Charles Barkley has an old school way of thinking about basketball. To Chuck, nothing is more important than rings. This is why LeBron James is not ahead of Kobe Bryant on the TNT analyst’s all-time list of basketball players.
So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise when Barkley said this about LeBron, Kobe, and Michael Jordan during an appearance on ESPN’s Mike & Mike this morning.
If LeBron is able to beat the Golden State Warriors, I might move him up to Kobe Bryant’s status. Michael (Jordan)’s got six championships — that’s a whole other planet. LeBron has three championships, he’s one of the 10 greatest players ever. If they’re able to beat the Golden State Warriors, that would be incredible, and I’d put him on the same level as Kobe Bryant at that point.
Michael’s on a whole other level, he won six championships. LeBron is amazing, but I don’t understand why people just move him right by Kobe Bryant. Bryant won five championships, and he’s done some things we’ve never seen before.
Anyone can use whatever factors they want to determine who is a better basketball player. This is why some people think LeBron’s all-around game makes him better than Kobe, while others like Barkley think the superior number of championships Bean has won makes him better. The rings argument is always a funny one because it’s usually made to establish Jordan as the best player ever and not, say, Bill Russell, but neither here nor there.
Anyway, Barkley’s argument is a bit off, because he’s basically saying “LeBron has three rings, so I cannot put him above Kobe because he has five, but if he wins a fourth I may.” I suppose this argument holds water if you believe beating the Warriors is more impressive than anything Kobe did in the Finals, and it seems like Barkley believes that. It also appears that Barkley is trying to give himself some wiggle room in the event this happens and he’s not sold on LeBron > Kobe by saying he might do this.
Should Cleveland beat Golden State in the Finals – assuming, you know, they get there – it will almost definitely help LeBron establish his G.O.A.T. credentials. To some that means he’ll officially pass Jordan as the best player, but to Barkley, it may be the thing that puts King James on Kobe’s level.
(Via For the Win)