It’s basically impossible to truly compare LeBron James to Michael Jordan. The styles of play were different, the eras they played in were different, they played with different types of teams against completely different opponents. It’s not as simple as comparing MJ’s six rings to LeBron’s three or scoring percentages or scoring titles, but looking at the unique accomplishments of each and the individual circumstances under which they did it is fascinating. Whether or not LeBron is the GOAT, these are, for his legacy, his bet Playoffs to date.
To be fair, the Celtics were not at full strength for this series. It’s fair to say that a Boston squad fully equipped with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to rotate in would have likely made quick work of the Cavaliers. It’s still an amazing team that will provide a super entertaining rivalry with Philadelphia for years to come in the East, but they were undermanned in this one. LeBron, however, had about the worst supporting cast he could’ve asked for in this one.
Brad Stevens’ brilliance can’t go unnoticed here. In a league where superstars are the face of franchises, this is Brad Stevens’ team. He managed to take a young roster of individuals who would each be a solid starter or sixth man on the Hornets and took the LeBron train to Game 7.
It’s simply the fact that LeBron is doing this in his 15th year in the League that make this Playoff run special. Sure, MJ won a title in his year-33 season while leading the league in scoring, but that was after his year away playing minor league baseball. LeBron is doing this basically on his own. He’s showing a dominance at this stage in his career that has only been replicated by one of the two greatest basketball players of all time, who did so playing with a legendary franchise and strong teammates. The GOAT debate will likely never end, but it doesn’t have to to establish this Playoff run as the best of LeBron’s career.