The debate of who are the best basketball players of all-time is never-ending, although most people would agree that Michael Jordan is at the top of the list, and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is in the conversation.
With LeBron James’ success in recent years, making it to the NBA Finals the last seven seasons and winning the championship in three of them, he has begun climbing up the ladder of all-time greats in the eyes of many.
After James erased a 3-1 deficit to beat the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, some people went as far as saying that James is the best ever, surpassing even Jordan.
Jordan recently slowed that talk down though, as he does not yet believe that James has surpassed Bryant due to Bryant’s five championship rings, via Ryne Nelson of SLAM Online:
“Would I rank LeBron over Kobe in terms of best of all time? No.
“There’s something about 5 that beats 3.
“Now [LeBron] may be mad at me now, but Kobe won five championships. LeBron won three.”
Out of the three, Jordan has won the most championships with six, while being named the NBA MVP five times, and to an All-NBA team 11 times with 14 All-Star nominees in 15 seasons.
Bryant only won one MVP award, but he was named to 15 All-NBA teams and 18 All-Star games in 20 seasons. Additionally, Bryant ranks third all-time in scoring at 33,643 points, surpassing Jordan’s 32,292.
James is only 32-years-old, so he still has time to add to his totals, but he currently has four MVP awards, 13 All-NBA teams and 13 All-Star appearances. He has scored 28,787 points in his career, which if he continues on the pace he is on would eventually surpass both Jordan and Bryant on the all-time list.
While all those awards are nice, both Jordan and Bryant would say that the only thing that matters in championships, so James has a long way to go if he wants to pass Bryant’s five and Jordan’s six.