The inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament has been a blistering success. Every single knockout game has had serious stakes with Los Angeles Lakers fans making the trip out to Las Vegas for Thursday's semifinal like it was the NBA Playoffs.
The Lakers rode their home-like crowd on Thursday night to a dominant win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Los Angeles will now play the Indiana Pacers in the NBA In-Season Tournament Finals on Saturday night, with the winning team getting the NBA Cup (and $500,000 each).
Winning an NBA Cup is not going to shift people's perspective of LeBron James and make them think that he is now the greatest of all time over Michael Jordan. But quite frankly, LeBron doesn't need that because he already should be considered the greatest to ever do it. LeBron reminded everyone of that reality with his dominant showing on Thursday.
LeBron James reminds everyone he is the greatest of all time in dominant Lakers' win
This does not have to be a LeBron James vs Michael Jordan thing, as this is always what this conversation turns into. Instead of trying to loop Jordan into this, basketball fans need to truly appreciate what LeBron is doing.
No player in the history of the sport has played at this high of a level at this point in their career. LeBron is in his 21st season in the league and is inching closer to 70,000 total minutes played, which is an unheard-of number that nobody will ever come close to reaching. There is no reason for LeBron to be as good as he is, yet on Thursday night he reminded the NBA world that he still can be the best player on the planet (and is almost 39 years old).
LeBron finished with 30 points, eight assists and five rebounds in 23 minutes played. If the Lakers didn't blow out the Pelicans and the team wasn't being cautious about his minutes then he probably could have scored close to 50. LeBron absolutely dominated in this game, controlling every single aspect on the offensive end for the Lakers.
The NBA Cup may not swing anyone's opinion on LeBron but if anything, it should be a firm reminder that when there are stakes, there is nobody better than James. There has never been more talent in the NBA than there has been over the last decade, yet LeBron has remained the face of the league and has put together three separate Hall of Fame careers on three different teams.
No other athlete, let alone basketball player, can say that. LeBron James is the greatest to ever do it and Thursday was yet another reminder of that.