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Barkley says LeBron “bigger, stronger, faster” than Jordan

Oct 4, 2012, 1:27 PM EDT

LeBron James AP

Move over Kobe Bryant, it’s time for the LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan comparisons to start ramping up.

And at the front of it all — Charles Barkley. He is on the opening episode of NBA TV’s Open Court” (which first airs next Tuesday) and he says LeBron could be better than Jordan. From the Associated Press.

Jordan is considered by many to be the best player in NBA history. Barkley says he would never compare anyone to the Hall of Famer and six-time NBA champion. But Barkley also says that James is “just bigger, stronger, faster.”

Let’s be clear — LeBron has not lived up to the Jordan standard yet. I don’t believe Barkley thinks it, I don’t believe even LeBron thinks it. But also to be fair, if you are just talking physical gifts, Barkley is right. It’s the mental side that has separated Jordan and LeBron’s career paths.

LeBron’s season last year was about as close to a Jordanesque season as we have seen. LeBron became only the second player (with Jordan) to win a regular season MVP, NBA title, finals MVP and gold medal in the same year. LeBron averaged 21.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. LeBron’s PER of 30.7 was around the number when Jordan was at his peak in Chicago.

Last year LeBron showed a mental maturity that allowed him to really start to reach his potential. And at 27 he is just entering the prime of his career.

But to be talked about with Jordan, or even the other all-time greats, LeBron needs to keep this level of play and winning up over the next five years. He’s not Jordan yet. He really never will be.

But let the discussion begin.

  1. philtration - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    And Shaq was bigger and stronger than LeBron.
    Who gives a damn?

  2. stayhigh_247 - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    Gee, thanks Chuck for pointing out the obvious, I can see it now! You’re so smart and intuitive..

  3. lakerluver - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    Just as my earlier post was meant as a joke….somewhat….this debate is a joke. First if all, LeBron has a lot of players to pass to get near the top. He’s a great, great player. But better than Magic, Kobe, Oscar, or Elgin? I don’t think so. At least not yet. My “real” GOAT list is: (drum roll, please)
    1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar : just look at his whole basketball career.
    2. Wilt Chamberlin: 50 & 25!
    3. Magic Johnson: the most uniquely gifted player ever
    4. Michael Jordan
    5. Kobe Bryant
    6. Bill Russell
    7. Oscar Robinson
    8. Elgin Baylor: either a bigger MJ, or a slightly smaller LeBron
    9. LeBron James
    10. Larry Bird
    11. Tim Duncan
    12. Jerry West
    13. Hakeem
    14. ???
    Good night, my friends. Go LAKERS!!

  4. chicagofan - Oct 5, 2012 at 6:19 AM

    When LeBronze gets 6 titles this will become a legitimate discussion. However, mental toughness and will to win category has to go MJ. Lebron got a bronze in the Olympics and helped disgrace the USA. I cannot imagine that happening with MJ on any USA Olympic team. Stats also challenge this argument. Lebron is taller and heavier but MJ ran the 40 in 4.3sec vs LBJ 4.4 sec. MJ vertical rise 48in vs LBJ 44. Not faster, not smarter and not better than MJ!

    • yourfutureanalyst1 - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:49 AM

      @chicagofan: From one fan to another, where did you get these stats from?

    • 24thesho - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      Also, when he wins a couple of more championships in actual full seasons.

  5. manchestermiracle - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Barkley had just gotten done watching his collection of The Six Million Dollar Man and couldn’t think of anything else to say…..

  6. kansas525 - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    I am on the Chamberlain bandwagon. 7-1 to 3 depending upon who you ask. 300 lbs; track star at the Univ of Kansas. Oh, by the way, I believe it was the 1963 season where he averaged 48.5 minutes per game. No typo. He sat out a total of 8 minutes for the season and had several overtime games to make up for that. Tell me anyone today who could do that.

    He would dominate any center today. Especially if he had grown up in the modern era when everyone starts playing and getting coaching when they are 6 instead of when they start high school.

