LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers took care of business against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night, ending the first-round series in six games to advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
This is the first playoff series that the franchise has won in over a decade that didn’t take place in an isolated arena at Disney World. Fans have been starving for this kind of playoff success and LeBron was able to give it to them.
Not only was it a big series win for the fanbase but it was a monumental series win for LeBron as well. This is the 40th playoff series that LeBron has ever won in his professional career. That ties him for the most all-time with Derek Fisher, ironically, and gives him more than the entire Chicago Bulls franchise.
Hard to argue against Lakers’ LeBron James as the GOAT considering this stat.
The argument between LeBron James and Michael Jordan is a generational one and quite frankly, Jordan wins nine times out of 10. MJ has obviously left an incredible legacy and is worthy of being called the greatest of all time but he also benefits from the era in which he played in, for two reasons.
First, the competition simply was not as good. I know that old basketball heads love to talk about the 90s and how soft the league is today but Jordan didn’t have to go through the teams LeBron had to go through. Sure, Jordan has two more rings, but he never played a team that would have sniffed the Stephen Curry-Kevin Durant Warriors.
Put LeBron’s Cavaliers teams from any of those Finals appearances in place of the Bulls in the 90s and LeBron would have had just as much success. I don’t think LeBron would have struggled against Clyde Drexler and the Blazers.
But Jordan also benefits because he played in a time when the NBA exploded in popularity, because of him. Jordan wasn’t just the most famous athlete in the country, he was the most famous athlete in the world and might have even been the most famous person in the world period in the 1990s.
That kind of popularity has created an ethos around Jordan, which is why people who watched him play get so defensive if you suggest LeBron as the GOAT. It isn’t just saying LeBron is better, it is challenging the entire ethos of Michael Jordan.
There really is no wrong answer. Both players are incredibly special for what they did for the league. But nobody has done it as long at this high of a level as LeBron James. By the time he is done playing, he is going to have a massive lead in all-time points, the most playoff series won, the lead in almost every playoff statistic and could even have more championships as well.
That sounds like the greatest of all time to me.