Anthony Mercer-Walker

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In today’s time whenever you walk in gyms, barber shops, or basketball environments, there are always debates about who the Greatest Basketball Player of all time is. By general opinion, some may Michael Jordan, others may say Kobe Bryant, and for people who think like me, we say Lebron James. Each person has there different formula and matrix for what makes there player the greatest. It could be achievements, statistics, or personnel on that team.

Even though some may argue that the GOAT debate is between three players, I firmly believe it’s just between two: Lebron James and Michael Jordan. I dismiss Kobe Bryant out the conversation for a couple of reasons: Unlike Michael or Lebron, Kobe did not start out his career being the superstar from the beginning. In Bryant’s first eight years, he was not the team’s best player. The team was led by “The Big Aristotle” – Shaquille O’Neal. During these eight years, the Lakers won three championships and Bryant was more of “the help” and not the vocal point to why the team was winning. When O’Neal left to join the Miami Heat, Bryant then had the opportunity to lead his team as being the first option.

For the next three years after O’Neal’s absence the Lakers missed the playoffs (2005), lost in the first round to the suns (2006), and a gentleman’s sweep in the first round (2007). Also, Bryant has played in the league for 20 seasons and only has 1 MVP award to show for it, while Jordan and James both have multiple. It’s hard to be the GOAT when for a good amount of time of your career you were NOT the best player on your team and NOT the best player in the league. For those reasons is why I choose to dismiss Kobe Bryant from the GOAT debate.

Onward to the question everyone wants the answer to. Who is the Greatest Basketball Player to ever play the game? My answer: Lebron James. I have three strong reasons as to why Lebron is the Goat: He is on pace to lead the NBA in almost every statistical category, he’s a community builder, and he has changed the game of basketball on and off the court. Lebron is the most versatile basketball player to ever play the game. He skills of passing, scoring, rebounding and playmaking is at a peak where no other player has reached. Lebron will pass Michael Jordan in most statistical categories (regular season) by the time his career is finished. James already has more total assists and rebounds than Jordan and will surpass him in points this upcoming season with 1,254 points left to go. As far as playoff statistics, James already has more total points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals. Lebron easily has another five years left of basketball to play. In that time he will destroy nearly ALL NBA records by the time he retires.

For me being the GOAT is about more than what you can do on the floor, but also what legacy you leave for the next upcoming generation. The Lebron James Family Foundation’s mission is to “positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education.” Ever since the start of the program James has stuck with that mission to give back to his hometown of Akron, Ohio through education. Recently, he sowed into the lives of 1,100 college student by providing $41 million in tuition. The agreement is that students tuition will be fully paid ensuring that they graduate. This past summer James also opened his own school. The “IPromise School” which aids at-risk third and fourth graders. The program also invest in parents GED programs and STEM programs as well for young students.

Lastly, Lebron has cemented the argument by being the GOAT by the way he has changed the game on and off the court. He has transformed the way that “Bigs” play the game. Lebron is already naturally gifted being 6 feet 8 inches and 260 pounds. With his skill set being able to handle the ball and control the offense like a guard, while still being able to guard all five positions, James has changed the way many other upcoming NBA superstars play the game of basketball. Instead of being able to do one or two things very well on floor, James has influenced many other players to give their game some versatility. Which produces great players like: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons, etc. James legacy on and off the court will forever secure his title as being the GREATEST BASKETBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME.

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