Defining the “greatest” ever is entirely subjective, so fans can cry foul all they like whenever LeBron James is named among the greatest players in NBA history. Plenty of factors make James’ candidacy for and against all-time greatness debatable, but the raw numbers are on his side.
When James tossed in a floater in the second quarter of Miami’s win over Golden State last week, he did more than just become the 38th member of the NBA’s 20,000-point club. He became the youngest to reach that milestone, and by getting 10 assists in that game he also became the youngest player ever to compile 20,000 points, 5,000 assists and 5,000 rebounds.
James reaching those marks at a young age is not a huge surprise. He was only 18 years old when he was drafted first overall in 2003, after all. But he also managed to reach the 20,000/5,000/5,000 milestone in fewer games than any player in history, showing that his versatility is not just a result of entering the league at a younger age than the likes of Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.
As James continues to add to his career totals and marches toward a potential fourth Most Valuable Player award, some are wondering where the Heat forward ranks among the greatest all-around players of all time. There have been better pure scorers, lockdown defenders and tenacious rebounders, but with every skill weighed equally, who ranks as the best?