NBA Rumor: GOAT Debate

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Danny Green, Grizzlies wing (won title with LeBron in 2020): “Definitely one of the best players to ever lace them up, but I also consider him a friend, a brother, family, a guy that I won a championship with, a guy that I battled for championships against. There are so many things that go into that … relationship with him. When it’s all said and done, he’s going to be arguably the greatest player to ever lace them up. “I consider myself very lucky and blessed to compete with guys like him. … To be able to play during the generation of his time is special.”

Jalen Rose on GOAT debate: Michael Jordan has 10 scoring titles, LeBron James has one

Jalen Rose: When you talk about the best players of all time, you ultimately start talking about who’s the G.O.A.T. And when you talk about G.O.A.T., the first word is ‘greatest.’ That means achieved more than somebody else. And if we’re comparing Michael Jordan and LeBron, for example, Michael Jordan got 10 scoring titles. LeBron James has one. Michael Jordan has been Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA. LeBron hasn’t.

According to NBA on TNT, Barkley makes a solid point about discussing the “GOAT” of basketball. He cleverly mentions how players should be viewed more so in their generation rather than comparing everybody in the same category. It’s a great point. Even so, the legendary power forward names seven players for his Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore is commonly known to name someone’s top four players. However, Barkley names Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. The best part of this video is nobody in the room catches it. Regardless, that is a solid list of players to idolize for the NBA, as each of them brought something unique to the table in their respective generations.

Tracy McGrady on who's the best one-on-one player: 'Kobe Bryant is definitely at the top of that list'

Who’s the best one-on-one player in your opinion? Tracy McGrady: Kobe (Bryant) is definitely at the top of that list. I could go with a handful of guys that are great one-on-one players. Baron Davis. Cuttino Mobley. Lou Williams. Jamal Crawford. These are one-on-one certified killers. Allen Iverson. That’s what these guys do. But definitely, Kobe is at the top of that list.

Draymond Green would miss Warriors game to witness LeBron James break scoring record live

Draymond Green: “Congrats to LeBron James, second all-time. Probably in fifty more games or so, fifty to seventy games or so, he’ll be first all-time. And I can’t wait to see that and I hope, Steve Kerr, I’m throwing this out there right now. If LeBron is passing the all-time scoring record and we have a game, I’m going to LeBron’s game and witness history. So that’s what we doing, coach Kerr.”

Jason Williams' latest take on Kobe Bryant in Lakers history: 'I said what I said, and I mean what I meant'

Initially, Williams said he was unsure of whether or not Bryant stands among the “top five of the all-time greatest Lakers.” That take ruffled some feathers, but after his quote started getting some attention around the basketball world, he clarified what he meant. Williams explained that Bryant is indeed the “greatest Laker ever.” He added that he merely believes that there are a handful of better players who have played for the Lakers at some point in their careers, making the argument a little bit muddy. Williams recently spoke about the topic again and offered his latest thoughts. “I said what I said, and I mean what I meant,” Williams said.

“Kobe Bryant is the greatest Laker of all time, but that doesn’t mean that he’s the greatest basketball player that ever played for the Lakers. You know what I mean? It’s kind of like if I said D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) was better than LeBron [James]. LeBron is a better basketball player than Dwyane Wade, but when you think about the Miami Heat, who do you think of? “… I think there were five better basketball players that played for the Lakers at one time, but that’s not taking anything away from Kobe Bryant. He’s one of the greatest basketball players that’s ever walked the face of this earth.”

