The International Blogtable: A King Four Times, But...The Best Ever?


Every week, the International Blogtable brings together some of the best basketball minds from around the world, posing a burning question to writers and editors from the NBA's fleet of international web destinations. It's a BIG world, after all.


When LeBron was named MVP, Pat Riley said, of all the legends heís seen up close, King James was ďthe best of them all.Ē To you, what would LeBron have to do to finish his career as The Best of All Time?
Pawel Weszka
Editor, NBA Africa

He and the Heat would need to beat the Bulls first ... Then win back-to-back championships Ö Become the 2013 NBA Finals MVP Ö And come back even stronger after this year in a quest for yet another championship. One cannot escape comparisons between James and Michael Jordan. MJ was the most dominant player in the game and is most remembered not only for his unmatched determination to win, but also his historically big performances in the Playoffs and NBA Finals. MJ was the best player on the best team, he had a great supporting cast and the best coach in the game. Eric Spoelstra is where Phil Jackson was back in 1992 Ė he has the best player in the game and currently the best team in the NBA. LeBron should stay in Miami, with great leaders and mentors in Pat Riley and Spoelstra, and with a great team and a great organization he can take on NBA history. He needs to keep winning the championships and dominate the game at the highest level of the competition. And as this yearís Playoffs show -- perhaps above all else -- he needs to stay healthy.
Adriano Albuquerque
Blogger, NBA Brasil

At the risk of sounding repetitive with this one, he will need to win "not one, not two, not three..." And even if he does win all the way to seven, it might not be enough. Michael Jordan just set that bar way too high with his enduring dominance and presence in big games, against really good teams - some great, like the '93 Suns, the '96 Sonics and the '98 Jazz. LeBron might be already better than Michael in some areas, but the conversation around "best of all time" is not just about skills: it's about stepping up and finding a way to win when it counts the most. MJ still gets the nod because he would, much more often than not, find a way to win, even if it meant doing things that weren't his strengths. If LBJ can find that consistency in big moments, then he will belong in that discussion.
Hanson Guan
Editor, NBA China

The fourth MVP title in five years further lifts Lebronís standing in history, though he has a long way to go to before he truly deserve Pat Rileyís designation as Ďall-time great.' The yardstick of a playerís greatness involves the number of rings heís mustered, along with how crucial he was to his teamís crowning.

A single championship ring adds little historical weight to a recipient of virtually all other honors. In my view, he needs to have his Heat retain the championship this season and lead the team to win the Final the following year, too. Even so, the number of championships he will have amassed would hardly approach that of Bill Russell (11), Michael Jordan (6) or even Kobe Bryant (5). So, if he were to win those three in a row, he'd still need to win three more -- and it wouldn't hurt to have him take home MVP honors in all three Finals. Apart from at least six rings, he should overtake Kobe as the youngest-ever player to achieve 30,000 career points. Whatís more, his overall career points upon retirement should be among the top three of all time Ė better still if he tops all others.
Philipp Dornhegge

Even if he won the championship every year from here on out and were to win the Finals MVP Award every time (which he won't), Iím not sure he could become the best ever. As great as LeBron is, he already lost twice on the biggest stage: once as a young player with the Cavs, and once when he and the Miami Heat were the clear favorites against the Mavs. As great as he is physically, mentally he isnít anything close to the cold-blooded assassin that Michael Jordan was, who was flawless in NBA Finals. And we have yet to see how LeBronís game develops as he gets older. Compared to Jordan or Kobe Bryant heís technically flawed, especially in terms of footwork. I would be surprised if he could still play with that reckless abandon when heís in his thirties. If heís slows down just a step and other players of similar size can match his strength, then itíll come down to his low-post game. Which leaves a lot to be desired.
Eduardo Schell
Editor, NBA EspaŮa

Ok, now it's official: too much hair product may cause some damage. Don't take this as an attack from a bald person on Pat's immaculate hair. I loved him comparing LJ to a bamboo tree, but he has clearly trespassed over the line. Bron is an awesome freak of nature and dominant player trying to become legen - wait for it - dary, but paraphrasing the great Barney Stinson, LJ cant be my mini-cherry on top of the regular cherry on top of the sundae of awesomeness. Its unthinkable for those of us who grew up watching Magic and Larry saving the game, those of us who thought MJ brought a fourth dimension to the game and admired previous trendsetters like Kareem. LBJ is in the right path to Awesomeland and many will see him as their favorite player (or the greatest of all), but its just a question of likes/dislikes and shades. He's good, but not the best. At least for me.
Stefanos Triantafyllos
Editor, NBA Greece

I am with Pat Riley on that. LeBron James is playing like the "best of all time" right now. Defense, offense, rebounding, transition, you name it. He does it all, 100 percent every night -- and he continues to improve every year. And that's the scary part. "The Best of All Time", on the other hand, doesn't necessarily have to do with basketball. It is more than a "legacy" thing. And you know that the main subject on the debate will by number "6" and number "5". Does these numbers RING a bell? (OK, I admit, a bad one). So at the end of the day, LJ has to compete with the six championships of you-know-who (I will give a hint: he enjoys his honeymoon in the Greek islands right now) and the 5 of Kobe Bryant. In order to do that he has to become more aggressive, competitive and demanding towards his teammates, like the two legends named above. He is aggressive, competitive and demanding regarding himself, but even he cannot outplay an entire team. So, to truly rank as the Greatest Ever, he has to be more vocal and a true leader on and off of the floor. He is the best player. Now he has to make his team, every year, the best team.
Karan Madhok
Blogger, NBA India

Be better than Michael Jordan, the man near-unanimously considered the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) of basketball. But not only is he chasing Jordanís six rings, six Finals MVPs, five MVPs and other records, but he is also chasing a host of other greats with great accomplishments, like Bill Russell (11 rings, 5 MVPs), Magic Johnson (5 rings, 3 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6 rings, 6 MVPs, 6 Finals MVPs) and many others. LeBron Ė who already has four MVP awards -- could possibly be on course to win more MVP awards than any other player in history, but regular season success isnít enough to crown one as the GOAT. LeBron has to translate this dominance into Playoffs dominance, and unless he is able to collect at least four more championships, he wonít be in the same conversation as Michael Jordan for me.
Davide Chinellato
Editor, NBA Italia

LeBron is already on a path toward becoming a legend. Last season he won basically everything, and this year he played even better to win his fourth MVP in five years. He's by far the best player of his generation. To be the Best of All Time, he should keep improving, piling up awards, and win at least six rings. Better, too, if not playing for a team loaded with stars like Miami. He should become the face of this sport even more, on and off the court. But still, will that ever be possible after "The Decision?" Not sure about it.
Aldo Avinante

Honestly, I already agree with Pat Riley but there will never be a best of all time player because that is purely subjective. For argument's sake, though, if he can be an eight-time MVP, 12-time Finals MVP, five-time Defensive Player of the Year and win 12 NBA championships maybe that would make him the undisputed best and greatest of all time. Basically break every record and just demolish the competition day in and day out. Is that too much to ask?
SelÁuk Aytekin
Editor, NBA Turkiye

If LeBron wants to be a legend and the best of them all, he must go back to Cleveland and make them champion. Otherwise I will not even argue about him.