Shaquille O’Neal didn’t hesitate to name who he thinks is the greatest NBA player of all time when asked, and he broke down the reasons why. It’s an ongoing debate, one which has seemed to gather steam after ESPN’s documentary “The Last Dance” about Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls began airing.
The retired center spoke to ESPN’s morning show “Get Up” on Friday, May 8, and said Jordan is at the top of his list. His reasons had to do with the number of NBA championships the former Chicago Bulls player has, the amount of adversity he overcame and not having a dominant center.
“I might have to say Michael Jordan, because Michael paved the way for all the great guys we have now and six and 0 in the finals, without a legitimate big man. Went through a lot, took a year off, came back and won three more in a row,” O’Neal explained. “He’s definitely the greatest player. I think if you ask the other guys … I’m sure they would say it too. … You can’t say I’m the greatest player. You have to let your peers and everyone else say who the greatest player is.”
O’Neal is far from alone on his opinion about Jordan being the best ever, although some have said LeBron James. Others have named people like Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson.
Another person who recently called Jordan the greatest player of all time is Charles Barkley, even though the two men aren’t speaking. It’s because Barkley criticized how Jordan ran his team the Charlotte Hornets eight years ago.
Barkley also called Jordan the greatest player ever during an online interview with John Calipari last month, the University of Kentucky men’s basketball coach. Barkley then listed who he believes the other top NBA players of all time are.
After Jordan, Oscar Robertson was second on his list, followed by Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, then LeBron James at number seven.