Patiently waiting for basketball to return, combined with the nostalgia from the run of The Last Dance, which comes to a conclusion this Sunday, have led ESPN.com to assemble its latest list of the Top NBA Players of All-Time.
Coming in at number one, to the surprise of no one, is Michael Jordan. After that, things get a little interesting. ESPN.com’s list has LeBron James second followed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell and Magic Johnson rounding out the Top 5.
With all due respect to LeBron’s success, Paul Pierce isn’t ready to crown King James as the second greatest of all-time. Yet.
“It’s hard for me to put him there until his career ends. I have to wait and see. I’ve got Kareem at number two,” Paul said. “If you look at his body of work, the guy is a six-time MVP, five-time champion, NBA’s leading scorer. He not only did it in the pros, if we’re talking about just overall basketball, he got three of those [championships] in college, too. [Three-time] National Player of the Year. He’s arguably the greatest. But I’ve got Jordan for his [Finals] record: 6-0.”
Then at number three, Paul has a man whose NBA Championship resume is unmatched, 11-time champ Bill Russell.
“He doesn’t have the stats LeBron’s got, but definitely the accolades,” The Truth said. “I’ll push LeBron a little bit further down the line because of that, but he still has a lot of body of work to go. So we’ll see.”
On the other side of the conversation, Paul’s former teammate in Boston Kendrick Perkins, tabbed LeBron as his number one already. With that, Rachel Nichols called out both men for picking the sides the internet would expect them to.
But the two did agree that there were some names missing from ESPN’s Top 10, which followed the Top 5 with Wilt, Bird, Duncan, Kobe and Shaq. Paul argued that there was one huge name left off the list “The Dream” Hakeem Olajuwon.
“He doesn’t get enough credit even though he won his two championships when Jordan retired. He’s the only player in NBA history to win MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and Finals MVP in the same year. You look at all these players who have accomplished so much, no one else has ever accomplished that feat.”
Perk went with Isiah Thomas as his missing member of the Top 10. Watch them argue it out below.