James has always been harder to place. On the court, he’s a whole anthology of players: an oversize, creative point guard like Magic Johnson; a bodybuilder-style space-displacer like Karl Malone; a harassing, omnipresent defender like Scottie Pippen; a leaping finisher like Dr. J. He does everything that a human can possibly do on a basketball court; he is 12 different specialists fused, Voltron-style, into a one-man All-Star team.
Somehow this doesn’t quite track. Even as we admire James’s unique skill set, we’re always forced to think about the tension that holds all of the disparate parts together — the contradictory philosophies of the game that all of those different skills imply.