Riley: LeBron The Best Of … Them All?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Sometimes you have to let the words marinate for a bit, take your glasses off, rub your eyes and breathe in the gravity of a statement before you react to it.

I watched LeBron James smile his way through another (well deserved) Kia Most Valuable Player Award ceremony Sunday, his fourth in five seasons. I watched every second and listened intently to every word spoken. James won the award months ago, when he pushed the Heat into overdrive and set them on a course for a record season that included that wicked 27-game win streak and more highlights than basketball law allows.

James earned the right to do and say whatever he wanted. But it wasn’t his words that stopped me in my tracks. It was Heat president Pat Riley who forced me to pause when he uttered these words:

“Over these 46 years, I’ve had an opportunity to see some great players — and all the ones I’ve observed, watched and have seen, they’ve always gotten better. In my humble opinion, I believe the man right here is the best of them all.”

The best of them all?

Wow!

Let that sink in for a minute. Roll that statement around in your head and consider what Riley has seen, who he has coached and who he has coached against, and then say it out loud again.

“The best of them all.”

That’s a mouthful coming from a man who has seen and done what Riley has throughout his nearly half century in the game. He’s been immersed in the league longer than I’ve been alive, so I’m not here to refute his humble opinion or even to debate whether or not we should wrap our heads around the fact that LeBron has evolved — in a decade, mind you — into a player worthy of such high praise.

I’m here strictly to examine Riley’s words, to see if there is any way to scan the past four-plus decades of the league and rank LeBron ahead of the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and so many others.

This is a man who played on the Lakers’ 1972 championship team alongside Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Gail Goodrich. So his humble opinion comes from a very particular place (player, coach and executive who has won championships), one where few men in the history of the game can draw from.

And yet I still needed time to digest his high praise of LeBron.

Riley was an assistant with the Lakers when a 20-year-old Johnson scored 42 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out seven assists in Game 6 of The Finals his rookie year to secure a championship while playing in place of an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He was the Lakers’ coach for the four other titles they won during Magic’s tenure as the leader and maestro of the Showtime Lakers.

He watched Magic revolutionize the game, from the inside.

And Sunday he called LeBron the “best of them all.”

Riley’s Lakers teams battled Larry Bird and the Celtics and, later, he took on Jordan. When Riley coached the New York Knicks, his teams battled Jordan’s Bulls when Jordan was at his zenith. Anyone involved with the league during Jordan’s glory years, teammates and foes alike, tends to show him the proper respect and admit that he’s the greatest thing they’ve ever seen.

Riley retired Jordan’s No. 23 in Miami for Naismith’s sake. And Sunday, he called LeBron the “best of them all.”

Riley came down from the front office to coach the Shaq and Dwyane Wade-led Heat to a title in 2006. And on Sunday, after three full seasons with LeBron, he called the current king of the league the “best of them all.”

The same declaration from almost any other man would mean little to most. Everyone has opinions about who the true G.O.A.T is and most of them are framed by a generational bias that is hard to shake. But when a man with a breadth of experience that travels through time, or at least the past 46 years, points a finger at someone, it wakes you up.

Now, there will be cynics who insist that Riley is simply doing his duty as the Heat’s boss and making sure to dollop the proper praise on his star. After all, Riley is going to need LeBron’s signature on an extension soon to keep the Heat’s current run going.

But Riley doesn’t waste his words. And he certainly doesn’t seem like the type who will pander to a superstar’s ego in that way or on that stage, not just for soundbite’s sake.

Riley has competed with or against and coached or coached against many of the players who make onto the short list we all use when discussing the “best of them all.” For 46 years, he’s been in the middle of the mix in one way or another, well before anyone even knew what analytics were and the advanced-stats craze reshaped the game.

So when he speaks on a topic like this, one that crosses all of the generational lines most people avoid during these discussions, it’s hard not to take his words to heart.

And even if LeBron still trails Jordan, Magic, Kobe, Shaq and many others in the championship rings race, is it so far-fetched to believe that he really does rank at the very top as a truly unique and once-in-a-lifetime basketball talent?

Riley says no.

What say you?

105 Comments

  1. Bill Russel-The G.O.A.T.-11 rings-rings 10 & 11 as a player/coach!!! Russel would dominate in any bball era!!!

  2. CP3 says:

    Honestly, I was a HUGE Jordan fan growing up! Ive always considered him the G.O.A.T. However looking back at Jordan’s era and now Lebron’s era, I think its almost a tie between the two. Yea Jordan’s era played tough D and was more physical, but besides Jordan who else was a SUPERstar?? You had MAYBE 6 guys in the league that could give you 40 on any given night. Today you got @ least ONE on every team! Jordan didnt have anyone in his prome to rival his skills. Lebron has Durant, Melo and Kobe. Not to mention other great players at different positions such as Westbrook, Rose, Paul, and Parker. I mean think about it. which era had the better pgs overall?? The best shooting guards? The best small forwards? The best power forwards?? Besides center every position is better and more athletic. Do anyone really think they can compose a team during JORDANS era only that would be better than a team composed of KG, Duncan, Howard, Lebron, Durant, Melo, Kobe, Wade, Paul, Westbrook, Rose, Love, and Noah?? I couldnt even include guys like Rondo, Ray Allen, Steph Curry, Randolph, the Gasols, and Paul Pierce. If Jordan was in this era, yea he’d be dominate, but i seriously doubt he would have the success he had then. For Lebron to dominate a league that is as talented as it is today is truly special. I mean I agree Its still too early to say Lebron is better, but if I was building a franchise from the ground up I would pick THIS Lebron, not the one from 2 years ago, lol, over MJ.

