NBA icon Julius Erving recently made headlines after snubbing a handful of basketball legends from his top 10 players of all time.
Los Angeles Lakers greats like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal didn’t make Erving’s list.
O’Neal doesn’t have a problem with Erving’s list. However, that doesn’t mean he agrees with all of the 73-year-old’s selections.
“Hey, man, I got no problem with Dr. J’s list,” O’Neal said to the Los Angeles Times. “He’s the great Dr. J. He paved the way for all of us. He can say what he wants and nobody should say a damn thing about it.”
O’Neal gave the Los Angeles Times his own top 10, presenting the list in the form of a first and second team.
“He said his first team, in no particular order, was Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and then ‘[expletive] me,'” wrote Broderick Turner.
The legendary big man explained his selections.
“That ain’t no disrespect to [Karl] Malone, [Charles] Barkley and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar],” O’Neal said. “Hey, that’s my list. Understand what I’m saying?”
O’Neal then proceeded to reveal his second team.
“O’Neal said coming off his bench would be [Stephen] Curry, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Malone and Isiah Thomas,” wrote Turner.
The Hall of Famer couldn’t help but find a way to include Abdul-Jabbar.
“O’Neal paused for a moment, adding, ‘also, you got to put Kareem on that second team too,’ which, of course, is now a top 11,” wrote Turner.
O’Neal’s selections show love to both active and retired NBA players. It’s worth noting that Erving’s list didn’t include any active players, with the four-time MVP instead choosing 10 retired hoopers.
“Let ’em get finished,” Erving said of the lack of active players on his list.
O’Neal is certainly qualified to make his own list and include himself on it. After all, the 51-year-old owns one of the best resumes in NBA history.
During his time in the NBA, he earned 15 All-Star selections, two scoring titles, one MVP award and four NBA titles.
Discussions about the greatest players in NBA history will likely always be contentious due to the number of factors that go into the topic. Some folks may value things that others do not.
Additionally, the spanning of eras makes the topic even more subjective. The game has changed over the years, and many feel that the league gets more and more talented with each passing season.
Erving and O’Neal have very different lists, but they are both NBA legends who are equipped to discuss the topic. It’ll be interesting to see if any other folks around the basketball world release their own lists soon to follow in the footsteps of Erving and O’Neal.