Advertisement

Gilbert Arenas: LeBron James is a rental for the Lakers’ greatness

While LeBron James has a huge contingent of unapologetic fans, Los Angeles Lakers fans aren’t necessarily his biggest supporters. There are plenty of Lakers fans who like James, but there are also plenty who seem to dislike him and can’t wait for the day he leaves the team.

Yes, he has led the team to an NBA championship. However, in his four other previous seasons with it, he has missed the playoffs twice and had to go through the play-in tournament during the other two campaigns.

In a recent ESPN article, Bobby Marks and Dave McMenamin wrote that James “has privately questioned whether Laker Nation would ever fully embrace him.” While on the “Nightcap” podcast with Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, former NBA star Gilbert Arenas addressed the issue of James not being as beloved among Lakers fans as Kobe Bryant or Magic Johnson.

Arenas had some poignant words about James’ tenure with the Purple and Gold in order to explain the lack of love the NBA’s all-time leading scorer has gotten from the team’s supporters.

“LeBron was a rental for the Lakers’ greatness, and that’s just something that he’s going to have to accept,” Arenas said. “His milestones came in this uniform. … But the legacy wasn’t built here.

“LeBron James’ Laker resume doesn’t have a statue here.”

There is something to be said about superstars who spend their entire career, or at least the majority of it, with one team. Bryant, Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor fit that category, and fans adopted them while feeling like those superstars were family.

On the other hand, there is a perception that James is more of a mercenary and that he came to Los Angeles, in part, to pursue other opportunities outside of basketball.

He could very well end up playing several more seasons with the Lakers and help lead them to another world title. But fans saw Bryant grow up and endure his trials and tribulations to become a finished product, and that simply conjured up a much different level of love that the latter-day James won’t be able to generate.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire