Basketball is one of the most popular and storied sports in the world. For decades, the world's best basketball players have achieved international fame and glory through their performances on the court, in some cases becoming true global icons. As successive eras of basketball superstars have passed, the debate over which player is the greatest of all time has evolved with ever-increasing complexity and passion. Taking into account championships, records, accolades, statistics, and impact on the game, which player stands above all the rest? Who is the greatest NBA player of all time?
LeBron James is the best basketball player of all timeShow moreShow less
James already has some of the greatest achievements in basketball history, and he is still building his legacy.
LeBron James has spent much of his life and all of his career being compared against a much higher level of expectations than any other player ever has. From an exceptionally early stage in his life, James received national press attention in the U.S. related to his play and future prospects at the professional level. He was the first high school basketball player to be features on the cover of Sports Illustrated before his senior year, and he was drafted out of high school as the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. Many young prospects who have received intense hype in the early stages of their basketball careers have failed to live up to their potential, either by not developing athletically or by succumbing to the pressures and temptations involved with transitioning through the different levels of amateur and professional play. Most great players have only become great by undergoing a period of lesser performance while they developed their skills. These rules have either not applied, or been strongly accelerated, in the career of LeBron James.
James stands above all others as a player who showed unparalleled promise and immediately and fully delivered on that promise. Despite coming to the NBA straight out of high school, with no collegiate experience, James won Rookie of the Year in his first year in the NBA. By his second year, he was already named an NBA All-Star, and has subsequently been named an All-Star every single year up to 2020. James has won multiple NBA Most Valuable Player awards, NBA championships, and Olympic gold medals. In short, he has achieved almost every major individual and team honor that is available to a basketball player, and he has done so with a intense media spotlight pointed at him the entire time. National media predicted early on that James would be the greatest player of all time, and those predictions have proven correct.
[P1] The standards for LeBron have been extremely high throughout his career.
[P2] Despite this, he has consistently met these standards.
[P3] This demonstrates he is the greatest basketball player of all time.