Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is arguably the greatest player to play the game of basketball but is he most impactful? SI's Robin Lundberg reflects on the career of LeBron and explains why his ability to elevate a franchise to championship success is what separates him from any player in the history of the NBA.
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Robin Lundberg: You can rank players however you want, but I don’t know how you can say any individual has more impact on a team than LeBron James as he is essentially a one man dynasty. No team James has ever left was a contender the next season like the Bulls were when Michael Jordan went to play baseball. I’m just saying. In fact, when LeBron leaves, the squad he was on goes from the Finals to the Lottery. His last year in Cleveland the first time?
The Cavs won 61 games. The next season? 19. As far as the encore, Cleveland went from a 50 win team and an NBA Finals appearance without Kyrie Irving to again winning just 19 the following campaign. The Miami falloff was not quite as severe since they had more organizational structure but the Heat still went from their fourth straight trip to the championship round to under .500.
And even now, in his healthy season in LA, the Lakers are on top of the supposedly mighty West after years of being inept. In NBA history only six teams have made the Finals four straight times, LeBron was on two of them. And went to eight straight individually. Only the Celtics of the 60s have matched that feat.
And then there were just over a handful of teams. Sure, James had some help along the way but even the Warriors had to go get KD after what he did to their 73 squad in 2016. So while we’re all enjoying The Last Dance, the eventual LeBron documentary could very well be titled One Man Dynasty.