No, I think overall he is properly rated by analysts and underrated by the general public.
Lebron has been under the most scrutiny by any player in NBA history. And problem is, most of the media will take ANY opportunity to talk about Lebron whether good or bad. And fact of the matter is, whatever does or says will always be used as ammo against him by haters. So you have a public that is constantly bombarded with negative news and hate memes of Lebron and alot of those are taken out of context, or false.
For example, lets go over a few things casual fans love to talk about:
“His fans are annoying and think he’s the GOAT and make excuses for him”
So Lebron isn’t allowed to have fans? He’s the only player that I’ve seen where being a fan is made fun of. People call Lebron fans “Bronsexuals” and call Lebron names like “Lebum, Letrash, Lechoke etc” tell me what kind of person who uses childish names like this expects to be taken seriously in a basketball debate? And making excuses hmm… all the Jordan fans seem to make excuses for him losing in the 1995 playoffs (he was rusty etc), all the Kobe fans seem to make excuses for him for his entire career (he was injured, Pistons defense too good, had drama with Shaq, his teammates sucked etc). So I see fans make excuses all the time for other players but Lebron’s fans actually say things of merit i.e he lost his 2nd/3rd best players in the 2015 Finals and was up against teams with 4 HoFers on them in 2014, 2017 and 2018 those are literally facts and yet Bron haters say those are ‘excuses’. No, those are facts. Excuses is something like ‘oh Kobe had an injured shooting finger’ that’s an excuse. Kobe supposedly played through injuries all the time so it’s convenient to then use his injuries as an excuse whenever he loses. But Lebron fans apparently not allowed to use facts to make their argument whenever he loses?
“Lebron fans are casual fans who are young, Gen Z / millenial, and don’t really know basketball, real NBA players / GMs all say Jordan/Kobe are better”
Lebron fans might tend to be younger, but the thing is Lebron is an all time great player regardless. I’ve watched every player’s footage from the grainy George Mikan videos to Luka Doncic (who I think will end up as a top 12 player ever). Lebron is a special player regardless of how many players people have watched, it’s the haters who try to discredit him all the time by saying this kind of stuff, and the irony is the haters themselves don’t really know much basketball and don’t really watch the games, but instead blindly believe all the social media narratives about him. Then they call out Bron fans and say that they don’t know basketball when really they themselves do not. Then they lie about things like ‘NBA players and GMs all think Jordan/Kobe are better” first of all NBA players have high respect for Lebron and he usually comes 2nd when NBA players are voting on GOAT canddiates, secondly GMs are also sucked into believing the media narratives etc that’s why GMs say Lebron isn’t clutch – it’s because that’s what the media propagates – which btw should prove the narrative the the media ‘loves Lebron’ is totally false. After 2010 “The Decision” caused the media to jump on the Lebron hate train and they really haven’t looked back since. They do talk about Lebron a lot – and it’s not always in a good way.
“He flops and whines too much to get his way”
Every modern player flops to get extra points. And the whining bit is especially interesting considering other modern players do it all the time and never get flak for it. KD whined and begged to get Kyrie and Harden on the Nets and then he wanted out after his team didn’t do as well as he expected. Kawhi whined and begged for PG to be on the Clippers before going there and held the Lakers hostage while doing so. Nobody seems to be on these guys cases.
“Lebron jumps teams all the time”
He played for 3 teams in a 20 year career. Is that a lot? Barkley, Nash and KG played for as many teams in less time. Does anyone say Barkley, Nash and KG jumps teams all the time? And Lebron has played out every contract he was given, never asked for a trade. He extended his rookie contract. and extended his Lakers contract. How does he jump teams all the time?
“Lebron ruins teams by trading their picks/rosters”
Is there any guarantee that the team would have done something if he didn’t? Take a look at the 2014 Cavs, 2010 Heat and 2019 Lakers. If there were any budding superstars on those teams, or if those teams held any promise but Lebron ‘ruined’ it by trading them away, let me know. I understand Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball are good players.. but are they winning a chip with them in 2020 like they do with AD? I don’t think so.