    • Keith Miller says:

      Why wouldn’t MJ have success in this era the defense is weaker no seven footers in the lane anymore nobody plans defense MJ would score 40 every night these guys in today era wouldn’t score like this in the 90s you could hand check people back then you can’t touch a guy now the NBA talent level is weak look at the NBA draft guys back then are not skinny like Durant at 6’11 They are like Karl Malone size 6’10 260

  3. SYDALE says:

    I didn’t even mention: the 10 SCORING TITLES… 6 FINALS MVP’s… and the fact that Jordan has a higher career shooting percentage than both Kobe and LeBron…

    Or the things that neither Kobe or LeBron has achieved: Defensive Player of the year… 3x STEALS CHAMP…

  4. SYDALE says:

    LeBron is not even close to being the greatest of all-time… LBJ fans are starting to get just as bad as Kobe fans…

    To be the Greatest Of All Time… your resume of accolades should be spectacular across the board…

    LeBron has only excelled in winning season MVP’s… Kobe has excelled in getting rings…

    JORDAN has the same number MVP’s and Rings as BOTH LeBron and Kobe COMBINED!

  5. Piessa says:

    LBJ is currently my fav player, but he is not as good as MJ was. Yes he is stronger & perhaps faster (not a given) but LeBron cannot jump as high as Michael could & he certainly cannot shoot the ball as well, whether off the dribble, spot up, after contact… People seem to forget that Jordan won DPY in 1987-88 & was a better overall defender. He averaged over 6rpg over his career as a 2 guard. In 1988-89, MJ was asked to play the point for a few months (& dominate the ball the way LBJ does), during that time he averaged 12apg (he averaged 8rpg that year BTW… & 32.5ppg).
    No doubt James is one one the best who ever laced ‘em up, but it is obviously in Ryley’s club’s best interest to say such a thing & even if it weren’t, memories get a bit blurry after a while.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html

  6. jde says:

    lets see if lebron, in his 17th year. can average over 25ppg with ease like kobe does. we all saw what happened to the lakers offense in the plays offs without the black mamba, kobe is the lakers, period. the heat without lebron? i think they would be just fine.

  7. Bill Russel the G.O.A.T.-2nd Jordon-after that about 50 more before you can even talk about kobe or lebron.

    • Hot Sizzle (The Realist) says:

      Lebron is far from the greatest of all time. Lets put somethings in perspective. To be considered the G.O.A.T you have to be able to play in any ERA of basketball and dominate. There is no way that Lebron can play in the Jordan Era. He complains about getting grabbed by Hinrich and rubbed up on against the new school grind it out Bulls who have nothing on the old school Bulls, throwback Pistons, or Old school Knicks. Teams back in the day will literally make him whine every night. What would Jordan do you ask.”Drop 40 on them and dish it out so his other teammates can look good so they wouldn’t cry all while getting smacked, pushed around, hand checked and not once did the man complain about being touched he just did work. To add to my point to be considered the G.O.A.T we not just talking about athleticism which Lebron currently has a nod in this category but skill. Jordan or Kobe will both go up against people stronger or faster then and they would still drop a good 40 5 and 5 on them. You put a Paul Pierce, Loul Deng, or a Ron Artest on him he shy’s away or just can’t make the bucket or play they need to win. How many battles aka (1 on 1) match ups can you say are in Lebron’s favor. Most of them because of his freakishly awesome strength and explosiveness but besides that in a game of one on one I’m letting him shoot jumpers all day from outside of 19 feet. Unlike a Jordan or a Bryant or soon to be KD you have to stick with them the whole time or it;s lights out. I wonder if you all will call Lebron the greatest of all time if he wasn’t athletic because I know a guy in LA that’ll still give Miami a 40-8-8 performance and I’m not even a Laker fan.

  8. Knight says:

    Best of them all? Funny.. Lebron is the best right now, but NOT the best of them all, just yet. Obviously, that’s what Pat Riley would say, cuz he’s the president of the heat organization.. They want Lebron to sign with the Heat next year, so he wouldnt go up there and say, “oh, Lebron is good, but not as good as Jordan”.. The best player is not defined by how many regular season MVP trophies he’s had, Anyone can win the regular season MVP, cuz its by vote.. The Greatest of them all is defined by how many rings and Final’s MVP.. The ability to beat out all the teams and winning the Championship along with the Final’s MVP.. The Final’s MVP define’s greatness cuz it show’s who led the team to the Championship.. Take Jordan for example, you take him out of Bulls, they wouldnt have won the Championships, he showed that when he took his early retirement. He has 6 rings and 6 Final’s MVP, that’s greatness. Lebron is still way down there…

  9. wooderson says:

    anyone mentioning the name kobe bryant being compared to lebron, jordan, bird, magic, kareem, hakeem, chamberlain, russell etc should have all their rights to an opinion and freedom of speech revoked. kobe bryant ranks far behind wade, duncan, shaq (i mean he rode shaqs and refs coattails to rings) and withour question behind lebron

    • Mister 215 says:

      @ Wooderson…. Please tell everyone (including me) where Kobe ranks behind Dwade, Duncan, and Shaq???? What statline are your referring too??? Kobe hads more rings, and has scored more then all of them, so please help us understand where your logic is because to not put Kobe in that GOAT talks wouod mean that you should have your mouth sealed shut to prevent you from making another dumb comment…. Magic already said that Kobe is the greatest laker of all time and he def has the right to say that…. jordan pick Kobe over Lebron and so did Bird!!!!

