Terça-feira, 15/10/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

Why LeBron James is undoubtedly the best basketball player to ever play

Press Box GraphicThe National Basketball Association (NBA) has employed some of the most proficient and adept athletes our world has ever seen. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving and the great Michael Jordan. Each of these players is considered one of the great ones, but none are the best to ever play the game. That title belongs to none other than LeBron James. While many would argue that James has not yet surpassed the great Michael Jordan, the numbers never lie, and the numbers point directly at the kid from Akron.

What separates LeBron James from the rest is his exponential rise to success. James began his professional career right after his senior year at Saint Vincent-Saint Mary high school and was drafted first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA Draft.

In his rookie season, James averaged 20.9 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game and 5.9 assists per game. These statistics are incredible, considering that the year prior, James was playing high school level basketball. Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady also both made the jump from high school to the NBA, but their stats are nowhere near James’. In Bryant’s rookie season, he averaged 7.6 points per game, 1.3 assists per game, and 1.9 rebounds per game. In McGrady’s rookie season, he averaged 7.0 points per game, 1.5 assists per game, and 4.2 rebounds per game. McGrady and Bryant were nowhere near the level of James in their rookie seasons. If the points per game of McGrady and Bryant were combined, it would still be near six points away from James’ rookie season average.

James’ remarkable rise to success continued beyond just his first season in the league. In his second season, James made the jump from 20.9 points per game to a superb 27.2 points per game. This scoring average was ranked third in entire league, in only his second year out of high school basketball. That is an amazing statistic.

Along with his dominate scoring statistics, James was at an all-time high as a passer and on the boards. In his second season, he averaged 7.4 rebounds per game and 7.2 assists. James’ assist average was second best in the league, behind the likes of Allen Iverson and Steve Nash, two NBA hall of famers. In only his second season, James was already considered a dominate force in the league and is putting up similar numbers to veteran talents within the league.

It is not only his early success in his NBA career that makes James the best to ever play, but it is his consistent dominance year in and year out. Throughout his career, James has averaged an incredible 27.1 points per game, 6.9 assists per game and 7.2 points per game. Along with these stats, James has compiled a career total of 27,858 points, 7,149 assists, and 7,379 rebounds. James’ points total is eighth all time, behind the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant. Although eighth all time doesn’t seem to be a very impressive stat line, the scoring leaders ahead of James have played at least 18 seasons, four more than James, who at the age of 32 years old, is on pace to accumulate the most points of all time. James’ rebound and assist totals are just as impressive as his scoring totals. One basketball’s most decorated stars, Michael Jordan, accumulated 5,633 assists and 6,672 rebounds throughout his career. These numbers seem impressive, but when compared with the totals of James, who is only 32 years old, Jordan’s numbers do not come close.

As extraordinary as James’ stats are, it is not what separates him as the best player to ever play game,  it is his profound leadership ability that makes him so special. In the 2010 offseason, James decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers organization and join the Miami Heat. In his last season at Cleveland, the team went 61-21. The next season, when James was playing in Miami, the Cavaliers went 19-63. Vice versa, the Miami Heat went 47-35, winning 57 percent of their games. The next season, with James at the helm, the Heat went 58-24 with a 70 percent win percentage. James’ ability to make other players better and to create open shots for his teammates is an ability that no other NBA player has ever possessed. It is unfathomable to think that one player can make the difference in winning 61 games to 19. What James does for his organization and his teammates is why he is undoubtedly the best basketball player we have ever seen.

LeBron James does not only accumulate record personal statistics, but he is a prized asset for any NBA franchise that is fortunate enough to have him. There have been many great athletes to play in the NBA, but none can compare to the dominance and skill of James. With an ability to rack up record statistics and an ability to alter the success of an entire franchise, there is no doubt that LeBron James is the greatest of all time.

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About

My name is Noah Weiss. I am a senior at Gull Lake high school. This is my third year on the newspaper staff and this year I have the honor of being the senior editor. Along with my passion for writing, I play football and run track for Gull Lake.

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