Patrick Mahomes And The Lebron James Effect

October 23rd, 2003; that was the date that 18-year-old Lebron James stepped onto an NBA court for the first time. It was that night that the NBA would really change forever. It was that night that he would become the best player in the NBA and never look back.

The Start and the Legacy

In his first game, he scored 25 points against the Sacramento Kings. That was a record for the most points scored by a player coming from a prep school straight to the NBA in their debut. Since then, Lebron has gone on to break and hold countless records.

He is first all-time in points per game in the regular season and holds even more playoff records. He is first in points scored in the playoffs, first in field goals made, first in field goal attempts, first in field goals missed, first in free throw attempts, first in 3-point field goal attempts, first in steals, first in turnovers, first in minutes played and first in games played. Lebron has also been to the NBA finals 10 times. He has four championships, the finals MVP all four years, a 16 time NBA all-star, a 16 time All-NBA selection, a six-time All-defensive selection, and the NBA Rookie of the Year.

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It is pretty easy to see with all those accolades and if you’ve followed the NBA at all, Lebron has been the best player in the NBA, basically, since the night he stepped on the floor in 2003. However, he has only been the MVP of the league four times.

The only standard that he is judged on is the one he set for himself. If he has an incredible year and someone has a similar year, he is likely not to get the MVP because he doesn’t judge or compare to other players. He is only trying to best his best.

You are already starting to see this with Patrick Mahomes in the NFL:

The Mahomes Standard

Mahomes has started three years in the NFL. His first year he threw for over 50 thousand yards and 50 touchdowns; he won the MVP.

Since then, he has unquestionably been the best quarterback and player in the NFL. He went on to win the Super Bowl in 2019. And now, he has the Chiefs attempting to win back to back Super Bowls against the Tom Brady lead Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He lead the Chiefs to three straight AFC Championship games, and if not for a lost coin toss in OT against the Patriots, this could actually be the third straight Super Bowl appearance.

He also holds and has broken countless records: most consecutive 300-plus passing yard games, consecutive double-digit deficits overcame, fastest to 10,000 yards passing, fastest to 100 career touchdowns, highest career quarterback rating, and most career passing yards per game.

In a year where his numbers were comparable to any quarterback and played as good or better than every player in the NFL once again, he is unlikely to win the NFL MVP. That award is likely to go to Aaron Rodgers, who had a great year in his own right.

Mahomes’ Treatment

However, Rodgers isn’t being judged like Mahomes. Mahomes, like Lebron, is only being compared to himself; he is the standard. He has to constantly out due what he has already done to win MVPs.

Mahomes will go on to break even more records. If he wins this Super Bowl against Brady, you are already going to start to see the question of whether he can chase down Brady’s Super Bowl wins and appearances. He will be called the best player in the league by executives year in and year out. He will go on to be one of the best players if you look at advanced stats like CPOE (completion percentage over expected) and EPA (expected points added).

However, there will be years where he does not win the MVP, and that is because he isn’t judged like the rest of the league. He is only compared to himself; that is because he is the best player in football… year in and year out.