LeBron James the greatest? Like the Spurs, we're not buying it

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LeBron James proved that he’s just another name on the list of would-be GOATs. Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s the Greatest of All-Time? We’re Still Searching

By Derek James (@DerekJamesNBA)

With LeBron James’ loss in the 2014 NBA Finals, he now falls to 2-3 all-time in NBA Finals. This is a problem because it throws a wrench into our greatest player ranking system that is so pivotal to our society. With this system we have order, laws and organization. Without them, however, we are no different than the animal kingdom. Thanks to LeBron, we have now realized that there are no great players and our world as we know it will descend more rapidly into chaos now because of it.

It has been revealed to us that these supposedly great players have all failed at some point, which is unacceptable. There is no reason that one player cannot overcome the deficiencies of his teammates to defeat any opponent. After all, with these players, matchups, strengths and weaknesses matter not. And now it has become known that no player in history has been able to reach this level of achievement.

Let’s take a closer look.

Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain

I feel like it’s only fair to mention these two men together since they were both considered the greatest players of their time. Russell won an astounding 11 titles while Chamberlain won a paltry…two (cute, isn’t it?) Yet, Chamberlain was shipped from team-to-team his entire career, unlike Russell, and spent much of his career trying to get out from the Celtics center’s shadow.

As for Russell, he lost his first Finals appearance and had to endure the embarrassment of falling short in the divisional round of the 1967 playoffs. I mean, you’ve won nine straight Finals, how hard could getting 10 be? He could have at least got there.

Clearly, neither of these men are cut out to be the GOAT, so let’s move on.

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson

Let’s keep the doubles going here with the two biggest stars of the ‘80s. Bird and Johnson’s battles were legendary and both men had great careers. Unfortunately, neither could really separate themselves from the other in the history books. Bird won three titles, but lost in the Finals twice. As for Johnson, he won three—often getting the better of Bird –but also lost twice, and had to ride Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s coattails to the 1980 NBA title.

Close guys, but we demand a higher grade of GOAT at this table.

Michael Jordan

Oh, yes, not even His Airness is above reproach. Jordan may be 6-0 all-time in the Finals, but he missed the playoffs in his first season (Heck, Magic won a title as a rookie) and took him seven seasons overall to even make the playoffs. Even then, he needed help from Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson to even get there.

Jordan was great, no doubt, but perfect he was not, and that’s all we’re really asking for.

Oscar Robertson

Ah, the first triple double machine. Robertson won just one title in his 13-year career and lost one other Finals. The one title that Robertson did win, he, like Magic Johnson’s rookie year, needed to ride Kareem’s coattails to do so. The Bucks would make it back to the Finals the next year, but fail to repeat like some of the other greats were able to do. Finally, in his last season, Robertson retired after the Bucks lost in yet another Finals.

The Big ‘O’? How about The Big No.

Kobe Bryant

Ah, Kobe. Five rings and one MVP, but he’s still “Mr. Dude, Where’s My Sidekick?.” If it weren’t for Shaq, he may not even have three of those championships. Bryant’s production is among the best of his generation, but his co-dependence on other star players and lack of MVPs tell us that those stats ring hollow.

Greatest of All-Time? Please, he may not even be the best player in Lakers history.

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Tags: Chicago Bulls Kobe Bryant Lebron James Miami Heat San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan

  • Gregory Martin

    It took Jordan seven seasons to even make the playoff? I believe he played the Celtics in his second season in the playoff and made the playoffs every year until his first retirement. Perhaps it took him seven years to make the finals?

  • Jeremy Marx

    Michael Jordan most definitely made the playoff as a rookie and scored 29 points with 9 assists, 6 boards and 3 steals in those playoffs.

  • Real M-Fing talk !!!

    This Finals lost had ZERO to do with Lebron, it had to do with those blood sucking leeches Lebron carried the entire year and when he needed them the most they disappeared… Wade the worst considering he had 27 games off !

