The Legacy of LeBron James

The Legacy of LeBron James

May 16, 2023

The NBA is a landmark destination for some of the top names to prove that they can compete with the best during the regular season and playoffs, with DraftKings already providing a full rundown as to which teams are favorited to win the championship this season.

One player that has continuously strived to prove all the doubters wrong and claim all the greatest grandeurs that the NBA provides is the legendary small forward LeBron James.

Throughout his incredible 20-year pro career as an NBA superstar, the King has set new records and outplayed every major adversary that he has ever faced, which has left many to label him as one of the all-time greatest players to ever live and even the ‘GOAT’ of the sport ahead of the likes of Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Whatever your stance is on LeBron James, there is no denying his sheer dominance as an athlete and commitment to the sport of basketball which allowed the kid from Akron, Ohio to enjoy one of the most successful careers in all of professional sports.

  • Exceeding all expectations:

Even before he laced up his boots as an NBA player, LeBron was already being deemed as the ‘Chosen One’ and as such was pressured with some truly lofty expectations coming out of high school.

Sporting an oversized white suit, LeBron was selected with the first overall pick in a star-studded 2003 Draft class by his hometown club the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he immediately won Rookie of the Year and established the once dormant franchise as a genuine title threat in the Eastern Conference.

Despite leading his undermanned Cavs team to their first Finals appearance at the age of 22 back in 2007, it would ultimately end with the Cavaliers being swept by the heavily favored Spurs and LeBron being unable to take this underwhelming roster back to the promised land throughout the next few seasons.

  • Taking his talents to South Beach:

During that span, LeBron would win two MVPs in 2009 and 2010 respectively but choose to depart the Cavaliers in 2010 free agency and sign up with the Miami Heat alongside fellow All-Stars and 2003 lottery selections Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

James made the Finals in his next four years in Miami, winning two championships, two Finals MVPs and two regular season MVPs, before choosing to shockingly return back to Cleveland with the aspiration of bringing the city its first championship in franchise history.

  • Fulfilling a promise:

With the Cavs Drafting Kyrie Irving back in 2011 and trading for All-Star forward Kevin Love, Cleveland once again made the finals in 2015 but fell short against an aspiring Golden State Warriors team.

The following season, LeBron and the Cavs made another trip to the Finals to face off in a rematch against the Warriors, who had just set the regular season record for the most wins in a singular campaign (73-9), with the Bay Area giants soon finding themselves up 3-1 in the series.

After two tremendous performances from James and Irving in games five and six, Cleveland would amazingly defeat the Warriors in a phenomenal game seven with LeBron winning Finals MVP thanks to his numerous incredible performance throughout the series, which was highlighted by his game saving chase down block on Andre Iguodala during the closing moments of the deciding contest.

James would lead the Cavs to two more finals appearances against the Warriors, yet with the Dubs acquiring Kevin Durant in free agency, this challenge was ultimately proven to be too much for James to overcome, especially given his lackluster roster in 2018.

  • The King of Hollywood:

After that 2018 Finals loss, James would choose to leave Cleveland for the second and likely final time, departing for LA where he linked up with a struggling Lakers team.

James’ first season in LA was marred by injuries, yet when the team signed All-NBA forward Anthony Davis the following season, they instantly became contenders and won their first championship in the post-Kobe Bryant era, with James once again being named Finals MVP.

Despite being well into his late 30’s, James has continuously proven that he is simply not affected by the ravages of age, with the four-time MVP becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer after surpassing the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during the 2022/23 season.

  • What’s next for King James?

LeBron is once again leading another title charge into the postseason as he hopes to claim his fifth championship ring, with the King also raring to play in the league alongside his son Bronny James before he ultimately retires.

When compared to other great players, LeBron is arguably a top two/three player of all-time due to his impeccable dominant tenure atop the NBA rankings.

He has shared the court with greats from different generations which includes Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki, through to current talents such as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard.

His dominance as a player will never likely be replicated ever again, with the King looking to add one more magnificent accolade to his already outrageous career before his celebrated retirement from the game as one of the all-time greats.

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