Before the Los Angeles Lakers got blown out by the Dallas Mavericks on March 29, LeBron James received a strong message from a rival coach.
Jason Kidd, who won the 2020 championship with LeBron as an assistant coach on the Lakers, thinks the Akron Hammer “will go down as the greatest to do it.”
“I think LeBron will go down as the greatest to do it,” Kidd said. “When you look at his numbers, what he’s done on and off the floor, no one’s done that. You got to put the whole package together. He’s the greatest of all time.”
This is interesting when you consider that Kidd played against Michael Jordan in the ’90s and won a championship versus LeBron in 2011. Jordan won six titles and went undefeated in the Finals with the Chicago Bulls, while LeBron is 4-6 in the Finals and has been swept twice.
However, when it’s all said and done, LeBron’s stats and longevity will be unmatched.
Kidd on LeBron: ‘He’s Going to Hold All the Records’
LeBron is set to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for No. 1 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list next season. He’s the only player in NBA history to rank top-10 all-time in points and assists and recently became the first player with over 10,000 points, rebounds and assists.
Kidd, who was teammates with LeBron in 2008 on Team USA, thinks it’s incredible that King James will hold so many records when his career ends.
“He’s going to hold all the records, which is pretty cool,” Kidd said. “I know growing up as a kid in Akron, he wasn’t thinking about having to score the most points in league history. He was just thinking about winning and he’s done that too. His focus is like no other. He understands what he’s doing at all times and he always prepares himself. We all dream about having that body and mind, but he takes care of himself. He spends money to make sure that his body and mind is right to work and he comes to work every day and he always delivers.”
Jordan won six championships, six Finals MVPs, five regular-season MVPs and 10 scoring titles with the Bulls. He finished his career with averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists and is fifth in NBA history in points, first in points per game and first in player efficiency rating.
Meanwhile, LeBron is a four-time champion, four-time Finals MVP and four-time regular-season MVP. He currently has career averages of 27.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists and is second all-time in points, second in player efficiency rating, fifth in points per game and seventh in assists.
LeBron leads the NBA in scoring this season. He’s averaging 30.1 points. If the King wins the scoring title, he’ll become the oldest player ever to accomplish that feat. However, the Lakers are in 11th place in the Western Conference standings and in serious danger of missing the play-in tournament.
Kidd on Lakers: ‘This Year Hasn’t Gone the Way That They All Want It to Go’
The Lakers had the second-best odds to win the championship this season in the preseason. LeBron, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook were projected to be a lethal Big Three.
However, LeBron and Davis have only played in 21 games together and Westbrook has been a poor fit next to them, leading the NBA in turnovers and shooting only 29.4% from beyond the arc.
Kidd isn’t surprised that LeBron has defeated father time. However, he knows his former teammate is upset with how this season has gone, which is why the Hall of Famer believes LBJ will have a productive summer.
“This year hasn’t gone the way that they all want it to go, injuries being a big part of that,” Kidd said. “My opinion is that he will start preparing once the season is over for the next season to put himself in a position to win a championship and that’s what he’s being judged on.
“But that being said, him at this age, 30-something, if he does win the scoring title, that’s going to be pretty cool to see at his house that he’s won the scoring title and the assist title. If he fails to get to that goal of winning a championship, he goes right back to work the following year to try to achieve that.”