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Charles Barkley explains why Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James are the most perfect players in NBA history

With all due respect to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russells of the world, Sir Charles does not think they perfected the game the way Jordan, Bryant and James did
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant

When it comes to fan favorites and GOAT debates, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and even Kobe Bryant's names come up more often than not. It's not hard to figure out why this is the case - they were the most popular players of their eras. Former NBA player and Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley believes it's also because these 3 generational talents perfected the game of basketball.

The elite among the elite

With all due respect to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russells of the world (who have even accomplished more than Jordan, Bryant, and James), they don't have what Barkley identifies as the complete all-around basketball talent. What sets Bryant, Jordan, and James apart from the rest is that they can do almost everything on the basketball court, which is why according to Barkley, they're perceived as the most perfect players ever to step foot on the NBA hardwood.

"When I look at Michael, Kobe, LeBron... I don't want to leave anybody else out, because Kareem's (Abdul-Jabbar) in that situation. He's an all-time great. Bill Russell, rest in peace, is an all-time great, but I never looked at him as a guy going to get me 20 points a night. I don't think he was a great offensive player. He's a great winner, rebounder, defender," Barkley said in his appearance on NBA TNT's Stream Room podcast. "But Michael, Kobe, LeBron, those three are the perfect players right there," Barkley added.

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What makes a perfect basketball player?

In defense of Barkley, his opinion makes sense. Jordan, James, and Bryant were franchise players in their own right who their corresponding teams built their roster around. They were counted on to go over the top and consistently perform at a high level each game. Not once did their coaches feel they lacked something because these 3 players (at least during their primes) specialized in every aspect of the game and always gave it on both ends of the floor.

It also helped that Jordan, Bryant, and James developed a massive fanbase and played in an era where basketball was more popular compared to the 70s and 80s. It's not hard for basketball fans (especially in this generation where the games are more accessible) to appreciate all-around players who lead their team each game.

In terms of skill, on-court production, hype, and mentality, Sir Charles was right in saying that Jordan, Bryant, and James are the ones who perfected that in every regard. 

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