Jason Williams: What’s good world?! 💜 So I noticed I kind of stirred the pot so to speak last week with my comments about Kobe. 🙏🏼 I’ve seen some of your comments, but not nearly all of them… Some are positive, some not so positive!!! The anger that some folks have over this conversation is awesome to me cause it means you care!! 🏀 Now with that being said let me explain what I meant last week. First off: KOBE BEAN BRYANT is the greatest ✨LAKER✨ EVER!!! PERIOD!!! 💯 In the conversation you all heard, my thinking was that we were talking about ALL the greatest NBA players EVER who wore the Laker purple and gold jersey for at least ONE season. I wasn’t talking about the greatest LAKER ever… because of course that’s Kobe!!! Kobe IS the Lakers!!! 💛💜 But in what I was saying, I was thinking about WILT, KAREEM, MAGIC, SHAQ, LEBRON… (That’s my top 5 players who ever played in a Laker jersey *in no particular order* in case y’all wondering!)… those players who—in my opinion—were/are better than KOBE!! That’s just my opinion! Doesn’t mean I’m saying it’s a fact!! 🤷🏼‍♂️ So my bad if I’ve hurt any of y’all feelings, it’s just my opinion!!! I love this game and I respect this game!! It has nothing to do with Kobe bustin my team’s ass just about every time we played them either. 👏🏼 Really the only difference between my opinion and y’all opinion is that I just happened to play against some of these dudes we talkin about and that’s it!! And I’ll do ya one better… The people I’ve named are way above my talent level!!!! Legends!! GOATs!!! 🐐🏆

Michael Jordan: Share of the vote: 73.85 percent of the maximum amount possible Almost half of the voters in our poll (25) voted Michael Jordan No. 1 on their ballots. No other player got more than five first-place votes. MJ really ran the table here, and how can you argue with that? His on-court accomplishments are unimpeachable, as is the cultural impact. He was, after all, the most famous person on the planet for a while, turning millions into basketball fans across the globe. “He just made the game look so fun and painted an amazing picture with the way he played,” one former NBA player who played for Jordan told HoopsHype. “Off the court, seeing how he carried himself. He showed the business side from a branding standpoint that was unreal. His logo speaks for itself, and he ran the basketball operations of the Wizards and played while doing it.”

Share of the vote for LeBron James: 37.69 percent of the maximum amount possible No player has ever entered the NBA with more hype as a teenager and exceeded those expectations more than LeBron James, who finished with the most second-place votes (11) in the poll. His nationally televised free agency decision in 2010 across the country was an iconic must-see television moment. “LeBron’s ability to influence his peers, public opinion, his basketball dominance from a very young age, and his philanthropic work puts him up there with the most influential NBA athletes,” one former NBA player and current assistant coach told HoopsHype.

LeBron James on poor 2011 Finals performance: I lost myself in the moment

Now more than a decade later, it is clear that that bitter loss still stings for LeBron James. In a recent episode of HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted, James revealed the harsh reality behind that unforgettable moment in his career. According to LeBron, the reason why they lost that series was because he was in a different place mentally: “My first year in Miami I was down here I was literally like, I wanted to prove everybody wrong,” LeBron said. “And I like literally lost myself in the moment. I lost myself. And I got all the way to the championship that year and lost. Afterwards I was like we lost because I wasn’t even there.”

When asked the poll question, NBA legend and NBA TV analyst Isiah Thomas responded “Absolutely,” Giannis would perform at the same level. But, Thomas didn’t stop there. He went on the rail against former players trashing current players and even mentioned Oakley by name. “Giannis going around Oakley, Giannis going around all them. He dunkin’ on them. He bigger, he faster, he stronger. You can talk all that stuff ’cause you don’t play no more. You can talk all that stuff ’cause you got gray hair and you sitting on the sidelines, smoking cigars about what you used to do. That dude will dog you ever single time y’all step on the court.”

In 2016 LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers made history not just by winning the first NBA championship in the history of the franchise but also by coming back from being 1-3 down in the Finals. That was when James felt like he is the greatest player of all time. “That moment I was like ‘I’m the greatest basketball player people will ever see.’ In all facets. I can play the 1 through 5, I can guard 1 through 5,” James told former NBA star Kenny Smith. “Just literally did something that’s never been done in the history of the sport. I mean teams that go down 3-1 was 0 for like 32 in Finals history. Nobody ever coming out of there and nobody gave us a chance.”

