LeBron James may get a boost in the GOAT debate for winning titles with multiple different sidekicks.
For Lakers superstar LeBron James, there’s hardly anything he hasn’t done in the NBA. As a champion, MVP, and multiple-time All-Star, his career has been defined by greatness, which he has maintained even through various changing circumstances.
It’s a fact that has not escaped many in the community, including NBA analyst Colin Cowherd, who explained why James’ contrasting environments makes for a more impressive career than Michael Jordan, who knew consistency for much of his time with the Bulls.
(h/t The Sports Rush)
“The biggest knock on Jordan is this, » said Cowherd, « how many playoff series did he win without Scottie Pippen? Kareem and LeBron won multiple championships with other players. Jordan could not win with other players, because of Michael’s style, which you often saw in Washington, you saw in his first five years in Chicago, he did not play well with other scorers, he played well with Pippen who acknowledged he would be in the passenger seat. LeBron won without Kyrie. He won without AD. He won without D-Wade. Kareem won in Milwaukee, Kareem won in Los Angeles multiple times (start at 5:40).”
No matter how you feel about Cowherd, he makes a good point here. By itself, LeBron’s achievements are impressive enough. As an 18x All-Star, 18x All-NBA player, 4x champion, and 4x MVP, James is a guy who has flourished with consistency for his entire basketball career. In 19 years, he is averaging 27.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game on 50.5% shooting.
But when you consider that James has done it all with different teams, at different ages, and with different teammates, it really puts it all in perspective. Over his career, James has won a title with three different teams, and each one involved taking a very different path. While some stars may struggle to adjust and fit into a new scene, James is good enough to fit anywhere and he can thrive no matter where he’s at.
Compare that to Michael Jordan, and it’s clear to see why Cowherd feels the way he does. Unlike James, MJ didn’t have to adjust to changing circumstances. He stayed with the Bulls for most of his career and got to enjoy help from guys like Scottie Pippen, Seve Kerr, and Dennis Rodman for his title runs.
So while Mike may have more titles and a more impressive highlight reel, it deserves to be mentioned that he did it all on a team that was built for success. If there’s one thing LeBron James has on him, it’s that he’s won at least one title with so many different teams, and it’s a milestone that is probably a lot harder than you think to reach…