LeBron James is 27 years old and has played nine NBA seasons. If he were to play another nine and not win another title, is it realistic to believe that in the year 2021 we'll discuss 36-year old LeBron James' 18-year career that produced one title as on par with Michael's or Magic's? No, it isn't. And that's why one ring isn't enough.
LeBron James was already a hall of famer and now he's a champion. His physical abilities which have tantalized us for years and may be second only to Wilt's in the history of the game are now title-encased. The threat that he would one day be discussed in the same breath with non-championship greatness like Baylor, Barkley, Ewing, Malone, and Stockton no longer exists. Courtesy of an incredible playoff run capped by an MVP Finals, his championship greatness will forever now be compared with other championship greatness. So lets start.
The NBA championship measuring stick is a different animal. One title is enough in the NFL and sometimes one isn't even necessary. Elway got his. Peyton did too. Marino didn't but many still put him on the Mt. Rushmore of quarterbacks anyway. In baseball, winning it all is icing, not the cake. Maybe hockey is a comparable but in the NBA for sure, one isn't nearly enough.
Magic got 5. Bird got 3. Michael got 6. Kobe has 5 and could still add another. Those four names make up the short list of the greatest non-centers of the last 35 years. Anyone else you want to bring up can't measure up when it comes to ring count. Dr. J got 1. Isiah just two. Neither is in the same discussion with Magic, Michael, Bird, and now Kobe. Three seems to be the minimum required to be in the greatest-ever conversation. Or at least the greatest-ever since Magic and Bird brought the league back to life in 1980. I know Oscar and West are often in the conversation but for most of us, that discussion is too grainy. So LeBron needs more. Perhaps at least two more. The three-minimum isn't a rule, it's just strongly recommended.
Return to: Kevin Sheehan Blog