“He’s 4–6 in the Finals”
So what? most players have never been to one Finals, let alone 10. And if you want to make the argument Finals losses stain your resume, well then by that logic it’s better to lose in the first round or miss the playoffs entirely as Lebron has done this season. You need to go to the Finals to have a chance to win. Losing in the Finals is actually better than losing in other rounds, but they turn this into a negative.
“He doesn’t play defense”
Then watch these videos. Lebron literally can guard every position from 1–5. And yes as he’s gotten older he has slacked off on defense which is where you see all these ‘giving up’ videos on Youtube. Truth is, as you get older you can’t always maintain the same intensity on both ends of the court. Kareem, Kobe and yes even Jordan all regressed defensively as they got older.
“He had an easy route to the Finals because he played in the weak East”
How come when Iverson took a weak 76ers team to the Finals and Jason Kidd took weak Nets teams to the Finals and Dwight took a weak Magic team to the Finals they all get praised for that but for Lebron they say it’s ‘easy’ for him and then when he loses in the Finals (to the stronger team from the better conference) then they make fun of him for that too? Makes no sense. Fact of the matter is regardless of how weak the East was, 3 DIFFERENT East teams won the championship in the 2000s and Lebron also beat not one but two different 60+ win East teams (2011 Bulls, 2015 Hawks) in the playoffs en route to the Finals. He beat a 2007 Pistons team that had more all stars on it than the 2004 Pistons team which won the championship. He beat a 2011 Celtics team that took Kobe’s Lakers to 7 games just the year previously. He beat a 2018 Celtics team that would sweep KD/Kyrie’s Nets just 4 years later. So how weak was the East really?
“He isn’t clutch”
How can a guy who is 12–9 in elimination games, averages 33.5 PPG in such games and has 5 buzzer beaters in the playoffs be considered not clutch?
“He needed a superteam to win”
First of all, every championship is won by a team. Next, we can’t just look at the names.. we have to look at what Lebron actually dealt with:
2003–2010: didnt have a superteam
2011–2012: these are the only years Lebron had a prime Wade
2013–2014: Wade obviously and clearly declining
Bosh btw, acted more like a role player on these teams averaging 12–14 PPG. I don’t care that he’s a Hall of Famer, point is, he didn’t contribute as much as people would believe. He was basically equivalent to Manu Ginobili on the Spurs
2015: Kyrie and Love were injured for the Finals
2016–2017: these are the only years Lebron had a healthy Kyrie and Love for the Finals
Love btw was the same thing, a distant third option on the team, not as good as people make him out to be.
2018–2019: didnt have a superteam
2020: the only year he had AD healthy.
2021–2022: AD injured, Lebron injured, Westbrook not a good fit.
These aren’t excuses, it’s the nature of what happened. Out of Lebrons ‘superteams’ how many seasons did Lebron play with fully healthy, productive co-stars? How many of those seasons did Lebron have to carry his teams because his co-stars weren’t healthy and/or not that productive?
I would say only 2011–2012, 2016–2017 and 2020 he had a solid healthy supporting cast. That’s 5 years out of his 19 year career.
“Lebron is a stat padder and doesn’t make his teammates better”
Then why hasn’t Love reached the playoffs without Lebron? What has Kyrie and Bosh done without Lebron? How come Lebron won 40+ players their first ring? If he didn’t make teammates better how is that possible? Why would Lebron play with other all-stars and have to share the ball with other stars if he wanted to pad his stats? Why would a stat padder make 10 Finals and 8 in a row when the definition of stat padding means ‘empty stats that don’t lead to any wins’ – Lebron has the most playoff wins all time what kind of stat padder is that? It just doesn’t make any sense.
“He won a bubble ring”
What does that mean? Every team was healthy in the bubble. Lakers lost home court advantage and Avery Bradley. They had to undergo the same thing everyone else went through in the bubble.
So basically Lebron is unfairly discredited for a lot of things by the general public I feel, and its because all the haters keep brainwashing them with disingenious narratives about him.