We're wrapping up NBA All-Star weekend with another piece by our NBA contributor Landon Buford. It was a celebration of the game in the hometown of "The King" Lebron James, as he continues to shine in his 19th NBA season. This was a special week for him and all of the greats of the game as the league honored the 75 greatest players in history.
In his eighteenth appearance in the All-Star Game this season, LeBron James tied the late great Kobe Bryant for second most appearances behind only Kareem Abdul Jabbar's nineteen. On Saturday afternoon, the future Hall of Famer spoke about having numerous dreams of being an all-star.
"I just talked about how 25 years ago the last time Cleveland held the All-Star Game when I was a kid," James said Saturday. "I was 12 years old. I was stating that earlier and how I wished I had the means and the ability to come up to Cleveland and just feel that energy and hopefully bump into one of those guys. I had so many dreams of being an All-Star, growing up in Akron and having a team that was 35 minutes north of us. Even as much as I love M.J., loved the Bulls, you know, I loved just having that inspiration of having a pro team right up 77 North, you know. And having the Browns and Indians at the time, now the Guardians, and having the Cavaliers. I remember when they were playing not even -- a lot closer to us in Richfield. I remember that."
"To sit here 25 years later doing what I love to do, dreaming about what I love to do, believing in what I wanted to be, it's just unbelievable. I mean, Cleveland is very deserving of this platform and this moment. They got two All-Stars of their own in the game in D.G. and the big fella, Jarrett Allen. And they got another guy in the All-Star Game, and that is me. It's great man."
James was also honored this weekend by being named amongst the 75 greatest players in NBA history to mark the 75th anniversary of the league. Others included were Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant Charles Barkley, Oscar Robertson, Julius Erving, Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Stephen Curry and so many others.
On Sunday afternoon, former NBA veterans Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson spoke about LeBron James’ longevity on NBA Twitter Spaces.
“It’s just incredible if you think about it. His longevity, he overachieved everything in the first two years he came into the league. Being on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the 'Chosen One.' He overachieved a longtime ago. So, to see his drive and his motivation is inspiring. To see his level of consistency to show up and be LeBron James every time he steps on the court, is amazing.” said Crawford.
“That type of pressure has been unreal, so he’s very deserving of it. There are so many kids across the world that look up to him and he does not let them down on or off the floor. So, you just salute him, and you know he wants to put on a show back in his hometown as well.” said Richardson.
QRich added, “I know it's unbelievable what he’s done. He has put himself in a place where he deserves be compared to [Michael Jordan] the same way Kobe Bryant. After being compared to Mike for so long, he became just Kobe and I think LeBron after being compared to so many people....LeBron is LeBron and he is a name of his own. He is continuing to rewrite what the prime of your career could look like with fitness and being in top shape. At 37, he is still one of the top two players in the NBA. What he has been able to do from start to finish especially what he has done off the court and how much of an entrepreneur he has been. Being able to create schools and so many other things it’s been unbelievable start to finish.”
James finished Sunday’s game with twenty-four points, six rebounds, and eight assists in 36 minutes, hitting the game-winning shot for his team with his hometown fans watching. Meanwhile Steph Curry took home his first All-Star Game MVP after dropping fifty points, including an All-Star record 16 three pointers, five rebounds, and two assists. Now it's time for the second half of an enthralling NBA season. Let's have some fun.