A few years ago, LeBron James talked about his Mount Rushmore of NBA players in which he included Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Oscar Robertson. LeBron also commented that he expects some of them to step down if he ever wins more championships and individual accomplishments after he retires from the NBA. When it comes to his personal opinion about the best NBA history players, he left out a few names that he could have included on that list.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of those players who deserves to be in the GOAT conversation alongside a few other players from the ’60s like Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. In an interview with Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Kareem commented on LeBron’s choice. He was somewhat disappointed that he didn’t acknowledge other greats in NBA history by saying he is automatically better than them.
LeBron James was talking about how he’s the best ever, but he never saw Wilt play. If he had, he wouldn’t say that. Whenever he averages 55 points a game, then I might want to listen to what he has to say. I’m not trying to put LeBron down. He’s awesome. He’s the best player in this era at this point. But he didn’t see Bill Russell play. When his team wins eight consecutive NBA championships, maybe I’ll compare him to Bill Russell.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, via Daily News
There is no question LeBron already did astonishing things in his career, and his NBA journey is not over. To make the proper assessments on where specific all-time greats compare to LeBron, we’ll have to wait for his career to be finished, and considering the way he is playing right now, he has a few more good years in his tank.
Indeed, players like Kareem, Bill, and Wilt don’t receive the respect they perhaps deserve, considering they played in the NBA several decades ago. Russell was the ultimate winner in NBA history, while Wilt’s dominance and individual records often sound unreal, and the argument is that they played against weaker competition than players today. That may be somewhat true, but nobody should undermine their achievements and everything they did for the game of basketball.