Comparisons between the NBA’s greatest players dominate blogs and messages boards the world over, and they are silly. It is impossible to compare players who played in different eras and who achieved different things to one another. Yet we do this anyway, knowing full well it is only our opinion against another’s and that the issue will never be resolved. Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and LeBron James take up a fair amount of this discussion, as people proclaim that one of the three is the greatest player of all time, pointing out faults with the other two that back up their statements. Again, this is a fool’s game, and leads to some of the most ridiculous arguments you will ever see online. Hypothetically speaking though, if LeBron James was to somehow win four NBA titles in a row, would that give him a definitive edge then?
Before looking at if this is even possible, a word please on Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson. So many of us (myself included) never watched these greats play and so they are automatically disregarded when people talk about the greatest of all time. Again, picking a greatest is impossible, but please remember to take these absolute titans into consideration as well. If you are unsure of what they achieved (Russell did more than win four titles in a row!) do check it out, their careers are amazing in themselves. With that said, we can now look at the impact it would have if LeBron James won four titles in the “modern era.” First of all it would be big time, of course, and automatically would best the three-peats of both Jordan and Bryant. With two in a row already to his name, winning a third this year would mean he is almost there. Should he move on this summer and play elsewhere next season, and go on to win his fourth ch’ip in his first campaign there, that would be even more impressive. Yes Jordan could very well have won four or more in a row had he not taken his season and a half sabbatical from the game, but sadly we’ll never know.
Joining a “Supergroup” in Miami with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade tarnished some people’s perceptions of LeBron too, but that is not entirely fair. Yes, Michael Jordan didn’t up sticks and go play with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, but he was part of a big three himself in Scottie Pippen and, for the latter three titles, Dennis Rodman. If James managed to find a way to join the same team as Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, however, that would be a bit different. Similarly, Kobe had Shaquille O’Neal and the late-game heroics of both Robert Horry and Derek Fisher, so all three couldn’t exactly have done it alone. Besting the likes of Durant, Paul, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George four years in a row is very impressive though, but all true champions beat great players on their way to the top. LeBron has personal accolades and tributes to his immense physical attributes by the bucketload, and not since Leu Alcindor had the expectations ever been so high for a player. That James delivered, and then some, and is only twenty-nine, again shows you why he deserves to be labelled one of the best ever already.
But would winning four in a row change all of this and finally give people a solid answer? Absolutely not. It would be a trump card of sorts, but only for one part of the argument. Nothing LeBron James will do from now until his career ends will ever be good enough, because it shouldn’t be good enough. There can’t be a consensus best player in the sport, because it disrespects the other great players. Four in a row would be a sight to behold alright, and in actuality it is hard to imagine for a number of reasons. The NBA today is as competitive as it has ever been since James entered the league, and winning a threepeat this year would be monumental. Stay on in Miami and winning once more with D-Wade as his predominant sidekick would be close to miraculous, father time and injury are slowing Miami’s favourite son down badly. If he to another team and wins in year one of chapter three in his career it would again be amazing for it takes time to build team chemistry and trust. So LeBron James will not be the greatest even if he wins four titles in a row, but it is going to be great to watch him try.