While LeBron James has dominated the modern era of NBA basketball, he is commonly pulled into debates over whether or not he would have succeeded in previous eras and how he might match up with some of the top players that came before him. While the debate over whether or not James is better than Michael Jordan will go on forever, there is another debate that tends to come up more than others. Would LeBron have been able to dominate during the 1990s when the NBA was a much more physical game?
Rasheed Wallace would probably be considered an expert on the matter. Wallace played in the NBA between 1995 and 2013, most notably for the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons. Wallace, now an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies, recently appeared on the Million Dollaz Worth of Game podcast and said that while he thinks James would have done well in the 90s, he probably would not have dominated the way he does now.
“He probably would’ve done good with his physical stature, with him being bigger than the majority of the rest of the players,” Wallace said, via Lakers Daily. “So he probably would’ve held his own, but I don’t think he would be as successful as he is now. It’s a whole different era back then. I couldn’t necessarily say that he would’ve been a beast but I think he would’ve held his own.”
Is Wallace right? Obviously, we’ll never know. But LeBron has also proven himself very capable in many aspects of the game. And given his 6-foot-9 and 250 pound-size, it stands to reason that James would have certainly still been a superstar in the 1990s, even if he might have had to play the game a little differently.
While we’ll never know if Wallace is right, we do know that if LeBron needs any extra motivation to beat the Grizzlies this year, he’s certainly got it now.