Hall of Famer Charles Barkley doesn’t like it when people ask him if Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is the greatest player of all time because he feels it’s disrespectful to other NBA legends.
However, Barkley does believe that James has “the greatest story in sports history.”
“I don’t like that question because I think the best way to answer that question is to say, ‘Is he the greatest player of this generation?’ Because I don’t think it’s fair to Michael. ’Cause he was the greatest player of my generation. Kareem was the greatest player of his generation. I mean, you look at Magic and Bird. So, I don’t know; it’s all perspective. I will say this about LeBron. I think his story is the greatest story in sports history,” Barkley told Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated in a March 27 story. “What I mean by that is, you look at other great players who went directly from high school to the pros. Kobe Bryant struggled, Kevin Garnett struggled, Tracy McGrady struggled, Dwight Howard struggled. LeBron is the only one who had success from Day One. He was really good Day One. He’s obviously up here now. But the most amazing thing about him, in this 24-hour news cycle, cellphones, internet, he’s never gotten in trouble.”
James became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on February 7 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s the only player in NBA history to rank top-five all-time in both points and assists.
Charles Barkley: LeBron James Lived Up to the Hype & Never Got in Trouble
James entered the NBA in 2003 straight out of high school. Barkley thinks it’s incredible that LeBron has lived up to the hype and never gotten in trouble.
“No scandal. To be, number one, ready at 18, to where he is 20 years later, the greatest scorer in NBA history. I think it’s the greatest story in sports history. For a guy to be that good from Day One and never screw up is amazing,” Barkley said. “Yes. And lived up to it (the hype). Exceeded it. And, like I say, in our 24-hour news cycle where people out here tryin’ to get you, people are tryin’ to get you today. They got cellphones everywhere; they got the internet everywhere. I tell people, his story is the greatest story in sports history.”
James has career averages of 27.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Lakers. The King is the only player in NBA history to win three Finals MVPs with three different teams and record 10,000+ points, 10,000+ rebounds and 10,000+ career assists.
A future Hall of Famer, James is first in NBA history in points, fourth in assists, 10th in steals, fifth in triple-doubles, second in player efficiency rating and fifth in points per game.
LeBron James: ‘I Feel like I’m the Best Basketball Player That Ever Played’
James told Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group at the beginning of February that he thinks he’s the best basketball player ever.
“What I bring to the table as a basketball player … I feel like I’m the best basketball player that ever played the game,” James said. “That’s just my confidence, that’s just what I bring to the table, what I possess. But as far as if the scoring record gets me to another level, I don’t know.”
James is a four-time champion, four-time Finals MVP and four-time regular-season MVP.