LeBron James ranks second in The Athletic’s best players in NBA history list


In honor of the NBA’s 75th season, the league has promoted the best players to ever touch the court all throughout the season, whether they’re active or retired.

Publications have done the same. Twelve members of the Los Angeles Lakers made USA TODAY’s list, including LeBron James, who is undoubtedly one of the best to play this sport.

The Athletic also just concluded its season-long ranking with in-depth features for every player. LeBron came in at No. 2 on The Athletic’s list, trailing only Michael Jordan.

LeBron is, according to The Athletics voting panel of NBA experts, the second-greatest player ever. Which makes him, arguably, the greatest ever. All time. Through 75 history-rich seasons. From Akron, Ohio, to the top of the world.

For years, as James stockpiled NBA Most Valuable Player trophies in Cleveland and Miami, and championships in Miami, Cleveland and Los Angeles, we’ve watched him score like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, pass like Magic and captivate like Jordan. We’ve known how good LeBron is.

We’ve known since before the Cavs drafted him No. 1 in 2003 that he was special. While he continues to make memories on the Lakers, every other member of The Athletic’s all-time list inside the top 12 is retired.

For years, the debate has been Michael or LeBron? LeBron loses that one more than he wins, but he still has the chance to change more minds. Either way, he has been so great, for so long, LeBron has elevated himself to the most rarefied air in NBA history, and we know he’s been there for quite some time.

At 37 years old and in his 19th season in the league, James is still achieving incredible numbers. He’s averaging 29.1 points per game, the highest mark since 2009-10, 7.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks while shooting 52.2% overall and 35.3% from deep.

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James is the reason the Lakers’ 27-31 record isn’t worse than that, and if he can maintain this level of play, he could soon surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s top spot in the all-time regular-season scoring list. James recently became the top scorer in NBA history counting the postseason, which is also a phenomenal accolade to add to his GOAT resume.

List

12 Lakers make USA TODAY’s Top 75 players in NBA history list

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