  10. Al says:

    Kobe is better than LBJ all time. right now.

  11. nel says:

    kobe is still the best for me, began his career not as a starter but climb his way to become one of the five members of the all-time scoring list,, his 81 points will not be matched by players today..
    lebron is an all around player, but he is not a pure scorer, he is the one who had come to miami to get a championship, not like mj and kobe they let their franchises decide what to do and live with it… wat happened???
    CHAMPIONSHIPS BABY!!! haha

  12. Keith Miller says:

    Lebron will never compare to the greats he don’t have the killer instinct like Jordan,Kobe,Magic,Bird,Shaq he might have a higher shooting percentage but he won’t get 4 or 5 rings maybe 2 or 3 but not back to back he can’t will his team by himself like a Jordan or Magic he cracks under pressure like in tonight’s game Jordan would never lose a home game against a B team Lebron is just a very very very good player in this era not great

    • not bias says:

      @Sammy the Bull your statement about Kobe is already invalid I guess a hater like you has no other work than just hating without solid evidence Kobe has 2final Mvp man not 1finals mvp and your saying he’s just riding Shaq? o please watch the lakers 2000 championship dvd on youtube and you’ll know why kobe is mentioned in this article here you just can’t accept that he’s one of the greats and do you even know that Kobe’s hall of fame is secured already? if you don’t believe me then it’s your homework try to find it out yourself. I will give two examples of achievements that Kobe has already, KB24 is the player of the decade and as of now the 4th all time leading scorer in the NBA right now that is just the example of his achievements I can’t mention it all because it’s to many so stop hating man.and one more thing basketball is an 5on5 sport meaning you can’t win without teammates so kobe needs shaq same with lbj needing dwayne wade and bosh and ray allen.

  13. Angry Commentator says:

    I really don’t know why all you guys try to say that oh LeBron has a team ok he has a team we get it but what about all the other players out there that have a squad and still aren’t doing anything (kobe) and yet you still say he’s the best now look at LeBron he works hard for what he has at the moment we know he loves the game of basketball because he turned down that offer but honestly can’t we say he’s a one in a lifetime athlete that may ever dominate the court the way he does ok so you can say that Jordan is the best because of how many rings he has won but lets be real nobody had ever seen the game played like that before because they were so used to seeing the same thing over and over again and you want to sit here and talk about that LeBron doesn’t deserve the praise that he gets come on the guy works his butt off for his team and tries his very best and yet he still gets criticized about being the best that’s one reason he doesn’t want to join the dunk contest because he’s sick of being compared to other people or the Greatest Of All Time and I understand where he’s coming from but if you think about the players in the NBA today from KD, to Igoudala, Curry, Ibaka, Westbrook all of these players in the game today do you really think that Jordan would be able to compete like that Maybe maybe not but I’m just saying you have to look at the game back then and the game now its changed so much like when Allen Iverson first came into the game with handles like that he crossed the G.O.A.T MJ and Kobe plus many more so are you gonna say that he’s one of the G.O.A.T well I’m just saying look at the game play forget about the stats we’ve watched LBJ evolve from a driver to shooter and we’ve never seen him shoot the ball that well since he’s come into the league but I’m just saying stop comparing him to others because everyone had their own unique style that they brought to the game and left a mark to the game and he’s probably one of those that can do so because of his play style and his character but if you want to talk about greatness lets talk about the man that started this whole game that allow us to watch talents like MJ like Kobe like LBJ well this is just my opinion because I’m tired of people bashing on players that deserve better for what talent they poses

    • Mister 215 says:

      @Angry Commentator…. You do realize that Kobe only played in 7 games with DHoward, Pau, Nash, and MWP all season right??? I’m pretty sure that Lebron played in more then 7 games with the rest of his starters, not to mention that he has the same team he had last year (except for Birdman, Allen, and Lewis)…..

  14. KDJ says:

    …but if you needed a guaranteed triple double to save your life?

  15. KDJ says:

    LeBron shouldn’t be compared to Jordan or anyone else. He’s creating his own legacy. He’s a completely different player to Jordan, as opposed to Kobe and many others who shaped their game after Jordan. Jordan came in an reshaped basketball. Thats what LeBron is doing, reshaping the game, and shaping a legacy for himself, after no-one. Comparing him to others distracts from appreciating the phenom that he is.

  16. Sammy the Bull says:

    Sure, he’ll end up the grestest of all time, right after MICHAEL. Because of what & HOW Jordan accomplished his 6 Championships (& 6 Finals MVP’S) nobody will ever equal him. If you lived through the 90′s you know this. Riley knows it too, but as you alluded to must stand by his current superstar. But nobody seriously puts anyone above Michael. And please don’t mention crybaby Kobe (1 finals MVP?) in the same conversation. Blasphemy!

  17. KC says:

    We all admire Michael Jordan for not only his athletic talent, but also his indomitable will to win and the incredible EASE with which he seemed to accomplish everything on the court. No matter what the score was, we all believed Michael’s team had a chance to pull out the game right up until the buzzer. Nobody can take that away from his legacy. I’ve watched MJ play, and I have to say I still would rather watch that MJ from years past than any other player, past and present.

