Bill Lyon, a columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, decided to rate the 15 best players in NBA history, and for some reason, LeBron came in 3rd. Please let me know if you can follow this highly scientific logic:
So then, exactly how good is LeBron James? It says here he is the third best player of all time. That’s quite a load, and certainly open to debate. Herewith, then, one man’s lists of the greatest players of all time, and I have seen them all, which means my birthday cake is a raging bonfire.
Like Wilt and like Goliath, he’ll be taunted and haunted until he wins a title. Or two. Or . . . . But how you feel about him personally shouldn’t color your appreciation of his considerable skills. His genius, both power and finesse, is undeniable. Like Jordan, he plays at both ends of the court, and with equal passion.
5. Oscar Robertson
6. Bill Russell
7. Magic Johnson
8. Julius Erving
9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
10. Elgin Baylor
11. Rick Barry
12. Larry Bird
13. Shaquille O’Neal
14. Charles Barkley
15. JohnStocktonKarlMalone. You can’t have one without the other.
No Jerry West. No Tim Duncan. I don’t think I’ve ever see a “best all-time” list that had Magic that low. If you’re wondering why Lyon ranked Wilt and Kobe are that high, it could be because both are from Philadelphia. If you polled NBA writers with 20+ years experience on the subject, my guess is 95 percent of them would have Russell ahead of Wilt.
As for LeBron, it is undeniable that he has the talent to finish in the Top 5 all-time. Depending on his growth the next few years – and how the Heat surround him with talent – No. 1 isn’t out of the realm. But right now? No way. He’s barely entering his prime.