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Charles Barkley: LeBron James Can Eclipse Michael Jordan

Charles Barkley said LeBron James  can be better than Michael Jordan. Said it with a straight face, too.

Of course, Jordon is an iconic figure that many believe is the greatest player of all time. James just won his first NBA title in June. Jordan has six. Kobe Bryant, the closest thing to Jordan so far, has five.

”I do think he can be better than Michael,” Barkley said. ”I thought I would never compare somebody to Michael Jordan. But this guy, LeBron James, he does everything well. Michael did everything well. LeBron James is just bigger, stronger, faster. That’s the only difference.”

Barkley makes his comments on the first episode of NBA TV’s ”Open Court,” to debut Tuesday at 11 p.m. EDT. The series features a round-table discussion of NBA TV and TNT commentators. They include Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Kenny Smith, Steve Smith, Chris Webber, Steve Kerr and Ernie Johnson.

James won his first NBA title and third MVP award last season, joining Jordan as the only players to win the NBA title, regular-season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and Olympic gold medal in the same year.

That was one of the most accomplished seasons of all times. But that does not equate to him being better than Jordan. Or better than Bryant — who has had a better career to this point —  for that matter.

”Unfortunately for LeBron, now that the monkey is off his back, he is going to be compared to two people: Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan,” O’Neal said. ”So now the question is how many championships can he get? We all know he is a competitor.”

Barkley has a penchant for saying the outrageous, and while this is not exactly out of the realm of possibility, it is a bit contradictory. Wasn’t Barkley one of the many who blasted James for leaving Cleveland and going to Miami to team with stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, claiming partnering with so much talent cheapens his status.

Now Barkley hails him as the second coming of MJ?

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