The Legacy Of LeBron James

Had a column Saturday about LeBron James, arguing that he has forfeited any opportunity to be considered the greatest player of all-time. Judging by the comments on the story, most people disagree with this. So answer me this:

What if, in 1990, Michael Jordan left Chicago to join the Lakers and play with Magic? (He didn’t have that opportunity, but humor me here.) To that point, through his first six seasons, Jordan had four scoring titles, a 63-point playoff game, one MVP award, and no championships. So, what if he said, “This is just too hard. I need to join somebody who has won titles and is one of the best players in the game”?

Would we view Jordan’s career differently? Of course we would; it’s silly to argue otherwise.

OK, OK, Magic played only one more year before his HIV diagnosis. So, what if Jordan went to the Spurs to play with David Robinson, or the Rockets to play with Hakeem? Heck, what if he went to Portland, because they had Drexler and had just gone to the Finals?

What if he did any of those things, and then won six titles? We would say, “Great player, the Alpha Dog on six title teams, but he couldn’t win a title until he joined Hakeem.” Don’t pretend that we wouldn’t.

That is the situation James has put himself in. He undoubtedly will be viewed as one of the great players in history, yet there always will be that “but . . .”