So, Rasheed Wallace joined the growing group of retired NBA players who believe that LeBron James would not be as successful as he is today if he had played in the “grittier” era that they did. Normally, the era they are referring to would be the 90’s and early 2000s before rules were changed. This is a cliched statement to make towards LeBron, one that normally comes up twice a year from a retired player that amounts to them sounding like that old head at the park that is constantly talking about how things were “back in my day.”
In this case, some details make Rasheed Wallace’s comment even more absurd than usual. The main detail: LeBron actually did play in some of Wallace’s era, or at least his prime and has even got eliminated by LeBron a couple of times in the playoffs. It’s a tired cliché at this point and it’s getting embarrassing because time, and time again, these players are just flat out wrong.
LeBron is a generational talent, an all-time great NBA player; he’s 6 foot 9 inches tall and weighs 250 pounds. Obviously, he’d be able to hold his own in an era that had a greater emphasis on defense and allowed players to do a lot more than they can now. Just because LeBron plays this way in this current era doesn’t mean he wouldn’t adapt to the era he’d be playing in if he was drafted then.
Much respect to Rasheed Wallace as he was a great player in his time, but let’s stop this narrative. LeBron scored the last 25 points in a game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Wallace’s Pistons in 2007, a series that the Cavaliers would end up winning. That right there is proof of LeBron having success, the same type of success he’s had his whole career, in Wallace’s era.