Former NBA All-Star on if LeBron James deserves statue with Lakers: ‘Hell nah’

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas doesn’t believe that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James deserves a statue in Los Angeles.

“If his career stop right now, hell nah,” said Arenas. “He don’t have enough accolades in the Laker uniform.”

Even though James has spent the past six seasons in Los Angeles, Arenas doesn’t believe that the four-time NBA champion has accumulated enough accolades in Los Angeles to warrant a statue.

“The closest statue we have with that was with Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal),” Arenas continued. “Shaq, eight years, was it four rings? No, three rings. It’s gon’ be hard to put him in there with six years, 8,000 points, one championship, six All-Stars. That’s not good enough for a statue in Los Angeles. They could just put his shoes. They can start with the shoes.”

This season, the Lakers immortalized the great Kobe Bryant with a statue, showing their appreciation for his time with the franchise. During his playing career, Bryant led the Lakers to five NBA titles, playing every season of his NBA career with the team.

There’s no doubt that Bryant was worthy of a statue, but James certainly has a case as well, even though he’s played for other teams in his NBA career.

As a member of the Lakers, James has broken the NBA’s all-time scoring record, reached 40,000 career points, won an NBA title and NBA Finals MVP award and been named an All-Star in six straight seasons. He’s also made an All-NBA team in each of his first five seasons in Los Angeles and could be on his way to a sixth All-NBA nod with the Lakers this season.

The 20-time All-Star is also putting up incredible numbers this season despite turning 39 years old during the 2023-24 campaign. He is averaging 25.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game while shooting 52.7 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from beyond the arc.

While James’ accolades with Los Angeles may not compare to Bryant’s, he’s still had a massive impact on the franchise during his six seasons with the team.

It’s also possible that James plays several more seasons with the Lakers. He reportedly is seeking a deal for multiple years worth nine figures with the Lakers this coming offseason.

If that happens, James would be able to add more accolades to his impressive career and Lakers tenure.

The Lakers have immortalized players like Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Bryant as well as announcer Chick Hearn with statues.

It’s hard not to put James amongst that influential list, especially since he led the Lakers back to the top of the NBA in the 2019-20 season, winning the franchise’s 17th NBA title.

Ultimately, it will be the franchise’s decision – not Arenas’ call – whether or not James receives a statue in Los Angeles.

The Lakers star could make the decision even easier if he adds a fifth NBA title (second with the Lakers) to his resume this season. Los Angeles is fighting for position in the play-in tournament (it currently holds the No. 10 seed in the West) entering its matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.

Still, James showed last season that he could lead the team from a play-in spot all the way to the Western Conference Finals. Lakers fans are certainly hoping he can do that again and potentially get the team back to the NBA Finals.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.