You can argue that LeBron James is no longer the clearcut best player in the NBA. After an anonymous poll that reached that conclusion, he’s using it as motivation.
ESPN polled a group of 10 anonymous NBA scouts and executives on a range of issues regarding the league. One of the more interesting aspects of the poll: the lack of love for LeBron James as the league’s best player after the Lakers’ early playoff exit this past season.
The breakdown wound up being split evenly between Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, two former MVPs who are pretty clearly at the top of their game. Tim Bontemps said that LeBron was the only other player mentioned, but ultimately he didn’t get any of the 10 votes.
After the article dropped, James, who has enjoyed going by the tongue-in-cheek moniker “the Washed King,” tweeted #SUPERWASHED with a trash bin emoji. He wasn’t done, later thanking those involved for the motivation with an appropriate “fuel” emoji.
THANK YOU! As if I didn’t need more to⛽️ ME! #Washed👑
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 19, 2021
After carrying the Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA Title in 2020, last year was a bit of a step back for James. He missed a fair amount of time, appearing in just 45 of the team’s 72 regular season games. At an even 25 points per game, he posted his lowest scoring output since his rookie season, which says much more about his career than his play in 2020-21.
He was still clearly one of the league’s best players, and L.A. has gotten him a bunch of help this offseason, acquiring a third superstar in Russell Westbrook to take over point guard duties. Among the other notable additions for the team: Carmelo Anthony, Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, and Dwight Howard.
Last year’s team didn’t really get to gel due to the injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, so there is no guarantee that revamping the whole roster in one offseason will fix the team’s issues, but on paper it is a pretty loaded squad. While he may have taken a half-step back in 2020-21, there’s little doubt that he remains one of the league’s best players at 36 years old, even if it is fair to slide Giannis or KD ahead of him.