I don’t know that Lebron would have “folded” in terms of production.
IMO Lebron would be a force in any era.
But i agree that teams like the late 80’s Pistons and late 90’s Bulls, would have frustrated him and beat him both physically and mentally.
A guy like Lebron will almost always get his numbers. History shows that.
But it’s within the ebb and flow of the game – in the momentum switches and key moments – where those teams and individual players would beat Lebron 8/10 times IMO.
I can picture Lebron vs the MJ/Pip/Rodman Bulls – putting up good statistical games.
But in the second half, I see Lebron on she sideline, hanging his head and displaying defeated body language during timeouts.
I see him with that slack-jawed look on his face on the court – blaming his teammates every time Chicago beats them on a fast break, or MJ pulls up a jumper.
I can see Lebron in the post-loss presser – saying his teammates need to do more, before sulking off like a bitch.
I can Pippen and Rodman trading off vs Lebron.
Each frustrating him in their own ways.
Pippen with his consistent speed and aggressiveness in transition, and fundamentally solid positioning.
Rodman with his trash talk/head games and physical play in the post.
Again… nobody is completely Shutting Lebron down.
But they wouldn’t have to.
The best of Lebron’s teams lose to The Bulls within 6… every time.
And most lose to The Pistons within 7.
Lebron has the body and athleticism of a big man who can play small.
Yet he has the instincts of a facilitator.
Lebron – due to physicality alone – presents matchup problems to almost anyone.
Yet deep down, he just isn’t a contact guy.
He is one of the all time great frontrunners, and from my observations he believes – deep down – that he should NOT be challenged.
Therefore, when he is challenged – especially physically – a part of him kind of shuts down.
… but often enough to put him a notch behind the true KILLERS of basketball history.