Through 17 seasons in the NBA, LeBron James did the impossible and never lost a first-round playoff matchup. That impressive feat came to an end in Year 18 as the Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t overcome the Phoenix Suns. Many of LeBron’s detractors took the opportunity to take shots at the future Hall of Famer.
However, not everybody was ready to kick him while he was down. Last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Edwards called out LeBron’s haters and told them to just appreciate his greatness.
“I’ve never seen so many people be so happy to see an athlete fail more than LeBron,” Edwards wrote on Instagram. “His whole career he’s been hated on constantly and slandered to no end to the point where when he retires nobody would have appreciated his greatness. I will be glad I will be one who did.”
There are plenty who do appreciate what LeBron has done as an athlete but he does have many haters ready to disregard many of his best accomplishments. That doesn’t seem to be a sentiment shared by most young players.
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R.J. Hampton Also Defends LeBron
When you’re in the spotlight as long as LeBron has been, there will be reasons for people to hate you. Orlando Magic rookie R.J. Hampton simply doesn’t understand why so many are quick to hate him.
There’s no arguing that LeBron has put together one of the most impressive careers in the history of the NBA. When he retires, he’ll likely be the all-time leader in many categories, including scoring. While he’s taking a beating from many in the media right now, history will remember him very fondly when he chooses to hang it up.
LeBron Ready for Major Comeback
With the Lakers getting bounced early in the playoffs, there’s a lot of doubt surrounding the team and how it’s currently constructed. There have already been calls to blow the whole team up and start over. That’s grossly premature, to say the least.
It’s easy to forget but the Lakers started off the season 21-6 before they got hit with a litany of injuries. They also had a 2-1 lead versus the Suns before Anthony Davis hurt his groin. Had he not gotten hurt, Los Angeles is likely playing the Denver Nuggets right now.
No, the roster wasn’t perfect. Many of the team’s offseason additions disappointed, including Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol. However, as long as the Lakers have LeBron and Davis at the top, they are going to contend for championships. This season was eye-opening for the team and it’s clear they have work to do. Davis needs to get his body right and put himself in a position where he won’t deal with so many injuries again.
The Lakers also need to understand that they can’t rely on LeBron so much. Vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka needs to find the team a legit third option. The player doesn’t necessarily need to be a star but there needs to be a player who can pickup some slack when LeBron and/or Davis aren’t right.