Bill Laimbeer believes Cavs legend LeBron James is the greatest ever due to truly unique skill set

LeBron James, then of the Cleveland Cavaliers, reacts after a made basket in-game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LeBron James, then of the Cleveland Cavaliers, reacts after a made basket in-game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Former Detroit Pistons big man Bill Laimbeer recently said that he believes the best player in Cleveland Cavaliers history, LeBron James, is the greatest NBA and presumably basketball player ever, due to his truly unique skill set.

Us Cleveland Cavaliers fans and NBA fans in general would agree that LeBron James, who is a Los Angeles Laker, via unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2018, is the best player in the history of the Wine and Gold.

Just with the Cavs, LeBron was a ten-time All-Star, and carried the team to a historic 3-1 series comeback over the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, and that was against the team that won a regular season record 73 games.

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James, even still, was right in the conversation for the 2019-20 MVP leading into the NBA’s season suspension due to concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic/social distancing induced by COVID-19.

Thus far this season, which may or may not eventually play out down the road, James had averaged 25.7 points on 58.2 percent true shooting, 7.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, and has led the league with 10.6 assists per game, according to

Anyhow, it is clear that LeBron has to be right in the thick of the conversation I’d imagine for the vast majority of NBA fans when discussing the greatest basketball player ever, and of course, Michael Jordan, who was the key cog for the Chicago Bulls dynasty in the 1990’s, is right up there, too.

Milwaukee Bucks and Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (formerly Lew Alcindor), the NBA’s all-time points leader, is arguably in there as well, but to me and I’d think most, the hot topic argument is between LeBron and Jordan as to who the best basketball player ever is.

Recently, on an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take,” former Detroit Pistons big man Bill Laimbeer, who was a crucial part of the “Bad Boys” in the mid-to-late 1980’s, a key rival of Jordan’s before he got over the hump, said he believes LeBron is the “best player that ever played the game.”

Here’s more of Laimbeer’s take as to why James is the best player ever, and he essentially highlighted how LeBron’s size and overall skill set would allow him to dominate in any era, and involving his teammates “from day one” to win was a huge part of that rationale to Laimbeer.

Laimbeer, who was a four-time All-Star and won back-to-back titles with Detroit and is now the head coach of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces and is a three-time WNBA champion heading the Detroit (now Tulsa) Shock and then coached the New York Liberty, actually was on the Cleveland Cavaliers early on before being dealt to Detroit.

Anyhow, it is evident that Laimbeer is probably not the biggest Jordan fan, so that likely plays into this a bit, too. The Bad Boys Pistons and the Bulls were bitter rivals, and Laimbeer probably didn’t love Jordan and the Bulls going six-for-six in the 90’s in the NBA Finals.

MJ was the ultimate winner, competitor, a relentless scorer and incredible mid-post player that led the NBA in scoring a ridiculous 10 times, and was 10-time NBA All-Defense, and he was an outstanding athlete and rare finisher.

That being said, it did take Jordan a while to involve his teammates to win consistently, which was not the case for James.

LeBron’s size combined with upper and lower body strength, explosiveness, improved low/mid-post game as his career’s progressed, along with his perimeter shooting to a large degree, to go with truly unique passing vision for an all-time great scorer (which isn’t really his primary focus), and him being six-time All-Defense, too, makes me definitely see Laimbeer’s argument in favor of the best Cleveland Cavaliers player ever.

Not to mention, LeBron’s unmatched strength/skill/athleticism combination (at currently 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds) has allowed him to be so versatile in the positional sense.

In terms of winner, though, it’s clearly Jordan, who was a six-time NBA Finals MVP, too, and has the perfect-six-for-six-3-6 ring count over LeBron (a three-time Finals MVP, also factoring in his Miami Heat days) and I get that argument for MJ’s side.

At any rate, in terms of the skill set argument, and with how James has been able to make those around him better his entire career, and earlier on than Jordan, really, I agree with Laimbeer that James would be able to do what he’s been doing in any era and that his truly unique size/skill combination has been unlike any other players’.

Plus, while Jordan didn’t get in elimination situations as often, I’d argue LeBron’s faced better NBA Finals opponents on most occasions.

Also, James has had the best record in elimination games in the history of the NBA at 14-10, and in those games, James has averaged 33.6 points on 49.1 percent shooting, to go with 10.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists per outing, as was h/t’s Dan McCarney. McCarney stressed as well how James has the “highest scoring average in league history” in elimination games, which has been pretty darn incredible, all things considered.

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Swinging back to Laimbeer’s take, in terms of the best basketball player, at least in the NBA sense, going by skill set, for me it’s clearly James as well. Granted, I’m a Cavs fan, but if we were to hypothetically build NBA teams factoring in all eras and I had the first pick, I’d take James.