Watch the throne: LeBron James is coming to dethrone Michael Jordan
If LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers win the NBA finals this year, James will be the greatest NBA player of all time.
However, if he loses, he will never be in the same breath as Michael Jordan. This is coming from a person who absolutely hates James.
But man, can he play basketball.
Jordan has six championships, including two separate three-peats. James has three championships, two in back-to-back campaigns. If he wins this year, that would be another pair of back-to-back championship seasons for him.
Despite James’ playoff success, making it to the finals for six straight years, he still has more championship losses than he does wins. Winning this year would put him at four wins and four losses. For many, this is a major hole in James’ legacy.
Jordan never lost a championship game, let alone went through a full seven game series. When Jordan was on the court, no player could match his pedigree, let alone his teammates. Yet for James, he often utilizes to his teammates.
For instance, in last year’s finals, it wasn’t James who hit the big shots to close out the series in game seven – it was Kyrie Irving, hitting a dagger on Klay Thompson.
To refer back to his time in Miami, James didn’t win a championship until he teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. How could someone – who couldn’t even win on his own – be better than Jordan?
Here is how: James carried the Cavaliers to back-to-back championships, defeating arguably the greatest team in NBA history, the Golden State Warriors.
This season, the Warriors have completely dominated the league. The team won a league high of 67 games, down from 73 wins the season prior. Yet, the Warriors are even better than they were last year.
If you pay attention to basketball and don’t live under a rock, then you know Kevin Durant, arguably the second-best player in the league behind James, joined the Warriors. The second-best player in the league joined the greatest regular season team in the history of the NBA.
The Warriors didn’t stop with Durant. The team added veterans to help round out a roster that already had a bench unit that could compete with most starting five in the league, led by Andre Iguodala, who won a NBA finals MVP award in 2015, which was against James and the Cavaliers.
To understand the gravity of this team, let’s look at the Warriors roster even further. In addition to former MVP in Kevin Durant, they have a two-time MVP in Stephen Curry, who is an all-star shooting guard. The team also has a potential top five shooter in Klay Thompson and an all-star, defensive maestro in Draymond Green. There is not a team in league history that has had a lineup from top to bottom like this.
The Warriors are only getting better as the season progresses. Durant missed the tail end of the NBA season and the beginning of the playoffs with a sprained MCL. As he assimilates back into the lineup, the Warriors are going to improve. Improving a team that has lost only one game since March 14 without their best player seems impossible, yet that is the reality of this super team.
There is no point in trying to find a way the Jazz, Rockets, or Spurs can beat the Warriors in the West. The only challenge for them will come when they face James and the Cavs.
Getting ahead of myself?
The Cavs too have no real competition in the East. Regardless of the playoff seeding, the Cavaliers are by far the best team in the east. The Celtics’ may have won the top seed, but everyone knows the Cavs kick it up a gear in the playoffs and for James, the regular season is futile.
The Cavaliers have three all-stars themselves, but besides James, Kyrie Irving isn’t even a top five player at his position. Kevin Love is great, but he isn’t a top tier star either – he’s a third fiddle on a team that often lacks the offense scheme that Love needs to thrive.
For the Cavs to beat the Warriors, James needs to carry this team. He must show why he is the best player in the league. To beat possibly the greatest team ever assembled with a team that has much less assets than his opponents would elevate him to god status in basketball.
He is aware of this and so is the rest of the basketball world.
Nobody thinks James can win this year. Yet, everyone expects him to.
Jeremy Torres is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org