It was inevitable. LeBron is close to winning his fourth title tonight, and doing so in a Lakers jersey got a lot of people revising their lists. Does this make him your GOAT? Maybe you still have him at no.3? That’s nothing compared to Charles Barkley, who has a very particular point of view.
“I have him no.7 on my list, right behind Kobe. I think if he wins two more, I would move him ahead of Kobe. But this moves him a lot closer to Kobe, on my list.”Charles Barkley, Dan Patrick show
It’s not a typo. Sir Charles has LeBron 7th on his all-time list. Before you conclude Barkley is just trolling, let’s hear the man out. He has a case about quality, not just the quantity of titles and accolades won. There are several things Barkley said to explain his ranking.
First of all, this title will be won next to Anthony Davis. AD is still vastly underrated and underappreciated. The man is a defensive nightmare and the prototypical center on a basketball team in 2020. That impacts Sir Charles’ ranking. Dan Patrick pointed out that most great players won a title next to another great player, rarely do they win alone. Barkley agreed and provided some context.
“Yes, you are correct. But the difference is I’ve always believed LeBron manufactured when he went to Miami and got Dwyane and Chris. Then he went to the Lakers – once Anthony Davis signed with Klutch Sports, you knew it was just a matter of time before he came to the Lakers. I’m never going to say anything bad about LeBron, but you do have to factor in he does manufacture his teams where they become really good, quickly.”Charles Barkley, Dan Patrick show
To point out, Barkley had nothing but praise for LeBron and his game through the interview. This isn’t your inflammatory “First Take” segment created to infuriate people and generate pointless discussions. What Sir Charles is doing is more nuanced.
For Barkley, the way LeBron assembled his teams is detrimental to his all-time standing. It’s one thing to stay with one team, go through the good and the bad, work on chemistry and identity, and win titles that way. LeBron won his titles by having the team go all-in, and once the resources were spent, he would just move. James did it in Miami, and he did it in Cleveland.
Then we come to the Klutch connection. The NBA investigated the LeBron-Klutch connection and found nothing against the rules. Mhm. So much has happened since, but the way Anthony Davis left New Orleans was wrong. I’m not saying this was the only example of what would be considered tampering. But LeBron and Klutch are taking it to another level. That’s an example of player empowerment I find to be unfair and detrimental to the game and the league.
I can see the point in that argument, and while I’m not sure it would drop LeBron to no.7 on my list, it is a valid point.