Former NBA champion Bill Laimbeer uttered what many basketball fans consider to be blasphemy when he called LeBron James the “best basketball player who ever lived” over Michael Jordan.
“I’m very vocal about this,” said the former “Bad Boy” who anchored the Detroit Pistons dynasty with the legendary Isiah Thomas in the 1980s. Speaking on ESPN’s “First Take” sports talk show, Laimbeer told Stephen A. Smith that he doesn’t even believe it’s a debate as to whether King James’ career is superior to Michael Jordan’s, whom most consider the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).
“I’m very vocal on this. I think LeBron is the best player who has ever played the game,” Laimbeer said. “He’s 6-foot-8, 285 pounds, runs like the wind, jumps out of the gym. … At the end of the day, I firmly believe he’s the best basketball player in the history of the game.”
The timing is interesting, noting that ESPN will air the Jordan documentary “The Last Dance” on Sunday, April 19, 2020, moving it up from its previously scheduled summer release. This is due to the lack of sports programming because no leagues are currently operating due to social distancing mandates enacted across the country.
The always irascible Laimbeer, who was considered the enforcer for the Pistons during their championship run in the late ’80s, concedes that Jordan has more titles than James.
“Now if you go by championships, obviously Michael Jordan has more championships,” Laimbeer noted about Jordan’s six titles compared to James’ three. “But I think LeBron in any generation would be doing what he’s doing right now all these years.”
Laimbeer is considered royalty in Detroit, where his jersey was retired in 1995. He is also a champion as a coach, leading the WNBA’s Detroit Shock to three titles during his tenure from 2002 to 2009. But Laimbeer is widely despised by fans outside the Motor City.
Flip the page to view the outrage spewed by fans who believe Jordan, not James, is the best player in NBA history.