Is LeBron James the greatest athlete of all time?

At 33-years-old, LeBron James is somehow playing some of the best basketball of his career. At the moment, he’s averaging 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game. That’s his best points per game average since the 2009-10 season, and his rebounds and assists per game are the best of his career. In 15 years, LeBron has appeared in all 217 postseason games his teams have played, and has only missed 87 regular season games. His durability is unmatched when compared to similar NBA superstars.

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LeBron is not only a force to be reckoned with on the court, but off the court also. He is vocal about his opinions on various social issues, and he is constantly doing charity work for different organizations. LeBron has dominated the NBA since entering the league at 18-years-old, and with gas still left in the tank he has established himself as the greatest athlete of all time due to his contributions on and off the court.

On The Court 

At the rate that James is playing, he’s on pace to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, and finish with over 10,000 assists and rebounds. The only other player anywhere near this accomplishment is Oscar Robertson, with 26,710 points 7,804 rebounds and 9,887 assists. The fact that there is a great possibility that LeBron finishes his career with a 40,000/10,000/10,000 line is absolutely absurd. This shows James’ pure dominance in the sport of basketball over the course of his career.

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Many people knock on James’ finals record to take away from his greatness, however this argument simply does not make sense. At the end of the day, making the finals is better than sitting at home after getting knocked out in a previous round. More than that, LeBron has almost single-handedly carried teams into the finals that had no business being there. In his first Finals appearance, LeBron’s starting lineup around him included Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Sasha Pavlovic and Larry Hughes. LeBron’s teams have entered the finals as the underdog seven out of eight times, with only Miami being the favourite against the Spurs in 2013.

In his 2015 Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, LeBron averaged an absurd 35.8 points with 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists, making him the only player in NBA Finals history to lead both teams in those three categories. It’s this sort of dominance across the board that separates James from everybody else in league history.

Off The Court 

LeBron’s personal life has been almost picture perfect from the public eye. He entered  the spotlight at an extremely young age when he was heralded at the high-school level as a future NBA superstar. James then handled entering the league as an 18-year-old with ease. The biggest off-court controversy that he has been a part of was when Cleveland natives were angered by LeBron wearing a New York Yankees hat to a Cleveland Indians game.

LeBron’s charity work is unmatched by almost anybody in the world of sports. James doesn’t forget that he came from virtually nothing, and sees the importance in giving back.

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“I won’t play this game forever. But the things that we’re doing in the communities, things that we’re doing in the gymnasiums, the computer labs, they will last,” said James.

In 2015 his foundation, The LeBron James Family Foundation, pledged to donate $41.8 million to provide full scholarships to at least 1,100 kids to attend the University of Akron. His highly criticized television program announcing his move to Miami, The Decision, raised over $3 million for charity. He has been outspoken on many social issues, from speaking up on race relations and police abuse at the 2016 ESPY’s, to being openly critical of President Trump on several occasions.

As one of the most influential athletes in the world, LeBron has taken advantage of that. Using basketball as his platform, he has been heavily vocal with his political agenda and charitable work throughout the years.

The Best of All Time

The most impressive thing about James’ career is that he has already established himself as one of, if not the best basketball players of all time with several years left to play. But, as LeBron said, he won’t play basketball forever. His dominance on the court combined with his influence off the court clearly establishes LeBron James as the greatest athlete of all time. With his career winding down, it’s unclear what James will do in retirement. That is a worry for the future, and in the meantime just sit back and enjoy the greatness.

 

 

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