Today we will dive in and take a look at some of the greatest players to ever do it. Many people claim Lebron James is the greatest of all time, but do you agree? We can all agree that he is the greatest in this time period, but the great of all time? I can already hear the Lebron haters thinking of reasons he’s not the GOAT. So today, we’ll entertain the Lebron Hater’s and look at 7 players who you can rank higher than Lebron.
So to start our list we’ve taken it back to the old school days.
#7 Bill Russell
Bill Russell is known for his championship legacy, rebounding, and defense. Along with his 11 NBA Championships, he’s also a hall of famer. Russell only played 13 seasons in the NBA, so if you do the math, around 85% of the time he was in the NBA, he won a title, which is even crazy to imagine. How can someone be that much of a winner? He helped the Celtics become the historic organization they are today. Some may argue that he won so much because of the other hall of farmers he played with, but when Bill sat out five games straight in 1969, the Celtics were 0-5. I guess the proof is in the numbers. He’s one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history, and one of the best clutch players when it came to games on the line.
#6 Magic Johnson
Another old school player who helped strengthen the Lakers organization. Over his 12 year career, he made the NBA Finals nine times, and won five NBA titles. He’s also won three Final MVP awards, and three regular season MVP awards. He finished his career averaging 19.5 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 11 assists. His rival Larry Bird was often on his neck and many people compared the two players. Magic fought hard for every title he earned playing against other Hall of Famers. He was a different breed ahead of his time being a “Big” guard being a 6’9 point guard. That wasn’t too common during this NBA era, but he was also one of the greatest passers and assists leaders of all time. He was forced to retire early leaving behind his Showtime legacy, but within his career, he’s proven to us that he could be another GOAT.
#5 Larry Bird
So we’ve touched base on Magic Johnson already, but how about Larry Bird? Larry Bird is another old school player who fought for everything he’s ever earned. I believe that the NBA in the 80’s was a battlefield. The competition was pretty even from team to team and Larry Bird helped the Celtics reach success plenty of times. He was one of the clutchest playoff players and he made everyone around him better. People lived to watch the Lakers vs. Celtics rivalry because of him. For those people who look at stats, Bird shot 50% consistently from the field, 40% from the three, and 90% from the line. His rookie season the Celtics won 61 games compared to the year before only winning 29 games. He was one of the best trash talkers and just pure talent. He has three NBA titles under his belt, but definitely is included in the GOAT conversation.
#4 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
We all know that Kareem was a UCLA legend winning three national titles in only playing three seasons there, but is he considered another GOAT in NBA history? The first seven years of his career the Final’s were on tape delay, taking it all the way back to the old school days. He consistently dropped 30 points every night for the first years of his career. He won MVP six times, and made 19 All-Star appearances. He was a pure basketball player and people sometimes count him out because he wasn’t always a fan favorite compared to the personalities of Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, but he always came ready to play. Playing the “Big Man” role wasn’t as spectacular compared to being a guard, which is why he’s never really in the GOAT conversation, but Kareem has scored the most career points, and is at the top of scoring list for playoff career points as well. He retired at 42 years old definitely playing till# his wheels fell off. He has a NBA finals record of six wins and four losses. Kareem is famous for his “Skyhook” that no one could ever block and this is why he’s considered another GOAT.
#3 Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq will forever go down as one the most dominant “Big Men” in NBA History. He’s won four NBA titles, appeared in six NBA Finals, and has won an MVP award. He averaged more than 20 points per game in his first 14 seasons in the league. The “Big Man” position is making its way out of the NBA with the way the NBA has been becoming more of a guards game in recent years, but there’s a few left. He’s a part of the All-Time scoring list, but just imagine how much higher his numbers would be if he didn’t miss all those games he did, and miss over 5,000 free throws, which is completely insane. He was a part of one of the best NBA duos, playing alongside Kobe Bryant. Some argue that without Kobe, Shaq wouldn’t have been as successful, and vice-versa, but basketball is all about teamwork right? Shaq is another player considered in the GOAT conversation and can be considered better than Lebron.
#2 Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is the GOAT for plenty of fans and is often brought up in the conversation along with Michael Jordan and Lebron James. Kobe Bryant studied the game from Michael Jordan and even mastered some of his moves. Michael admits that Kobe Bryant would be the only player to ever beat him playing one on one. Remember when Kobe dropped 55 points on Michael Jordan, before sending him back into a second retirement? So, like I stated with Shaq, people claim that Shaq carried Kobe and the Lakers, but in the 2000-2001 season, Kobe averaged 29.4 points per game, 7.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists, while Lebron’s numbers were identical. But let’s keep in mind, Kobe produced these numbers while sharing the spotlight with Shaq in his prime. Kobe earned five titles, plus many more accolades. Let’s not forget Kobe’s 81 point game, and 60 point game on his retirement night. Just a pure legend and the GOAT!
#1 Michael Jordan
Of course our number one player better than Lebron James, is the actual GOAT himself, Michael Jordan. Everyone (still) wants to be like Mike and even NBA players currently take pieces of Mike and imply it to their own game. Why do you think Kobe was so good? He looked up to the greatest player and copied his every move. Jordan won MVP five times, Defensive player of the year, led the Bulls to six NBA titles. Jordan was the greatest because of his competitive nature, and sometimes he was so intense that it got him in trouble. He would talk his defenders head off and get to them mentally, getting an edge over them. He’s hit more game winners and clutch shots than anyone in NBA History. Michael Jordan has the complete package and he’s influenced the NBA in many different ways. But of course, he can’t forget the players before Jordan who helped shape the game for him to come in and take over.
To many Lebron is the GOAT, but I think there’s more to take into consideration before making that statement.