LeBron James is about to enter Year 19 in the NBA, but he still clearly sees himself as the best player in the league.
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps polled ten NBA scouts and executives this week on a number of different topics. One such topic was “Who is the best player in the NBA heading into the 2021-22 season?” Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant and Milwaukee Bucks reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo tied for first place with five votes each. James, meanwhile, failed to receive even a single vote.
The Los Angeles Lakers star tweeted out an apparent response shortly after, thanking the panel for providing him with more fuel heading into the year.
James, who will be 37 later this year, turned in a 2020-21 season not far off from his peak production. He averaged 25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game despite missing significant time with a high ankle sprain.
The four-time MVP has been widely seen as the best player in the NBA for over a decade now but obviously cannot remain so forever. James apparently does not think he has fallen off his perch yet though and will look forward to a season where many are writing off both him and his teammates.
This year’s No. 1 overall pick is showing love to another former No. 1 overall pick in the greatest of all-time conversation.
Appearing this week on “Da Windy City with Marc Carman,” Detroit Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham said that he believes LeBron James is the “GOAT” over Michael Jordan. Cunningham explained that James is the best player that he has ever personally seen play.
“It’s hard for me to put somebody ahead of LeBron cause LeBron is the best player I’ve seen with my eyes,” said Cunningham. “Trust me I’ve seen all the Michael Jordan stuff, dude is different. I can’t argue with the fact that you think he is the ‘GOAT.’ But in my eyes I say LeBron.”
Keep in mind that Cunningham is still a teenager, having been born in late 2001. That means that Jordan was long retired before he was old enough to follow basketball, leaving Cunningham to rely on YouTube highlights and films like “The Last Dance.”
In any case, James and Jordan are widely seen as neck-and-neck in the “GOAT” conversation with James improving his standing by winning his fourth career championship last year. Still, many of those who are old enough to have faced both players seem to have a different opinion.
H/T Lakers Daily
Sports video game ratings are always a source of controversy. That’s true even for the players represented in them, sometimes especially so.
LeBron James is no different. However, his issue isn’t with his own rating. Perhaps surprisingly, he thinks two of his fellow stars are underrated in the upcoming “NBA 2K22.” Specifically, both Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant come in at 96 overall, which James thinks is too low for both.
It’s definitely a mark of respect from James to say the video game underrates two of his fellow stars and sometimes rivals. That said, plenty of people will agree with him. That’s especially true in the case of Durant when you consider his exploits in the playoffs.
The developers of 2K are going to be used to the criticism, both of the game and its ratings. Even their own past cover stars haven’t always loved the product. Don’t expect James’ complaints to influence how they choose to rate players, rightly or wrongly.
A young fan went nuts after LeBron James hooked him up with a selfie on Saturday night.
James and new teammate Russell Westbrook were watching their Los Angeles Lakers take on the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Summer League at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The two decided to make an exit, but not before James hooked up a fan on his way out.
A young fan reached over to try and take a selfie with LeBron. James gave a pose for the camera, and the kid went nuts celebrating! The photo turned out pretty good too.
Just a little gesture like that can go a long way.
What a cool clip, what a great photo, and what a fun reaction.
LeBron James is officially in the lab with his new teammate, and he definitely likes what he sees.
The Los Angeles Lakers star posted a series of pictures to Instagram on Saturday of a workout that he had with former MVP and newest Laker Russell Westbrook. In his caption, James responded to the Westbrook skeptics, particularly those questioning Westbrook’s fit with the team.
“Work with the Brodie!” James wrote. “I agree I don’t think this will work @russwest44. You different by the way.”
James also included a “cap” emoji after the part where he said that he didn’t think that it would work with Westbrook.
Westbrook arrived on the Lakers this summer in a trade with the Washington Wizards. He was previously teammates with James on the United States Olympic team that won gold at the 2012 London Games.
Many do not think that Westbrook will be a good fit with James and the Lakers due to his inefficiency, lack of off-ball activity, and overall chaotic style of play. But Westbrook seems very happy to be in Los Angeles, and James seems very happy to have him as well.
These days, former NBA coach George Karl is best known for taking shots at some of his former players on Twitter. However, when he can stop doing that long enough to talk basketball, there’s still a very interesting set of opinions in there.
Karl made headlines for going after Carmelo Anthony on Twitter this week, but opened up more about his former player in an appearance on CBS Sports Radio’s “Tiki and Tierney.” Specifically, Karl reacted to Anthony teaming up with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers, suggesting that Anthony had always tried to strive to reach James’ level.
