Various factors have contributed to his success as a player, but certain characteristics have propelled him to being the best. LeBron James has evolved, and that evolution has cast his name among the greats.
For now, LeBron James is the créme de la créme. Few have contested him.
While the definition of "best" is entirely subjective, for the most part, LeBron James is considered to be the best right now.
LeBron James is right at the peak of his career.
And that's the scary part.
He is just at the tipping point, which means he can get better. This could be trouble for opponents. LeBron is currently the most efficient he has ever been.
He is averaging 27.3 points per game this season and has scored at least 30 points in the past seven games. The only person to obtain a longer streak this season is Kobe Bryant (10 consecutive games).
He is faring better against defenses, striking whether they back off of him or not. He's lethal when he needs to be and appears to be unstoppable.
What sets him apart from Bryant is that LeBron is only 28, and there's so much more basketball for him to play. It seems ludicrous to think that he could improve his game, but with the way his career is going, it can only go up from here.
People were outraged that LeBron would abandon the Cleveland Cavaliers when they needed him the most. It seemed as if it was all for personal gain.
And it was.
Fast-forward to the present, however, and you can't help but believe that LeBron made the right choice. What may be different for him now is that he is not only playing for himself, but he's also playing for his team.
However, LeBron took on a whole new perspective, and began to utilize the other players for the benefit of a team victory. Since then, LeBron has developed in ways you could only dream of and has acquired the elusive championship ring he had wanted for so long.
He has made his teammates better.
Miami is on the road for another ring, and LeBron's "for-the-team" attitude has been the largest contributor.
LeBron James is on a hot streak right now, and he's got the numbers to prove it. The numbers don't necessarily make the player, but in LeBron's case, it is telling of just how great he is.
In just the past five games alone, he averaged 32.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists and a .663 field-goal percentage. This kind of productivity is rare, and James is forcing doubters to pay attention.
In the past seven games, he scored 224 points, yet he only took 116 shots. This is evidence of James' maturity as a player; when he takes a shot, he's confident in it. The hesitation is gone.
Since he made the move to Miami, LeBron has improved every season in nearly every category.
The numbers don't lie, and James' numbers point to greatness.
So far, no one has been able to contest LeBron. This is part of what makes him the best player: No one can stop him. He's shutting down defensive efforts game after game. You would think that someone would have figured him out by now.
Not yet. LeBron shows no signs of slowing down or stopping. He's on a mission, and no one is going to stand in his way. Using his size and skill, he defeats any chance of challenging his shot. He's tough to defend down low, and with his efficiency, he's nearly invincible.
Perhaps the only person that can stop him is LeBron himself.
Long gone are the days of LeBron throwing up powder at the beginning of each game.
Instead, LeBron has quietly matured into a player that respects the game for what it is. He is no longer concerned with the superstar status and undying attention. LeBron is simply playing to win and playing to be the best.
This has made him the excellent player he is today. Focus and determination have brought LeBron full circle. He has taken a step back from the celebrity and walked right into the essence of the game.
With time and age, LeBron has shaped himself into a player that is more concerned with leading his team to victory rather than fattening his bank account.
LeBron wants to win, and his maturity has led him to do just that.
LeBron James seems to have it all. He's at a pivotal point in his career, he's playing team basketball and he's got the stats.
What more can you ask for from a player?
The debates and comparisons continue as LeBron attempts to cement his name in NBA glory. While he believes that rings don't define the player, he knows that it will take more than one occupied finger to finally hush the doubters and write his name alongside the elite.
For now, though, he's the best.
Ten years down the road, it could be someone different.
That's the beauty of the game. You never know what you're going to get.