    Having said that, it is partly MJ’s legacy and his flair for entertainment that makes us think he’s the G.O.A.T. Yes, he willed his team to victory again and again. Yes, he has 6 rings. But there are some aspects of his game, from a purely physical perspective, that do not stack up to Lebron. Lebron isn’t quite the althletic magician that MJ was. He doesn’t yet have the level of pure skill that MJ achieved in his career. Why? Partly because Lebron has been blessed with physical attributes that we’ve never seen in any other basketball player. And we see Lebron constantly improving. I’m sure I’m blaspheming but I think Lebron has a higher potential than MJ ever did.

    • Keith Miller says:

      Lebron has to win he might be bigger and stronger but he don’t have the will to push a team over the top by himself the league is weaker now they might jump higher or run faster but the basketball IQ is lower Jordan wants the ball in his hands in a close game Lebron don’t know if he wants it or not its 50/50 look at tonight’s game and you tell me would Jordan Magic Bird Kobe lose a homw game to a B Team

  18. Barrel says:

    He’s the Barry Bonds of the NBA. They never guard the dude.

  19. Patty says:

    Washburn was right. I am glad he had the guts to vote for who he thought was the MVP.

    There are other players in the NBA who should have won the MVP trophy. I am sick of hearing about Lebron James.

  20. Earnest Brooks says:

    If he is not the best he is definitely in the conversation he has the most complete game I’ve ever seen.

  21. Drago says:

    For taste it will always be Jordan but overall James is the most complete player to play the game.This season he played inhuman basketball and in my eyes proved him self as a leader.He is the worst match up you can imagine,The only question is how will he evolve when he losses speed and strength injuries are also a big factor.

  22. Nash fan says:

    I arguably believe so…. LBJ and MJ are different players…. no doubt they’re both the best in their respective positions…. in all due respect I believe that MJ was the best player… now it’s LBJ’s time!

  23. Tikolo says:

    That is a strong statement by Mr. Riley for a man that has been in the league this long, but as you know he has a job to do and Mr. James is his man right now, and he needs him not only now but in the future and there is nothing wrong motivating. I think Mr Riley is one of the the greatest motivators all time in the NBA you can’t do it any better than he just did. Knowing fully well that Le Bron has not even won his second championship but can refer to him as the greatest ever. We all know the NBA its about championships, if Le bron was that good he would not have left Cleveland for Miami, he knew he had to team up with superstars to win. Cleveland did evrything they could to help him win championships there but can’t until he realize that he has to team up with not only one superstar but two inother for him to have a chance. I have seen a lot of basketball over the years and Le bron is very very good but I would not say he is the best ever right now, simply because he has not won enough yet. Also the talent level in the NBA right now is Lower than the 80s and 90s. In the 80s and 90s the east teams has just as much talent as the west, inother words the competion was great, watching basketball was fun, because teams compete when they play. Like I said I would not say Le bron is the best ever as long as MJ is still alive, that will be a diservice to the game that I dearly love.

  24. antonios says:

    FIirst of all excuse my english but after reading all those comments i had to reply allthough i didn’t for many years.Pat riley is a smart man and all of us can jump in to conclusions why he said something like that an d if he relly meant it but i like to remind all of u people in here that Pat always said that he got the best player in that famous draft.,He said many times that he would not exchange wade to any other player in the leaque.At the moment wade has not been the same player and he has let his ego to the side for HIS team because all the people around LJ(teammates,coaches,owners,president and in general all the miami basketball organisation)know that lebron will be on top of his game if everyone compliment him and keep him happy.LJ is a top athlete and a beast but needs his pack,he is not ruthless like MJ or KOBE,he is not fearless like many greats in the past but he working on it.IMO his biggest strengh is his basketball IQ.This man does not depent on his talents but on his work ethic,i can name 10 bigger talents than him in the last 10 years even T MAC was a bigger talent.Things are working well for him and he deserves it but he is getting his help from the nba and by the way i am a huge miami and Wade fan.

  25. holyspectator says:

    pats a smart man, and has been around the league far more than any of us have, he wouldnt just say something like that if he didnt see it coming…with all the hate for the guy people have, why i still dont know, lets be real here, no hes not a jordan or a kobe or a wilt, magic, bird, robinson… hes a lebron, hes his own kind of player…decades down the road will be usin him to compare the next phenomena…who ever that may be…my thing is if he ends up winning 4 more mvps (hell be 32 yrs old by then) that would give him 8 mvp awards…and hell prolly win at least 4 more rings (which would give him 6, adding the one hes gettin this year and the one he has now) hes already racked up tons of individual stats and took his team to an insane 66-16 record and 27 game win streak..not to mention hes still only 28? his prime will finally drop down once hes 35, 36..maybe even til 40..hes built like a machine, which no one in the nba is like….say what you want but i think pat riley is spot on…maybe not right now but if he gets the things i mentioned ya it just might be safe to say hes the greatest of all time… definitely top 5 of all time..

  26. To me in my opinion Kobe Bryant is the best of them all. He is the greatest basketball player in the world of all time. I know this can be debated now and in the future. If you ask somebody who is the greatest, he will say that his player is the greatest like Riley said that James is the best. If you ask the public to vote who is the greatest player, the voter will vote for his/her favorite player but many of them will vote not for their favorite player. This will be a long discussion and debate who is the best.

    My vote is for Kobe Bryant because of his accomplishment as a Lakers player. He has so many awards as a NBA player. So, for me, he is the greatest and the best basketball player of all time.

