LeBron James deserves more respect

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One of the age-old debates in basketball is who the greatest player of all time is.

For the past several years, that debate has evolved into an argument about whether LeBron James has equaled or surpassed Michael Jordan.

Some of this debate falls upon generational lines, as Millennials are more likely to put the Los Angeles Lakers superstar in the top three, or even at the top, while Gen Xers and Baby Boomers tend to feel Jordan is the greatest ever by a mile.

Former NBA star Grant Hill, a Gen Xer, may feel that Jordan is the greatest, but he also feels that James gets disrespected too much.

“… in my opinion, Jordan is the G.O.A.T., but I hate the conversation because in order to justify it we put down the other, and so it’s like, LeBron’s incredible. What he has done – the pressure from a very young age, how he’s lived up to the expectations, and what he’s had to ensure that I don’t think Michael Jordan had to endure … the slander, you didn’t see or feel that or hear that back in the day. … Jordan didn’t have to experience [that]. LeBron had that added burden of just hearing it from everywhere, and how he’s been able to tune that out and go out and play and be a pass-first guy who could very well be the all-time leading scorer … . Those old heads who love Jordan, I don’t think we fully appreciate what LeBron has done in this environment that he’s in and how he’s done things off the court. He’s taken it to a whole ‘nother level – empowering his friends, building multiple platforms. … I’ve really admired him as a player and just being that face of the league for so many years. But no player has ever endured … as much vitriol and abuse and slander as LeBron James had endured.”

Throughout Jordan’s career, he was universally loved, and fans and the media alike wrapped him up in a warm embrace over the years as the gold standard of basketball and athletic excellence.

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For much of James’ career, he had enjoyed similar recognition, but over the last few years, he has grown polarizing for whatever reason.

Lakers fans seem to have a love/hate relationship with him. While they appreciate the fact that he brought them their most recent NBA championship and made the team relevant again, many of them despise his alleged disproportionate control over personnel decisions and accuse him of putting his personal goals ahead of the team’s goals.

Perhaps James will become more universally appreciated after he hangs it up for good.

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