How Will LA Change LeBron’s Legacy?

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As the Memevengers assemble on the west coast, questions that first popped up during the free agency period are being rehashed.

Who is going to play Center? Lonzo or Rondo? Can LeBron lead this rag-tag team of characters to prosperity?

Some have predicted this season as a scheduled, “paid-time-off” year for LeBron James. Maybe this is the year he sits out an extended period, opting for an optional surgery to preserve his body for next year when the Lakers will attempt to add another elite player in free agency.

This doesn’t sound like LeBron. The least amount of games James has played in a season is 69, excluding the lockout year of 2011-12 (the season was shortened to 62 games, James played in all of them). James is renowned for his work ethic (often sharing clips of training sessions on his Instagram),his IQ (famously recapping a lengthy sequence that took place at the end of the 4th quarter during his last trip to the Finals with the Cavs at his post-game press conference) & his competitiveness.

It’s what makes him the King.

A king is the ruler of an entire people, a King refers to a God. The Almighty. Head Honcho. Numero Uno. Does James claim that title? Does it still belong to Michael Jordan?

Thus far in James’ career he has elevated himself into that pantheon, creating this discussion. James has accomplished so much at the highest levels of basketball, attaining that #1 spot is the final thing for him to do. That alone would be enough for James to not take this year lightly.

Discussing legacy nearly always boils down to opinion-based arguments, centered around the difference between eras. It is difficult to value one players legacy against another logically, unbiased & effectively.

What’s the value of a regular season MVP vs a Finals MVP? Does it matter if a player is named to an all-star team but fails to succeed in the post season? How do you distinguish between a player with 5 championships, 3 Finals MVPs and 2 regular season MVPs and a player with 3 championships, 3 Finals MVPs and 4 regular season MVPs?

Here is a list of a some of the most accomplished players in NBA History with their accolades.

*Finals MVP started being awarded after the 1969 NBA Finals. Defensive Player of the Year started being awarded during the 1982-83 NBA season*

Of course, these numbers do not tell the entire story. No mention of career totals in important statistics like points, rebounds assists, and minutes or games played. No advanced statistics to quantify efficiency. There are no numbers available that showcase domination the way players like Jordan, James & Shaquille O’Neal have exhibited during the peaks of their careers.

LeBron is in year 15 and despite the media creating the narrative every pre-season, he has shown no signs of slowing down. Its long been reported that James would like to play alongside his son LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. If the NBA lowers the age restriction to 18 in time (which it looks like it will), Bronny will be eligible for the 2023 NBA Draft. That means we should have James Sr. for at least 6 more seasons. All the time in the world to rack up more accolades.

This year Vegas has James as the odds-on favorite to win the regular season MVP at 10-to-3. They also have the Lakers with the 4th best odds to win the title at 10-to-1. If the Lakers were to win the title, James would certainly be the favorite to win the Finals MVP as well. Next season if the Lakers add another star player such as Kawhi Leonard or Anthony Davis, James’ odds for any individual award would likely decrease while his championship odds would likely increase.

LeBron James has experienced many magical moments in his career to get him to this point. Is this next chapter in his career the climax to the epic of King James? We’ll have to wait and see. 

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