With the 2022-33 season’s tip-off still about six weeks away, G.O.A.T debates — often including the Los Angeles Lakers — have inevitably come to the forefront of NBA discussions due to the lack of fresh news.
For weeks, members of the media, as well as former and current basketball stars, have been comparing one NBA dynasty to another in hypothetical clashes that could never take place. The quiet 2022 offseason has also brought in plenty of all-time starting five takes and so-called Mt. Rushmore lists, which usually involve LeBron James, discussing his position among Lakers legends and the league’s greats in general.
ESPN analyst Jalen Rose recently came up with his top starting lineup on “Courtside Club with Rachel DeMita” — picking Michael Jordan over James. Besides Jordan, Rose’s all-time starters include Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Larry Bird, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“When you talk about the best players of all time, you ultimately start talking about who’s the G.O.A.T,” Rose said. “And when you talk about G.O.A.T., the first word is ‘greatest’ — that means, achieved more than somebody else.”
Justifying his selection of Jordan over James, Rose brought up the Chicago Bulls legend’s 10 scoring titles and his 1988 Defensive Player of the Year award. In comparison, James only once topped the scoring list in his career and never claimed the title of the league’s best defender.
Rose then added Jordan won two separate three-peats in his career while James has none — even though the 37-year-old has only two championship rings less than the Bulls great.
“You don’t necessarily even need to watch them play to acknowledge that what Michael Jordan achieved just solely on the court is greater, it’s more than,” Rose concluded.
However, when asked why the late Bill Russell — an 11-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics — didn’t make his all-time starting 5, Rose seemed to be caught off guard and explained he “just gave Kareem that starting spot at the five.”
Celtics’ Jayson Tatum describes how people ‘lost their minds’ seeing James at CrawsOver in Seattle
James has participated in a couple of pro-am events this summer, teaming up with DeMar DeRozan in the Drew League before making an appearance in Jamal Crawford’s CrawsOver in Seattle.
Unsafe floor conditions cut the event short, but James’ presence still stunned the Seattle audience. The other attendee, Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum, said some people in the crowd “lost their minds” when the Lakers All-Star walked on the court.
“That was a cool moment to be there and see that,” Tatum said.