The new Bill Simmons program Any Given Wednesday debuted on HBO yesterday. I didn’t watch it – because I subscribe to HBO for four things — Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, Veep, and the ability to watch Ocean’s Thirteen twice a day for two months. So this two-minute segment with Charles Barkley is all I know about the show.
What’s offered here is an intense debate over whether three-time NBA champion and NBA Finals MVP LeBron James is one of the top five players in NBA history. Simmons says yes; Barkley says no, that LeBron is top-10.
It’s a two-minute argument that feels like it lasts an hour. We all like to make fun of hot take debate shows, but maybe the only thing less interesting is a cold take show. The headline could be, “Two Adult Men Both Think LeBron James Is Outstanding At Basketball.”
“In my opinion, he’s one of the two greatest ever. I have Michael (Jordan) one, Oscar (Robertson) two … I’ve got Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) and Wilt (Chamberlain), and I’ve got Kobe (Bryant) and Tim Duncan. … I’ve got him at 8 or 9 right now. If he wins a couple more championships, I’ll probably move him past-“
Then Simmons cuts him off.
So, to summarize, Barkley feels LeBron is about the eighth-best player in the history of basketball, while Simmons has him around third. This led to a spirited debate on a pay cable network.
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