Paul Pierce says LeBron James winning 2024 title would make him ‘GOAT of all GOATs’ and be his greatest feat

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Pierce said if LeBron James can somehow lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA championship this season, it will no doubt cement his status as the greatest of all time.

“I will say this: This will be his greatest feat,” Pierce said. “I mean, we’ve seen him come back from 3-1 on a 73-win [Golden State] Warriors team, but come on. He’s 39 years old. The Lakers are in the ninth slot. No seed under the sixth seed [Houston] Rockets in ’94-95 have won a title.

“So, if that’s the case, he’s gonna have two of the greatest feats ever accomplished in NBA history, which is coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals, which has never been done, and also a team below the sixth seed winnin’ a championship. Now if that doesn’t tell you GOAT of all GOATs, then I don’t know what does.”

Last season, the Lakers got close to bettering the feat of the 1994-95 Rockets in trying to become the lowest seed to win the NBA title. They emerged from the play-in round, and as the seventh-place team in the Western Conference, made it all the way to the 2023 Western Conference Finals, where they were swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets.

The Lakers look to be headed toward the play-in round yet again this season. As Pierce said, they currently sit in ninth place in the conference with a 41-32 record. That has them 2.5 games out of sixth place and a guaranteed playoff position with nine games left in the regular season.

They have won five in a row and seven of nine heading into their game Friday night at the Indiana Pacers, so a climb up the standings and another long playoff run certainly seems with the realm of possibility.

Last season, the Miami Heat became just the second No. 8 seed in history to even reach the NBA Finals, joining the New York Knicks of the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.

Another NBA championship – which would be his fifth – would move James within one of the total won by Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls, the player most often in debates over the greatest of all time. But Jordan never led a historic comeback against a record-setting team in the NBA Finals, as James did against the Warriors in 2016 while with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Last February, James became the all-time leading scorer in NBA history, passing the record that was held by Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This season, his 21st in the NBA, James became to first player to surpass the 40,000-points milestone, after he became the all-time leader in minutes played back in November.

“And then you look at the numbers across the board,” Pierce said. “He’s broken every record, All-Star, regular season, minutes, points. I mean, at some point, you just gotta say, ‘Good Lord. What more does this guy have to do?'”

Pierce himself is a Hall of Famer and former NBA champion. Watching James add another unlikely NBA championship to his lengthy list of accomplishments would convince his former rival completely.

“A 39-year-old?” Pierce said. “This is on the level of Tom Brady in his 40s winnin’ Super Bowls. … I’ve never called him the king before. You’re the king.”

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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.