While there has long been a general consensus that Michael Jordan is the best player of all-time, the conversation has grown to include LeBron James as he enters a 16th season and is coming off playing all 82 games for the first time in his career.
Before James, the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant were among some of the most-mentioned names when discussing who might have supplanted Jordan at the top. Fact of the matter is, there isn’t necessarily one definitive answer.
That aspect is what’s led to the debate carrying on with no end in sight. So too is the fact that current and former players, as well as media and fans, tend to carry on the conversation.
For Kevin Durant, there’s no question Jordan first on the top of the NBA’s Mount Rushmore.
Durant was then asked when Jordan might be surpassed, to which he responded Bryant must be cleared first, and he included the five-time champion on his Mount Rushmore as the second-best player of all-time, via the “Pull Up with CJ McCollum” podcast:
“They gotta get past Kobe first. … MJ, Kobe, Kareem, Bird (named on Durant’s Mount Rushmore).”
Durant’s sentiment is identical to that of Allen Iverson, who questioned why Bryant gets overlooked and bypassed when comparing players to Jordan. What’s not argued is Bryant was the closest thing the league has seen to Jordan.
Though Durant and Iverson are aligned, they have trended toward becoming the minority opinion with each season James continues to play at a high level.