Los Angeles Lakers superstar small forward LeBron James will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer one day. He’s won four championships, four Finals MVPs, and four regular-season MVPs and is on pace to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
However, despite how superb LeBron has been since entering the NBA in 2003, former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson believes the King is taken for granted by basketball fans.
Mark Jackson: LeBron James is taken for granted
During an interview with Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, Jackson said LeBron is taken for granted. The ex-Warriors coach, who is fourth in NBA history in assists, believes the Lakers star is a “special” person and player who hasn’t been appreciated enough.
“This guy is as good as it gets,” Jackson said about LeBron. “And we truly take him for granted, the same way we do all of our greats, but he’s a guy that’s done it the right way and continues to take pride in finishing the proper way. He should be celebrated and acknowledged. We truly do take him for granted. He’s special.”
LeBron was dubbed the “Chosen One” by Sports Illustrated when he was still in high school. He was under immense pressure to be a superstar as soon as he stepped foot in the NBA, which was an unfair burden to him.
However, impressively, you can make a case that LeBron has exceeded the public’s grand expectations of him.
LeBron James has been incredible
Entering the 2021-22 season, LeBron holds career averages of 27.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists. He’s made 17 All-Star teams, 17 All-NBA teams, and six All-Defensive teams.
Along with being a four-time champion, four-time Finals MVP, and four-time regular-season MVP, LeBron is second in NBA history in player efficiency rating, sixth in points per game, fifth in triple-doubles, eighth in assists, and third in points. LBJ is the only player to rank top-10 all-time in points and assists and win three Finals MVPs with three different teams.
The one blemish on LeBron’s spectacular résumé is his Finals record. He’s 4-6 and has been swept twice. However, he did lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 3-1 series comeback win over the 73-9 Warriors in the 2016 Finals. The Cavs became the first team in NBA history to erase a 3-1 series deficit.
We may never see a player like LeBron ever again. Not only is he arguably the best all-around player in NBA history, but his longevity is also astounding, and Warriors star Stephen Curry made sure to pay homage to the Akron Hammer’s dominance.
Stephen Curry: The King set the standard for longevity in NBA
Curry, who has faced LeBron four times in the Finals, thinks the Lakers forward set the standard for longevity in the NBA. LeBron has made 17 consecutive All-Star and All-NBA teams.
“He set the standard for that,” Curry said. “Let’s keep it real — what is he, in his 18th year? Nine straight Finals, all the things that he’s accomplished. You have a vision of sustaining your prime for as long as you can, kind of reimagining what that looks like. So you know the work that goes into it, the intentionality, especially in the offseasons, especially how you take care of your body, your mind. Balance on court, off court. For me, it’s a weird perspective just because I still remember my college days and he was just coming into his prime in the league. And my sophomore year, [NCAA] tournament run he came to a game, then came to a game my junior year. This is hilarious. I still have a jersey that he signed back in ’08 in my parents’ house back in Charlotte. So it’s kind of weird to think about what’s happened in the last 13, 14 years.”
LeBron will likely play with a chip on his shoulder in 2021-22 since he lost in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in his career last season. It would certainly be fun to see the Lakers and Warriors face each other in the postseason since LeBron and Curry have a documented history and rapport.