The GOAT? LeBron James’ time with the Los Angeles Lakers has been a failure and his only championship came in a bubble

LeBron James has gotten closer and closer to being the greatest basketball player of all time.

James’ tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers is increasingly become a failure at the same time.

LeBron James is teasing retirement again after another NBA playoff defeatCredit: Getty

There is no middle ground when you’re The King.

GOAT’s don’t do mid.

But the Lakers have been even less than that with James draped in purple and gold, annually getting stomped by the Denver Nuggets and this time barely lasting five games in a playoff marathon that crowns a lasting champion after two long months.

Throw in the fact that the self-proclaimed greatest of all-time won his only NBA Finals with the Lake Show in a surreal bubble in Florida during COVID-19, and James is a woeful 1-5 in the only stat that really matters in La La Land.

Winning it all and hoisting a shining trophy for the rest of the world to envy.

James didn’t take his talents to the forever home of Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to get humbled 4-1 in the first round by a hobbling Jamal Murray.

James was supposed to win championships with the Lakers.

Not one. Not two. But title after title, dominating the league one last time before he dunked his way into a gorgeous sunset.

Nikola Jokic is on another level than James in 2024Credit: Getty

Mean ol’ Nikola Jokic and the invincible Nuggets got in the way – again.

A real team, with a real head coach, and an actual roster designed to win championships in 2023, ’24 and beyond.

Shaquille O’Neal throws shots at LeBron James while making his stance on the Michael Jordan GOAT debate clear

James is now back in the same place where he’s so often been.

A poor, inept head coach is getting torched by frustrated fans, while The King toys with a microphone and teases that he might leave the city if he doesn’t get exactly what he wants.

Darvin Ham is about to find out how much power he actually holds in star-obsessed Los Angeles.

The Lakers have become so desperate that they floated the idea they’re willing to draft James’ son, Bronny – who might not even be draft-worthy and averaged 4.8 points on a below-.500 team in college – as soon as Ham’s squad was knocked out of the postseason again.

James’ career numbers are undeniably historic.

If being the NBA’s GOAT was defined by longevity, he would already hold the crown.

But Michael Jordan was modern athletic dominance in its purest form – even when MJ had a couple of weird years playing for some team known as the Washington Wizards in his late 30s.

James had to form a Big Three in Miami to finally win a title, was at his all-time best when he eventually realized that Cleveland was his real home, then chose the Lakers when everyone else knew that the Lakers weren’t really the Lakers anymore.

James flexed hard when he won his only championship with the Lakers in a bubbleCredit: Getty

Since then, James hasn’t won an MVP.

Big men are back in style in the NBA.

Anthony Davis has become Los Angeles’ best overall player.

And James has entered the land of the very good.

He’s not great on the hardwood anymore, and he’s no longer able to single-handedly carry a team through a two-month marathon filled with seven-game battles, round after round.

He has 20 All-Star selections, four rings, four Finals MVPs and 40,474 career points.

It’s amazing what James can accomplish with a ball in hand at 39.

But that’s as a gradually aging one-man show, not as the best player in The Association or the supreme leader of the best team in the NBA.

Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant represented true greatness for the LakersCredit: AFP

James chose the Lakers.

Now, the Lakers can’t get out of the first round with James and Davis co-starring on the same team.

Los Angeles is also on the verge of coldly parting ways with another head coach, with Ham potentially joining Frank Vogel and Luke Walton as discarded names removed from a constantly rewritten script.

James is running out of pages in 2024.

He needed a couple more world titles to truly rival Jordan, and even then the debate never would have ended.

James is still the second-best player of all time.

After back-to-back playoff gut punches by the Nuggets, James might have to move to Golden State and become a No. 2 to Stephen Curry to have one last dance in the Finals.

He went to Los Angeles to win championships – plural.

The only one he won has an odd asterisk and barely had anyone watching in the arena.

For almost anyone else, that would be just fine.

When you keep telling everyone that you really are the GOAT while getting KO’d in the first, that’s a failure.

Especially if you attached your name and super powers to the Lakers’ legacy.

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