There have been many bold statements about LeBron James in the last decade. It can provoke a conversation unlike any other person in recent NBA history, whether it be coaches, teammates, opponents or blathering television analysts who speak.
But the most relevant statement related to this particular exercise comes from Amy Schumer, who wrote James in the 2015 comedy Trainwreck. James plays a (very cheap) version of himself with the impetuous Bill Hader “Saturday Night Live” and steals the scene almost every time he appears on screen.
“I wrote LeBron’s name in the script because he was the only basketball player I knew,” Schumer said.
Whether for his off-field or on-field accomplishments, LeBron James is known everywhere and had the biggest impact on any athlete’s sport during 2010. There was only one choice for the NBA Sports News Athlete of the Decade.
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After discovering that during the much-maligned “2010” decision to take his talents to South Beach, James won two leagues in four seasons with the Heat, starting eight consecutive NBA Finals tournaments. This series, a perfectly balanced four-and-a-four with Miami and Cleveland, put him in a category that had been available to Celtics players since the 1950s and ’60s, including Hall of Famer Bill Russell.
However, his best moment was on the other side of the country in Oakland, California, when the LeBron Cavaliers pulled off a 3-1 deficit against the mighty Warriors and won the 2016 NBA title. Game 7 of this series will always be remembered for James Iguodala’s virtual block of James, which has been difficult to understand for years.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zd62MxKXp8 (/ embed)
And yet, despite all his basketball accomplishments, James may have changed his NBA business more than anything else. This malicious intent helped make the championship a summer show and opened the door for athletes to check their pictures and disperse the messages they wanted to send to the public. Using that length of contract in free agency offered him maximum flexibility and pushed the offices forward to continue to improve the roster around him. He didn’t expect to work with other stars and chase a ring in his final seasons like he did before – James left Cleveland for Miami, Miami for Cleveland, and then Cleveland for Los Angeles while still on top of it.
The irony in all this? Others used his strategy to stop him. Kevin Durant joined the Warriors and spent two years with James Cavs. Mr. Irving demanded his exit from Cleveland and James’s shadow. Kawhi Leonard left Toronto after winning a championship and the Finals MVP to form a juggernaut with Paul George in Los Angeles and fight with James for the Staples Center supremacy.
MORE: SN’s NBA All-Decade team
LeBron devised the plan to reach the summit of hoops, and others followed and pushed him back to the mountain.
James is not done yet. Year 17 with Anthony Davis at his side – the result of a commercial announcement announced by James’ agent and long-time friend Rich Paul – James plays MVP level and defies the typical aging curve. Crosses the field with the Lakers, with the pace to lead the league to first aid in his career. It has a real shot to capture a fourth title, and maybe more.
But even though he never wears another Finals shirt in his jersey, James’s legacy is safe, a legacy that was largely built in 2010. This league is an incredibly jumbled web, but it starts at any key point and is not difficult to find your way back to a man.
If you knew nothing about basketball this past decade, you knew LeBron.
With the numbers
- 3 NBA Championships
- 3 The NBA Finals MVP Awards
- 4 NBA MVP awards
- 15 All NBA options
- 15 All-Star options
- 6 Defensive options
- 33,000 plus career points (fourth all year) *
- 6.911 career playoff spots (most of all)
- 8,900 co career assistant (10th year) *
- 87 triple career (fifth all year) *
- 27.6 player performance rating (second consecutive) *
* From the date of publication
What they say:
“LeBron is one of the best players right now, and the clever combination of team leadership, weak platforms, dominating bounce and surgery, takes the game to the next level.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
“It’s just great to see him play, it’s just fun to bring everyone together, he’s like a magnet and everybody’s just great to see him think three or four in front … When you play with someone great every day, you does better. “- Magic Johnson
“No one has ever seen a player quite like LeBron. This is a five-tool player, basically healthy and capable of doing almost anything on the pitch. As the NBA continues to evolve, I think it’s the model that other players should imitate. … I also admire him for continuing to improve the management of IQ play and basketball, year after year, instead of embracing his sport. ” – Oscar Robertson
“I was able to dominate this season … In my life, I’ve never seen that, and I’ve played against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, played against Michael Jordan. I don’t think any of us have ever seen anything we see. “- Equal Thomas
“If it doesn’t slow down, as I said before, it will end up in one or two (in the all time scoring table).” – Dirk Nowitzki
“(LeBron) has already been in this Mount Rushmore, he’s proven to be the greatest player of this generation, I don’t like to be compared and who is GOAT and who is the best. To do so, I just know he does some amazing things. “- Grand Hill
Next decade belongs to: Luka Doncic, guard, Mavericks
“You’re a bad mother.”
These were James’s words to Doncic, as the Lakers beat the Mavericks in one of the most entertaining games of the NBA’s 2019-20 season. There is no greater stamp of approval than this.
At just 20 years old, Doncic has already worked on the MVP conversation, making almost a triple double and regular posting on average, only Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson can match. The Slovenian wunderkind hits 3 points off the dribble like James Harden and passes “Pistol” Pete Maravich.
Most importantly, it does not fill the box score with an empty statistic – it helps the Mavericks win. Dallas should win a seat at the end of the year after a three-year playoff run, and with the right team around Doncic, the Mavs could quickly become year-round contenders.
There is something poetic about James eventually passing the baton on to a child that made him grow up. He speaks of both James’s impressive longevity and Doncic’s unmatched ability to be a player of his time.
“You never know who you can inspire along your path,” James told ESPN’s Doris Burke after this win over the Mavs. “And you hope you can inspire the next generation and me, by playing the game the right way, always involving my teammates and playing for the sake of the game, I was able to inspire a kid who wasn’t even in America, and this is very special.
“It is obvious that we see what he is capable of doing, his ability to play, not just for himself, for his teammates, for recovery, just to play for the pure love of the game.