Reason No. 3: His all-around versatility on both ends
James has often called himself a “pass-first” player. He has his fourth place on the all-time assists leader list to back up this claim. However, you do not become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer by being a pass-first guy. That is what makes LeBron James so special.
You could argue he is just as good at scoring as he is at passing, and no one would bat an eye. I mean the guy has a scoring title and assist title, one of only six players in NBA history to accomplish that feat. James is lauded for his Magic Johnson-like court vision and his IQ and rightfully so. He mostly handled point guard duties for the Lakers championship run in 2020 and it led to a title. James’ positional versatility is stellar as well, as he can play any position 1-4.
While his 6-foot-9, 250-pound frame certainly helps with that, James’ IQ and knowledge of the game allows for him to play at any spot and play it well. As great as James is on offense, his defense, for much of his career, was not far behind; granted, he’s not the defender he once was individually, but he’s still a great team defender, and he’s more than capable on-ball in most instances.
In his career, James has been selected to the All-Defensive First Team five times and was a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. His defense has dropped off in recent years, but James still reminds us of his prowess on that end of the floor with a handful of highlight reel chasedown blocks throughout the season.
I am not calling LeBron James the greatest player ever, as that is a barbershop debate that could take ages to end. However, that does not mean that James is one of the best ever in his own right. If he were to walk away from the game, the NBA would lose its biggest star since Michael Jordan, undoubtedly, and the world would lose one of the best athletes ever.
At 18 years old, he was called “The Chosen One,” by the late Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated. This led to a plethora of expectations and the average human would most likely crumble under the weight of those expectations.
Not LeBron James. His greatness transcends time and we will NEVER see a player like him ever again.