The always outspoken and highly opinionated Hall-of-Famer sat down with Bob Costas on his HBO show Back on The Record. During their conversation, Costas just had to ask the round mound of rebound the one question that will divide any barbershop or family cookout, Jordan or LeBron?
Barkley, who has made it abundantly clear that he will always pick his former best friend over LeBron James, once again doubled down on that stance for this particular reason, “the struggle.” Barkley explained to the legendary sportscaster that while he feels LeBron is great, it’s the fact that he plays on “stacked” teams, aka “superteams,” that hurts his legacy when it comes to being compared to Jordan or Kobe Bryant.
The Inside The NBA analyst feels that Bron has yet to push through the struggle like Jordan, who had to get past a Detroit Pistons team before becoming the GOAT, and other players like Giannis Antetotkoumpo or Dirk Nowitzki, who opted to “thug it out” with the teams that drafted them.
“LeBron is amazing. What he’s done in the community is amazing, ” Barkley begins. “In fairness, I wouldn’t even put LeBron past Kobe, let’s get that out of the way. I want to be fair. The reason I put Michael up there, above those other guys. LeBron has stacked his teams, let’s be realistic.”
“The struggle is part of your legacy,” Barkley explained to Costas. “That’s what separates sports. Michael, Giannis, and Dirk went through that struggle.”
We guess Bron having to battle the Golden State Warriors and finally overcoming them in a historic fashion by coming back from a 3-1 deficit doesn’t count to Barkley, but we digress.
James has responded to Barkley’s previous hate and didn’t bite his tongue, calling him a hater and pointing out the many times the Chuckster played himself.
ESPN NBA analyst and Bron’s former teammate on the Cavaliers, Richard Jefferson, also came to the defense of James, saying that the teams the future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer played on should not be held against him, while pointing out the hypocrisy in Barkley’s argument.
“In all fairness Chuck is right. LeBron didn’t get drafted to a team with Shaq like Kobe. Cavs never found the Pippen in Bron’s first 8 years because he was too good they never drafted that high. Ps… Charles got drafted to a team with Dr.J, Moses Malone and 2 other Hall of Famers. I see his point though.”
Jefferson made points.
Of course, NBA Twitter also got in on the action and shared some thoughts, also pointing out Barkley played on “stacked” teams but didn’t win a ring.
We think Barkley will eventually see the light.
Photo: Mike Powell / Getty