Top 50 NBA Players: #1 LeBron James

LeBron James
Resume: 26.8 points (4th in league), 8.0 rebounds (career best), 7.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 37.9 minutes (8th in league), 403 free throws made (6th in league), 535 free throws attempted (6th in league), 57% FG (5th in league, career best), 41% 3PT (career best), and 75% FT… Team record in games played: 61-15 (5-1 without)… Playoffs: 25.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.8 steals, 41.7 minutes, 49% FG, 38% 3PT, 78% FT (career best), 16-7 record… All-Star, 1st Team All-Defense, 1st Team All-NBA, Regular Season MVP, Finals MVP

I’m hoping I don’t really need to justify why LeBron James is number one on the countdown. Much like Kobe Bryant is chasing after a sixth ring and Kareem’s scoring record, LeBron is competing with the legends ahead of him on anyone’s Greatest of All-Time list, as well as the players currently in the league. To get to the top he’ll need more rings and more MVP’s, but I’m not here to talk about that (mainly because it’s a messy argument that will likely lead to me typing away angrily even though I wouldn’t really be fighting with anyone). I’m just here to recap what was the best season I’ve ever seen from an NBA player; a complete tour de force that served as a showcase why there cannot be a rational dispute that LeBron James is indeed the best basketball player alive.

Mar 18, 2013; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) reacts after scoring the go ahead basket against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter at TD Banknorth Garden. The Miami Heat won 105-103. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll admit it; I have a biased perspective on this subject. I’ve been a LeBron James fan since he was a junior in high school, so when LeBron and the Heat captured a second straight NBA Title It was pure euphoria and such a sense of relief. I felt a I little bit like Andy Dufresne standing in the rain after he escaped from Shawshank Prison when Miami won Game 7 against of the Finals—Oh by the way, this brings the movie reference list to a close; in the end I included Ocean’s Eleven, Dark Knight, James Bond series, Beverly Hills Cop, The Spectacular Now, The Great Gatsby, Major League, Slumdog Millionaire, Forrest Gump, 8 Mile, Taking of Pelham 123, Rocky III, The Godfather, (500) Days of Summer, Rocky IV, The Hangover, Taken, Saw, and finally The Shawshank Redemption.

LeBron ripped through the NBA in the 2012-13 season like he was the Black Smoke Monster from Lost. You see the statistical resume above. Impressive, right? Well there is more to that resume.

Averaged 27-8-7 on 57% shooting (I know you could see all of this up there, but are you kidding me? That’s just absurd)… The catalyst of a 27 game win streak where at least six or seven times he single-handedly kept that streak alive (In the streak- 27 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 58% shooting)… Creator of “The LeBron James Victory Stomp”, the best big play celebration/tradition since the inception of “The Kobe Face”… Led the league in points in the paint and field goal percentage in the paint… In comparison to Carmelo Anthony’s 44 sub-50% shooting games, LeBron James had only twelve… Submitted six straight 30 point/60% shooting games… Came within one deserved vote of becoming the first unanimous Most Valuable Player of the Year.

And that’s just the regular season resume. But you probably know the story with what happened in the playoffs. 8-1 in the first two rounds… the game winning layup with no time remaining in Game 1 against Indiana… posted three playoff triple doubles in the postseason… Turned Game 6 of the NBA Finals into “The Headband Game”… 37 points (tied for the most in a Finals Game 7), 12 rebounds, and one title clinching jumper in the deciding game of the year… Averaged 34 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists in three win or go home games in the postseason… Forced his way into any and all G.O.A.T. conversation… Made the top of this Top 50 list very easy for me.

Just like LeBron took a month off from basketball activities this summer after winning his second straight Finals MVP, I’m taking a month off from writing after my second straight year cranking out a multiple thousand word Top 50 countdown. When you spend five straight months researching/writing every single day you start to lose your sanity and need some time to recharge your battery. Plus I need to make sure I don’t flunk out of college. To say that I’ve fallen behind with my schoolwork would be the understatement of the year. But as LeBron James triumphantly said, I ain’t got no worries.