LeBron James is the greatest player of the current generation, but how does he stack up against the all-time greats? I don't think he fairs well. LeBron has been on great teams throughout his career, and while I won't argue that he was the best player on every team he has ever played for, I will say that without his supporting cast of players like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving, he wouldn't have three championships like he does. He has been running to superteams for his whole career. He leaves Cleveland and joins the Heat with Dwyane Wade and has Chris Bosh come with him. After he wins two championships with the Heat and they seem to be getting a little bit old, he leaves them and goes back to the Cavs, who by then had Kyrie Irving and then he had Kevin Love join him. The worst part is that he criticizes Kevin Durant for leaving Oklahoma for Golden State when he did the same exact thing. I'm not a fan of KD's move either, but LeBron is a hypocrite for trying to bash Durant.
LeBron would wither away in Jordan's era. The way LeBron flops and complains, I would love to see him try to hang with the Jordans, Pippens and Rodmans of that era. He wouldn't be able to take it. Here are 15 of the NBA's all-time greats, that are better than LeBron James.
15 Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant just recently retired. While I personally was not a fan of his, I have to acknowledge his greatness. Bryant had a lot of help on his championship teams, but looking at the numbers Kobe put up, you can't deny that he is better than LeBron. Kobe scored 81 points in a single game. That's the closest anyone has ever gotten to Wilt Chamberlain's record.
Bryant modeled his game and chased after Michael Jordan for most of his career but came up just a bit short. He is one championship behind, 4 MVPs back and in the minds of many, no matter what he did he wouldn't pass Jordan. As of now however, he is better than LeBron. LeBron needs to prove he has the killer instinct.
14 Jerry West
Jerry West is literally the face of the NBA. He is on every basketball, every jersey, and everything associated with the NBA. He is the logo of the NBA. Jerry West is the only player to ever win the finals MVP award despite his team not winning the series. He played so well in the series, they just couldn't give it to anyone else. West scored an average of 27 points a night throughout his career and never left the Lakers for the entirety of it. Many people think that the NBA should change their logo to a more modern player, but I say that the logo is iconic and should never be changed. West will forever be immortalized in the NBA as long as the logo stays.
13 Bill Russell
Bill Russell has 11 NBA championships. That is incredible no matter what era you are playing in, as it's nearly impossible to accomplish that feat in today's game.. Russell was a defensive monster. He won the MVP award five times and was an all star 12 times. Russell played on one of the greatest teams of all time. Bill even has the finals MVP trophy named after him. Every year he presents it to the Finals MVP himself, most recently, LeBron James.
Does LeBron have any trophies named after him? I didn't think so. When LeBron is giving his trophy to younger players then you can come talk to me. Russell is one of the biggest winners in the history of sports. Not something you can say about everyone.
12 Karl Malone
Karl Malone is one of the greatest scorers in the history of the NBA. He would be much higher on this list if he could have won it all at least once in his career. Even though he had John Stockton he could still never win the championship.
He ranks at the #2 spot all time on the scoring list and was also a great rebounder. Malone would have at least one championship if it weren't for Michael Jordan and his game winner, but that isn't the case. Malone was on the all defensive team four times and is a 14-time all star. Malone also won two MVP awards. He really is one of the greatest players of all time, he is just missing a crucial piece of hardware from his collection.
11 Larry Bird
Larry Bird, aka, "The Hick from French Lick" is one of the best players from one of the best eras of NBA basketball. The number of great players during the time and the rivalries make it one of the best times to watch basketball, as the competition was off the charts at that time. Bird was a 3x MVP, a 12x all star, a 2x finals MVP, and a 3x NBA champion. Bird was a great shooter, rebounder, defender and even passer.
Bird averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists throughout his career. Bird, like many of the players on a great list like this was such a well rounded player. Bird was an enemy for many fans but anyone who was a fan of the Celtics, he was their idol.
10 Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward of all time. That's something that LeBron can't claim, as in being the best ever at his position. Duncan is the perfect example of a class act. Duncan was the staple of the Spurs for so many years. He is a 3-time finals MVP and a 5-time NBA champion. He has been on the all defensive team 15 times and been an all star 15 times as well. Duncan averaged 19 points and 10.8 rebounds in his career and has been the face of one of the best dynasties in basketball history. He did have great players around him, but he always made them better. This year will be the first time in a long time that the Spurs will be playing without him. It will be interesting to see how they do.
9 Oscar Robertson
Oscar Robertson may be the most well rounded player in NBA history. He is the only player in NBA history to average a triple double. He did that in his 2nd season in the league but he was very close many other seasons.
Many people call LeBron the triple double machine, but has he ever averaged a triple double? The closest thing to a triple double machine in the NBA is Russell Westbrook. He has a legitimate chance to be the 2nd player to ever average a triple double.
