Charles Barkley Explains Why LeBron James Will Never Be on His List of 5 Best NBA Players Ever

Watch Charles Barkley explain why LeBron James will never be on his list of the 5 best NBA players ever, no matter what he does.

Not Available Lead
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

Not Available Lead

Bill Simmons debuted his new HBO series, Any Given Wednesday, on Wednesday (duh), and based on the reaction that it received, we would say it was a pretty successful first show. At the end of it, everyone was talking about the passionate rant Ben Affleck went on while discussing Deflategate, but that wasn’t the only newsworthy nugget to come out of AGW.

While Affleck may have stolen the show, his fellow guest Charles Barkley is also making headlines on Thursday because of some comments he made about LeBron James. Barkley—who has been both complimentary and critical of LeBron in the past—told Simmons that, despite LeBron’s latest NBA championship, he still doesn’t consider LeBron to be one of the five best NBA players of all time. Instead, his top five list looks a little something like this:

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Oscar Robertson
  3. Bill Russell
  4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  5. Wilt Chamberlain
  6. Kobe Bryant
  7. Tim Duncan

Wait, Charles, isn’t that more than five players?! Uh, just go with it. After listing those seven players, Barkley then lumped LeBron into the same category as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor and explained why he doesn’t have LeBron higher.

"I’m not going to just move him past Tim Duncan and Kobe," he said. "They didn’t just die. But I will say this about LeBron James: I’ve never seen a man coming out of high school who has handled the success, been a great player, never got in a stitch of trouble. It’s probably been the greatest career ever."

"Greatest career ever"…but still not in Barkley’s top five? Hmmm…

Barkley also said LeBron will never crack his top 5, regardless of what he does between now and the end of his career.

"He’s not going to be in the top 3," Barkley said. "First of all, my top 5 is never going to change."

Oh well. At least Barkley’s top five—or top seven—is significantly better than the bizarre top five Metta World Peace put out into the world earlier this week:

View this video on YouTube


Elsewhere in the show, Simmons talked about why he thinks LeBron is on pace to become the GOAT. You can watch that segment here:

If you haven't realized this already, this debate will never end.


Latest in Sports