“The truth of the matter is I think Melo wanted to be on the same level as LeBron, and liked competing against LeBron,” Karl said. “I know when we played LeBron when I coached Melo, Melo got fired up, he got into the game. When I was in Denver, we had a winning record against LeBron. I think it was more of Melo understanding he was not on the same level of LeBron and his light was fading while LeBron’s was still shining.”
Admittedly, even here Karl sounds like he’s trashing Anthony, and he’s definitely not worried about being diplomatic. Still, it’s an interesting look at the dynamic between two players who are close friends but have been frequent competitors. Few would have ever put Anthony at James’ level, but Anthony’s desire to prove himself against James could bring out the best in him. It may have also prevented any real notion of them playing together when Anthony was in his prime.
Anthony had his own take on why teaming up with James now was the right call for him. A motivated Anthony would be great for the Lakers, no matter what Karl has to say about his former player.
Metta World Peace won an NBA championship with Kobe Bryant in 2010, but he almost had a chance to win one with another all-time great instead.
World Peace, now legally known as Metta Sandiford-Artest, appeared this week on “Club Shay Shay” with Shannon Sharpe. In the episode, he told a great story about how LeBron James tried to recruit him to Cleveland.
“LeBron James hit me up one time when he was with the Cavs,” said World Peace. “I remember I was excited because LeBron hit me up. I’m a big fan. Even though he’s younger, I was a big fan. But before that, I didn’t want to play with Kobe, I didn’t want to play with LeBron., I didn’t want to play with T-Mac [Tracy McGrady]. I wanted to play against these guys.
“So when LeBron hit me up to come play for the team, I was like, ‘Um, I can’t come play,'” he went on. “You know, because many reasons. But I said, ‘I can’t come.’ Then I was trying to go to Detroit or Indiana. That’s where I wanted to go. That’s just in me. But when no teams wanted me, after that, I didn’t call back LeBron. So then the [Los Angeles] Lakers called, I said, ‘I gotta just go because I don’t know if I’m going to get a contract.’ But, it’s not in me to play with anyone.”
World Peace ended up being a major difference-maker for the Lakers as a 3-and-D role player upon signing with them in 2009. His clutch three-pointer late in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics may have directly swung the title that season as well.
Without World Peace, James’ Cavs still ended up winning 61 games that year. But they fell in the second round to the Celtics, as they had to rely on players like Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon to defend the wing instead.
World Peace once poked fun at how little help James had in Cleveland. It turns out that he himself could have helped solve the problem for The King.
LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas were not exactly the closest of teammates during their time together on the Cleveland Cavaliers. It finally appears though that they are smoking the peace pipe.
James tweeted a message of support for Thomas this week after Thomas scored 81 points at a Pro-Am game in Seattle.
Thomas then responded by tweeting his gratitude back at James, referring to him as “KING.”
“You already know KING!!!” he wrote. “All love killa. This s— don’t stop.”
The exchange is notable as the two had clashed as teammates in Cleveland. Thomas reportedly felt that James talked down to him, and the former All-Star guard was traded after making just 15 appearances in a Cavs uniform. Recent months also saw Thomas take another apparent shot at James.
The timing of this peace offering is probably no coincidence though. Reports suggest that James’ Los Angeles Lakers are considering signing Thomas.
The long-rumored scenario of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James becoming teammates has finally come to pass with the Los Angeles Lakers. Given how close the two are, one wouldn’t expect Anthony to need much convincing to take the opportunity, but James made sure to seal the deal.
Anthony spoke to the media Monday after his signing was made official, making clear that his priority now is to claim an elusive first NBA title. He admitted that he and James had talked “for years” about playing together, but the timing had never been right.
However, when it came time to make his free agency decision this time around, James made sure to send Anthony a simple message.
Anthony actually provides a lot of what the Lakers need, which is a boost to their outside shooting. He can still knock it down from deep, as evidenced by his 40.9 percent three-point shooting rate with Portland last season.
Yes, the Lakers are old, but James is using that critique as motivation. Anthony, after all, seems confident he has more to offer.
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The Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a contract extension with coach Frank Vogel Friday, and the deal appears to have the support of the team’s most important player.
LeBron James retweeted the post about Vogel’s contract extension on Twitter, adding his congratulations on the new deal.
James hasn’t always coexisted peacefully with his coaches. He and Vogel, however, have clearly struck up a very fruitful working relationship. Even beyond winning an NBA title together, Vogel has made clear that he feels James has been a big supporter of his. This tweet seems to be an indication that Vogel’s intuition is correct.
Vogel has a 94-49 regular season record in two seasons as coach of the Lakers. He would have been a lame duck coach next season without the new contract.