Why LeBron James Should Not Be Considered the GOAT


Ever since the NBA Finals completed, I have seen and heard a lot of talk around who is the greatest basketball player of all time. This conversation was sparked because of the remarkable comeback by the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James. A lot of people were so mesmerized by the comeback and by the performance in the Finals displayed by LeBron that they put him at the top of their list for best player in the history of the game. His performance was an all time great but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are many factors that go into determining who is the all time greatest basketball player; such as overall stats, championships, MVPs, and many others that could be thrown into a debate.  LeBron James is a great basketball player, but he is not the greatest of all time for many reasons. But let’s take a look at some of the most important topics when discussing the greatest players of all time.


Statistics are very important when it comes to debating the all time greatest basketball player. If using stats for basis of saying LeBron is the greatest of all time, then maybe consider these options: Wilt Chamberlain, has career averages of 30.1 ppg, 22.9 rpg, 4.4 apg, and 54 FG%. Wilt put up some of the most incredible numbers of all time. There is no debating that fact. Wilt’s stats are far more impressive than those of LeBron’s (27.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 6.9apg, 49.8 FG %). Oscar Robertson also has some of the most impressive stats with averages of 25.7 ppg, 9.5 apg, 7.5 rpg, and 48.5 FG%.  Remove his last 4 years when he played with Milwaukee, his averages improve to 29.3 ppg, 10.3 apg, 8.5 rpg, and 48.9 FG%. Oscar declined after 10 seasons in the NBA, but his first ten seasons were one of the most impressive in history of the NBA.


When debating who the best ever is, mentioning championships comes up in almost every debate. None of the greats can compare to Bill Russell when it comes to championships. Russell leads the way by far when it comes to the all time greats with a total of 11 championships. In fact, in the 13 years he played for Boston, he only missed winning the championship in two years.  Next in line would be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan both of which have six championships.  Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant have five a piece.  LeBron James is down the line at 3.


The MVP award is something I am hesitant to use when debating who is better than who. The reason being is that it is an award that is voted by people. People have a tendency to become amazed of a certain individual.  For example, Steve Nash, who was a phenomenal player, has more MVP awards than Kobe Bryant. I think most people would agree Kobe is higher on the all time list than Nash. However, the MVP is still a topic when discussing who is the greatest of all time. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has an NBA record six MVP trophies. Michael Jordan and Bill Russell are close with five.  LeBron comes next on the list with four which ties him with Wilt Chamberlain.

Putting it all together

When looking at some of the most important topics and combining who has the most impressive resume, it starts and ends with Michael Jordan. Jordan has career averages of 30.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.3 apg, and 49.7 FG%. His stats are even more impressive if we eliminate the two years he returned to play with the Washington Wizards (31.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.4 apg, and 50.5 FG %). Jordan also won the MVP award five times and he has six NBA championships. Wilt Chamberlain has the most impressive statistics for a career but he lacks in the total championships, winning only two.


Debating who is the greatest NBA player ever is going to be a debate that people have for many years. It will only get more complicated as more players come through the league. There are many other topics and statistics that can be used in order to come up with an opinion but I think we would mostly agree these are some of the most important topics. LeBron James is great, but in overall resumes, he does not have the resume to be considered the GOAT.  I understand he has made it to six consecutive NBA Finals (seven total). I understand he just led the Cavaliers to their first ever championship. But in 30 years from now when we are looking up stats and accomplishments, only winning counts. Being second is not going to win a prize of any sort; at least not today. He still has plenty of time to add to his accomplishments. But for now, I would hold off on calling him the all time greatest NBA player.

Stats are according to basketball-reference.com

About Aaron Davis

Aaron is a staff writer and the Co-Founder of NBALEAD. He has been following the NBA for over 15 years. Graduated from Purdue University.

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