LeBron James might be the biggest sports prodigy of all time, who had the entire sports fraternity in doubt on whether he would be just another bust.
The world has seen the biggest of prodigies in sports around the globe not being able to live up to the expectations, or just become an athlete who make it to the top of their sport for a while, making and breaking few records.
Ironically it’s rare for a prodigy to live up to their hype successfully, be at the top of their sport for a significant amount of time, to go down as one of the greatest. But being the face of a game for almost two decades is a thing that’s unheard of.
Be it a prodigy doing it or anyone else, the kind of supremacy that needs to dominate a world-famous sport for 19 years is an achievement for anyone to go down in history as one of the greatest ever, if not the best.
And King James has done just that. An 18-year-old prodigy that came into the league 19-years ago, is still among the top scorers in the league at age 37. And so it calls for a throwback to his rookie year and the time around the 2003 Draft, where he was the 1st overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Have a look at it in this video which LBJ recently shared on his IG story asking ‘what would you name it (his documentary)?’.
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LeBron James didn’t turn out to be a bust after all
There’s no athlete on planet earth as young as an 18-year-old LeBron James, who had the expectations of an entire nation to become the greatest of all time. All the sports media and NBA community believed if LeBron didn’t end up being better than the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he’d be a bust.
With that kind of pressure, a teenager became the face of a 17-65 franchise – the worst ones in the East. He did quite well in his first season and improved the Cavaliers’ record to 35-47, missed the Playoffs just by one win.
He did get that win next season and led his team to tie the 8th best record in the East (42-40) but then lost the tiebreaker game for the 8th seed to the New Jersey Nets. That would be the last year when LBJ would be physically fit and his team will not make it to the Playoffs.
He became the King instead
In the next 17-years, James would become the greatest floor general of all-time leading his teams to 16 playoffs, making it to 10 Finals. Only Bill Russell and his teammate Sam Jones of the best sports dynasty, the Boston Celtics of the late 50s and 60s, have more NBA Finals appearances than that.
Currently having the 3rd most points in NBA history (regular season), James recently passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on most points in the league including the Playoffs.
LeBron passes Kareem for most points ever in regular season and playoffs (44,152) 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Pg1apmpOrM
— Overtime (@overtime) February 13, 2022
He’s also the only member of the 30K-10K-10k club having achieved both those achievements in the ongoing season, which is the 19th year of his career.
A 4x Champion, 18x All-Star, 4x MVP, 4x Finals MVP alongside 17x All-NBA, 6x All-Defensive team selections, James has won everything several times that a basketball player wishes dreams of winning at least once after making it to the biggest stages of all.
Such has been his discipline, that the Ironman of the basketball has just missed an entirety of 1 season in his last three years, having not missed more than 20-games in any of his 16 seasons before that. At 37 years of age, he is second on the scoring list behind Joel Embiid averaging 29.7 ppg.
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) March 12, 2022
Some will say he didn’t live up to the hype, as he failed to overtake MJ as the greatest of all time. As true as the latter part might be, James has exceeded all the hype in a better way than anyone could do. It’s only plausible to name the documentary “the most successful prodigy of all time”.
What more could you say of a man who led his team to a championship in his 17th season in the league, when most of the players couldn’t even have a 15-year career? Just that he lived up to all the hype, handling everything in the best possible way.