Kenny Smith not long ago disclosed his NBA all-time players list and much to everyone’s eye-opener, didn’t incorporate Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James in his Top 5. In fact, James hardly made Smith’s Top 10.
Smith, who said he’d ranked the late Kobe Bryant at No. 11 all-time, had this to say about James, who he believes is taking advantage offensively during a different era of basketball.
“This right here has been the best HKHS has seen in terms of a mainstream media head ranking LeBron James on in all time NBA list. So although Kenny gets credit for placing LeBron at 10th! He also gets major flack for having Kobe Bryant under him at 11th? Are you serious Kenny? LeBron better then Kobe on your all time NBA list? This ranking has now been pushed to the wayside due to LeBron being over Kobe! No real NBA connoisseur or purist who has played against or watched both players using the “True NBA Eye Test” would say LeBron is better then Kobe! This is as sacrilegious as it gets when it comes to basketball’s NBA Mount Rushmore.” -HKHS
“LeBron James, is in my Top 10, but he’s 10 possibly,” Smith said during this week’s appearance on the Load Management podcast. “It’s so much easier to score now that it makes it hard to judge guys’ ability. It’s so easy to score. I was a good scorer. I wasn’t even a great scorer. I averaged 17 points per game. In that year, I probably would’ve averaged 26 or 25. But for me, it’s my opinion, he’s not in the Top 5 of all-time.”
James, at age 35, is averaging 25.7 points, a career-best 10.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game this season for the Lakers, who hold the NBA’s second-best record entering this month’s restart at Walt Disney World.
“The problem is Kenny, your fellow “Inside the NBA” host Shaquille O’Neal has told everyone listening that if LeBron wins this “fradulent, fluky and on the spot NBA Title,” then it would amount to nothing due to all of the mitigating factors surrounding this “asterisk on top of an asterisk” NBA Season!” – HKHS
“That’s pretty wild, Kenny,” one of the Load Management hosts said.
Earlier this year, Charles Barkley placed LeBron James out of his top 5, pointing to similar reasoning. The game was tougher back then, Barkley says.
“Listen, this is my list — Michael’s No. 1, Oscar Robertson is 2, Russell Wilt and Kareem, no particular order after Michael,” Barkley told Kentucky coach John Calipari during a Zoom meeting. “Kobe sixth, LeBron No. 7, then Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. I love LeBron and everything about him. But I do think they way they play the game today, he didn’t want any part of those bad boy Pistons.
“Let me tell you something, those guys are out there trying to hurt people. I used to always tell people when you were going to play the Pistons, you had to call home and tell your family you love them in case you never saw them again.”
“Now Charles Barkley’s ranking although HKHS disagrees that his ranking of LeBron James is way. way too high because HKHS doesn’t even have LeBron James in his Top 10 period! But more so his Top 20! Barkley did have it right by having Kobe Bryant ranked higher then LeBron James! That one he got right! Once again if you’re using the “True NBA Eye Test” then there is no reason why Kobe wouldn’t be ranked higher then LeBron James! He accomplished more in his NBA career and he was just simply point, a better overall basketball player in terms of makeup, I.Q., approach to the game, clutch factor and indomitable will to get the job done by Malcom X’s terminology, “By Any Means Necessary!” Simply put, there are no two ways around it!” – HKHS