Through his 16-plus seasons in the league, LeBron James has put forth a first-ballot Hall of Fame career. That has come with its fair share of criticism directed toward the LA Lakers star forward. It’s something that continues to see those take his legacy down a peg due to his shortcomings that have primarily come in the NBA Finals. However, Hall of Famer Karl Malone has firmly lashed back at those bashing James throughout his career.
LeBron James’ criticism
LeBron James has been no stranger to having criticism tossed his way throughout his career.
It has been something that follows him at each stop in the NBA, with much of that focused on his shortcomings. James entered the league as one of the most hyped talents that the league has ever had. He has blown past all those lofty expectations, but with that comes the comparisons to the all-time greats.
James’ name has commonly been mentioned alongside some of the greatest in NBA history centered on Michael Jordan. The four-time league MVP has embraced that conversation, but his struggles in the Finals, where he holds a 3-6 record, have been the line where many compared to Jordan.
That chatter remains around James in the latter stage of his career, in which one Hall of Famer has stepped out against that bashing toward James.
Karl Malone defends LeBron James
The level of criticism that LeBron James regularly deals with in many ways undervalues the impressive career he has put forth.
That is the conversation that Hall of Famer Karl Malone underlined during an interview with The Dan Patrick Show a few years ago. Malone voiced that he believes James is the most talented player he’s ever seen at his size while he doesn’t understand why the haters don’t appreciate his play. (H/T Basketball Network)
I think LeBron James is the most talented player I’ve ever seen. Sometimes you will hear people make a statement, but they don’t back it up with nothing. Let me explain it to you. LeBron James is about 6’8″, about 265 pounds and I would say to do the things he could do, we will never see it again.
For all those haters out there, sit back and enjoy—every now or then, you see a player that comes through like that.
Often lost in the shuffle of comparing players to all-time greats is what they are accomplishing. Since reaching his first NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James has seen himself compared to Jordan. In many ways, that overshadows what he has accomplished and the stellar play he puts forth in his career.
Jordan is the gold standard that all great players want to be in the same conversation as him, but it shouldn’t overlook what they have done.
Chance to add another NBA title
Despite all the dialogue that still follows LeBron James, his career is still an open book.
The 35-year-old has an opportunity to help guide the Lakers to an NBA title this season. That could go a long way in adding another impressive feat to his resume while further establishing himself among the all-time greats. LA will have stiff competition to capture a championship with teams such as the LA Clippers, Houston Rockets, and Milwaukee Bucks pinned as contenders.
There is much that can unfold in the playoffs, but James has the chance to reach the mountaintop to add to his illustrious NBA resume.