LeBron James has always been one of the most scrutinized athletes in the world with everything he does coming under a microscope.
That was multiplied when James joined the Los Angeles Lakers last summer as the NBA’s premier franchise combining with its most popular player was bound to garner more attention than anyone could imagine.
That has been even more pronounced this summer as some wonder whether James can continue his unreal level of play in Year 17. Additionally, he came under some more criticism when he re-posted a picture of himself with other Lakers greats Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal.
With just one season in a Lakers jersey and failing to make the 2019 NBA playoffs, many believe it is ridiculous to place him amongst Lakers royalty, but one of those legends came to his defense.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently spoke with Arash Markazi of Los Angeles Times, saying that he believes James now has the help needed to bring success to the Lakers:
“He’s already shown he’s still the complete player that the Lakers wanted so I don’t think he needs to worry about that,” Abdul-Jabbar said Monday during a phone interview while attending the grand opening of NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. “They just needed to put the right pieces in place around him. You can’t win a world championship with just one elite player. You need some help and I think he has that now.”
Abdul-Jabbar went further, saying that he believes James will do what is necessary to garner his inclusion while also adding that the future Hall of Famer has nothing to prove to anyone:
“If he plays well and the team is contending and in the playoffs and advancing late in the playoffs, that should be enough,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “He doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone, but Lakers fans are still hungry and that’s a good sign. They want to win and they want to support the team.”
Talking about things such as all-time team starting lineups can bring about interesting debates as it becomes a matter of the talent of the player himself versus what he’s done with that team. No one will deny James is one of the greatest players ever, but little of that has come in the purple and gold.
One thing that will end all discussions is bringing another championship to the Lakers. If James can help raise banner No. 17 in Staples Center, there will be no doubts about his place among any of the greats.