LeBron’s quest for a fourth title resumes -- and we should all be grateful
Written by: Jack Noveck-Holmes
And so it’s official - the NBA is back. Well, on its way back, at least. Many within the league should be letting out a collective sigh of relief at this news, and for different reasons.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks can proceed to right the wrong of the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals. Zion Williamson can now get a foot in the door of the rookie of the year conversation, and maybe even a taste of the NBA playoffs (the league’s approved format seems nearly designed for the latter to happen, but that’s a story for another day). And LeBron James can resume his quest for a fourth title in his 17th season - something that not only the 35 year old, but all those who love the game should be grateful to see.
Nelson Chenault, USA TODAY Sports
Like it or not, LeBron James is still the best player in the NBA. His performances against the Bucks and Clippers at the climax of the pre-covid NBA are enough to prove that. He’s had challengers to this title - Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and most recently Giannis Antetokounmpo - none have been able to definitively knock the king off of his throne. But what’s more significant is his unrivaled role as the face of the NBA for a decade. An exemplar of his sport, LeBron isn’t only the best of the bunch, but he’s also the most important - a reason why the NBA is lucky to see another chapter in his story (which will no doubt pad their pockets in a time when they need it most).
In the history of the game of basketball, fans have never seen a player like LeBron James. His combination of passing, scoring, strength and athleticism makes him one of, if not the most unique player in NBA history. And for LeBron to be exhibiting the best of these strengths at 35 years old in his 17th season only adds to his dominance. Who knows how much longer he’ll compete at this level? While it doesn’t seem likely, it certainly is possible that this is one of the last times we’ll see an all time great play to this degree - a reason why all fans are fortunate to see the NBA return in July.
Lebron has said it from the start: he’s in it to be the best basketball player of all time. To do that, he’ll have to surpass the seemingly impenetrable greatness of Michael Jordan. Jordan is idolized by so many, both young and old, for sitting at the pinnacle of NBA supremacy. Each of his six championships have elevated him to this position. LeBron, on the other hand, only has 3 titles. As the years dwindle, LeBron is in dire need of at least one more championship to be truly considered the greatest by most basketball fans. With the Lakers sitting atop the undoubtedly best conference in the NBA, this may be the King’s last best chance at doing just that - a reason why LeBron himself should be grateful to play once more this season.