LeBron James’ Innovative Career Move Has Julius Erving Admitting He Will Redefine GOAT Standard

Even as Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James moves toward two decades in the league, he has shown no decline. The 18-time All-Star is putting together another impressive campaign that adds to his illustrious legacy.

As James continues his stellar play late in this career, he’s further cementing his status among the all-time greats. That has led Hall of Famer Julius Erving to voice a huge compliment concerning James’ standing in the GOAT conversation.

LeBron James continues to defy Father Time

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James attempts a jumpshot against the Golden State Warriors.
Lakers forward LeBron James attempts a jump shot against the Warriors. |  Harry How/Getty Images

Despite the Lakers falling disappointingly short of championship expectations, LeBron James has shown no decline in his play.

In his 19th campaign, he’s still performing at an elite level, leading the league with 30.3 points per contest while shooting 52.4% from the floor and 35.9% from three-point range. Nagging injuries have forced him to miss some time, but he’s maintained his stellar performance.

He became the oldest player to notch seven straight 30-point outings while being the first Lakers player to reach that feat since Kobe Bryant. He also set the mark for the oldest player to record at least 25 points in 23 straight games while becoming the first player age 35 or older to post multiple 50-point performances in a single season.

If James wins the scoring title, he will become the oldest player to accomplish that. As James continues to perform at a high level, it’s led a Hall of Famer to bestow a tremendous compliment on him.

Julius Erving believes LeBron James will re-establish the GOAT status

LeBron James’ sustained excellence late into his career has generated more conversation regarding his standing among the all-time greats.

The 37-year-old’s unwavering ability nearly two decades into his playing days has led Hall of Famer Julius Erving to remark on The Riche Eisen Show on Monday that the Lakers star will redefine the standard for GOAT status.

“He’s going to pass everyone,” Erving said. “He’s coming at 18 years old with a pro body and pro ability as a high schooler. I really haven’t seen anybody have that package. Moses [Malone] was probably the closest guy. LeBron is the chosen one in that regard. he’s going to play into his 40s. He’s probably going to have a 22, 23-year career. Nobody has done that in basketball in their career either.

“Those last few years for Shaq and for Kobe they were on the bench. They were on the bench and on the sidelines. They were getting paid but they were on the sidelines. They were done. [For] LeBron, it won’t be that for him because he can still be that complete player because his skills are so diverse.

“He’s putting a million dollars into his body every offseason to be able to still be out there, which is stuff that will legitimately help him maintain his physicality. At the end of the day, he’s going to be the guy who re-establishes the bar for what the GOAT is.”

Erving isn’t outright stating that James is the GOAT, but the 18-time All-Star’s ability to maintain his stellar play well into his 30s is hard to ignore. His tireless work to maintain his body has allowed him to extend his high performance well beyond the typical physical prime.

It’s well known that he spends well over $1 million annually to keep his body in peak condition. As he’s moved deeper into his career, he has leaned more heavily upon his strict diet and workout routine to extend his playing days.

James will dictate the next chapter of his career, which will only further distinguish the definition of greatness.

Lakers must rebuild a championship contender around the star forward

With LeBron James showing no signs of slowing down, it underlines the importance of the Lakers’ maximizing his remaining window.

Last offseason saw the front office piece together a roster that failed to live up to championship expectations. General manager Rob Pelinka holds the daunting task of retooling the roster beginning with finding a trade for Russell Westbrook.

The nine-time All-Star will likely pick up his $47 million player option for the 2022-23 season. The Lakers will need to include additional trade assets to move Westbrook. Meanwhile, the team may explore trade scenarios for Anthony Davis, but a move appears unlikely due to his importance to the team’s success on both ends of the floor when healthy.

If the Lakers want James to ink an extension, the roster moves must push toward building a championship contender. Ultiamtely, the pressure is on the front office to give the star forward a reason to stay beyond next season.

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