LeBron James is in the 16th year of his career, and has accumulated some of the toughest mileage that any NBA player has ever collected. Sunday night, he dropped 51 points on only 31 field goal attempts as the Lakers beat the Heat. He’s good. Very good. Tyson Chandler would agree with that bit of hard-hitting analysis.
Chandler was asked after the game about what it’s like to watch James get into that kind of rhythm and still be this dominant at this stage of his career, and Chandler put James in some elite company. (via Spectrum SportsNet)
“It’s truly remarkable what he’s been able to do for as long as he’s been able to. I came out right before him and (remember) seeing all the hype that was coming along with him, and I remember thinking ‘I don’t know if anybody can live up to that hype.’ And not only has he lived up to that hype, he’s surpassed the hype.
“Honestly you can’t even necessarily describe that. There’s only one other guy that you can compare him with, and that’s MJ. At this point he’s arguably fighting for the greatest of all-time.”
Alright, let’s do this.
So, first and foremost, this goes to show how historically underrated Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is. Dude scored more points than any other player in league history, dominated so thoroughly that the NCAA outlawed dunking, won NBA Finals MVPs 14 years apart and yet is almost never mentioned in the same breath as MJ. That’s criminal.
/steps off soapbox
To Chandler’s actual point, yeah, James’ career has put him at a place where only the absolute greatest players can be compared to him historically. What’s insane is how hard it is to find cases for him slowing down any time soon, despite being at this advanced stage of his career. Eventually, Father Time will win out, but for right now, parsing where exactly he is on all-time lists takes away from the enjoyment of sitting back and watching him do his thing.