He has said this before. Seemingly every year.
When he said it as he entered the NBA and in first few years in the league it came off as the hubris of an immature player and person. Because it was.
LeBron James is not an immature player anymore. The shiny championship ring he picks up next Tuesday from David Stern is evidence of that. His newfound maturity lets him tap into his game unlike never before. But it doesn’t change his goals he told Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.
“I want to be the best of all-time,” James said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s that simple.”
And the ring may bring him a step closer to that lofty — and possibly unattainable — goal. But he says it doesn’t change anything.
“Not really, honestly,” James said. “I haven’t had much time to really just think about what actually happened. At the end of the day, there’s still going to be people that say, well, he’s not going to be able to win two. He’s not going to be able to do it again.”
The comments on this post will fill up with plenty of “he can’t do it, he can never be Jordan.” I’ll let go for a minute the debate of whether Jordan is really the greatest player of all time (he clearly is in the conversation, but your splitting hairs with Magic Johnson and Bill Russell and others), my point about LeBron remains unchanged from a couple years ago even after “The Decision:”
We can’t define his legacy at this time.
Until he decides to walk away from the game in five years, 10 years or whenever he decides it is time, we cannot say what his place in history will be.
We will look back at LeBron as maybe the most physically gifted player ever to lace up the sneakers — 6’8”, 250 pounds, and with the speed and court vision of a guard. But what he did with those gifts and how much he got out of them, we can’t set in stone for a 27 year old.
His goals remain the same. As they have since Sports Illustrated deemed him “The Chosen One.” But how close a more mature James can get to that goal remains to be seen.