Monday night in Oakland, California: LeBron James dribbles the ball up the court. He looks up at the scoreboard. There is around one minute and twenty seconds left on the game clock and his team is down by thirteen. For the first time, Lebron thinks to himself, it’s over. A task that was even too unsurmountable for the king of the National Basketball Association. This Golden State Warriors team with the addition of Kevin Durant proved to be Lebron James’ toughest challenge yet.

As the buzzer sounds and he heads off to the locker room, Lebron and Kyrie share an embracing hug with one another as Lebron tells Kyrie Irving, “we'll be back. We’ll be back.” It will be a long and harsh offseason for the Cleveland Cavaliers as many personnel changes are expected to be coming to a roster who simply did not have enough talent to defeat what might be the most talented team that the National Basketball Association has ever seen.

Whatever changes come regardless of what they are one thing is for certain in a time of what seems like total uncertainty in northeastern Ohio, and that is Lebron James’ place in basketball history . His place being not only the greatest basketball player in modern history but in the entirety of NBA history as well. Lebron James is the greatest basketball player to ever grace the hardcourt.

Accolades of "The King"

When going through the “Kings” legacy, just look at his list of his most notable accolades that he has accomplished so far in his fourteen-year career.

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James is a thirteen-time All-star, eleven-time All-NBA first team, 2008 NBA scoring champion, five-time All-Defensive first team, two-time All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, two-time Olympic gold medalist, four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, three-time NBA Champion, and of course a three-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. In addition to those, Lebron James has the all-time highest VORP (Value Over a Replace Player) in NBA history, all-time highest box score plus/minus rating, and is the all-time leader in assists by a forward.

Lebron also is the only player in league history to record at least 28,000 points, 7,000 rebounds, and 7,000 assists. Lebron is also the only player in league history to average 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists per game in an NBA career. Lebron is also the all-time NBA playoff leader in points, win shares, free throws made, VORP, scoring average in an elimination game with 32.8 PPG, scoring average in game sevens with 33.2 PPG, average a triple-double in an NBA Finals series, and finally is also the only players in not only a playoff series but in NBA Finals history to lead both teams in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals.

The list of accolades just goes on and on for Lebron James. He is unlike anyone we have ever seen play this game before and that includes guys like Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Michael Jordan, and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar who all revolutionized the way that basketball is played in some way or form. We have never seen a player with Lebrons' 6’8”, 250-pound size be able to handle, rebound, or score the basketball before.

He has revolutionized the way that forwards play their position. He is a modern game changer that basketball has not seen since Julius Erving revolutionized the game with the dunk or when Larry Bird revolutionized the game with the three-point shot. Lebron has impacted the way people play basketball unlike anything we have ever seen before.

Titles "Argument"

The only argument perhaps that one could make is that Lebron James owns a losing recording in his career in his eight NBA Finals trips, at three and five. However, that is the most pointless and ridiculous argument of them all. Besides the fact that making more finals and losing is more impressive than not making the finals at all, several NBA Hall of Famers have suffered several losses in the finals as well. Wilt Chamberlain (2-4), Magic Johnson (5-4), Jerry West (1-8), Allen Iverson (0-1), and Patrick Ewing (0-1) are all Hall of Famers who all either suffered multiple NBA Finals losses or never even won a title. Does not winning an NBA championship diminish a players’ reputation? Perhaps somewhat. However, how can you criticize a man who has won three titles despite suffering five losses? Lebron James is a champion in every sense of the word and to say that for example he has not passed the likes of Kobe Bryant (5 titles) or Michael Jordan (6 titles) just because they have won more championships is a very shallow argument considering Lebron has three of his own. By that argument, would not Bill Russell or Robert Horry, two players who each won eleven championships then be considered the greatest of all time? It is a ridiculous argument to make. Not to mention how great the teams Lebron has played against in the finals were. Outside of the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, the other seven matchups Lebron has been up against in the finals have been against very good teams, historically. In fact, according to ESPN Stats & Info, each of Lebron James’ 8 finals opponents have had a better postseason net efficiency (a composite statistic that is derived from a teams’ total offensive and defensive contributions) than the best team that Michael Jordan ever played against in the NBA Finals. If that does not speak dividends to the stiff competition that Lebron has had to go through, I do not know what does.

In my opinion, fans in sports today get confused on the difference between who their favorite player is and who the best player is. Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kevin Durant, or Larry Bird may be their favorite player but there can only be one clear choice for best player based on all his accomplishments that he has made and will continued to make. That player, a man who has forever changed the way people play basketball, a man from Akron, Ohio, Lebron James: the heavens greatest gift to the hardcourt.

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