Much of Skip Bayless’ reputation for being a sports contrarian is the byproduct of his incessant LeBron James hating. For years and years, across multiple shows and sports networks, Bayless has tirelessly bashed James pretty much whenever he has been given the opportunity. It’s actually a small miracle that he has yet to mock James for being one of the 10 slowest players in the NBA.
Given their history, Bayless’ most recent quibble with James shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
This week, the Fox Sports broadcaster offered one very specific reason why he could never get on board with James being the greatest basketball player of all time.
James’ free throw shooting.
“Kawhi Leonard is making 91% of his free throws (78-86),” Bayless tweeted out. “LeBron is making 71% of his (85-120), up from 69% last yr and 67% the yr before. How can you call yourself the GOAT when you’re such a lousy FT shooter??? Think of the thousands of points he has cost his team over 18 yrs.”
Reactions to Bayless’ assessment were mixed.
Bruh who’s cares about free throws
— LA REIGNS SUPREME 💜💛💙🤍 (@Mart1n____) January 31, 2021
Bron watching kd, steph, and now kawhi have 50/40/90 seasons pic.twitter.com/7xYgPnuSba
— LeOverrated James (@Le0verrated) January 31, 2021
U never say anything good about lebron! It’s always negative! When he does do good u still only focus on the bad. You’re better than this, Skip!
— Another Nobody (@Another81775139) January 31, 2021
Key phrasing there – he calls himself the GOAT. He’s not even in the conversation
— Kyle (@kturn83kyle) January 31, 2021
Is their merit to Bayless’ take?
Karl-Anthony Towns’ reaction to Jordyn Woods’ Buss It video speaks for itself.
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 26, 2021
Well, he’s right that James’ free throwing has been and continues to be a problem. When you have a guy whose game is predicated on getting to the basket by force and often getting fouled, it’s unfortunate when he ends up failing to convert on 30 percent of his free throws.
That said, James more than makes up for that deficiency with all the other facets of his game in which he is superior. Trade-offs exist for all NBA players.
Can someone disqualify James from the GOAT conversation over his free throw shooting? Sure. But by that same token, their personal GOAT could probably be removed from the debate if someone chose to focus on their one major weakness too.
Besides, James will render this whole conversation moot when he leaves the Lakers, links up with Bronny and solidifies his place in history.