For the last few years, the debate of whether or not LeBron James is the greatest NBA player of all-time has raged on like an inextinguishable inferno. One elite performance after another, the Miami Heat’s go-to man has nipped at the heels of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.
With his Heat headed to the NBA Finals for the second year in a row, James has another opportunity to pad his resume and give his supporters more reason to lobby for him as the game’s GOAT.
This scenario begs the question: what would a 2013 NBA Finals victory do for James’ legacy?
First and foremost, it would prove that James’ first NBA Finals win in 2012 wasn’t a fluke. When the question first arose about whether or not James deserved to be in the same category as Bryant and Jordan, the “not” side of the argument cited his lack of championships. How could he be compared to two of the greatest the game has ever seen if he couldn’t even win a ring with such a strong supporting cast?
By winning another ring in 2013, James would have two in his jewelry box. While it’s not exactly five championships, the notion that King James chokes on the NBA’s biggest stage would finally be put to rest.
Seeing as you apparently can’t enter GOAT talks until you have at least five rings, James would be one title closer to having a legitimate claim for the seat atop the list of NBA all-time elites. Jordan has six, Bryant has five and James would have two with plenty of basketball still in front of him. Another ring isn’t what will elevate James above the rest, but it’s another step closer.
Another NBA Finals win would also give James all the more reason to stay in Miami. An unrestricted free agent after the 2013-2014 season, James will have every opportunity to make The Decision 2.0, but could opt to avoid the drama and re-sign with the Heat if another title (or two) were under his belt. Keeping a dynasty intact is always a great selling point, and the Heat could offer James the best odds of hitting the five-ring mark.
Plus, sticking with the Heat instead of abandoning ship the way he did with the Cleveland Cavaliers would be a great PR move on James’ part. Bryant and Jordan both shaped their legacies with one team, so staying the course with Miami seems like the logical decision.
James proved throughout the 2012-2013 season that he deserves to be a part of the GOAT conversation. While he’s still trailing Bryant and Jordan on that list, pulling off another NBA Finals victory would certainly help the cause.
We’ll see soon enough if James is up to the task…