Barkley: LeBron is no Bryant or Duncan, let alone Jordan
Legacies in professional sports are often defined by the amount of rings one has on their fingers. Championships are what every team player strives to achieve, and a key criteria when ranking the best of the best in history.
LeBron James won the third ring of his career this summer as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, leading his team back from a 3-1 deficit to shock the 73-win Golden State Warriors on their home floor. He's officially halfway towards tying Michael Jordan, an icon who James says he's motivated to chase down.
Charles Barkley, a close friend of Jordan and a current on-air analyst for TNT, believes The King hasn't even passed two newly-retired legends, let alone come close to being His Airness.
"The only problem I have with it, I don't know how he just passes Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan," Barkley said during an appearance on the 94WIP Morning Show with Howard Eskin on Friday when asked about James' desire to catch Jordan.
Barkley went on to add that his personal top-five players of all time list (Jordan, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) is never going to change, with Bryant and Duncan ranking sixth and seventh, respectively. James, who Barkley has eighth, needs to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy a few more times to even reach the level of The Black Mamba or Big Fundamental.
"Now if he wins a couple more championships, yeah he’s in that conversation, but that’s a long way to go," Barkley said.
The former Round Mound of Rebound is clearly entitled to his opinion, which he's made a post-basketball career off of expressing. James won over a lot of his naysayers by putting on the performance he did in the Bay Area, and it's highly likely he'll add a few more titles to his mantle before it's all said and done. His place in history was secure long ago, so from now on, all James can do is boost his standing and leave no doubt as to where exactly his name sits among the greats of the game.