Charles Barkley is usually highly critical of the Miami Heat and LeBron James, but a championship changes the minds of many people. So he became yet another 90’s generation player to hint at the blasphemous notion some raise from time to time, that LeBron James might be a better player than Michael Jordan.

Remember Scottie Pippen? The guy who played next to Jordan in those six NBA Championships? Pippen also had a moment like that just over a year ago, just before James and the Miami Heat lost in the NBA Finals. He implied back then that James has the potential to be a better player than Michael Jordan.

And Barkley comes up and says the same thing. James isn’t a better player than Jordan at the moment, but he has a better skill set, at least physically, to become a better player down the road. James, if you forgot, is entering his 10th NBA Season, but he’s still not 28.

I do think he can be better than Michael. 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.

Now, Shaquille O’Neal hasn’t been saying the smartest things since becoming a TV analyst, but for once, his reply to Barkley was on the money. 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. So now the question is how many championships can he get?

Like before, during and after the Olympic games, all comparisons seem fair game now. It seems like everyone were waiting for James to finally get that ring, so the comparisons can begin. While Kobe Bryant has been in that discussion for year, having just one less NBA title ring than Jordan, his bid is always shot down by nearly everyone. Why? Because Bryant has less impressive numbers; has played with (arguable) better supporting crews, during the first three-peat as a second fiddle to Shaquille.

James was immediately compared to the greatest basketball player of all-time when he came into the league, but the championship just wouldn’t come. Now he has three MVP awards, two Olympic gold medals, one NBA title. His window is here and now to start filling his hands and fingers with rings. Unlike Bryant, LeBron will get the nod over Michael if he actually becomes a title gobbling machine in the next few years. Over/Under on the debate becoming a real deal? I’m guessing 3.5 NBA titles. From four, and it’s really serious.

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