LeBron James was a superstar before he ever played an NBA game, signing a lucrative shoe deal with Nike before he was even drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The trajectory has been up for King James since coming into the league in 2003, now held in the same esteem as any of the all-time greats before him. It's not just because of the rings and accolades, but the ever-developing skillset that got him to that point.
James has become a dominant force in just about every facet of basketball. He's arguably the closest we've seen to a player that can effectively play all five positions since Magic Johnson, and that's a testament to how incredibly skilled and physically gifted he is.
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LeBron's a tripe-double machine who can score from anywhere on the court, dish the most dazzling dimes in the league and absolutely crush rims with a full head of steam. What he, and so many players pride themselves on, is defense however.
Sure, it's not as sexy as offense, but it's just as, if not more, important than scoring a bunch of points. James has quietly improved as a defender, particularly in close around the rim. LeBron is basically a tank when he's on the court, and he knows how to use his size to his advantage.
James joined Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye's Road Trippin' podcast as a guest in the season finale episode. James dropped one of the best lines of the show when he said this about the only two people that can score on him down-low.
“Only two people who can score on me in the post: Shaquille O’Neal in his prime, and Jesus Christ," James said.
That's quite a statement, but anyone who's watched an engaged LeBron locking down the low-post defensively knows that there's reason for him to be so confident. Sure, he isn't a seven-footer, but he's such a tremendous physical specimen and intelligent player that he plays as if he was.
Just ask Pau Gasol:
That's some fiesty stuff, and just a small sampling of the kind of dominance LeBron exerts on his opponent when he locks in defensively. How about something more recent? Glad you asked; here's James shutting Karl-Anthony Towns down earlier this season:
James' post defense is definitely good, but even he knows Prime Shaq was a force unlike anything the NBA has ever and will ever see again. As far as Jesus Christ, we'll follow-up once we check out a few of his scouting tapes.