SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan or LeBron James? The NBA All-Star Weekend was a great opportunity to revive the age-old debate about who is the greatest basketball player of all time.
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“I’ve said many times that LeBron James was the role model,” said Giannis Antetokounmpo, star of the Milwaukee Bucks and other captain of that All-Star Game. Those who do not go this way will be left behind. It’s been this consistent for 20 years and it may be for another 5 years.”
“He always does what he can to make his team win,” added Antetokounmpo. I don’t think he imagined himself being the all-time top scorer. I don’t think that was one of his goals. By competing for victory, he found himself in that position.
James, 38, effectively became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in the regular season when he surpassed Abdul-Jabbar’s previous record of 38,387 on February 7. In the playoffs, too, he easily holds the mark with 7,631 points ahead of Jordan (5,987).
Richard Jefferson, 2016 champion with LeBron James at the Cleveland Cavaliers who was crossed in Salt Lake City on the sidelines of the celebrity game, also believes it’s consistency that allows his former teammate to stand out.
“I was very surprised that LeBron beat Kareem’s record,” Jefferson said. It lasted 20 career years with an annual average of 25 or more points per game. We couldn’t imagine seeing that and I don’t think we will ever see it again.
“I don’t think there is a definitive way to solve the debate about the GOAT (Editor’s note: Greatest of All Time),” continued the 42-year-old. Personally, I don’t think anyone has had a basketball career as great as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and then you have Michael Jordan, who was amazing with six championships [entre 1991 et 1998]. Nobody was so dominant during such a time. And here is LeBron James, who has consistently dominated for 20 years. Everyone has their opinion, but mine is that it’s too difficult to decide. Other than that, the best player I’ve personally seen in my life is LeBron James.
A good teammate
Montreal is also counting on a former teammate of James, Joel Anthony. The two were co-crowned with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.
“I think we’ll have to wait for LeBron to retire,” Anthony replied as a good politician to avoid picking between James and Jordan as the greatest player of all time. Maybe we can have a debate afterwards. What’s particularly incredible about LeBron James is that he’s not finished yet. He’s easily the best NBA player I’ve ever played with.”
Anthony, who is now the general manager of the Montreal Alliance in Canada’s elite basketball league, also underscored that James was a good teammate.
“He wants to play basketball properly, not in relation to him,” he said. With Heat we felt that sometimes he had to throw more often (…) He wanted everyone to be together. For him it was always about the team. On and off the pitch.”
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