But in the “image is everything” era when Jordan made exponentially more money outside of basketball from endorsements, no one backed it up on the court like Jordan. He created a new world in both sports marketing and sports myth-making. “In tennis or golf or boxing, the mystique is the individual,” Jordan’s agent David Falk said to Henry Louis Gates Jr. in a 1998 New Yorker story. “Whereas no matter how great Bill Russell or Bob Cousy was, it was the Celtics dynasty, it was always institutional. Michael changed all that. Singlehanded.”

Steve Kerr won three titles with Jordan, another two with David Robinson and Tim Duncan and then three more as a coach with the Warriors. He’s played and coached against the best players in the league since the late 1980s. During the 2017 postseason, he joked about the “back in my day” philosophy comparing champions of yesterday to the unworthy teams of the present. “The game gets worse as time goes on,” he said. “Players are less talented than they used to be. The guys in the ’50s would’ve destroyed everybody. It’s weird how human evolution goes in reverse in sports. Players get weaker, smaller, less skilled. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”

Dwyane Wade: They're gonna forget about Michael Jordan like we forgot about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

“These GOATs, these names that we throw out, it’s not gonna just be a lot of those players. But the game continues to keep moving forward. And so we are gonna continue to see things that we have never seen before. And the eyes are gonna get younger and younger,” Wade said on the Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. “We are not going to have a conversation about the GOATs. Now it’s going to be the younger, younger, younger generation. And they’re gonna forget about Jordan like we forget about Kareem.”

Al Harrington: 'LeBron James has dominated an era of his little bros'

In the eyes of Harrington, players in the Jordan era were a lot less friendly with each other compared to the way players interact today. “Michael Jordan came up in the era where everybody hated each other,” Harrington said. “They did not f— with each other, was no homeboys in the offseason, was no, ‘Let’s go to the clubs in the summer and go holler at some chicks.’ It was none of that. … When they played, it was war. LeBron has dominated an era of his little bros. They all his little bros, everybody. Who he had it with? Who? What star has LeBron had it with? What team has LeBron had it with?”

James scored a season-high 39 points in Indianapolis, including eight of L.A.’s 12 points in the extra session, to help the Lakers erase a 12-point second-half deficit and finish their five-game road trip with a record of 2-3. James made the day a special one, lifting L.A. back to .500 at 10-10, securing the win without Anthony Davis, who was out with flu-like symptoms. “That’s why he’s the GOAT, man,” said Lakers guard Malik Monk, who had 17 points and eight rebounds off the bench. “I’ve been watching him my whole life. He’s like our [Michael] Jordan in my generation.”

The three-time NBA champion was asked whether he’d rather build a team around Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry or Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant. Wade gave it some thought, but he ultimately decided to go with Curry. “I’m gonna go with Steph,” Wade told Dan Patrick after being asked whether he’d rather start a team with Curry or Durant. “… I guess I went with Steph because Steph has kind of revolutionized the sport. He’s one of those Mount Rushmores from the sense of changing the game the way he has.”

Kevin Garnett: 'I've definitely said some crazy s--- to LeBron'

As for two other legends Garnett crossed paths with, during a video call a few months later, I ask him about the difference between Michael Jordan and LeBron James. “It’s a different level of respect,” he replies. “Michael Jordan I looked at as f—— God. And I thought he was my version of what basketball looked like. And with LeBron, it was more like the little homie. Here’s the little homie growing up, and man, little homie is getting better than everybody! God damn!… I definitely talked some s— to him. I’ve definitely said some crazy s— to him. He’s definitely said some crazy s— back to me.” Garnett also praises LeBron for carrying the NBA as long as he has: “You’ve gotta have that in you to be able to have those shoulders to carry it. No man is perfect in this s—, and there ain’t no telltale book on how to do this s—. He’s done a great f—— job. I just felt like it was only right to give him that respect.”

