Not only are they down 3-2 to the Phoenix Suns, but they also got demolished in Game 5.
James is without his co-star, Anthony Davis, for at least the rest of this series most likely.
Game 5 was supposed to be another great LeBron game with his back against the wall and not having his superstar teammate.
We have seen this story before.
Game 6 against the Boston Celtics in 2012 is the best example of this narrative.
Ever since then, we expect James to carry the load and will his team to victory, or at least close.
LeBron James in elimination games since the 2011 Finals
▫️52% FG (205/395)
▫️40% 3PT (38/96)
▫️73% FT (122/167)
▫️62% TS pic.twitter.com/3vcT612o3t
— ALL ICONIC SPORTS (@ALLICONICSPORTS) June 2, 2021
However, Game 5 was the total opposite.
James and the Lakers were never in control.
It was odd seeing James so vulnerable.
He has never been eliminated in the first round before.
His whole career in the first round has been spotless.
Now, it is a possible blemish on the resume.
Would this really affect the legacy of LeBron?
How damaging would this loss be?
Let’s look at both sides of the conversation.
It Takes A Big Hit To The Legacy
Not losing in the first round has been a talking point in recent years for the G.O.A.T. debate.
Media members, such as Nick Wright or Shannon Sharpe, bring up that Michael Jordan lost in the first round on multiple occasions.
James never lost in the first round and the thought process was that he never will.
Even as the seventh seed, they were favored to make the Finals in the Western Conference.
However, a couple of cracks have showed up in the armor.
After the loss in Game 5, that was LeBron’s first time ever losing consecutive games in a first-round series.
Furthermore, this is first time trailing so late in a first-round series.
LeBron James has lost consecutive 1st round games for the first time in his career.
This is also the first time in LeBron's career that he trails a 1st round series after Game 5 or later. pic.twitter.com/fketlhfVEB
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 2, 2021
The invincibility level of him in the opening round is dwindling slowly.
His resume for the greatest of all-time conversation will lose a few pieces with a potential loss.
Should A Loss Really Hurt The Legacy?
Shouldn’t someone of James’ stature and resume already have a legacy cemented.
A legacy where nothing can hurt it in any way shape or form.
He has proven everything in the NBA.
He has the rings, numbers, and legendary status.
Can one first-round loss knock him?
Jordan did lose a couple of first-round series, but we do not mind.
Kobe Bryant missed the playoffs a couple of times in his career, but it is forgotten about.
The legends of our game are great for a reason.
They perform better under the pressure we put on them.
However, you cannot be perfect all the time.
He is in his 18th season, and is just not beginning to look human.
The debate will always live on.
Yes, maybe this will ding the legacy just a little bit, but a loss should not damage it.
A LeBron James loss will be the trending topic.
His legacy should remain intact, but will it actually be?