LeBron James is one of the most polarizing figures in all of sports, and is considered as one of the greatest basketball players in history. Best of all? He’s only 32 years old so he has plenty of time to build on an already incredible legacy.
James’ status as one of the NFL’s elite is already locked in, but as time rolls on the expectations for James only seem to grow. Not only is James incredibly polarizing, but he’s also built a brand that’s second to none in not only the NBA but the entire sports world currently. He’s made headlines on the basketball court that were both positive and negative, has been featured in a ton of major advertisements and was involved in one of the biggest off-court dramas in recent sports memory.
“The Decision” as it was dubbed by James, will go down as a pretty epic fail in the eyes of many, but it shouldn’t and won’t taint his incredible legacy. When James opted to leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 to take his talents to South Beach, many thought LeBron would never be able to regain the love of his old city. But, in 2014-15 he came back home and has since brought a title back to Cleveland.
Now, let’s take a deeper dive into the player who’s also known as “The King.”
1. James Has Scored More Points Than Any Player in the NBA Playoffs in History
As amazing as it may seem to hold this type of a feat at just the age of 32, James has managed to do it. During the 2017 NBA playoffs, James was able to surpass Michael Jordan for the No. 1 spot on the list. Going into the 2017 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors he currently sits with 5,995 points over 212 games.
While he hit that number with 33 more games than Jordan did, he did it in fewer games that every other player in the top six. This is a group that includes the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (237 games), Kobe Bryant (220), Shaquille O’Neal (216) and Tim Duncan (251). His points per game (28.3) are also higher than each player of that group outside of Jordan (33.4).
With multiple seasons left for James to potentially play at a dominant level, there’s no question that he could wind up setting the number for total playoff points in a career at a level that no player could be able to reach for a very long time.
2. LeBron Has an Incredible Net Worth and is Forbes’ Top Athlete on Their Sports Money Index
There’s been a lot of differing reports about James’ net worth, but as you can probably imagine, it’s a big number. Bankrate.com has reported it as being $485 million as of February 2017, explaining that his net worth was built thanks to a combination of being both a player and entrepreneur.
While the number is exceptionally high, it’s not completely surprising. When Forbes released their Sports Money Index, which was complete with the 430 most powerful teams, athletes brands and agencies across all of sports. Not only did James rank as the No. 1 most powerful player, but he’s the No. 5 overall on the entire list.
As they point out, he’s one of only three players in NBA history, with Jordan and Bryant, to make at least $30 million in salary in a single season. He also has high-level endorsement deals with the likes of Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats By Dre and quite a few others.
3. James Was a Pretty Awesome Football Player
LeBron was such a great football player in high school, that current Green Bay Packers’ Hall of Fame member Mark Murphy rated him as one of his top receivers in an interview with ESPN.
“I’ve been around a lot of great receivers,” Murphy said. “I tell people that I rate my top receivers — coaching, playing or watching — as James Lofton, Jerry Rice, Steve Largent and LeBron James.”
Obviously, that’s exceptionally high praise for a player who only played in high school. James was an all-state receiver during his sophomore and junior seasons and even set school records at St. Vincent-St.Mary High School that have yet to be broken. Murphy even said that James could have gone from high school to the NFL and played.
In an interview with LeBron’s high school quarterbacks, they echoed somewhat similar sentiments. Saying that he was “a man amongst boys,” during an interview with Bleacher Report. James certainly could have made some noise in college and possibly in the NFL if he had opted to go that route.
4. LeBron’s the First Player Ever With 27,000 Points, 7,000 Rebounds and 7,000 Assists in Career
While it’s an obvious fact that James is an elite scorer, the fact that he can dish out the rock and rebound the way that he does is equally as impressive. James is so good all-around as a basketball player, that he actually created his own amazing club, as NBA.com pointed out. He’s the first player to total 27,000 points, 7,000 assists and 7,000 rebounds.
As if that wasn’t quite enough, he also is the first front-court player in NBA history to dish out 7,000 career assists. To put it simply, he’s an unreal talent who’s able to do things that virtually no other NBA player can.
5. LeBron’s Son, LeBron Jr., Is Already an Awesome Basketball Player
Is this really all that surprising? James apparently passed his basketball skills down to his son, who’s taken to the hardwood and already looks like a natural. He’s only 12 years old, but he’s picking up a whole lot of hype already. The question is, will LeBron James Jr. be better than his old man? His father apparently thinks so.
The craziest part of all is that this isn’t something new. LeBron’s son has been making headlines for his basketball skills dating back to 2016 and even 2015 when he was only 10 years old. Last year, this video wound up going viral of James’ son draining half court shots with Stephen Curry-like ease.
Expect to see the recruiting trail for James Jr. to be a pretty hot one and for plenty of the top programs to offer up scholarships as soon as they’re allowed to.