LeBron James and the Lakers are one win away from claiming the 2020 NBA Finals. A victory Friday night earns James his fourth championship ring. It’ll be one more positive mark on one of the most impressive resumes in NBA history.
Not if you ask Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless, though. During Wednesday’s episode of “Undisputed,” Bayless argued that winning these NBA Finals would do more harm than good for James’ case of being better than Michael Jordan.
“This cakewalk of a Finals victory actually hurts LeBron’s far-fetched GOAT case more than it helps it,” Bayless said. “This is an epic mismatch. This ring should be made of cubic zirconia. Because this one has a big ol’ asterisk beside it.”
Where does one even start with such a silly take? To call the Heat a “cakewalk” because they were the Eastern Conference’s five-seed is to ignore how dominant they’ve been in the bubble. Injuries to Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic have hurt Miami’s cause, but even then, the Lakers have nowhere near the secondary talent of the Heat. This is James and Anthony Davis versus a potent-shooting, deep Miami roster.
Bayless has long been known as a LeBron hater and an MJ lover — it’s part of his brand.
“Michael Jordan never had a path this easy to a ring, and obviously — even you have agreed with this — has never had a Finals opponent as weak as the Miami Heat, the fifth seed in the Leastern Conference,” Bayless went on to say Wednesday. “I’m sorry, this is disqualified. You saw it from the start, it should have been a sweep. You know it and I know it.”
The Lakers had to knock off a red-hot Damian Lillard, maybe the most gifted offensive player on the planet in James Harden, and a Nuggets team with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray playing out of their minds. It’s easy to reminisce about all the Hall of Famers Jordan always had to beat, but that’s perpsective. James surely has beaten a handful of Hall of Famers on his way to these Finals, too.
That’s not even to mention how well James has played this postseason. He’s averaging 26.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor.
Bayless will surely continue to point to Jordan’s 6-0 record in the NBA Finals as proof of his superiority to James, who’s currently 3-6 in the Finals. That, of course, ignores losses that James had on an overmatched Cleveland team the first time around, along with running into this generation’s greatest team, the Golden State Warriors. It also ignores that Jordan made the Finals in six of his 13 NBA seasons while James has now made it in 10 of his 17.
But regardless of where you stand on the GOAT debate, and even if you are inclined to agree with Bayless on this wild take, there’s no doubt about what would hurt James’ legacy the most: surrendering a 3-1 advantage and losing the 2020 NBA Finals.
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