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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.