Stephen A. Smith on LeBron James following the Lakers' elimination: 'The G.O.A.T. conversation is officially over' - Lakers Daily

Stephen A. Smith on LeBron James following the Lakers’ elimination: ‘The G.O.A.T. conversation is officially over’

LeBron James Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have officially run out of time in the 2021-22 season, as the squad was eliminated from postseason contention earlier this week.

Since L.A.’s elimination, some fans have engaged in conversations about whether or not the 2021-22 Lakers are the most disappointing team in the organization’s history. There’s certainly a case to be made.

One Lakers player who has not had a disappointing season, however, is LeBron James. Despite missing some time due to injuries, James has put up some incredible numbers. He’s averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per contest.

But in the eyes of Stephen A. Smith, the 2021-22 season has actually been a knock on James’ legacy.

“This is the worst season of LeBron James’ career ’cause I’m not talking about his numbers, and I’m not talking about what he did as a player,” Smith said. “I’m talking about what he’s a part of. The G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) conversation is officially over. It was never there for me. It was always Michael Jordan first, LeBron second. But if ever there was any doubt, this cemented the fact that LeBron James cannot be considered the G.O.A.T. That conversation is over. And you know why it’s over? Because LeBron James was on the Lakers averaging 29, 30 points a game — it still happened.”

Smith then explained that if James’ season had been tainted by injuries to a more extreme degree while the Lakers struggled, the superstar’s G.O.A.T. case wouldn’t have taken as big of a hit as it actually did. Smith seems to think that James hurt his legacy by being healthy enough to play at a high level this season while failing to save L.A.’s year in the process.

It’s a unique perspective from Smith, who is certainly no stranger to finding atypical viewpoints on sports topics.

Whether James’ G.O.A.T. case took a hit this season or not, the veteran will certainly look to add to his legacy next season. It’s clear that he still has plenty left in the tank, and he’d surely love nothing more than to make another title run.