LeBron James: 5 Ways for LeBron to Become the Best Basketball Player of All Time

Tyler WickerhamCorrespondent IMay 25, 2011

LeBron James: 5 Ways for LeBron to Become the Best Basketball Player of All Time

0 of 5

    MIAMI, FL - MAY 24:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts in the second half against the Chicago Bulls in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 24, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USE
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    LeBron James has a chance to surpass Michael Jordan and become the greatest basketball player of all time. However, there are several things he needs to accomplish to achieve that status.  

    Many of you are already dismissing this possibility, but if you look into the future of what lies in the path of LeBron from now until his retirement, plenty of situations can arise.

    Not thinking of what he has done so far, but rather what he still can do, you have to realize that it lies within the realm of possibility.

No. 5: Develop a Post Game

1 of 5

    LeBron refuses to go down low. This doesn’t make any sense and is a big reason why people say Kobe Bryant is a better player than LeBron in the past few years. 

    Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant’s offensive game can beat you on the perimeter if a bigger and slower player is guarding them, but also go down in the post if a smaller, quicker player is guarding them. In short, to guard Michael or Kobe, you have to pick your poison.

    LeBron can only beat you by facing you up. Either LeBron is shooting a jump shot, which isn’t as high of a shooting percentage as it is in the post, or LeBron drives into the lane.

    That’s it.

    The problem is he’s not always going to be able to get a good shot off or be able to drive into the lane if a fast defensive player can step in front of him and cut him off.

    According to NBA.com, LeBron is 6'8" 250 pounds. Implementing a post game would allow him to take that fast defensive player and dominate him down low. The only defense he would be able to put on LeBron would be to foul him.

No. 4: Develop a Go-To Unstoppable Shot

2 of 5

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had the sky hook. Michael Jordan had his fadeaway jumper that was later copied by Kobe Bryant. Currently Dirk Nowitzki has his one leg fadeaway jumper that is killing the Thunder.

    LeBron has nothing.

    On the 1990s Bulls team or whatever team Kareem was currently on, when the team’s offense became stagnant or the team needed a bucket, it relied on Jordan or Kareem to score with his unstoppable shot.

    In Game 4 of the Western Conference finals the Mavericks relied on Dirk to use his unstoppable shot to bring them back from a 15-point deficit.

    The Miami Heat do not have this option. Instead they simply go isolation and hope that LeBron or Dwyane Wade can make something happen.

    At the end of regulation in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Heat's play was LeBron iso, and he ran over the defender for an offensive foul.

    If LeBron implemented a post game, as previously discussed, he could easily try to include something similar to Michael’s fadeaway or Kareem’s sky hook.

    LeBron physically is a freak of nature. He’s taller and stronger than Michael Jordan, so copying him exactly wouldn’t be necessary.

    But he needs something—a shot that makes any defensive effort against LeBron have zero chance of keeping him from scoring.

    We are seeing it with Dirk in the Western Conference finals. If LeBron is to surpass Jordan as the best of all time, we need to start seeing it in the Eastern Conference finals.

No. 3: Improve on His Likability

3 of 5

    After “The Decision” last July, most of the public has been anti-LeBron, even though it doesn’t make complete sense because he raised millions of dollars for the Boys and Girls Club and decided to play with one other star, two if you consider Chris Bosh a star.

    Why would he stay in Cleveland playing with no other stars when playing with one other star increases his chances of winning a championship from 7.1 percent with one star to 25 percent with two stars, according to the book Scorecasting by Tobias Moskowitz and Jon Wertheim? If you include Chris Bosh as a star, your chances of winning a championship with three stars are 39 percent.

    However, people make decisions emotionally and then only listen to facts or logic that back up their already preconceived stance on a subject. So if you hate LeBron since “The Decision,” then you have just absently read these past two paragraphs.

    Because people are just going to irrationally hate LeBron, becoming as likable as Michael Jordan is going to be tough.

    Even though LeBron is a much better teammate than Michael Jordan—he once punched a teammate, and he doesn’t have a gambling problem—people still love Jordan more than LeBron James since “The Decision.”

    LeBron needs to go back to making funny, family-friendly commercials. Similar to what Michael Jordan did to become a household name, LeBron needs to go back to making more State Farm commercials and actively find other sponsors to do commercials for. Yes, this has nothing to do with on-the-court success but this is about his legacy, and if people don’t like you, they are not going to remember you fondly enough when you stop playing basketball.

    Michael Jordan hasn’t played basketball for almost a decade, yet he is still on TV doing commercials, keeping him ahead of LeBron in likability and helping keep him No. 1 as the best player of all time.

    Would anyone be surprised if Michael Jordan still does those Hanes commercials because he felt it would help him stay the best player ever?

No. 2: Continue to Work Towards 10,000 Hours of Purposeful Practice

4 of 5

    If you read either Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell or Bounce by Matthew Syed, you would have learned that the elite in a particular field have all put in at least 10,000 hours of purposeful practice.

    There was a study done on concert violinists. They interviewed three different groups of people: the elite soloists that were the best violinists, violinists that are in the orchestra but not first chair like the first group and people who were only music teachers.

    The only difference in these three groups was the amount of purposeful practice they put in.

    As you can guess, the best violinists had put in at least 10,000 hours of practice, whereas the second group had only put in around 7,000 and the music teachers around 2,000 hours.

    What separated Michael Jordan from everyone else was his work ethic. He practiced harder and put in more hours than everyone else. This is what made Michael Jordan the best player of all time.

    LeBron has to continue to work harder than everyone else. Kobe Bryant works harder than everybody else in the league, which is why he has been the best player in the league. LeBron has to take over that title of the hardest-working player in the league.

    If LeBron can’t work harder than everyone else in the league, then he won’t be the best player in the league. If LeBron is never the best player in the league, how can he be the best player of all time?

No. 1: Win at Least Five Rings

5 of 5

    When you are talking about the best players of all time, you have to take into account how many titles a player has won.

    Charles Barkley will always be remembered for never winning a championship. He should have won the 1993 championship if Kevin Johnson played to his potential, but no one remembers that. All they remember is he never won a championship.

    LeBron currently has never won a championship either. Because of this he is fighting to be in the top-10 list of players of all time. If he wins just one, he will be vaulted up to the top five.

    But this is what LeBron needs to do to be considered the best player of all time. Michael Jordan has six titles, so getting to at least five championships will give him a fighting chance to be considered better than Michael Jordan.

    Certainly, if the Miami Heat go crazy and win 10 championships, I believe that argument won’t be necessary because it would obviously be LeBron James as the best basketball player of all time.

    Winning is what everyone remembers. Everyone remembers that it was Michael Jordan’s Bulls that won the 1993 NBA championship, not that Charles Barkley’s Suns team was better and should have won that year.

    LeBron has a great chance at winning several championships—as we found earlier, at least a 25 percent chance of winning a championship every year.

    Ultimately it is up to LeBron James whether he is considered the best player of all time. Ten years from now we will all forget about the impact of “The Decision” and instead remember all the championships he won because of it.