    Imagine if it took Lebron 7 YEARS to make the playoffs like it did Jordan… but a lot of people seem to ignore that part of Jordan’s brillance, This only Proves my point that Jordan is more dependant on team for ANY success… .Lebron carried a Cavs team into the Finals and playoffs year after year. The Cavs has proven they cannot win 30 games without Lebron. Jordan’s championship Bulls made the playoffs just fine without Jordan…. Lebron is not in Jordan’s mold he is a step above it ! Players similar to Jordan are Kobe, Durant, and Melo… volume shooters they do not help out in other areas like a Lebron, thats why they will never be the greatest “basketball” players in my eyes, because i refuse to get team success confused with greatness!

    To mention Kobe on the greatest of all time short list is Laughable… Kobe was lucky he had Shaq, Vince or T-Mac would have won those rings if the roles were reversed…. Magic played with Kareem and James , Bird with Kevin and Robert Who has Lebron ever played with? and please do not say a washed up Wade and an overrated Bosh… but Bosh averaged 20 and 10 in Toronto… because he was the number one option and how many times did he make the playoffs in Toronto? Simply put in Lebron’s entire life has been the most talented player on the court !

    Any great List starts with Wilt, Oscar and Lebron … by the end of his career Lebron may be the greatest or not, who knows?
    Wilt , they changed the rules because of his dominance, Oscar was a triple double machine, he wasn’t a voulume scorer like a Kobe or Jordan he was a basketball player first… That’s why i never considered Qb’s football players (the new generation of QB’s may change my mind ) and pitchers baseball players… ANYONE who leads his team in points, rebounds, assist and is his team’s best defender and WON… gets to be in the top 3 that’s why i have Lebron there right now… Image if Jordan had to lead those bulls teams in points, rebounds and assist and be their best defender… Would the Bulls even make the playoffs? there’s NOWHERE on the court Lebron looks out of place… i cannot say that about Jordan, Bird, Kobe, Russell, Wilt and Magic… ie if i put Lebron 1-5 on defense or offense he could hold his own for short periods at a time…. WHO else can you say that about?

    Its sad that a person’s Legacy has to come down to guys like Mario Chalmers, a quitting Wade, a disappearing Bosh and the Stupidity of Spoelstra…. that WHY i do not count rings… i look at a person’s dominance on the court… Lebron scored 19 point in a quarter against the Spurs and his teammates manage to help him out with 2 points that alone should tell you how much rings really mean !

    How can you win when Erik “curly, larry and moe” Spoelstra helped the Spurs out by not playing the second best athlete / scorer on the team, Beasley would have been a 6’10 matchup nightmare… When Kwahi was on the bench they had to put Diaw on Lebron and watching it unfold directly infront of him…. The hamster wheel refused to turn in that hollow dimwitted brainless skull of Spoelstra, How do i know?, because he kept running Chalmers and a lack luster Wade out there to get crushed !

    the new york times had a great article on how James couldn’t carry his team to the finish !
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/16/sports/basketball/james-even-at-his-best-cant-carry-the-heat-to-the-finish.html?_r=0

    • Jimbo

      Your arguemnet is that kobe mj and all these players had help so they are not great and then you go about complaining how lebron did not have any help and complain about the heats garbage coach..Please do yourself a favor and do some research on these players you are dissing. Somebody who does not see mj as one of the greats clearly does not know anything about basketball.. or perhaps you are some teenager who’s never seen 90s basketball.

  • trinity

    Michael is the best ever, and Kobe is the closest thing we’ve ever seen to MJ, and the greatest of this generation.

    • Jimbo

      These two are the greats of our generation I don’t doubt that it’s funny how people skip kobe in comparisons with lebron and go strait to Jordan because he hasn’t even accomplished that much but I wouldn’t take away from the old guys we never saw.. Some of wilts stats are just beyond ridiculous..100 pt games n all.

  • Jimbo

    Not to mention the Jordan dropped 63 on the champion celtics in 86 playoffs? Who wrote this article? Did they even bother to check thier facts? These people definitely don’t qualify to even be rating the greatest of all time if they don’t even know thier s***.