LeBron James is tired of being humble. Ever since he was in high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary he’s been one of, if not the most, scrutinized athletes of all-time. His high school games were shown on ESPN and he was given the nickname “King James” before he ever stepped foot on an NBA court. Throughout his career he’s deflected comparison’s to the all-time greats and has gone out of his way to pay respect to his peers.
Recent comments that he’s made have shown us that with two championships under his belt LeBron is starting to look at his place in NBA history. In an interview with NBA TV analyst Steve Smith, James was asked what four players he would put on his NBA Mount Rushmore. The four players he chose were Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Oscar Robertson. All of these players are obviously among the NBA’s greatest players but I found what he said next to be most interesting.
I’m going to be one of the top four to ever play this game, for sure. And if they don’t want me to have one of those top four spots, they better find another spot. We’ve got to bump somebody. Somebody got to get bumped. That’s not for me to decide. That’s for the architects, to chisel somebody’s face out and put mine up there.
For really the first time in his career, James acknowledged that he’s thinking about his legacy. Not only is he thinking about it, but he’s also using it to motivate himself. Later in the interview James went on to say, “I want to be the greatest of all time.” LeBron is the youngest player to hit the 20,000 point mark and he’ll soon be in the top-25 on the all-time scoring list. He’s a two-time NBA Champion and a two-time Finals MVP. He’s collected four MVP trophies and he’s been selected to the NBA All-Star team 10 times. The scary part about all of these numbers is that he’s only 29 and some would say he’s just now entering the prime of his career.
LeBron has also been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team five times in his career. Although many would consider him the best defender in the league, James has never won the Defensive Player of the Year award and he’s not happy about it. In an interview with ESPN’s Brian Windhorst discussing his defensive prowess and versatility, James said “That’s why I should be Defensive Player of the Year. No one has ever done this before.” James has the ability to guard every position on the court and he’d like some credit for it.
James’ chippy attitude as of late is surprising to most because he’s never talked like this before. I think that it’s due to the fact that for the first time in his career there is a player that is a direct threat to his number one ranking, Kevin Durant. Durant is having a monster season and at the All-Star break most have him number one on their MVP ballots. It’s almost as if James doesn’t want fans and award voters to overlook him. When asked when the pressure to win a title is going to shift to Kevin Durant to win a championship, James responded “When I retire.They’re still talking about, am I going to win a third?” James is not ready to climb down from his throne anytime soon. LeBron James is still the best player in the league and he wants you to know it.