Over the years, and especially in the past year alone, Lakers star LeBron James has heard plenty about where he stands in the Greatest of All Time (better known as GOAT) rankings. The consensus is that James is either on the heels or just ahead of Bulls legend Michael Jordan, but there is not a lot of gray area between the two.
You’re either Team Mike or you’re Team LeBron.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
According to ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins—a Team LeBronner—the creation of the Nets’ “superteam” in Brooklyn, with James Harden joining Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, gives James the opportunity to cement his legacy vis-à-vis Jordan.
As Perkins wrote on Twitter, “If this Nets team can make it out the East and Bron takes care of them, he’s the undisputed GOAT. Beating 2 super teams today is greater than 6-0 in the 90s.”
LeBron James Has Won 4 NBA Finals — And Lost 6
Jordan, of course, won all six of the NBA Finals in which he played in the 1990s. His Bulls topped the Lakers, Suns and Blazers in three straight years, then the Sonics and Jazz twice in a second three-year stretch.
James, meanwhile, has appeared in 10 NBA Finals and won four of them. Those six losses are very often used as a black mark on his legacy by the anti-LeBron crowd, though it is a feat in itself to reach the championship round that many times in a career.
But Perkins, who was twice a teammate of James in Cleveland, says that this era of superteams makes it harder to win in the Finals, though it could be pointed out that James has managed to cobble together his own superteams in Miami and Cleveland before coming to L.A.
There’s also a question about whether the Warriors team that James’ Cavaliers did beat, in 2016 before Durant went to Golden State, qualifies as a “superteam.” When Perkins said James would have beaten “2 super teams today,” he meant a potential matchup with the Nets and that 2016 Warriors team, which had won 73 games.
Perkins was not hearing that. Speaking on ESPN’s First Take, he said:
If you’re about to downgrade that 73-9 team when Bron came back from 3-1 down, then you’re tripping right now. And if you’re about to sit up here and tell me that with a Kyrie Irving, who is one of the most ill players to ever touch a damn basketball, and Kevin Durant, arguably the best scorer to ever touch a damn basketball, and James Harden, arguably the most prolific scorer to touch a damn basketball, all on one team, you’re telling me that is not a superteam … you out your damn mind!
Nets Still a Long Way From Lakers NBA Finals Matchup
So, in the end, maybe the only thing James needs to do to secure his legacy as the greatest in league history is knock off the Nets. That, though, requires that the Nets pull together their chemistry quickly and add some roster depth to a team that has been gutted by the Harden trade and by injuries.
They also need Irving, who went AWOL last week and had only limited contact with the Nets front office as he did so, to return to work and be engaged when he does. That leaves a lot to potentially go wrong before a showdown with the Lakers.
But if they make it and the Lakers win, look out.
“If they happen to meet up with the Lakers in the Finals and the Lakers beat them, I don’t want to hear nothing. I don’t want to hear that GOAT talk no more,” Perkins said.