Sports | October 17, 2017 3:26 pm

Is LeBron James the Greatest Living Athlete?

The King’s beauty and brains are what make him the best, GQ argues.

LeBron James
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavilers goes up for the dunk against the New York Knicks on February 22, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBAE/Getty Images

An athlete’s greatness can’t be measured by simple stats — it’s what he or she does when the game is over, and the ball is shelved that helps define what they truly meant to the sport, society and their generational large. In 2017, compiling not only data and accolades, but also influence, power and how he’s used it, GQ argues that LeBron James is, unequivocally, the world’s greatest living athlete.

“It’s a beauty and brains type of mandate,” GQ’s style editor Mark Anthony Green writes. “Floyd Mayweather could go undefeated for 50 more fights, but he’d never be the greatest living athlete. Because he’s selfish. And tacky. And consequently, small. You have to transcend sport to be the greatest—beyond sneakers and drinks that replenish electrolytes and video-game covers and money teams.”

That transcendence occurs when James uses his platform to speak about social issues, Green writes, including racism and the country’s current political climate — an example came recently when James referred to President Trump as a “bum” following his rescinded White House invitation to the Golden State Warriors.

“I don’t do it to get praise or to be in an article. I do it because it’s my responsibility. It’s my responsibility,” James said. He also noted that he doesn’t ever want the president’s job — he likes his “me time” too much.