In an exclusive interview with the media a few days ago, Lakers owner Jenny Bass said that after James was elected to the Hall of Fame in the future, the Lakers will retire the jersey number of this home star. If this comes true, James will become the second star in history to be retired by three teams. But is James’ achievements in the Lakers worthy of such glory?
From the honor point of view, James is undoubtedly the first person in the NBA today. He won four championships for three teams in his career, which also indicates that he may retire his jersey number in the Cavaliers, Heat and Lakers in the future.
As far as historical achievements are concerned, winning the first championship in team history for his hometown team is enough to make his jersey hang high at the Cavaliers’ home; As for the number of championships, two consecutive championships in Nantan also gave him enough confidence. However, in the Lakers, he has only led the team to the top once at present. This record seems to be not enough to make James’ No.23 tied with the other 13 Lakers retired numbers, which seems unconvincing to many Lakers fans.
There are three main arguments against the Lakers retiring James number: first, his time in Los Angeles is not long enough; Secondly, there are not enough times to win the championship; Finally, his representation in the Lakers is not obvious enough.
This seems to make sense for the argument that time is not long enough. After all, he has only played five seasons in the Lakers, which is short compared with his 11 seasons in the Cavaliers. Even though he only stayed in the Heat for four seasons and left, James often missed the game due to injury during the Lakers. So far, he only played 278 regular-season games, 16 fewer than in the Heat, and 43 playoff games were less than half of that in the Heat.
However, Chamberlain, the only legendary center who was retired by three teams in history, only played for five seasons in the Lakers, and that was the last five seasons of his career, but Chamberlain’s No.13 was still retired by the Lakers. In the future, if James retires after playing the 2024-25 season according to the option of the current contract, then he will play for the Lakers for seven seasons, which is not short compared with Chamberlain.
As for the argument that there are not enough championships, it seems hard to refute. After all, James has only won the championship once in the bubble park in 2020. In addition to winning fewer times, the gold content of this champion has also been questioned because of the different epidemic situation and competition system. Compared with the five championships brought back by Lakers stars such as Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar, James’ current contribution is indeed far from perfect. However, the aforementioned Chamberlain also won only one championship for the Lakers. According to Chamberlain’s standards, James’ jersey number retired for a certain reason.
Finally, when it comes to James’ lack of representativeness of the Lakers, this is not good enough for him. James, who was born in Akron, has pure chivalry, and the golden age of his career was in the Heat. This made his image in the No.6 jersey deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. In contrast, the connection between James and the Lakers is not close enough.
James didn’t wear other numbers in the Lakers, and he still chose to use the numbers 23 and 6 alternately. He didn’t create a brand-new image in the new team through different numbers. In addition, the Cavaliers and the Heat are too impressed with him, which makes the colors of James and the Lakers not bright enough and not representative enough.
Under such circumstances, if James wants to deepen his connection with the Lakers in the rest of his career and shut up those who question his incompetence, he needs to bring back at least one more championship for Los Angeles.
If he gets more than two championship rings, James can not only surpass Chamberlain in the Lakers, but also surpass the famous Jerry West. Although Jerry West only won the championship once, he played for the Lakers all his life, during which he led the team for the championship nine times, but he could not reach the top because he was blocked by the historical wall of Celtic legendary center Bill Russell. . The relationship between James and the Lakers is really not deep enough. If you want to increase your mark in Los Angeles, winning one more championship will definitely help.
In the past, there were stars who were almost retired by three different teams. For example, the Lakers and the Heat announced the retirement of O ‘Neal one after another, but he has not yet been recognized by the magic of his debut home team. James was able to book this historic achievement in advance. If the Lakers can retire the two numbers that James used in the Lakers in one fell swoop like Kobe, it may also set an unprecedented record, that is, a player has four numbers retired by the team.
To be the first person in this history, James needs at least another crown for the Lakers. In this way, when his jersey is retired at home, it will be more recognized and accepted by the Lakers fans.