Cleat Geeks

Is LeBron James Overrated?

I am aware that to many the notion that LeBron is overrated may seem ludicrous. Being 13 seasons into his career, I am starting to examine the body of work LeBron has accumulated. With sky-high expectations from the moment he stepped on the court, I will attempt to argue that over the past few years he has fallen short.

Photo by: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Let us first examine his Finals record. At 2-4,  LeBron falls short of his contemporaries. Recently retired Kobe Bryant was 5-2, Tim Duncan is 5-1, and of course we have the standard barer, Michael Jordan at 6-0. One might argue that not given an all time clutch corner 3 in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals by Jesus Shuttlesworth, aka Ray Allen, LeBron could very well be 1-5. What does that say about LeBron? In a sport where greatness is defined by rings, 2-4 is far from stellar status. And what if he can’t win one for “The Land?” How much does this tarnish his reputation given that his primary objective for returning home was to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy in his home state?

LeBronFor3Now let’s think about his skill set. I would argue that his perimeter game is mediocre at best. He has never been a great 3 point shooter, and his FG% outside the paint has been anemic at times. He has shot over 38% from deep just twice in his 13 year career. I argue that LeBron’s game has always been predicated on an insane combination of speed and bruit force. I’ve always said that LeBron is what would’ve happened if Karl Malone and Magic had a baby. Big, strong, freakish athleticism, he has all the tools. His ball handling is supreme for a 3 man, and his court vision has only been rivaled by the likes of Magic Johnson and Pete Maravich. He is capable of being an elite defender. However, in recent years, particularly in his past 2 seasons in Cleveland, one wouldn’t have to dig too deep in the game footage to find him dogging it on D. Yeah, I said it. The “chosen one” has been downright lazy some nights on the defensive end.

Lastly, we look at LeBron’s off the court antics and leadership. Under the tutelage of Pat Riley, LeBron was a model citizen. Since his return to Cleveland he is running amok like a 16-year-old girl whose parents are out-of-town. Shirtless videos with D-Wade on his off day (during the season!) in Miami. His social media calamity, unfollowing reporters and team official accounts prior to his ridiculous “zero dark 23” nonsense. His running David Blatt out-of-town and replacing him with a coach of his choosing. His passive aggressive amateurish tweets about teammates Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. For having chosen to come home to play with Irving, and orchestrating the trade that brought Love in, the nonsensical tweets thrown at those two guys are the antithesis of motivational. Despite his recent play in the first round of the play-offs, the Love trade could be considered a bad deal. Let’s not forget that this trade was for Andrew frickin Wiggins. HE could have been the future of the Cavs, but I digress. Moving on…LeBron23

So where does LeBron go basketball wise moving forward? He most likely will be 2-5 in the Finals following this season, should the Cavs make it that far. You can hardly make the argument that he is the best player in the league with a straight face. Most people have Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant ahead of him in that argument. Having played 13 years with 6 Finals appearances and 3 Olympics, there are many miles on LeBron’s legs at this point. The time remaining for him to foster a healthier legacy is running thin.

I know many will disagree with my stance, and I get it. It is easy to be enamored with the greatness that is LeBron James. I stick my neck out with my opinions not to be contrarian, but to make you think. Is LeBron your favorite player? Is LeBron an all time great worthy of one day being on the Mount Rushmore of hoops? I would argue that he is not one of the top 5 players of all-time. But that’s my take. You decide.

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