    Ray
    Ray Duque III (GMBD), USA

    • Sammy the Bull says:

      You’re obviously just too young. If you watched B’ball playoffs from 1990 – 2000, and witnessed M.J. – you would not even mention a crybaby like Kobe. Is he the guy that rode Shaq’s coat-tails for 3 championships?

  27. tico85 says:

    hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha hahahaha….LBJ best of them all? hahaha my gosh Pat stop this is too funny..you gotta stop! Pat I did not know you were a comedian. Listen Pat’s opinion is bias so we will forgive him for such a statement. The kids posting comments pro Lebron are obviously running around in their diapers still and never got the chance to watch MJ play. So since they didn’t have the chance to do so lets not count their ignorant opinion either. THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME IS AND WILL ALWAYS BE MICHAEL JORDAN!

  28. Heisenberg says:

    Question for you all, if your life depended on a 5 minute clutch time game all the preasure (n yes lbj is my current fav player) who would you pick to save your life against a opponent of their choosing? MJ or LJ? i would 10 out of ten pick MJ to save my life. i am pretty sure PR would too.

  29. lbjforlife says:

    lebron james is g.o.a.t and btw i agree by sayin if durant had recieved the 1 vote it wudnt be a problem! but melo? wtf? lebron james is the mvp like it or not and he wud be mvp every single year untill he retires becuz he is better than jordan ever was

  30. I Love Kobe says:

    Lebron is far and above the best player in the league right now. The writer that snubbed him out of the unanimous vote is thoroughly misguided. Lebron was the most valuable player in the league. He wouldve been more valuable to the knicks and carmelo still wouldve been less valuable to the heat had their roles been switched. Fact.

    We’re watching something special with Lebron. He is carving his own path of greatness.

  31. SAM says:

    Well, when you compete in a league where the best centers are Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol and Brook Lopez, and has a 37 years old power forward (Duncan) that is having one of his best seasons, then you know there’s not much to search.

  32. jogi says:

    i agree with Pat Riley
    of course everyone can think different, i like to read many posts and i think you are very experienced writers and therefore it is very interesting sometimes you do not see or you do not want to see something like now lebron james is the best of them all already . i would like to put lebron with magic together but i think lebron already is better even magic johnson
    take a look who was jordan who is kobie still and many more players they had been or are shooters of course huge talented shooters but lebron is huge talented shooters but not only and here is huge difference between them
    as you can see and i agree they can be on the same level ( lebron needs just 4-5 rings more ) differential is in quality
    lebron is complete player on every one position when jordan or kobe never been because physical conditions but something more lebron could be shooter like them but he has other way to be winner and that is extraordinary
    therefore i think pat riley is right.
    people have problem lebron has one ring only so far but i think in couple year nobody will gainsay pat riley’s words

  33. LordP says:

    That’s so sad that human being always think that the best still has to come or has already come..we never see and enjoy what is now..live and enjoy the present!!I don’t know if Lebron goin to be the n1 of all time but I’m sure that there wasn’t a creature like Bron in the game before the arrival of the kid from Akron..The most gifted Athlete of all-time…Yeah lebron is a better basketball player than the Goat..MJ (even if B.Russel has a special place in my heart) But wining wise if Bron doesn’t win almost 5titles people won’t put him at the same level as MJ..That’s sad but here is the truth!!
    Don’t lebron James and his talent for granted
    cause he’s in the mix for number 1 of all time!!
    Best Of All Time

  34. lebron james says:

    he is the best ever!!!

  35. JC says:

    Lebron has been gifted by the Almighty with the best genes an athlete can ask for and with his hard work and dedication to the sport of basketball he has become the best superstar alive. As long as he has perfect health he will continue to get better and better in the league. In my opinion the 2011 MVP should have been Lebron James, but I have faith in my superstar that he will collect more MVP’s and championships as his career progresses. Lebron#1

  36. Cedric says:

    to be honest i don’t get how that voter gave his vote to Anthony and that just piss me of. If it was to durant i would not mind at all but said that anthony is from durant and lebron caliber is just damn wrong

  37. LS says:

    Of course Pat Riley will make a comment like that – LeBron plays for HIS team. I don’t enjoy LeBron’s style of play – he plays basketball like a football player (and no I’m not a dude who’s jealous because I can’t do what he does). About 2 or 3 minutes of watching him prance around the floor for the audience to admire him is all I can take.

  38. RaptorFan says:

    I disagree with the guy who voted for Carmelo Anthony because he made NY Knicks a relevant team again.

    MVP = Most valuable player.

    If you swapped Lebron james and Carmelo anthony. Knicks would be first seed and Miami would be second.

    If you were to start a team today. The first player you would pick on your team if you had a draft:
    it would be lebron james.

    I would take Durant second.

    Anthony maybe 5th. Cause hes not efficient, he takes too many hard shots.

    I am not a lover or hater just saying Lebron is better than anthony in every way.

    • Damian says:

      Sorry I meant, I disagree with Miami being 2nd seed.

    • Mister 215 says:

      Melo’s team is second so they are right there with the heat…. The heat still has better players which is why they have a better record…. Nd it’s not about switching players because if Kobe played on the Heat then they would be right in the place that they are in now… They wouldn’t have lost to the bulls in the first game though.

  39. Edjumacator says:

    The MVP is a meaningless award. That isn’t James’ fault though. But this is just Riley talking Playoff smack. He always quits eating after the first round and acts loopier as he gets toward the Finals.

