Happy 38th birthday to LeBron James (time for some highlights)

We have been fortunate to witness greatness.

Sometimes in our desire as sports fans to rank and rate everything, we don’t take a step back and appreciate what is right in front of us. We don’t savor the moment and what we are fortunate to witness. LeBron James may epitomize that mindset — he is one of the greatest players ever to lace up a pair of hightops (or, currently, low-tops), a combination of athleticism and basketball IQ few, if any, could ever match. He was ordained “the chosen one” as a high school junior and has somehow exceeded those unreasonable expectations — four-time champion, four-time MVP, 18-time All-NBA, and a resume that has him in the GOAT conversation. Yet we focus on the GOAT debate or titles not won or the struggles of his current team and miss the big picture.

LeBron turns 38 today — playing better than anyone ever has at his age — and we need to appreciate that.

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Later this season (likely around the All-Star break), we should witness him pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his once-thought unassailable record of most points scored in the NBA. It speaks to LeBron’s greatness as a scorer, his longevity, and his commitment to conditioning that this will happen. It says more about LeBron’s game that whenever he does hang up his sneakers we will remember him as much more than a scorer — his passing, IQ, and chase-down blocks in the biggest of moments will be recalled. So will his impact off the court, the building of his own brand on his terms, which changed the game for players as much or more than his play on it.

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For any true fan of the game, it is a joy to watch LeBron James play basketball. I feel fortunate, it has been one of the great honors of my career (and time at NBC) to witness his peak in Miami, what bringing a title back to Cleveland meant to that city, and his adding to his legacy in Los Angeles.

LeBron will take the court tonight in Atlanta (and it’s bad news for the stumbling Hawks because LeBron has put up big numbers on his birthday before). Take a moment to appreciate what we are witnessing, because greatness like this does not come around often.

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Happy 38th birthday to LeBron James (time for some highlights) originally appeared on NBCSports.com