Dr. J Leaves LeBron Off His All-Time Top 10

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NBA legend Dr. J was asked by Yahoo’s Chris Haynes who he had in his top 10 players all-time, and his list was interesting. LeBron James wasn’t on it.

“He’s the guy who has led the charge of super teams,” Erving said.

So lets lay out Dr. J’s full list where he made a ‘first’ and ‘second team’

Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russel, and Wilt Chamberlain rounded out his first team.

Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rounded out his second team. My god this list is cheeks.

First of all, saying that LeBron James “started the super team” is a bit dishonest. We can start by mentioning that James left for Miami in the 2010 offseason to give himself a better shot at beating the Boston Celtics. How’d that team form? Oh that’s right, they gathered around a phone and pulled every string imaginable until the roster had four Hall of Famers on it. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, lifelong Celtic Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo were a juggernaut and something had to be done.

After six seasons in Cleveland watching his front office fail to draft other talent, James had had enough and he did what he had to do. If he hadn’t, then the same people who criticize LeBron for heading to Miami would say he wasn’t a “winner.” An impossible standard that former and current fans of the NBA pretend isn’t there.

This whole thing could’ve been avoided if LeBron got “G.O.A.T.” consideration prior to winning titles while he was in Cleveland. The media put far too much focus on winning to determine legacy, and NBA fans paid for it in the long run.

It’s also happened in the past, it just didn’t work

Remember when Charles Barkley forced his way to Houston to try and win an NBA title late in his career? Well, Barkley thought that would work. When it failed miserably, old school fans swept it under the rug like it never happened. Barkley maintained his legendary status, and instead, LeBron became known as the “first player to ever do this.”

Complete and utter nonsense.

If you don’t think LeBron is a top 10 player because of his basketball talents, then that’s your right. But don’t come up with some shoddy list because you’re butthurt LeBron got sick of being told he couldn’t win.

James’ counter to being stuck behind a stinker of a front office in Cleveland was to play with other great players the way Jordan and Magic did. If James had the luxury of being patient with then GM Jim Paxton, James would still be in Cleveland. If anything, Dr. J, like Steve Kerr, looks like a bitter old man who simply doesn’t like LeBron. I’m a writer for OutKick and understand that most of my readers don’t like LeBron either. But for any of us to put a player like Karl Malone on a list ahead of James for any reason makes us look bad.

Let’s normalize criticizing athletes without pretending they suck. You go first, Dr. J.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for OutKick.com, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr


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      • I’ve heard many veteran NBA players hail Russell as one of the best, if not the best player of all time. Aside from the 11 rings, he was absolutely dominant for years at center on both ends of the court.

        I think these lists are always entertaining, but I’ll always go with what the players say. Especially now where people are so wedded to stats and NBA scoring is a joke due to the total lack of defense

        • That may be the case…I’d like to watch that type of basketball at some point just to see how Bill Russell played. I watched some Wilt film and it was amazing how he would just dominate the other team and he knew it.

  1. I remember the Boston Celtics were different than Lebron’ superteams in that Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce were all past their peak powers. They were savvy vets that figured out a way to make it happen. LeBron got Bosh and Wade at their peak while he was at his peak. Lebron demanded max money, the ball, leadership of the franchise, free access to anything in the organization and made everyone else work for the league minimum (a bit exaggerated).

  2. Malone was a Forward, Lebron a Guard, now considering the current NBA might use them interchangeably it wasn’t always so in the past. Using this argument for an all Team list, you cant switch out Lebron for Malone. Besides if it wasn’t for Jordan the Mailman would have some rings.

  3. Let’s get this out of the way: Lebron is a complete and total p*ssy *ss b*tch. That said, he is probably the 2nd best player of all time and clearly a top 10 guy. He might suck when he opens his mouth, but when he keeps it closed and plays ball, it’s undeniable. It’s just a shame he couldn’t have kept it that way. He would be immensely popular if he had any common sense.

  4. Gary just because I’m bored let’s Wikipedia ranger this Malone vs Lebron. Look at the numbers and dissect what era they were playing in.
    Points Games Avg FG 3s Free Throw
    36,928 1,476 25.0 13,528 85 9,787
    35,283 1,306 27.0 12,869 1,973 7,574
    So Bron has a slight avg. advantage but made almost 1900 more points than Malone from 3s. Mailman played in the paint when defense in the NBA were hard checks that threw people to the ground. Looking at these numbers no way I would take Lebron over Malone. Now, let’s look at the team matchups you have Robertson vs Johnson PG, West vs Jordan SG, Baylor vs Bird SF, Russel (would need to fill PF) vs Malone, and Chamberlain vs Kareem C. The only legit argument would be to switch Magic and Bird for Kobe and Lebron. But I’d rather just make a third team than try and justify that. It would cover all three eras of the NBA though.

  5. Dr. J left himself off the top 10 list. Would LeMoron leave himself off the top 10 list? You know the answer.

    “It’s great to be great, but it’s greater to be human.”–Will Rogers

  6. I understand the point/counterpoint of it all, but the teams you mentioned as “super teams” all had players well past their prime, while the Celtics were arguably just over their primes. When LeBron put together the team in Miami they were all in their primes of their careers.

  7. This reads like an opinion piece from Yahoo sports protecting LeBron. There is no way LeBron would be great in the era of toughness and competition. Dr. J’s list is legit and his opinion. He revered the players that came before him. I may find a way to put Hakeem, Duncan or Kobe in the top 10 list cause they were true competitors, unlike LeBron. Also, Rondo isn’t a hall of famer. Please. The Celtics were put together by a GM, not players plotting to play together.

  8. In an age of position-less basketball, Dr. J is clearly sticking to the classic PG, SG, SF, PF, C lineup to determine his top NBA all-time teams. From a traditional standpoint, LeBron is undoubtedly a SF. Not a guard, not a PF, not a PG. Like Larry Bird, call him a “Point Forward”, but his true position is the “three” at SF. So really, Dr. J is saying that Elgin Baylor and Larry Bird are both better than LeBron. I disagree, but can certainly make this argument. Also, like everyone else in the world, I disagree that Jerry West > MJ. However, I respect Dr. J for basing his teams on true position. The best teams are built this way w/ role players and stars alike. Moron millennials and pundits today would just load their all NBA teams with great scorers.

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