  40. Hero says:

    I don’t belive James will ever score 30PPG all career long. Jordan had so many up and downs in his real life and still did that. As you can see james’s game is resmuing to power, muscle. You never seen Jordan going at full speed like a train. James is not so skilled so he uses his body, IQ, muscle while Jordan used his IQ, skill, great shooting ability. Jordan never had great team mates, they were just good. Let Miami play without their big three and you’ll see that they could stand against many nba teams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s all about the press guys.

  41. smh says:

    Without lebron the heat would still be contenders, but they wouldn’t have won 27 games in a row, had the best league record, or be considered favorites to win championship….that is value

    • Mister 215 says:

      So what youre saying is that with D Wade, Bosh and crew, that they wouldn’t be a contender in the east???? GTFOH!!!! They more then likely wouldn’t have won 27 in a row, but they would be a top seeded team in the east!!!!

  42. kingjames(himself) says:

    i personally agree with pat riley! lebron james is already the g.o.a.t because just look at the guy! every season he tends to change his game up just when u think he cant get better. just becuz u guys a kobe or melo fan doesnt mean u cud take that away from him. lebron james is the best i ave ever seen and i wish ppl cud stop hatin and be greatful to witness greatness because when its all said and done hating on lebron doesnt get u know where but bein ignorant fools.

    • Mister 215 says:

      Please explain what areas that he changed his game on??? His one on one defense is still left a lot to be desired and his post game is still weak!!!!!

  43. KGEE says:

    The man said “Best of all” not GOAT…….Lebron truely is the most complete baller ever, the whole package but MJ is and will always be the GOAT

  44. MO'LBJ says:

    HAHA

  45. The Oracle's Arena says:

    someone is trying to get someone to re-sign a specific contract sometime in the near future I’m thinking..

  46. KB24 says:

    I repeat for who really knows what is basketball talent……too much wine Pat…..check better ahahahah…he’s a missed football player……

    • B-Ball4Life says:

      Let’s see when and if Kobe comes back. I’ll give him maybe one more season before he retires. When Lebron retires there will not be a single category which Kobe still owns over him. Hahahaha just deal with it hater :-)

      • Mister 215 says:

        Youre silly to think that Lebron will past all of Kobe’s records….. I’ll give you an easy one that Lebron will never have and that is most threes made in a game…. Let’s see Lebron make more then 12!!!!!

  47. Kevin says:

    Knowing Pat, I guess he’s been saying these kind of things about LBJ thinking in next year’s free ageny, I mean, he told AInge to shut up (not that nicely) a month ago and now this, Riley probably gonna do whatever is in his reach to keep LBJ In MIA, so a statement this big is not a big surprise for me, actually im expecting more from him in the near future.

  48. turopitosauros says:

    In my opinion, if lebron was drafted by a team with only a little more better players, he would be a champion perhaps from his 3rd-4th year in the league. Lets face it, cleveland was such a weak team, that even with irving, an amazing all star player that i also admire, waiters(not at that level yet), when lebron left, went from the top 1-2 seed to dead last in the standings. And you cant simply say that he lost the championship with cleveland because he failed and take all credit away from the great teams that became champions all these years. He faced great teams on his own: celtics (with the big-3), spurs(a super power in the last 15 years). I admire lebron and think that all these hardships constantly made him a greater player every year and im happy that he is in that level, but he has wasted so many years in cleveland. No offence (cavaliers are one of my favorite teams). I totally agree with pat riley but im not gonna argue over that. We all have our own opinion.

    • alo says:

      If MJ had a better team from the start, he’d get 10 rings. If MJ didn’t lose a year to injury and another two to retirement he’d had more points that Kareem. If this, If that.. Everyone has excuses.

  49. Adri says:

    Well deserved. LBJ is GOAT so far.Nobody can challenge the stats he achieved this year

  50. Himel says:

    Pat is right, LJ is the best ever all round player. You would pick on rings? It will follow in coming years.

  51. David says:

    Pat Riley clearly owns share in the team (merch, tix sale, ect) so why wouldn’t he promote his horse in the race. When he talks in pressers he’s acting as a businessman not himself per se. Im sure he has a real opinion that he wouldn’t give to too many people.

  52. GO SPURS says:

    Pat Riley is not an employee! He is a Boss and he is concerned about bussiness. Maybe He believes his own words but He have not an impartial point of view, Lebron is part of his merchandise!!! And remember the last all star game that Kobe dominated to Lebron on his “Hero Shots” at the stretch, consider both age and athleticism of them and get your own conclusions, I waited to see the same to Jordan, O’Neal, Bird even Barkley (Because I never was fan of them) and It never happened!!!

    • B-Ball4Life says:

      Are you serious…are you really talking about the All Star Game? What a perfect example for stupidity.

