Television personality Nick Wright stated that an allegedly bad version of LeBron James in this year’s postseason is still as good as Hall of Famer Larry Bird.
Wright offered his opinion (at the 3:15 mark) during an appearance on Colin Cowherd’s program and compared James’ statistical numbers this postseason with Bird’s career numbers.
"So, the worst LeBron we've ever seen — what he's been reduced to is Larry Bird?"
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) May 16, 2023
Over the course of his memorable career, James has delivered more impressive postseason efforts than the ones from this season. He’s led three different franchises to a total of four NBA titles and been named Finals MVP for each of those four victories.
However, James’ current leadership role with the Lakers is noteworthy considering that just two months ago, the team was in danger of not even reaching the playoffs.
James was key in helping the Lakers first win nine of their final 11 regular season games to earn a spot in the play-in portion of the schedule.
After then defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves in an overtime thriller in the play-in tournament, James and the Lakers advanced to face the favored Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs. Despite dealing with trash-talk from the Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks during the course of the series, James helped lead the Lakers to a six-game upset.
Facing the defending champion Golden State Warriors in the second round, James again led his team to a six-game upset. One notable aspect of both of those series wins is that James gave his team effective play in all facets of the game despite not scoring as much as previous years.
Bird played 13 seasons in the NBA, all of them with the Boston Celtics, before retiring in 1992. During his time in the league, he led the Celtics to three titles and was twice named Finals MVP.
While Bird’s career playoff numbers might not impress Wright that much, they still represent an impressive body of work. Averaging 23.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game over the course of 164 playoff games is still a notable achievement.
How James performs on an individual level at this time of year is secondary to how his team is performing on the court. Given James’ hunger to add to his championship resume, it’s doubtful that he’s spent much time worrying about whether his numbers will stay above Bird’s career totals.