How Will This NBA Season Affect Lebron’s Legacy?

A Work in Progress

In what has already been an unprecedented career, Cleveland’s Lebron James heads into the 2016-17 looking to cement his status as one of the NBA’s all time greats. Depending on who you ask, James is currently in the top 5 or 10 players ever. Having now led two different franchises to the top of the NBA mountain, what does the coming season mean to his legacy?

Would a fourth NBA title put him in the conversation with Michael Jordan for the Greatest of All Time? And what if the Warriors reascend to the NBA throne, and the Cavaliers do not repeat as champs? Would it damage Lebron’s legacy if the Cavaliers lost in, say, the Conference Finals? This is one of them most fascinating narratives of the upcoming season.

If The Cavs Repeat as Champs

A Finals rematch between the Cavs and the Warriors seems like almost a foregone conclusion. There doesn’t seem to be anyone capable of dethroning either team as conference champs. Barring significant injury, James will lead the Cavaliers into the Finals to play the loaded Warriors for a third consecutive time.

And with the Warriors adding Kevin Durant to an already incredible lineup, a Cavs win in this scenario might very well outdo last season for narrative greatness. A fourth title would mean that Lebron has led two different franchises to back-to-back titles. If this were to happen, only the most obstinate Lebron haters would keep him out of top 3 consideration.

If the Cavs Do Not Repeat as Champs

If Lebron and the Cavs fail to repeat this year, it should really do nothing to diminish Lebron’s legacy as an all time great. But in the court of public opinion, full as it’s been with anti Lebron sentiment, a loss this year would bar him even further from entering the stratosphere of Jordan, Kareem, Chamberlain, and Russell.

It’s a cruel fact, but Lebron needs at least one more title to silence his remaining critics and launch himself into universal contention for top 3 all time. Anything less and the effects off his ill-advised decision might linger longer than his massive achievements.