Legendary NBA big man Shaquille O’Neal believes three players deserve to be in the “greatest of all-time” discussion.
ESPN’s The Last Dance, the 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, has re-sparked the debate. Is the greatest player ever Michael Jordan or LeBron James.
Shaq, who played with LeBron in Cleveland, believes one of his other former teammates deserves to be in the discussion. He made his comments while appearing on a post-Last Dance show with Stephen A. Smith.
“I would think [their mentality] is pretty much equal. I never really spent a lot of time with Mike but, of course, watching him win a championship, watching his demeanor, and watching him wanting the ball at the last second, I would say it’s pretty equal.
“And Kobe made a great point: we all look at players before us and we take a little something from them. I wanted to be mean like Patrick Ewing in the post, I wanted to run the floor like David Robinson, I wanted to dominate like Wilt Chamberlain. The only difference is Kobe was able to have a telephone number and have a relationship with these guys. The rest of us, we just had to see other people emulate other people, and steal what they had. But I’m actually glad they had a relationship.
“A lot of people always ask, ‘who’s the greatest player to in the game: Jordan? LeBron?’ I think you must respectfully add Kobe in that conversation,” O’Neal said.
Jordan won six NBA championships, while Bryant won five and LeBron has three.
One thing is clear: the G.O.A.T debate isn’t going away anytime soon.