Over the years, Charles Barkley has never been shy to voice his opinion on any matter. This has always been the case with LeBron James despite the public push back at times for his sometimes strong criticism. In light of that, Barkley recently gave a valid reason why he still doesn’t have him ahead of the likes of future first-ballot Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, according to Sports Illustrated.
“I have told you guys the five greatest players in my opinion: Michael [Jordan], Oscar Robertson, Wilt [Chamberlain], Bill Russell and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]. Then it’s Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. Then LeBron is right there. I don’t understand why ya’ll are in such a hurry to move him past Tim Duncan and Kobe. Now if he wins a couple of more championships, I might move him past Kobe and Tim Duncan. You guys always talk about championships. Kobe and Tim have five. LeBron has three…LeBron is amazing. But only in the bulls— of today’s society could I say a guy is one of the eight greatest players ever and it’s an insult to him. That’s crazy. If LeBron wins a couple of more championships I will move him past Tim Duncan and Kobe.
Barkley does make a strong point that the greatest of players are judged beyond just their personal success by also the amount of titles they win. Michael Jordan was an incredible player was tantalizing to watch but what helped get over the top as being regarded as the best player ever was going 6-for-6 in the NBA Finals while winning the NBA Finals MVP each time. The number of titles is what cement legacies in the world of professional sports, especially in the NBA.
At this juncture, James has three titles while Bryant and Duncan have five each. His personal accolades are equal if not better than these two players but it’s the number of titles that holds him back in that category. That said, James still has the window of opportunity being just 31 years old to make that jump move himself up among the greatest to play the game.