Former NBA star says those who criticize LeBron James often don’t know anything about basketball

Orel Dizon
4 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James may be one of the most polarizing NBA icons of all time.

Many people believe him to be one of the greatest players ever. On the other hand, he has also faced plenty of criticism through the years. Retired NBA star Eddie Johnson recently came to his defense, saying that a great deal of his detractors don’t really know that much about basketball.

“He is definitely living in an era where people can be more critical, and the people that are criticizing him, they don’t know rat’s you-know-what about basketball,” Johnson said about the scrutiny that James has faced. “All they know is about not liking somebody. That’s it. They never put any energy in trying to figure it out. They just jump on the bandwagon. And I’m not saying everybody. Of course, there’s a ton of people out there that do do their research, ton of people out there that do watch basketball, and they understand the game. But I’m just talking about a lot of these people that don’t.”

Johnson’s comments come on the heels of Rich Paul highlighting the difficulties James has endured that not even Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant faced. Social media and a nonstop news cycle have arguably put a lot of pressure on the four-time MVP.

The retired swingman certainly brings an interesting perspective to the table, having played in an era where the media didn’t closely follow the lives of NBA players and having worked in broadcasting after seeing his playing career come to a close.

Drafted in 1981 by the Kansas City Kings (now the Sacramento Kings), Johnson spent 17 seasons in the NBA. As a result, the 1989 Sixth Man of the Year was able to witness Jordan’s run as the league’s darling and saw the beginning of Bryant’s career.

Fortunately, living under a microscope has not stopped James from finding success in the NBA. Not even entering the league as an 18-year-old stopped him from taking it by storm.

His rookie campaign saw him record 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. Roughly two decades later, the future Hall of Famer is putting up even more impressive numbers. Last season, he averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per contest.

James’ fans are certainly excited to see how much gas the four-time champion still has in the tank. Hopefully, he can still lead the Lakers into title contention. The team failed to bring home a championship in last season’s playoffs, getting swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

An offseason of solid moves figures to provide Los Angeles with another chance of giving James his fifth ring and raising the franchise’s 18th championship banner in the rafters.

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Orel is excited about the prospect of “Showtime Lakers” making a comeback, thanks to the presence of the King and the arrival of the Brow.