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Legacies in Play for Lakers, LeBron

September 18th, 2020 · No Comments · Basketball, Kobe, Lakers, NBA

Hey, no pressure, but …

–The Lakers are one championship behind the Boston Celtics for the most NBA titles, 17. They could catch their green arch-rivals by winning The Bubble Finals in Florida.

LeBron James already has passed Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in career scoring, has only Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in front of him, and is perhaps a fourth NBA title away from greatest-of-all-time discussion.

Of course, this all depends on the Lakers defeating the Denver Nuggets in the conference finals, beginning tonight, and then the Eastern Conference winners, Miami or those guys, the Celtics.

Some significant legacies are at stake.

The Lakers have been on a four-decade chase to overcome the Celtics’ dominance from the 1960s, when they typically defeated the Lakers of Jerry West and Elgin Baylor for championships.

Anyone who has spent any time around the Lakers franchise knows how badly they would like to force the Celtics to share the No. 1 ranking a few weeks hence.

Whether or not that are able to do that depends on what sort of performance James produces over the next series (or two).

He has been the league’s most consistently dominant player for more than a decade.

He has been a leader, a scorer, a defender, the face of three franchises. He has averaged approximately 2,000 points a year for 17 seasons, and if can produce two more like that he could be the leading scorer in the history of the league. Ahead of Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Dirk Nowitzki — and those larger-than-life guys, Jordan and Kobe.

So, a lot is at stake. But the Lakers need to beat back the Nuggets, who just came from 3-1 down to oust the Clippers, and then move on and take down the Miami Heat or the Celtics.

Maybe the Lakers are willing to leave the Celtics alone in their usual perch. Maybe LeBron is satisfied with being the third-best scorer in league history and three championships — probably too much to overcome in the case of Bryant (five rings), and Jordan (six). But give James a fourth ring, and a chance to secure another next season … well, then the Greatest of All Time debate takes on a different cast.

Let us see if the Lakers and LeBron can rise to the occasion. It has been a long time since they got the job done, but perhaps the additional historical goals might push them to the top of the heap in the NBA’s weirdest season.


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