Barkley told Mike Greenberg and Stephen A. Smith on ESPN's Get Up! Thursday morning that if James wins the championship this season, it's time to "have a serious conversation" regarding whether or not Jordan is still the "G.O.A.T."
"If LeBron James is able to beat the Phoenix Suns, whoever they play in the second round, beat the Utah Jazz or the Clippers, get to the Finals, and if he's able to beat the Brooklyn Nets ... if he's able to win the championship this year, I think we got to have a serious conversation," Barkley said on Thursday.
Smith isn't buying it. While some believe the Western Conference is the best it's been in years, Smith believes it's much more underwhelming than some perceive. Top seeds like the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns are young and inexperienced. And even though the Lakers are the lower seed, they're already favored to beat the Suns in their upcoming seven-game series.
So Charles Barkley is taking LeBron James' side. Stephen A. Smith is rushing to Michael Jordan's defense. But what about your typical NBA fans?
The debate is split right down the middle, as expected. Take a look.
The LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan debate will never die down, especially if James can go on to win a championship this season.
The biggest hurdle for James is Jordan's six NBA titles. Unless James ties such a mark, Jordan will probably always have the upper edge.
But you can't just use championships as the ultimate barometer. If we did, we'd declare Bill Russell as the best of all-time, which just isn't true (with all due respect to the basketball legend).