LeBron's 11-Year Run on Top Over, Ties Career Low


At the end of every NBA season, the league announces its All-NBA teams.

Effectively, those rankings give a quick glimpse into the past season and the top-15 players of a given year.

The NBA made those announcements Thursday and, as it often does, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James‘ ranking drew the most attention.

On the All-NBA First Team are Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, Houston Rockets guard James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

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The All-NBA Second Team features Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard, Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, Warriors forward Kevin Durant and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.

The All-NBA Third Team includes James, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker, Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.

James’ inclusion on the third team is noteworthy for several reasons.

First and foremost, James and Walker are the only two All-NBA players whose teams missed the playoffs.

Yes, All-NBA selections are basically a regular-season award. But by that same token, the regular season is what determines who makes the playoffs. The inclusion of James and Walker is sure to raise a few eyebrows.

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Second, James also missed 27 games in the season. His 55 games played is easily the lowest number among the All-NBA players. Embiid, with 64 games played, has the next-fewest games played.

Should LeBron James have garnered a higher All-NBA ranking?

Walker’s Hornets may have missed the playoffs, but the diminutive scoring guard played in all 82 games. In fact, Walker can at least lay claim to being the only All-NBA player to have not missed a single game this year.

Finally, James’ inclusion on the Third Team also has historical implications for his career.

It snaps LeBron’s 11-year streak of being All-NBA First Team.

For more than a decade, he generally has been recognized as the best basketball player in the NBA. That recognition seems to have taken a hit in 2019.

The last time James wasn’t First Team was in 2007, when he made the Second Team. James hasn’t been on the Third Team since his rookie year.

Since the comparison is made so often, it’s worth noting that Michael Jordan was a First Team selection every year he was a Chicago Bull aside from his rookie year, when he was a Second Team selection. To be fair, the diminished Washington Wizards version of Jordan didn’t crack All-NBA at all.

As ESPN pointed out, James did extend his All-NBA streak to 15.

That puts him in a four-way tie with Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most consecutive All-NBA selections. Jordan is nowhere near that distinction due to his various hiatuses from the NBA.

James, as well as every other All-NBA selection not named Antetokounmpo and Leonard, will be sitting at home watching the playoffs when a crucial Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 tips off Thursday night.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
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