‘’I’ve Never Even Said’: Charles Barkley Brings a New Equation to the LeBron James vs Michael Jordan GOAT Debate

Published 05/27/2021, 6:30 AM EDT
Los Angeles, CA, Tuesday, December 22, 2020 – Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) puts on his NBA Championship ring during an on court ceremony at Staples Center. (Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


When the 2020-21 season was beginning, and even until February, nobody would’ve imagined the Lakers sitting out of the top four. But LeBron James’ men ended up as a #7 seed and perhaps the most dangerous #7 ever. 

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Now, there’s a positive side to this Lakers ranking, and it is hiding in their opportunity towards writing history. Those who believe they had it easy last season would agree that they have the toughest road to glory this year. However, their resurgence still depends on one man, the arguable GOAT.

Charles Barkley gave his condition before discussing LeBron James as the GOAT

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Hall of Famer Charles Barkley played in the Jordan era as one of MJ’s fiercest rivals. An important part of The Last Dance, The Chuck Wagon considers Michael Jordan as his GOAT and does not even discuss Bron’s challenge. However, in a recent interview, he shelled out this one condition that can help LeBron deserve his place.

The 58-YO expressed, “I’ve always believed Michael Jordan is the greatest ever. But hey, you have to open your heart up and your mind when you’re having sports debates. I’m not saying it but I’m saying it Lebron is able to win all three series on the road in the West and he’s able to beat KD, Kyrie, and James Harden, you have to at least be open to the debate. I’ve always thought Michael was the greatest.” 

This resonates with many fans and rightly so. It can’t get any tougher than beating a dream team after starting off from the #7 position. Plus, Bron is a 36-YO man who does not have a unit of multiple All-Stars to back him.
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But what if they add Kobe Bryant to the mix?

It is surprising how so few conversations revolve around discussing Kobe Bryant as the GOAT. Averaging 25 points in his 20-year-long career, the Black Mamba won five NBA titles and 18 NBA All-Star mentions (both more than Bron to this date). Plus, he completed a three-peat and single-handedly brought the Lakers back as a title-contending team. 

As the Sixers legend added, “I’ve actually, in fairness, I’ve never even said LeBron is better than Kobe, they’re different players. Michael and Kobe are killers. It’s more like Magic Johnson, he’d rather have a triple-double. Michael and Kobe, like they’ll kill you.”

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In every capacity, Kobe Bryant’s leadership style matched that of his idol, MJ’s. Still, no one seems to discuss this GOAT battle as a three-way triple-threat match. 

But it’s also true that LeBron James has a chance to win six titles, 20 All-Star mentions, and also lift a couple more titles. However, until that happens, at least for Chuck, the GOAT is one, #23 MJ.

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So what would you say, who is your GOAT as we speak? Help us know in the comments below.

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Sourabh Singh

1266 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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