Over the last few years, my generation of basketball fans has witnessed substantial evidence that LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time. Despite never winning as many rings as Michael Jordan, his ability to carry his teams every year in the playoffs was unlike any player we had ever seen. In the 2016 NBA Finals when he came back from a 3–1 deficit to defeat the Warriors after they had the greatest regular season record of all time, it became cemented in my mind that he was the GOAT. Sadly, this season is giving me second thoughts.
This past offseason, he left Cleveland again and headed to Los Angeles to play with the Lakers in an arena full of history, high hopes and LaVar Ball.
At the time, I thought LA would be the perfect destination for LeBron. The Lakers are one of the NBA’s most storied franchises and seeing the greatest player of all time suiting up for the Lakers would be fascinating. The team also has a core of young players, and with LeBron in the mix, hopefully he would elevate them all to finally gel.
That has not been the case.
The Lakers have been a dysfunctional mess this year with loads of drama and tension within the locker room. LeBron has to understand that he has created many of the problems the Lakers are facing and he has a tall task ahead of him to fix them, and LeBron wanting to trade his whole team to play with Anthony Davis isn’t helping .
Forget the fact that the Lakers did not add a much-needed piece, the team chemistry was basically destroyed by threatening to get rid of half the team. Imagine walking into work knowing that your co-worker went to your boss asking to trade half the team just so he could play with one of his friends. Ever since the fiasco, the team has been an absolute train wreck.
LA is currently sitting at 29–31, No. 11 in the Western Conference. The season is far from over and it is entirely possible they make a surge to capture a playoff spot, but it’s not looking likely.
With the mix of the Lakers’ disappointing season and continuing drama that is seemingly all stemming from LeBron, I am starting to rethink the idea of him being the greatest of all time. This season is confirming doubts that he can’t win in the Western Conference, and that he thrives only with hand-picked personnel on his team.
A recent incident gave off the appearance that he had been isolated from much of the team. During a recent blowout loss, LeBron was seen sitting at the end of the bench by himself, with several seats between him and the nearest player. It was a sad image that serves as the perfect metaphor for the Lakers season.
Despite LeBron’s actions, a fair amount of blame falls on his teammates. Shaquille O’Neal and James Worthy blasted them on TNT, saying they need to step up and not let trade talks affect their game. I’m sure it sucks to have LeBron join your team and basically try to trade everyone away, but that is just the business of basketball and they have to accept that. This team could really use a players only meeting clear up tension and regroup for a potential playoff run.