Stephen A. Smith has always been a heavy supporter of Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player of all time — and with that opinion has come some pretty constant criticism of LeBron James.
While the ESPN analyst’s not ready to change his mind on the long-discussed MJ vs. Bron debate just yet, this year’s playoffs poses an interesting opportunity for the Lakers superstar in his eyes.
If LeBron can make his way through the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets on the way to his fifth NBA title, Smith says he may be ready to “bow down to the King.”
“If LeBron James goes through the Clippers with Kawhi and Paul George and Rondo — and then he goes and beats Kevin Durant along with Kyrie and James Harden,” Smith said to Kendrick Perkins (a well-known supporter of LeBron as the GOAT) on First Take. “I’m not going to go that far. He’ll never be No. 1 to me over MJ, but I will say this. I won’t have a critical word to say about LeBron James for the rest of his career.”
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) April 27, 2021
In now his 18th NBA season, James leads the Lakers in scoring and assists with 25.4 points and 7.9 assists per game.
Unfortunately for Los Angeles, their superstar leader has missed the last 20 contests with a severe ankle sprain suffered back in late March. Since then, the former top team in the Western Conference has gone 8-12.
Currently holding the No. 5 position in the West, LeBron and his squad will be forced onto a tough road as they enter this year’s postseason in a stacked conference. With the red-hot Jazz, Suns, Clippers and Nuggets all ahead of the Lakers, that’s all just a precursor to a potential matchup against the overwhelming title-favorite Nets.
That being said, with Anthony Davis slowly returning from his Achilles/calf issue and LeBron teasing at a impending return earlier this week — Los Angeles will be an incredibly dangerous No. 5 seed come May 22.