Shawn Marion on LeBron, Kobe and MJ comparisons: “Let’s just appreciate what he’s done, man. I mean, right now and I’ma leave it like this. Last time that I checked MJ was the first person to wear number #23. Is he not? So the next person to take the number #23? It was LeBron. But Kobe emulated everything MJ did on the court; from the fadeaway to all that other stuff and he truly patented his game after MJ. I don’t think LeBron ever tried to do that. I think LeBron is setting out to follow in his [MJ’s] steps to try to be the best player he can be in this generation, which he did. Because when you look at it I think it’s generational.

Shawn Marion: I think LeBron, by far, has been one the best athletes that we’ve witnessed to see right now and we’ve got to appreciate it. Stop trying to compare the two. If you’re really going to try to compare those two, Kobe was the closest thing skillswise to MJ, but LeBron is a different type of player. I mean, athletic-wise when you look at LeBron you don’t look at him as a scorer-scorer because he does everything on the floor, and he wants to do everything on the floor. So just appreciate it for what he’s done and how he’s doing it; going to as many NBA Finals and vice-versa and just leave it at that. I don’t think that you can compare the two. I think MJ is in his own lane just as well as LeBron is in his own lane. I got the chance to play against LeBron, Kobe and MJ and I gotta say Kobe as far as skill set and mentality is the CLOSEST thing to MJ.

Scottie Pippen: My years in Chicago, beginning as a rookie in the fall of 1987, were the most rewarding of my career: twelve men coming together as one, fulfilling the dreams we had as kids in playgrounds across the land when all we needed was a ball, a basket, and our imagination. To be a member of the Bulls during the 1990s was to be part of something magical. For our times and for all time. Except Michael was determined to prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger-than-life during his day—and still larger than LeBron James, the player many consider his equal, if not superior. So Michael presented his story, not the story of the “Last Dance,” as our coach, Phil Jackson, billed the 1997–98 season once it became obvious the two Jerrys (owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause) were intent on breaking up the gang no matter what happened.

Bob Pettit: I played against some of the greatest players to ever play the game. When you start picking centers, it’s hard to beat Wilt and Bill Russell. In my opinion, Russell is the greatest player who ever played. I’d pick him to start my team, in his prime, any time. Then the Lakers had both Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. They were such wonderful players. You have to include Oscar Robertson, too. He’s one of the greatest all-around players to ever play. These guys can play any time, anywhere and be extremely successful. You can build a team around any of them today.

Recounting his memories about the pair, former Sacramento Kings scorer Walt Williams heaped praise on Bias and even reckoned that the late former college basketball prodigy was indeed “a little bit ahead” of Jordan in terms of overall skills. “I know certainly either we would have been talking about him [Bias] as the greatest of all time, or Jordan would be on an even different level,” Williams recently told Basketball Network. “I think those guys certainly would have pushed each other to the max. The thing about Len Bias when you compare him to Michael Jordan, I think he was a little bit ahead of Michael when they were in college with his skillset.” “The jump shot that Bias had that was just the prettiest thing you could ever see,” he added. “He could defend multiple positions; he was a kind of a hybrid of how you see the game played now. And that’s the tragedy of not seeing a Len Bias. I think the game would have gravitated to where it is much quicker.”

Too often the NBA’s greatest-of-all-time debate gets boiled down to Jordan vs. LeBron. I know this bothers many observers who were old enough to watch you play; how bothersome is it to you to be excluded from the GOAT discussion? Kareem: GOAT discussions are fun, like debating who’s faster: Superman or the Flash. It’s a metaphysical mystery. The question can never be answered because players from the past were trained under different restrictions and played under different rules. Then you have to ask what to give more weight to: Scoring, defense, assists? All of them? But the stats don’t always reveal the particular conditions and challenges of each season. Way too many variables. How about we just discuss the O’GOAT (One of the Greatest of All-Time)?

