Shaquille O’Neal shares himself and Kobe Bryant being on tier above LeBron James via social media

Zach Stevens
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers great Shaquille O’Neal shared a tiered ranking of the greatest NBA players ever, and it had him and his former Lakers costar Kobe Bryant on a higher tier than current Lakers main man LeBron James.

Ranking the greatest players in NBA history is always a somewhat contentious issue. Everyone uses slightly different criteria, and some of the factors brought into consideration are subjective.


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A post shared by DR. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq)

By now, many fans and pundits consider James to be one of the two or three greatest players in basketball history. Such people cite James’ incredible statistical accomplishments, four regular season MVPs and four NBA championships. His longevity is also often brought into the conversation.

However, those who have James a little lower on their lists have given him demerits because of his poor 4-6 record in the NBA Finals, as well as his recent struggles with the Lakers.

In four seasons with the Purple and Gold, James has missed the playoffs twice and lost in the first round once. However, he did deliver the storied franchise its 17th title in 2020.

So far this season, the Lakers are just 2-10. Inevitably, many have pointed the finger at James, especially because of the perception that he has been responsible for some of the team’s questionable personnel moves over the last couple years.

It has left fans of the Purple and Gold longing for the days of O’Neal and Bryant.

In eight seasons together, they always managed to at least get past the first round of the playoffs. They reached the championship series four times in five years while claiming three straight Larry O’Brien trophies.

After O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004, it only took a few years for the Lakers to pair Bryant up with another Hall of Fame-caliber big man in Pau Gasol. Once the pairing was made, they reached the NBA Finals three straight years right away and won back-to-back championships.

Winning championships in bunches seems to be what raises an all-time great a tier or two, and Lakers fans are still waiting for James to deliver a second championship to Los Angeles.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.