The ceremony of the 75 greatest basketball players in NBA history over the All-Star weekend gave us a chance to see some of the greatest figures in NBA history in one place. It was a sight to see for all basketball fans, but it naturally sparked debates about who is the cream of the crop. You know MJ and LeBron are at the top of that topic, without too many others names entering the GOAT debate. Even the great Shaq had to admit it makes him jealous.
Cleveland welcomes LeBron back
LeBron gets a lot of hate amongst NBA fans due to having more than one failure in his career. But you have to admit he is the closest thing we have seen to Michael Jordan. The hype around "The Chosen One" delivered no matter how many Finals losses he has. He is the face of this generation of basketball, and that alone at least put him into the conversation.
Of course, LeBron was one of the 75 greatest players in history and, in perfect fashion, introduced in front of his hometown Cleveland, which welcomed "The King" with a roar. LeBron would return the favor with a game-winning fadeaway to win the All-Star game.
Givin LeBron his roses
The NBA On TNT crew shared their thoughts on several players on the list, and naturally, LeBron's name came into the mix. Charles praised James for being such a family-friendly role model without a stain in his career, while NBA legend and his former teammate Shaquille O'Neal shared why he is jealous of James:
"I'm a little bit jealous of LeBron, and let me tell you why. We're all part of the barbershop talk. Greatest analyst, greatest shooters, one of the most dominant big men. But I would like my (name) in the conversations of greatest of all time. I'm not in that conversation, he is. Kobe Bryant is, Michael Jordan is. I ask people this all the time, when he passes up Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in points, what you gonna say about LeBron James? Is he the greatest player of all time, one of the greatest players? But I would also love to be in that position where I'm the number one spot."
Shaquille O'Neal, NBA On TNT
Shaq has a point as we rarely mention anybody outside of MJ, LeBron, or Kobe in the GOAT conversation. Maybe eventually Kareem, but that's a small circle. Shaq has a dominant career behind him, being one of the most unstoppable forces the NBA has ever seen. But still, he is just regarded as one of the best big men ever rather than a complete player.
To be honest, if Shaq had taken care of his body as LeBron, he could have been the GOAT easily; unfortunately, the injuries and weight issues prematurely ended Shaq's dominance in the league. But that is precisely why Shaq respects LeBron and wishes he had the same discipline that allowed James to sneak into the GOAT conversation.