  53. Kappah says:

    I think we need to put what Riley said into perspective. The writer, as usual succeeded in drumming up sentiments without actually looking at the entirety of the comment. This is what Riley said:

    “Over those 46 years, I’ve had the opportunity with my eyes to observe and to watch and to see players, great players,” Riley said, “great players that have won and won championships; they’ve been most valuable players; they’ve been winners; they’ve been leaders, and all the ones that I’ve observed and I’ve watched and I’ve seen, somewhere they’ve always gotten better. They’ve always gotten better as their career advanced and most importantly they’ve always made their teams and their teammates better. In my humble opinion, in those 46 years, not because I have a lot of experience, I think the man you’re looking at here is the best of all of them, and I just want to congratulate him on being a four-time Most Valuable Player”

    Is Riley saying that James is the Best of all? or is he saying that James is the best of all of them at getting better at this point, in comparative balance with the other greats at this time in their careers.? Perhaps, we are yet to see the best of James. Who knows what the future holds? Riley, I suppose intended to show that to be an MVP, one needed to be good this year, better next year, much better the year after and so forth. You cannot be an MVP this year if you are not the best. All the previous MVP winners and indeed, all the greats have always gotten better and and made their teams better. Lebron, according to Riley is the best of them in this department, not necessarily the best of all time.

  54. ¸dsdsdd says:

    who cares

  55. naveen says:

    I completely agree with the writer who voted.

  56. ImJusSayin says:

    Riley is just upping his player. James has been pushed on B-Ball fans since he was drafted, called the king before his time and pushed to be the face of the NBA since the then current face had mud all over it in CO he has become what he was suppose to be back then but G.O.A.T., not even close. Wilt & Shaq both Games that made the NBA rethink the game to stop their dominance, that required greatness. James can go how many games without a foul being called. He is the all around skilled player in the league right now but even riley knows he was full of it.

  57. B-Ball4Life says:

    As a LeBron fan I agree that he should be at least in the conversation for the top five of G.O.A.T. at this moment already.
    But like some others said you’ll simply have to wait and see what kind of career he had when he´s going to retire.
    If he stays healthy he will be in the league for at least another 6-8 seasons (with his physics maybe even more).
    He is so gifted and works so hard to get better. Even at the peak of his success. It’s amazing.
    He will win a lot more awards and rings during the next years than he already owns.
    This will always be a category of personal likes but he’ll be in the conversation, no doubt.
    I truly believe that even if he can’t win six rings like MJ all the other categories that he owns will make a case for him.
    For now let’s bring on the Bulls and get the next Sweep :-)

  58. Just gimme the Rock says:

    Naah because the rules now are babysitting the players, lets put lebron in the jordan situation against the pistons. Let’s see him cry in the post conferences

    • Pakyaw says:

      This is diffent era now,don’t live on the past..u think bill Russell can get 11 rings if he play on this era?..or Kareem skyhook will still be effective?..basketball evolve!..my friend…

      • lol says:

        lbj ould be eaten in bill russel and kareem abdul jabbar prime

      • teo says:

        or do you think wilt chamberlain wil score 100 points in the nba today?

      • Kamote says:

        Yeah, LBJ did whine against Hinrich and Gibson, LOL. Hinrich!?!?! I would’ve loved seeing him go up against the Piston’s badboys, Ewing’s Knicks, Reggie’s Pacers, etc.

  59. george says:

    Yes, he is a monster in terms of athleticism, but do not forget that there are many other players in the league that have the potential of being 2.05m and 115-120 kg. It’s up to them to become like Lebron, so that shows his work ethic, and how he separates himself of the rest. As for the GOAT we have to wait and judge, when his career is over, although I personally disagree comparing players of different era and positions.
    Well done though.

  60. Nick says:

    I completely agree with the writer who voted for Carmelo for MVP. Lebron has 2 hall of famers, a potential one in Chris Bosh, a solid bench of veterans who could be starting on other teams, a young point guard who would be a star on another team(as good as Brandon Jennings). Plus his backup was mostly healthy all season, they would make the playoffs without Lebron. Meanwhile, Carmelo was a one man band for much of the season, until JR Smith showed up the last six weeks or so. His team is the oldest in the league, there was a plethora of injuies, and Carmelo was constantly playing power forward most of the time against bigger guys. I would have voted for him too
    As for James being the best of all time, I look forward to when his athleticism starts failing him and he loses a step in a three or four years time. Then we shall see how he can compensate for not having the strength or speed he once had. Jordan was able to change his game as he got older and still win championships and lead the league in scoring. He averaged over 20 points a game aged 40 on bad knees and nearly got a terrible wizards side into the playoffs. I don’t know if Lebron will be able to do that when the time comes

    • Julio Appling says:

      Keep in mind, that Jordan played on a loaded team Rodman & Pippen (both HOF) Kukoc (Sixth man award winner & many Euroleague awards) and the most successful coach in NBA history. Should he have not won in ’96?

      In 1995, the Bulls team which was largely similar to the one from the previous three championships (minus Jordan) went 55-27 without him. Would you also agree Michael Jordan shouldn’t have won MVP any of those years as well?

      I’m not saying ‘Bron or Jordan should or shouldn’t be greatest ever. I’m just pointing out that most Championship rosters have multiple superstars (and future HOF players). It’s the rule, not the exception.

    • Kamote says:

      You guys just keep on forgetting that Pippen and Grant developed under MJ. Its totally different from LBJ joining the franchise players in Bosh (Toronto) and Wade (Miami). LBJ had that chance in Cleveland, but he just complained everytime that he don’t have any good team mates until he eventually quit and moved with Wade and Bosh. MJ stayed in Chicago, waited for Pippen, Grant, Paxon to grow up, and eventually winning the first 3 rings.

      As for Rodman, Kukoc, Harper and the rest, they were acquired (Rodman a direct replacement to Grant) to fill-in certain positions MJ needs around him. The Bulls was MJ’s team, Pippen complimented him with his all-around game, and the others are screws and bolts that they need (Rodman-rebounding and defense, Harper-defense at PG, Kerr-3pts, Kukoc-6th man, etc.). MJ didn’t need to be with superstars, Pippen became one because of him, and the rest just fit with the Bull’s system.

