The most common debate about NBA history right now is between Michael Jordan and LeBron James, for the title of greatest of all-time. Jordan is definitely the most common pick there, and was probably aided by The Last Dance airing earlier this year. Now, Skip Bayless has weighed in.
LeBron is at least in the discussion, though. He may be the most physically gifted player of all time, he’s won titles with two franchises, and he is one of the most consistent forces in league history. Even so, we’re starting to see some analysts slide him down the all-time list.
ESPN’s Jalen Rose thinks that LeBron James is the fifth-best player of all-time as of now. TNT’s Kenny Smith has him down at 10th, which is very low. Even Skip Bayless, who will criticize LeBron for literally anything if he gets the chance, has him higher than that. Barely.
On his FS1 show Undisputed today, Bayless ranked his Top 10 NBA players. He has LeBron one spot ahead of fellow Lakers great Wilt Chamberlain, for ninth. Ahead of him, Skip has Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan, Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, and Larry Bird.
.@RealSkipBayless ranks his Top 10 NBA players of all time after Kenny Smith says LeBron is only the 10th-best:
10. Wilt pic.twitter.com/uyP7fyffm5
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) July 9, 2020
The biggest difference between LeBron and Jordan, as well as some of the other guys like Kobe Bryant and Larry Bird ahead of him on the list? Bayless says it is “just sheer killer will.”
I actually have LeBron at No. 9, so I value LeBron a little more than Kenny Smith did. In just sheer killer will, LeBron does not have what Jordan had. That’s why I have Jordan at No. 1 and also why I have Kobe & Bird in the slots above LeBron. More @Undisputed, now on FS1 https://t.co/v5zVVqXyAQ
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) July 9, 2020
“Not to say that LeBron isn’t all-time gifted in so many ways,” Bayless said during the debate show. “One of the great passers ever. A great scorer…he can roll out of bed and get you 28 or 30 pretty easily.”
“I don’t want to just pound on this day and night on the show, but LeBron has had way more epic fails, in my view, than any of these players ranked ahead of him on this list suffered in their careers.”
Bayless cited big series losses during LeBron’s first go-around with the Cleveland Cavaliers, including the NBA Finals sweep at the hands of the Spurs, as well as his poor first Finals appearance with the Miami Heat.
None of this is surprising coming from Skip, but of course this has been his pet issue for most of LeBron’s NBA career. Earlier this year, he criticized an ESPN ranking of all-time greats for having Scottie Pippen at No. 21, a spot he felt was too high. He accused the network of inflating Pippen’s ranking to take credit away from Michael Jordan, and therefore, prop up LeBron James. Given how far down the rabbit hole he’ll go with some of these wild LeBron theories, the fact that he has him in the Top 10 at all is frankly a bit surprising.
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