With LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers just one win away from bringing home this year’s NBA crown, the GOAT debate has inevitably resurfaced. James, who is arguably the best player in the league right now, has been able to transform his game to make sure he continuously dominates the court every opportunity he gets. At 35, ‘The King’ is poised to win his 4th fourth NBA ring which further pushes him forward as one of the greatest to ever play the sport.
Just recently, the great Isiah Thomas went public by saying that for him, James is the ‘best and most complete player’ he has ever seen. Though a lot may side with the Hall of Famer, some obviously disagree and Stephen A. Smith was one of them. The ESPN anchor wasn’t having it and went on to blast Thomas’ slander.
“Eras matter and what I find most egregious, most blasphemous about Isiah Thomas’ statement is that he ignores the era he’s playing in, as far as I’m concerned. It was very physical, it was very volatile, it was an era made for the Kendrick Perkins of the world, for crying out loud.” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take.
I believe @KingJames is playing in the SOFTEST era we have ever seen. pic.twitter.com/Xpb2VJp32V
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) October 8, 2020
He added, “I’m talking about banging bodies, Jordan rules, people getting assaulted and only called for a foul, as opposed to today where you can get ejected for having bad breath. LeBron James is 6-9, 260 pounds — is playing in the softest era we have ever seen in NBA basketball.”
With the way the game is played today, you can sort of see where Smith is coming from. Today’s NBA rewards flops with favorable calls and high fives which were unthinkable back then. Players shoot more threes now rather than attack the basket and bang bodies. Referees also get to review calls now and coaches even get to challenge certain plays. These are certain things that certainly make today’s NBA different from before.
Be it as it may, the NBA right now is as beautiful as ever. Yes, some may pertain to it as ‘soft’ with how certain things have evolved but competition is still truly at its finest. Whether we agree or not, this is LeBron James’ era – however way we’d want to describe it.