, which is a little more than 3.5 seasons. Like 3 and 2/3 seasons.

Really the only guy who will never be passed by anyone is Stockton who has 15,806 assists.

Chris Paul, barring injury, will eventually pass Kidd and move to #2 all time in assists, and then LeBron will finish at #4. But again, it’s not out of the question for him to pass Kidd. All LeBron would really have to do is play another 4 seasons. And even when he begins to decline, he’ll still be a more than capable passer. Once the athleticism regresses he could easily transition into a more pure point guard role and play well into his 40s, I think.

Regardless, let’s just say LeBron will be #1 all time in scoring, #4 all time in assists and right around the top-25 in rebounds

LeBron’s 10,122 rebounds career currently puts him at #39 all time. He averages 7.5 a game for his career, and assuming he just plays through next season (obviously going to happen) then that’ll put him at around 10,900, good for 31st all time in rebounds. Assuming LeBron plays through the 2024 season when Bronny is draft eligible, that would put LeBron at about 11,500 rebounds (the remainder of this year, 2023 and 2024). He’d be right on the cusp of the top 25 all time in rebounds. 

He will by the end of his career be the only player to ever score 40,000 points. He’s not only going to break Kareem’s scoring record, he’s going to shatter it by several thousand points.

It’s really not even a debate. LeBron is in a class of his own. You’re simply kidding yourself if you think otherwise. 

Don’t even give me the “4-6 in the Finals!” Nonsense. 3 of those 6 losses his team was hopelessly overmatched (2007, 2015, 2018). One of them he went up against the greatest roster ever assembled (2017). In 2014 he ran into the greatest shooting performance in finals history against the Spurs. Really only one of his Finals losses can truly be held against him, and that’s 2011 against the Mavericks. But honestly, if you’re not over that at this point, I don’t know what to tell you.

You might say “Mickey Mouse ring 2020!” If you don’t want to count that, that’s your choice. But ask yourself this; if LeBron would have lost to the Heat in the 2020 bubble finals, would you have counted that? Would you have used that loss to trash his resume and discredit him? Of course. So how is it fair to not include that as a legitimate finals win?

The debate is over. LeBron’s greatness is undeniable and overwhelming. No player in NBA history even comes close to what he’s accomplished. Not a one. All time leading scorer, top 4 in assists, top 25 all time in rebounds–all while being the most efficient non-center ever. It’s impossible to deny it. 

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