Was LeBron James the Best NBA Player of the 2010s?
As crazy as it seems, the 2010s decade is about to come to a close with the start of 2020 set to be ushered in. Along the way, there were several players that put forth an impressive stretch over the past 10 years, which has made it difficult to narrow down who performed the best during that span. However, it’s hard to put other players over a certain four-time league MVP in LeBron James, but others made a strong push to dethrone him from that mantel.
3. Stephen Curry
There is not much that separates these players on this shortlist, but Curry undoubtedly belongs up here with his peers. He is a game-changing talent that has helped tremendously impact the way the game is played in the league and the next generation of talent behind the 3-point shot.
Curry is a significant part of the Golden State Warriors’ core group as their driving force that guided them to five straight NBA Finals appearances and three titles over that span. Although he didn’t win an NBA Finals MVP award, Curry has racked up numerous individual accolades such as a pair of MVP awards, six All-Star selections, three All-NBA First Team nods, two All-NBA Second Team selections, and an All-NBA Third Team nod.
The 31-year-old put forth some of his best basketball while leading the Warriors to a tremendous amount of success that should continue into the next decade.
2. Kevin Durant
Durant truly found himself over this past decade by further emerging as one of the best talents in the league. That saw him reach great heights in his career that he had in his first few seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder before the 2010s.
Although many bashed for his move to the Warriors, he finally got over the hump with two NBA titles in three trips to the Finals with the franchise. In total, 31-year-old garnered a pair of Finals MVP nods, an MVP award, 10 All-Star selections, six All-NBA First Team nods, and three All-NBA Second Team selections. It featured him getting a pair of championships over LeBron James, who was long viewed to be the better player than him.
Durant may be dealing with the biggest hurdle of his career after suffering a torn Achilles tendon, but he has put forth an incredible career that has made him a sure-fire Hall of Famer. He may have put together a stellar stretch in the 2010s like Curry, but it was hard to place them over one player on this list.
1. LeBron James
There was no better chose for this honor, which his selection by the Associated Press as the Male Athlete of the Decade made that quite clear. James dominated the last 10 years that featured a significant amount of team and individual success along the way.
That same him begin the decade with a remarkable stretch of eight straight trips to the NBA Finals, which he won all three of his championship. That put him alongside five other players (who were all Celtics from 1950-60s teams) to accomplish that feat. James earned three of his four MVP awards that saw him finish in the top four in voting all but once over the last decade, with placing second twice and third on three occasions.
He had a dominant four-year stretch with the Heat that encapsulated four All-Star Game nods, two MVP awards, two NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, four First-Team All-NBA selections, three All-Defensive First-Team nods. He had a strong tenure with the Cavaliers that saw him earn an MVP award, five All-Star Game nods, five First-Team All-NBA selections, an NBA title, a Finals MVP and an All-Defensive Second Team nods.
Injuries may have hampered James in his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he has proven to still be at the top of his game this year. He is averaging 25.1 along with a career-high and league-best 10.8 assists, and 7.5 rebounds per game while currently leading the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference all in his 17th season. All of that bundled together makes James the top choices for this honor.