While many would agree Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among the greatest NBA players of all-time, there’s hardly a consensus on the order in which they rank.
For several years Jordan was considered the unquestioned best player. There was a period of time where Bryant surpassed him in the eyes of some, and now both champion as James having overtaken both players.
Cleveland Browns teammates Chad Thomas and Christian Kirksey joined the debate on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” which was prompted when the latter brought up James’ standing being a topic of discussion since his signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Thomas passionately defended Bryant as being worthy of ranking ahead of James:
“Growing up, [expletive] Kobe was Jordan. Kobe was Jordan! Kobe was Jordan! You’re trying to skip Kobe?! Why y’all trying to skip Kobe, though?!”
Kirksey responded by curiously comparing Jordan, James and Bryant to a trio of musicians:
“Michael Jackson is Michael Jordan, Chris Brown is LeBron, and Usher is Kobe.”
Further evidenced by the exchange between Browns teammates, essentially any opinion can be crafted when arguing where Jordan, Bryant and James stand. For his part, Bryant has argued the players should not be compared against one another and instead celebrated for their respective accomplishments.
And though there was some talk over where James would ultimately land amongst Lakers greats, owner Jeanie Buss was assertive in saying Bryant’s legacy with the franchise is something that will never be eclipsed.