Former Lakers champion says LeBron James already deserves a statue in L.A.

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James continues to add to his incredible legacy as he storms toward his 39th birthday, but another former Los Angeles Lakers champion said the superstar already has done enough to earn a statue in the city.

Challenging the idea that the NBA championship James led the Lakers to in 2020 is somehow diminished because it was won in the COVID-19 bubble, Josh Powell said that it should be acknowledged that doing so wasn’t easy.

Powell won NBA titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, with those teams led by superstar Kobe Bryant. The late Lakers great is scheduled to be honored with a statue outside Arena this coming February, and Powell believes a similar honor will be due to James at some point as well.

Now playing his 21st NBA season, James looks to be on a mission to bring another NBA title to Los Angeles. About to turn 39 on Dec. 30, he has pushed the Lakers into the finals of the inaugural NBA in-Season Tournament, which will be played against the Indiana Pacers in Las Vegas on Saturday.

James scored 30 points and added eight assists and five rebounds in a dominant 133-89 win against the New Orleans Pelicans in the semifinals of the tournament on Thursday. It is thought by some that he might be especially motivated to win the first In-Season Tournament in order to add that unique accomplishment to his credentials in the debate over the greatest player of all time against Michael Jordan.

Despite early season plans to limit his playing time and workload this season, James has sat out just one of the Lakers’ 23 games so far this season and is averaging about 33 minutes per contest. His performances have helped them to a current three-game winning streak and 14-9 overall record that leads the Pacific Division heading into play on Friday.

James’ total NBA resume is indisputable, with four championships and four NBA MVP awards in addition to his status as the all-time leading scorer in league history. That alone could be enough to warrant a statue from the Lakers, but another NBA championship banner would almost certainly remove any question.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.