The man known as the “Round Mound of Rebound” just elbowed NBA icons LeBron James and Kobe Bryant out of the top five players list of all-time greats that many sports pundits put them in.
Charles Barkley, the always colorful and bodacious host of “NBA on TNT,” provided his individual top five list of the greatest players of all time during a comprehensive conversation with venerated Kentucky coach John Calipari.
The Emmy Award-winning and NBA Hall of Fame Barkley not surprisingly put Michael Jordan at the top of the list as his irrefutable greatest player of all time. After that, most of Barkley’s list looks like an ode to a bygone era.
“Michael’s one, Oscar Robertson’s two,” Barkley said. “(Bill) Russell, Wilt (Chamberlain) and Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), no particular order after Michael. Kobe six, LeBron seven, then you’ve got Elgin Baylor, Jerry West.”
Barkley, 57, explained to Calipari why he has King James outside of his top five players, even though landing inside the top 10 would be a very prestigious and flattering placement for James.
“You know, I love LeBron and everything about him but I still think that the way they play the game today he didn’t want any part of those bad boy Pistons,” Barkley said only half-jokingly. “Let me tell you something, those guys were out there trying to hurt people. I used to always tell people when you were playing the Pistons you had to call home and tell your family you love them just in case you never saw them again.”
While Barkley did not say it directly, most fans and pundits who believe the late Bryant was better than James list the number of championships as the primary reason. Bryant won five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, while James collected his chips with the Miami Heat (two) and his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers (one).
Click continue to view Barkley’s entire conversation regarding Jordan, the coronavirus, and the state of the NBA.