1. LeBron James
4x NBA MVP, 3x NBA Champion, 13x NBA All-Star, 3x NBA Finals MVP, 10x All-NBA First Team, 5x NBA All-Defensive First Team, 2004 NBA Rookie of the Year
What is there to say about LeBron James that you won’t already know?In NBA history, he has to be one of the most controversial and dividing figures of all time. Even before he entered the league, he divided the NBA observers. He signed his first endorsement deal before he turned pro, and has rewritten record books throughout his entire career.
Many will point to his early years with the Cleveland Cavaliers and say that he wasn’t great then.
Here’s what he accomplished during his eight seasons with the Cavs: two MVPs, five All-Star appearances, four All-NBA First Team appearances, Rookie of the Year, NBA Scoring Champion. He led the Cavs to the NBA Finals in 2007, the first NBA Finals in Cavaliers’ history.
In fact, in the five postseason appearances the Cavs had while LeBron was present, they never lost in the first round, and it was their most successful stretch in franchise history at the time.
In the summer of 2010, LeBron made a decision that would forever alter the way the league looked at him. “The Decision” as it was titled, was the hour-long TV special which culminated in James declaring “I’m taking my talents to South Beach.”
Returning to Cleveland during the 2014 offseason, James led another Big Three of him, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to his fifth consecutive NBA Finals in the 2015 playoffs. However, that’s where everything fell apart as Love injured his shoulder in the first round, and Irving fractured his patella in Game One of the Finals.
Still, James had one of the best individual Finals performances, averaging 35.8 points, 8.8 assists, and 13.3 rebounds per game. He had two triple doubles in six games, and was one assist shy of a third in Game Six. Many were even expecting him to win the Finals MVP despite the Cavaliers losing, being the first since Jerry West to do so.
Last season speaks for itself. Lebron left his legacy in a seven game series against the Warriors, coming back from 3-1 to win 4-3 and bring a championship to Cleveland at long last. He finally achieved what he spent his entire career trying to achieve, and he did it in the most historic way the league has ever seen. You can’t argue with three championships. Whatever your stance and opinion on James is, you cannot argue that he isn’t a transcendent talent. His accolades and achievements (with rings being the exception) have never been replicated by anyone on this list. The scary notion is that he is still in his athletic prime, with another 5-6 years of NBA basketball ahead of him.
Looking at his accomplishments objectively, there isn’t a greater small forward in history. Yes, he has enlisted the help of fellow superstars to win championships, but that’s the way the modern NBA functions. He didn’t have help during his first stint with the Cavs, and look at how much he accomplished without it.
Compare LeBron James statistically to other great players!