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Why We'll Never See Another LeBron James in the NBA ... Ever

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIApril 17, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 15:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts during the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on April 15, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Whether you love him or you hate him, there's no debating the fact that LeBron James is one of the most physically gifted athletes to ever grace the game of basketball.

Aside from the fact that he's bigger than most NFL linebackers (6'8'', 250 lbs.) and that he can play any position on the court with ease, what makes him such a special player is the fact that he he plays the game with such a high basketball I.Q. and court awareness.

I'm not going to waste your time by making comparisons between LeBron James and Michael Jordan, or even talking about whether or not LeBron is a better basketball player than Kobe (which he is).

I'm simply going to tell you why the world of basketball will never see another player like LeBron James, and why we, as NBA fans, need to appreciate the special talent that exists within the player so affectionately called "The Chosen One."

We've never seen a player like LeBron James before

Sure, I could sit here and draw comparisons between LeBron and players like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, George Gervin, Julius Erving and many more NBA legends, but I won't. In all honesty, there's never been a player like LeBron James in the NBA before.

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The most realistic comparison to LeBron James is Magic Johnson, but LeBron is a more prolific and efficient scorer than Magic, while Magic is arguably a better passer and facilitator than LeBron, which makes that comparison one that isn't necessarily fair.

In reality, LeBron James is like no other player we've seen before.

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 16:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat dunks in the first quarter against the New Jersey Nets at Prudential Center on April 16, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

He can dunk on the same level, if not better than guys like Dominique Wilkins and Julius Erving. He can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court or finish in the paint and around the rim with ease, just like Michael Jordan did. He can run the court like Magic did and dish the ball John Stockton.

The point here is that we have never seen a player in the NBA with such an elite level of "completeness" and versatility like LeBron James.

LeBron isn't a mirror image of just one NBA legend, he's a masterful mural, made up from different aspects of numerous NBA legends, and that's what makes him such a rare player and a special athlete.

LeBron's best days are still ahead of him

Say what you will about LeBron's clutch-time abilities or his tendency to vanish when his team needs him to step up so far in his nine-year NBA career, but there's no doubting that he still has time to change those things, as he's only 27 years old.

Jordan didn't win his first NBA championship until he was 27 years old.

While Kobe won his first three rings with the Lakers starting at age 21, he didn't win one without the help of Shaquille O'Neal until he was 30 years old.

In no way am I comparing LeBron to those players. I'm simply pointing out that if LeBron can win his first NBA championship this season, he will be right on track with other NBA franchise talents when it comes to building a legacy filled with NBA championships.

There is no player in the NBA today that plays at the complete level that LeBron plays at, with career averages of 27.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game on 48.3 percent shooting from the field.

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 07: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at American Airlines Arena on February 7, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading a
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Just imagine what LeBron's career statistics are going to look like as he continues to mature and as he continues to develop into an even more efficient player.

There's no doubting that even though LeBron has been in the league for nine years, his best, most productive and most explosive days are ahead of him.

LeBron chose the road less traveled when he joined the Heat and he embraced the role of NBA villain

There certainly have been players in the NBA that fans have loved to hate, like Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Dennis Rodman, Bill Laimbeer, Reggie Miller—the list goes on.

We've never seen a player that's hated quite on the level that LeBron James is hated, though, and whether he intended it to happen or not, he chose that path himself, and that's a piece of what makes him such a special player.

LeBron certainly handled his big decision two summers ago in the wrong way, but there's no doubt that he made the right decision, as he did what few other players have the fortitude to do: He chose the road less traveled to South Beach.

Choosing to take his talents to South Beach and leave behind his beloved hometown of Akron, Ohio wasn't an easy decision. It even resulted in him becoming the most hated player in the NBA. 

What makes LeBron so special is that he's finally embraced that role, instead of trying to fight it, and that's not something that most other NBA players would do.

I'm not trying to glorify the fact that LeBron turned his back on his hometown, but I'm just pointing out that LeBron's decision to play in Miami created quite a dichotomy between the player he is on the court and the public perception of him.

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the New York Knicks at American Airlines Arena on February 23, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

There will most likely never be another player in the NBA whose career legacy and public perception is based off of one decision, rather than the insane production that he brings to the court night in and night out.

LeBron has given fans something to talk about, something to dissect and something to argue about for the rest of time, as his public perception and on-the-court production create an interesting dilemma when it comes to the legacy he will leave.

With all that being said, we will never see another LeBron James in the NBA again.

We will never see another player who is so ridiculously talented and productive, while at the same time being so hated for following his heart. 

Basketball fans need to just sit back and enjoy the show that LeBron puts on night in and night out, as it's something that we well never see again in the NBA.

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