Is LeBron James on the Lakers' Mount Rushmore?

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers / John McCoy/GettyImages

Earlier this season, LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to reach 40,000 career points. This achievement is the latest in LBJ's stockpiled collection of awards, recognitions, and hardware. It was yet another clear reminder that the league has never seen another specimen of his nature.

Around this time last season, the King surpassed the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer. Being that he had officially set himself apart from each and every active and former player that has made it to the league, the common assumption would be that he is officially among the greatest Lakers of all time. Surely, nobody is going to argue with that conclusion.

Turn up the specifics to whether he is among the top 4 players to ever don the purple and gold, however, and the conversation gets a bit more controversial.

Breaking down LeBron James vs other Lakers greats:

Think about the following list of names for a moment: Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry West. Those are six icons who would all be worthy candidates for inclusion were the Laker organization to randomly announce it's intent to construct a customized model of the famous Mount Rushmore landmark.

Anyone not including Kobe AND Magic on that work of art is delusional. From there, it basically boils down to your personal perception of Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Jerry West, and LeBron. With two open slots available, it would almost feel criminal to leave LeBron (arguably the greatest basketball player of all time) out of the framework.

He may only have one title thus far in his tinsel town tenure, but our fingers are crossed that James and Anthony Davis can guide the current team to what would be LBJ's second in six seasons with the Lake Show. Regardless of the season's outcome, we are still discussing the most dominant player in terms of overall impact that this game has ever encountered.

As of this moment, LeBron has suited up in 342 contests with the Lakers since coming over in 2018. In those games, he has amassed per-game averages of 27.0 PPG, 8.0 APG and 7.9 RPG. In the present season, in which he turned 39 years old, he has somehow sustained his otherworldly play to the tune of 25.4 PPG, 8.1 APG and 7.2 RPG. Even more impressively, he is in the midst of his best 3-point shooting season (40.6% on 5.3 attempts a game).

We have never seen anyone (or anything) like this before, and it is important that we all remain appreciative of LBJ's greatness while he is still active.

While this article pertains to a subject that will undoubtedly be discussed again upon his inevitable retirement, it is also important that everyone is on board with the fact that LeBron James is already one of the top 4 Lakers players ever. That statement is true right now, and it will remain true at the end of his career as well.