Stephen A. Smith says he will put LeBron James in the G.O.A.T. conversation if he wins title this year with Lakers - Lakers Daily

Stephen A. Smith says he will put LeBron James in the G.O.A.T. conversation if he wins title this year with Lakers

LeBron James and Deandre Ayton

ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith will put Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James in the discussion for the greatest player of all time under one stipulation.

“Can I give you some news?” Smith said on an episode of ESPN’s show “First Take.”

“If LeBron James wins the title this year, I will actually entertain discussion about him being in the G.O.A.T. conversation.”

James, 36, won a title with the Lakers in the 2019-20 season, but Los Angeles was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by the Phoenix Suns last season.

The 2021-22 campaign hasn’t gotten off to the best start for James, as he’s been out of the lineup with an abdominal strain.

The Lakers have gone 8-8 this season, and they are just 4-6 in the 10 games that James has missed so far. The team will need to step up, and James will need to get healthy, if the Lakers want any chance at winning a title this season.

The four-time champion is clearly one of the greatest players in NBA history, but Smith isn’t ready to say that he’s better than the legendary Michael Jordan just yet.

This season, James has appeared in just six games, but he’s been playing at an MVP-caliber level. The four-time champion is averaging 24.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from 3.

There’s a chance that the 17-time All-Star could make his return to the lineup on Friday night against the Boston Celtics.

The Lakers and Celtics are scheduled to tip off at 4:30 p.m. PST from TD Garden in Boston.