The list of MVP awards, All-Star appearances and other accolades is extensive, but in the eyes of NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, James isn’t better than Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant because of the talent he’s played with, as he said on HBO’s “Back on the Record with Bob Costas“: “In fairness, I don’t even put LeBron past Kobe; let’s get that out of the way…LeBron has stacked his teams; let’s be realistic…The struggle is a part of your legacy.”

On if the constant ‘G.O.A.T.’ debate gets exhausting: LeBron: It can be exhausting, you said it, but I’ve always looked at it like any time you’re compared or you’re even mentioned with the greats to ever play this game, it’s become humbling for me, because the same people they put me in the category with … are the same guys that I looked up to for inspiration when I was growing up. And I needed that inspiration growing up in the inner city here in Akron, Ohio. So to have the Michael Jordans’, the Kobe Bryants’, the Ken Griffey Jrs’, the Deion Sanders’, all those unbelievable sports figures when I needed it, they helped me. So it’s like, ‘Wow, you guys are comparing me to these greatest players that I’ve ever seen when I was growing up. It’s humbling, man.

With his star teammates, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, going down to injury, Durant averaged 35.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists on 42.7 minutes per game in the Nets’ Eastern Conference semifinals loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, including 49 points in Game 5 and 48 in Game 7. “He just showed he’s the most talented basketball player on earth, if not of all time,” Kerr said. “Honestly. He’s just so gifted. I loved coaching him, and I’m looking forward to doing so again.”

Kerr won two championships with Jordan as a teammate on the Chicago Bulls and won two more coaching Durant, so he just might have the best perspective of anyone when it comes to this debate. “I think he’s more gifted, I really do,” Kerr said. “That’s saying something, but Kevin is a different … entirely different breed. He’s 6-11 with guard skills, unlimited 3-point range, passing, shot-blocking — his shot-blocking at the rim, it’s just stunning. Watching him this year was really, really gratifying to see.
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March 27, 2023 | 4:16 am EDT Update
“I feel great,” Brown said. “I’m on a 50-win team right now that you can’t take for granted. Tonight was the 50th win. And right now I’m focused on helping to lead my team for another playoff run. In terms of speculation, et cetera, I can’t speculate on anything above what I’m doing right now. I think sometimes when people write articles they get taken out of context especially when writers have their own agendas or whatever. So for me personally, I’m thinking about clarifying some of the things that have been recently said. But other than that, I’m just focused on my team. I’m focused on playing basketball and winning games.”
Beverley talked a lot leading up to the game, something he said Sunday “wasn’t talk.” “So, I can’t even say it was talk,” Beverley said. “Great timing. I’m pretty sure Charmin enjoyed it a lot. I missed the window, like two weeks to post it. I had to post it last minute after a loss, when we played Philly. It just happened to come out the L.A. weekend. So, that doesn’t affect the way I go about the game. I’m here to win games and win a lot of them, and I’m fortune we got a win today.”

Patrick Beverley: 'We're not construction workers... It's all about having fun'

After the game, in which he had 10 points and five assists, Beverley was calm and collected in explaining his “too small” routine directed at James. “I do it to everybody,” Beverley said. “I was just having fun, getting lost in the game. Just getting lost in the game, having fun, man. We’re not construction workers. We’re not guys that have to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning. We’re professional basketball players. It’s all about having fun. That’s what we tried to do tonight, well, what I tried to do tonight.”
After the game, Beasley wished his 4-year-old son a happy birthday in a post to Instagram. But unfortunately, some Lakers fans left hurtful comments on the post about Beasley’s performance on the court. That led to Beasley calling out the negativity and asking for respect. “It’s my sons bday and I’m trying to enjoy that,” Beasley wrote in a comment that he pinned to his post. “obviously I want to be making shots my self. I’m harder on myself then [sic] anybody.. laker nation it’s only a matter of time. I put in toooo much work not too [sic]. I promise when the time to turn up comes, it will come. “Let’s focus on getting to playoffs,” Beasley continued. “Positively is the only way to move forward from here. Love y’all and just show some respect to me and my family .. including @montanayao”