NBA greats have their say on the GOAT debate

It’s all well and good listening to fans and analysts say their piece on who the NBA GOAT is, but what do some of the biggest names in basketball have to say?

The conversation is usually between Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant and many more.

Focusing on our top three of all time, we show you what some current and former NBA superstars have to say on the debate...

NBA greats backing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Detriot Pistons Hall of Famer, Isiah Thomas: "My GOAT is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. There is no person in the history of all sports, from grade to school to high school, to college, to the NBA that had a better basketball playing career than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

"When I look at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's six championships, six or seven MVPs, scored the most points than anybody in the NBA, lost one game in college, lost one game in high school, and didn't lose in grade school. To me, that's the GOAT."

NBA most games played record-breaker, Robert Parish: "I've got to give credit where credit is due. That's the baddest man to ever play the game. I played against some really top talents, and Kareem hands down - he's the only player where there was nothing I could do to alter, change, redirect him. Nothing I could do."

NBA greats backing LeBron James

Three-time NBA All-Star, Gilbert Arenas: "The reason I feel LeBron is the GOAT is because during pressure times he still makes the actual right decision. Versus what us fans and public wants him to do.

"You know that's what separates him from Jordan and Kobe, where if you give Jordan and Kobe those Cavs teams they wouldn't make the play-offs, they wouldn't have made it to the championship."

Philadelphia 76ers Hall of Famer, Allen Iverson: "As much as I love Michael Jordan, man, LeBron James is the one. He's the one, man. That motherf****r is the one."

Chicago Bulls six-time NBA Championship winner, Scottie Pippen: "The numbers don't lie, he is right there. He probably won't catch him [Jordan] in terms of MVPs, but in terms of statistics, LeBron is right there and when you look across the board, not just scoring, check his assists, check his rebounds, he is probably ahead of Jordan."

Detriot Pistons All-Star, Bill Laimbeer: "I'm very vocal. I think LeBron is the best player that's ever played the game. He's 6-foot-8, 285 pounds, runs like the wind and jumps out of the gym, and more importantly, when he came in the league, from day one, he knew how to involve his teammates to win. And that's something that Jordan had to learn for a long time."

Seven-time NBA All-Star, Tracy McGrady: "I think if you want to start a team, I'm going to go with LeBron because of him being able to take lesser talent and elevate those guys. Because of his pass-first mentality, being able to elevate his team in terms of their style of play. Mike is going out there trying to get 30 and 40 points. He's not looking to make his team better."

After carrying the Cleveland Cavaliers to a championship in 2016, the man himself, LeBron James said: "That one right there made you the greatest player of all time."

Boston Celtics Hall of Famer, Kevin McHale wasn't a fan of James' comments, saying: "I love the kid. I think he's a great player. I think he's been great for the game. But let other people say that for you. I didn't like the way that sounded to me."

NBA greats backing Michael Jordan

11-time NBA All-StarCharles Barkley: "In my opinion, Michael the GOAT. And LeBron, to me, I've always said he's closer to Magic Johnson than he is to Michael."

Barkley is very passionate about this one. On Inside The NBA, he once said he "would slap the hell" out of anyone who says LeBron James is the GOAT...

Three-time NBA Championship winner, Dwyane Wade: "I come from a Jordan era. I am biased and I'm going to be biased until the day I pass away. Michael Jordan will be my GOAT. I'm not taking anything away from LeBron. LeBron is amazing. But Michael Jordan is my GOAT."

New Orleans Pelicans All-Star, Zion Williamson: "Me personally, I'd go with Jordan… that's my opinion. Jordan's my GOAT, that's what my parents taught me."

Four-time NBA All-Star, Penny Hardaway: "Honestly, I hate to compare these guys. But right now, to me, Michael is the GOAT and LeBron is not too far behind."

Three-point legend, Ray Allen: "In my opinion, MJ is the GOAT. LeBron is a product of MJ, so a lot of what's in LeBron - in his DNA - comes from Michael."

Back-to-back NBA championship winner, Hakeem Olajuwon: "When people start comparing him with Jordan, then that's not a fair comparison. Jordan was a far more superior player in a very tough league, and he was very creative. That's not taking away anything from LeBron because he is a great player, but it is not a fair comparison because Jordan is a far superior player."

Jordan once claimed that it is "unfair" to compare himself to previous greats such as Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, because he never played against them.

NBA greats sitting on the fence

LA Lakers legend, Magic Johnson: "LeBron James is well on his way. If he wins one more [championship], Michael and him are going to be right there together. If he gets that next [championship], it's going to be hard not to say he's right there with MJ.

"I said the next one, which will be five [for LeBron], because with six [for Jordan] and four [for James], it's hard to say he's overtaken Michael at four championships. I think once he wins [a fifth title] and repeats - the key word is repeat - that's a good argument right there."

Three-time NBA champion, Draymond Green: "What I don't like to get into is, 'Oh, is LeBron the GOAT over Michael Jordan?' No, LeBron is a GOAT, and Michael Jordan's a GOAT, and they're both incredible, and they never played against each other.

"So when talking about the GOAT and which one, man that's bulls**t. I respect both of those guys."

Twelve-time NBA All-Star, Kevin Durant: "They're both unique and sitting in their own different areas of greatness. And when you see everybody in the same room like that, you realise, why the hell are we always comparing these guys?"

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