  61. Yuri says:

    A bit premature but he’s not too far as many people think.

  62. SalvaCM11 says:

    I better wait to the finish of his career but he is making a correct path to the top3/1 , and trees dont let people see the forest, yeah he is so physical but he is high talented in every basketball attributtes, and one on the best ones his bb IQ . Sorry for my english ;) i did my best haha…

  63. Ermal says:

    Never doubt Pat Riley

  64. W/E says:

    PAt better apologize for his comments how he even dare to say LBJ is the best of them all, MJ,Bird,Magic had way more talent and skills than this guy who owes most of his success to his strength and athleticism, he is a great player but how is this guy the best?!? and as for MVP he might get 4 more cause he is clearly the best right now but the True Best of all was robbed big time back the 90s, MJ should have got at LEAST 8 MVP titles, maybe 10 the guy was by far the best player of his era how the heck they give MVPs to Karl Malone, Robinson and Barkley while Jordan was by far the better player in NBA and on the consecutive champion winning team?

    • Bstarr says:

      Not only the strength and athleticism but currently playing with 2 good players and a future hall of famer 3 point shooter are reason for his success. He’s good but others make him look good also, not even need to mention that the league is softer these days.

      LBJ has skills, I really have to admit that but if the point here is VALUE then Melo should have won it this year. Knicks without Melo are really not that strong but Heat without LBJ are still a good contender.

      The other times LBJ won the award I did agree 100% but this year award seems to be more like a marketing tool instead of a price based on other facts.

      Any way congrats LBJ and Heat fans

    • Don't give a fuk says:

      keeep hating….

      wait till his career is finished than you’ll be ridding his diiiiick or just hate even more.

      Jordan needed Pip and he got him naturally. Bron would’ve never if he stayed there .

      Every great player had a great team. your just mad that he made it happen rathern than just sitting around.

      • yeah boy says:

        we already know he needed pip (and rodman) . but try to understand jordan was surrounded by players who always been a role player their entire career . while lebron has a 2 superstar (perhaps 1 1/2) he has more super team than jordan..

    • jesus says:

      MJ, Bird and Magic had far less talent than LeBron. Lebron is bigger stronger and faster than all three, a better defender than all three, the only thing he TRULY lacks is large amount of hardware like those 3, but hes still young and has PLENTY OF time to rack up mvps, all star mvps, and championships

      • Bob says:

        Jordan had Pippen (Member of the Dream Team & 10 time NBA all defensive), Rodman (7 consecutive years leading the league in rebounds), and others. I agree that in comparison, the teams competing against the heat are inferior to the those that challenged the bulls, but saying that Jordan had no one around him is rediculous

      • PRob says:

        How did Magic have far less talent? He had Kareem and Worthy. Kareem is the only 6 time league MVP and he is the all time scoring leader. Jordan had Pip and Rodman, not to mention Kukoc and Kerr. Kerr has the career best 3pt%. Rodman and Pip are hall of famers. Plus Rodman won rings with Detroit before joining the Bulls. Jordan will always be the greatest scorer in the history of the league. When its over Lebron will be the greatest all around player. Rings can’t mean everything because Bill Russell has 11 and the last year he was the star player and head coach. Who’s done that?

  65. KB24 says:

    Ahahahah……too much wine…………………..

  66. Christiaen says:

    A unique specimen, gifted in any possible way on a basketball field. He’ll be in the mix.
    However, I personally believe that the true judgement can only come after his career is over and done.
    He’ll have the stats by then, no doubt about it.
    But will he become larger than the game itself, will he transcend it in the same way Jordan, or Magic and Bird have during their reign of the NBA?
    In a decade or so we will know the answer to that question.
    If it’s a yes, well, he’s in the mix, and you can write a piece about it or ask the same question again.
    Who knows, maybe there will be another Jordan or James by then,

    • SAM says:

      Well, when you compete in a league where the best centers are Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol and Brook Lopez, and has a 37 years old power forward (Duncan) that is having one of his best seasons, then you know there’s not much talent out there.

  67. Gregory Morton says:

    As a LeBron fan, I still cannot say he is the best of ALL time. I believe when it is all said and done, he will be regarded as one of the top 5 players of ALL time. Right NOW, I would stick with the best in the League. May be even the best in the last 10yrs.

    • it is a possibility though…he can even win 10 if he wants to…then he’ll be regarded as the best of all time

    • bballjunkie1 says:

      Agree his body of work has only just begun. His game is not like MJ, Kobe’s as the great shooters he does way more on both ends with higher career shooting percentages than those two. But it will be interesting to see who he pairs up with next contract to do something neither MJ or Kobe, Shaq could do and that is 4 in a row. After all he dosent look for the money he left that in Cleveland, and I am guessing it won’t be money next contract. many I know think he and his friend Durant would be awesome, I remind them that he has a respect and love for Doc that shouldn’t be underestimated.

      • The Dutch guy says:

        MJ could have won 4 in a row if he didn´t retire. I´m thinking, maybe both the championships of the Rockets might have gone the Bulls if MJ didn´t retire.

      • Noneoftheabove says:

        “Kobe’s as the great shooters…”

        No, a career 45.3% shooter does not make one “great” by any stretch of the imagination.