Appearing on ESPN's First Take, the Lakers legend said James is "the No. 1 sports player in the world" ahead of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes:
"When we got to January, and LeBron kept dominating. Then on the [March 6 game], he defended Giannis Antetokounmpo and did an amazing job. LeBron did, and dominated in scoring, rebounds and assists. Then he turned around [on March 8], they beat the Clippers...he dominated on both ends of the court. I said 'that's your MVP.' So LeBron James, to me, right now if the season ended today, is the MVP of the league. ... I like Patrick Mahomes, but he's no LeBron James. And LeBron James is the No. 1 sports player in the world."
Before the NBA season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, James was putting pressure on Antetokounmpo in the MVP race.
James averaged 30.2 points, 9.9 assists, 8.6 rebounds and was shooting 54.6 percent from the field in the last 10 games he played. The Lakers went 8-2 in those 10 games, including wins over the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
That run by James began on Feb. 12, 10 days after Mahomes led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl victory in 50 years. The Kansas City superstar was outstanding in the postseason with 901 yards passing, 135 yards rushing and 12 total touchdowns in three games.
The Chiefs won all three of their playoff games by at least 11 points after trailing by at least 10 points.
James has a significant advantage over Mahomes in terms of overall body of work. He's 11 years older and has 16 All-Star appearances, four MVP awards and three championships. The Chosen One has the Lakers sitting atop the Western Conference with a 49-14 record.