LeBron James may have won his third NBA title in June, but he doesn't crack Charles Barkley's list of his five best NBA players ever—at least not yet.
In a session with reporters—including SI’s Richard Deitsch—Barkley explained his logic, revealed his personal list and broke down why LeBron isn’t there yet. James’s third title and first with his hometown Cavs isn’t quite enough for the NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst.
In fact, Barkley ranks James No. 8, behind both Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.
Here's Barkley's explanation, via The Crossover:
"I have told you guys the five greatest players in my opinion: Michael [Jordan], Oscar Robertson, Wilt [Chamberlain], Bill Russell and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]. Then it’s Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. Then LeBron is right there. I don’t understand why ya’ll are in such a hurry to move him past Tim Duncan and Kobe. Now if he wins a couple of more championships, I might move him past Kobe and Tim Duncan. You guys always talk about championships. Kobe and Tim have five. LeBron has three…LeBron is amazing. But only in the bulls--- of today’s society could I say a guy is one of the eight greatest players ever and it's an insult to him. That’s crazy. If LeBron wins a couple of more championships I will move him past Tim Duncan and Kobe.
“But nobody can get into my Top 5. It’s not like those guys are slouches. It ain’t like I’m putting Manute Bol in my Top 10 ahead of LeBron. Every time LeBron has a triple double, people say that’s amazing. I say yeah, there’s a guy who averaged one for the whole season who have on my Top 5 list! LeBron had three in the playoffs and you all go crazy. And that is no disrespect to LeBron. The guy is amazing. But why would you put him past Kobe and Tim Duncan already?”
Read the full interview on The Crossover, SI’s new home for NBA coverage.