LeBron James is one of the greatest players of all time due to his sustained excellence and leadership.
1. Passing Kobe Bryant's Scoring Record
It was a big deal when Kobe Bryant passed the great Michael Jordan in scoring. Michael had 32,292 career points when he retired for good. On December 14, 2014, Kobe surpassed him. He would end his career with 33,643 career points and set a new bar to surpass.
LeBron surpassed Kobe's record on January 25, 2020, and Kobe even congratulated him on Twitter. LeBron scored 29 points in a 108-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia was ironically Kobe's hometown.
Unfortunately, Kobe, his daughter Gianna, and seven companions died in a helicopter crash a day later, so this achievement was bittersweet for LeBron. Kobe was merely 41 years old and was beginning a burgeoning Hollywood career.
LeBron has two more scoring leaders to beat - Karl Malone with 36,928 career points and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 38,387 points. As long as LeBron does not take a sudden decline and remains relatively injury-free, he can possibly surpass them.
2. Giving Cleveland a Championship in 2016
The city of Cleveland had long been suffering because of a title drought. The last title the city had won in any major sport was back in 1964 when the Cleveland Browns won the Super Bowl. The city would go for more than five decades without a title.
This did not mean that the Cleveland Cavaliers never had good teams. The Cavs had some pretty good teams in the late 80s and early 90s, but they ran into the Bulls and Knicks. Both teams were the powerhouses of the Eastern Conference during that time. The Mark Price and Brad Daugherty Cavaliers had nice supporting players in Ron Harper, Danny Ferry, Craig Ehlo, Larry Nance and John "Hot Rod" Williams. After Brad Daugherty had to retire due to a back injury, the Cavs were not very good.
Long-suffering fans were hoping to finally get a championship when LeBron arrived as the team's savior. His first run with Cleveland was somewhat successful, but it yielded no title. After four years with Miami, LeBron came back home and finally won one for his native Cleveland.
While winning two titles for Miami was sweet, winning one for his hometown was even sweeter.
3. Yes We Did
LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are all alumni of the NBA Draft Class of 2003. Coincidentally, they were three of the top ten players in the league at that time. With the move towards player empowerment, players could choose where they want to go, whether it be through free agency or through forcing a trade.
Nothing epitomizes this more than LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade colluding to form a superteam in Miami. The Heat hosted a huge on party July 9, 2010, in the American Airlines Arena, which looked like a rock concert or WWE event.
The Heat paraded their newly minted superteam, and James was quoted as saying "Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven." Many people did not like what LeBron said as they perceived it as arrogant.
4. Chasedown Block on Andre Iguodala
Andre Iguodala developed from being an athletic guard/forward who used his athleticism to dunk on people to being one of the best three and D players in the game. His job was basically to hound the opposing team's best player and to spot up for three-pointers. Iguodala did such a fine job containing LeBron James that he won the 2015 Finals MVP. This was a big achievement for him as he did not even start a single game in the entire regular season.
LeBron's famous chasedown block on Iggy was payback for him as this helped the Cavs seal the victory in the 2016 NBA Finals. While LeBron is known for his dunks and passes, people tend to sleep on his defensive capabilities.
5. The Decision
This is considered by many to be one of the most memorable things LeBron has ever done. The Decision was a television special on ESPN that was broadcast live on ESPN on July 8, 2010.
The purpose of this special was for LeBron to announce which team he would go to.
This is where LeBron was quoted as saying, "In this fall... this is very tough... in this fall I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat. I feel like it's going to give me the best opportunity to win and to win for multiple years, and not only just to win in the regular season or just to win five games in a row or three games in a row, I want to be able to win championships. And I feel like I can compete down there."
This stirred up controversy as many felt that James made himself out to be too important.
© 2021 Jan Michael Ong