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The case of LeBron James’ legacy is a curious one.
The fact that “The Decision” happened in the Twitter age ensured James would be the most hated athlete of all time.
Despite what you thought of that debacle, though, the most important thing to remember about James’ on-the-court accomplishments is that his career is far from over.
It’s as if sports fans don’t realize that Michael Jordan’s career is already over when they talk about his six championships.
Jordan won his third championship when he was 30. LeBron already has two at the age of 29.
He could easily match, even surpass, Jordan’s ring count.
But that’s the thing.
LeBron apologists say that he doesn’t have to match that golden number six to surpass Jordan as the greatest of all time.
That’s where I draw the line.
I had no problem with LeBron taking LESS money (he never gets enough credit for that) to join up with two other superstars, maximizing his ring potential.
But when he did that, not to mention when he started counting up his championships (the “Not 3. Not 4. Not 5.” speech), he lost any and all excuses for not at least matching Jordan’s championship credentials.
The go-to response to this for those aforementioned LeBron lovers is, “Well, if it goes by championships, then Bill Russell is the greatest of all time!”
Although Russell is No. 2 on my list of NBA greats, comparing his 11 championships in a league that had less than 10 teams for the majority of that time to Jordan’s six championships in a 27-team and 29-team league is preposterous.
Russell was the ultimate competitor, but Jordan (and LeBron, for that matter) would at least match that mark.
We’re in a strange time, as far as how social media impacts how players will be viewed after their careers are over. It’s unprecedented.
LeBron will be the first superstar that we will be able to examine that impact
So far, it seems like the general consensus is that LeBron is not getting as much respect as he deserves.
If he chooses to join forces with another “Big 3,” those cries of disapproval will only grow louder and more annoying.
After watching this year’s NBA Finals, though, the knee-jerk reaction is to say that the San Antonio Spurs may have disbanded the Miami Heat in their current form.
In our instant-gratification society, just don’t make the mistake of writing LeBron off just yet.
He’s still got work to do.