Luka Doncic does not want to rank LeBron James among all-time greats
Luka Doncic and LeBron James have tremendous respect for one another.
After the two superstars squared off in Nov. of 2019, James called Doncic a “bad motherf—” after a game in which both players recorded 30-point triple-doubles in a nine-point Lakers victory.
James also spoke on his admiration for Doncic’s size, handle and vision on an episode of HBO’s The Shop last August.
“His size. I mean he’s gigantic. A 6-8 point guard. He’s 225 pounds. He has the ball on a string. And more importantly, his vision. That’s why I love him,” James said.
Ahead of Thursday’s overtime thriller between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, the Slovenian spoke about his high-regard for James, who’s 399 points away from breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s scoring record, for what he’s doing in his 20th NBA season.
“It’s just amazing to watch him,” Doncic said. “It’s his 20th season, and what he’s doing — he’s scoring 30, 40 almost every night. He’s just incredible. We barely see those things.”
But in the end, Doncic doesn’t want to rank James among the all-time greats, some including Michael Jordan, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Tim Duncan and others. He just wants to appreciate all of them, including James.
“I’m not doing the rankings stuff, man,” Doncic said after Thursday’s game. “I just enjoy great basketball players. That’s it. He’s an amazing player, an exceptional player, but I’m not doing the rankings stuff.”
How can one fault him?
There’s an incredibly large list of gifted basketball spanning from the ~1950’s to now. It’s hard not to appreciate Doncic’s stance, especially when comparing different generations of basketball players. And the league is only getting more talented — which is a reason why the big NBA, like myself, love and appreciate the league, its nuances, and the players who partake on a night-to-night basis.
Even though Doncic doesn’t believe he will play 20 years in the Association, both players will still likely end up being all-time greats amongst their respective peers — regardless of any Pantheons, Mount Rushmores or other arbitrary ranking systems that each player is involved in or not involved in throughout the remainder of basketball history.
Doncic and James have even drawn comparisons to each other because of their size, success (at young ages), passing/playmaking capabilities and each of their abilities to completely takeover a game offensively within a moment’s notice. And they likely will for the rest of their respective careers.
I can’t say I’ve never ranked players myself. But regardless, let’s try to be like Doncic and appreciate greatness when it’s in front of our eyeballs and not take it for granted, regardless if you have any interest in ranking players or not.
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