Imagine thinking LeBron James isn’t one of the top two small forwards in NBA history? Well, during a recent appearance on Posted Up with Chris Haynes, NBA Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J” Erving made it clear that LeBron wouldn’t make his cut.
Haynes asked Dr. J to put together his all-time NBA first and second team. In the process, Erving named Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Elgin Baylor to his first team, and Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the second team. He went on to explain why he ultimately decided to exclude James.
“He’s the guy who has led the charge in terms of super teams,” Erving said. “When he put together a team in Miami, he put together a team in Cleveland as well, and he put together a team in Los Angeles. So, he can pick his own team. I ain’t going to pick his team.”
There’s no doubt that LeBron had some very talented teammates throughout his career. But, placing the creation of “Super Teams” on James’ shoulders is just one way of looking at it. In fact, James has been largely responsible for the era of player mobility, which one can argue is ultimately a good thing. And picking your teammates doesn’t guarantee success—just ask Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
And let’s not forget that James put his trust in Cleveland’s front office for the first seven years of his career and he was still able to carry players like Shannon Brown, Daniel Gibson, and Damon Jones to the Finals in 2006. That accomplishment alone should be enough to secure James a spot on the all-time NBA team.