Robertson did more than average a triple double however. He was an NBA MVP and won the championship in 1971. He was also a 12-time all star. Robertson is an all time great and I don't think LeBron can ever live up to Robertson's legacy.
8 Moses Malone
Moses Malone was a monster on the court. On an average night he put up better numbers than most players could put up on their best night. Moses earned his nickname, "chairman of the boards" for grabbing over 17,000 rebounds in his career. In 1979 he averaged 17 rebounds per game in an entire 82 game season. He was also a great scorer. He averaged 20 points per game in his career. Some of his best accomplishments are being a Hall of Famer, winning the 1983 NBA championship, 3 MVPs, and being a 13-time all star.
Moses played for a ton of teams in his career but had his best stints with the Rockets and the 76ers. Moses is the only player in NBA history to win back to back MVP awards with two different teams. That is pretty hard to do.
7 Julius Erving
Dr. J did more for the NBA than any other player. He revolutionized the NBA. He truly changed the game. He is the inspiration for players like LeBron. He is why players play above the rim. He was really the first great dunker in the NBA. No one else was ever worried about style until Dr. J came along and the NBA is all about style now. It makes the game much greater for viewers. Players show off their best dunks even in games to get the viewers entertained. Erving won three championships in total and was an all star every year of his career. Erving played in both the NBA and ABA and had a total of 30,000 points. He is truly a legend.
6 Shaquille O'Neal
Shaq is the most dominant player of the modern era. He was plain and simple, a beast. He played on many teams but that wasn't a result of poor play. He was best on the Lakers and Magic but then bounced around the league for a bit after that. He won championships with the Heat and the Lakers, two places where many considered him the face of the franchise despite playing with Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. He was on great teams, but he was the best on most of the teams he played for. Shaq could dunk on anyone and he was unstoppable in the post because he was bigger than everyone he faced. He could back you down until you were pinned under the basket and that was game over. He was also a great shot blocker in his day.
5 Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Olajuwon is the greatest post player to ever lace up a pair of basketball shoes. He had every move you can think of. The hook, the fade, the dream shake, everything. The isn't a move in the post he can't perform. Nowadays he even has his own basketball court and trains NBA players in the post. He has worked with LeBron. The fact that LeBron is learning from Hakeem is a good indicator that Hakeem is the better player.
I'm sure LeBron could teach Hakeem a few moves but for the most part, Hakeem is the better player. Hakeem is a two time NBA champion, 12-time all NBA, and has two DPOY awards. Olajuwon is definitely the better two way player. He is one of the best two way players of all time.
4 Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson is one of the best playmakers of all time. Many people compare LeBron's passing skills to his, but that's because Magic did it best. Magic ran the showtime Lakers and what a show they were. He averaged 11.2 assists in his career and they were all pretty. Magic made his teammates better and that why he won MVP three times, finals MVP three times, was a five time champion, and is in the Hall of Fame. Magic Johnson may be the greatest passer the NBA has seen. LeBron has a similar game to Johnson, but Johnson won more than LeBron has. He also played in a harder era. You can't compare Johnson's era to today's. That is why I put him ahead of LeBron.
3 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul- Jabbar may have the single best shot in basketball history, the sky-hook. It was the most unstoppable, unblockable shot the game has ever seen. Kareem is the NBA's all time leading scorer, but more than that, he won. He was on great teams, sure, but he was usually the best player on the team. Kareem made the all NBA team 15 times which is incredible, 11-time all defensive team, 19 time all star, a six time MVP and has six championships. Jabbar has done it all.
Many would look at the these numbers and ask why he isn't considered the best of all time, but that's because he played for such a long time. If other great players played with the longevity he did, they would have similar accomplishments as well.
2 Wilt Chamberlain
"The Big Dipper" may come as a surprise to you at number two, but I think there is a good argument for him to be #1 on this list. It was a tough call to decide between Jordan and Chamberlain, but I had to give the slight edge to Jordan. Chamberlain has definitely put up the best numbers of any player current or past, but many argue that in this day and age, he wouldn't come close to the numbers he had then. Obviously you know that he scored 100 points in one game, but did you know that he averaged 50 points and 25 rebounds in one season of his career? Now those are some gaudy numbers. Chamberlain wasn't just big, he was also athletic. While I don't think he would score 50 per game now, I do think he would be the best player in the league.
1 Michael Jordan
Even Micheal Jordan isn't safe from the LeBron fanboys. Some people will even try to claim that LeBron has overtaken Jordan even though he has less championships, less MVPs and has fewer clutch moments. If you think that LeBron is better than Jordan, then I don't think I convinced you the he is worse than any of the other players on this list. Jordan is the G.O.A.T.
You may think that LeBron will one day overtake Jordan, which I respect, but you can't possibly think that he is already better. Jordan would be disgusted if he found out that people think LeBron has already overtaken his legacy. I don't think Jordan will have to worry though. People like to overate the latest and greatest players, but eventually people will hop off of the LeBron chain.