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No, Lebron James Isn’t the Best of All Time, and He’s Not Even Close

There are plenty of reasons to debate who is the greatest basketball player of all time. Some might lean toward the dominating Wilt Chamberlain, while others go with the more common and conventional Michael Jordan. The newer NBA fan might say that LeBron James is the greatest of all time, and they might even make a strong case.

The King has made seven consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and has two championship rings. Plenty of statistical facts put him in rare air. But LeBron, simply put, is not the greatest basketball player of all time — not yet, anyway.

Win shares are an advanced stat that attributes the appropriate portion of a team’s wins to each player. We considered the players with the most win shares of all time. Let’s look at James and the six players at the top.

7. LeBron James

LeBron James dunks the rock.

LeBron James dunks the rock. LeBron James is King, but with the title comes hate. | Elsa/Getty Images

Part of the knock on LeBron throughout his career is that he’s not the scorer who Jordan was. To be the greatest, you need to score like the greatest. But here’s the thing: James can score with the best of them.

At the tender age of 21, LeBron averaged 31.4 points per game on 48% shooting from the field. Two years later, he actually led the NBA in scoring average at 30 points per game. In his career, LeBron has earned three championship rings — two with the Miami Heat and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers — and has totaled 205.4 win shares in 14 NBA seasons.

James led the NBA in this category five consecutive years, from 2008–09 to 2012–13, and topped out at 20.3 win shares as his career-high. At his recent pace, it would take LeBron six more seasons to reach the top of the list — assuming no major decline.

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