    His stats have only been broken because the season and the playoffs are longer than when he played and he had to sit out 2 years because you could not turn pro until 4 years after you started college. He spent those two years with the Harlem Globetrotters.

  7. paulhargis53 - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:14 PM


    Dr.J was a phenomanal in the old ABA.
    What most people saw was a guy that was still very good, but with bad knees.

    If you can find it, read the book Loose Balls by Terry Pluto. It talks all about that maverick league.
    Top 10s are always subjective, my point was lakerluver had 6/7 players on his.list from the lakers.
    He is one big steaming pile of ignorance.

  8. lakerluver - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    My earlier comment was in jest and a brilliant ploy to get ” you know who” to respond. It worked! Anywho, the true GOAT is obvious, KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR. If you take his entire basketball career into consideration…high school thru NBA… it’s a no brainer. Even just based on his NBA career KAJ is the best ever. They changed rules for the dude he was so freaking unstoppable!

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:38 PM

      I’m old enough to have seen Abdul-Jabbar. I still would take Michael Jordan EIGHT days a week. Jordan is probably the greatest athlete to ever play basketball. Kareem was certainly gifted, but saying Jordan was gifted is a huge understatement. Jordan toyed with opponents: ask the NY Knicks of his era; they’ll tell you. Lebron must win a lot more championships to have a legacy like Jordan and Abdul-Jabbar.

  9. marcusfitzhugh - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    I love the comments, but the article itself lost me at “Barkley says . . . .”

    Lets think about what Chuck said, LeBron is bigger and stronger than MJ. Big deal. MJ has been to the NBA Finals six times and won six times. If LBJ had six NBA Finals championships and zero loses, who is bigger and stronger “might” matter . . . . . but he doesn’t and it doesn’t.

  10. paulhargis53 - Oct 5, 2012 at 5:06 PM


    What an incredible pile of bs your last comment was.

    1.) Anyone that has read at least one of your posts knows you are an ignorant homer. What happened here is you got all worried about the thumbs downs(like they mean anything) and felt the need to cover your ass.
    2.) You’ve said time and again to others that they should ignore me, you’ve said yourself that you were going to, called me a “stalker”, now all of a sudden you’re TRYING to get me to respond?

    You are so transparent and you have to be the dumbest f*** I’ve had the sorry pleasure to see on here. Give it up moron, you are too dumb to keep up.

    Don’t you get sick of looking ignorant? If I was made to look the fool as many times as you, I’d ay least change my screenname. Of course you look like a tool in your daily life, so what’s the difference, right?

    BTW, KAJ. is great, he’s just not the goat, he’s about the 5th best center ever, its too bad you can’t recognize other teams and NBA history. That’s why you are a joke and always will be.

  11. paulhargis53 - Oct 5, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    By the way numbnuts, they changed rules for George Mikan and Wilt too. Learn the damn history of the game! With the advent of the world wide web, there is no excuse for you to look as ignorant ad you do.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:40 PM

      Just eliminate the judgmental aspect of your post. It’s right on the money except for that.

  12. paulhargis53 - Oct 5, 2012 at 5:28 PM


  13. teedraper - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Jordan? LOLOL! He’s not even better than Kobe, Magic, or the Big O.

  14. yourfutureanalyst1 - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Bigger/Faster/Stronger doesn’t really matter when it comes down to playing the game of basketball, and playing it well. Yes those factors are great to have but they aren’t always needed. Check out Allen Iverson and see what he did, all while listed at 6′ 165lbs.

    Charles should know this, being an undersized 4. To some he’s regarded as a top 10 PF of all time, as he was listed at 6’6″. Some friends of mine have seen him in his younger years and attest that he wasn’t 6’6″ but more like 6’4″/6’5″. All in all let Lebron play to the tune of his own legacy and if it turns out to be better than Mike’s who really cares? There will always be the debate of the next Mike or if the current day star is or can be better than mike. I think that alone will always separate Mike from the rest, because NBA players want to be compared to him, and the media and fans want another him!!

  15. bullysix - Oct 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Bigger, faster and stronger ok I dont see better any where in the comment!

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