Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley Made the Worst Top-10 Lists of All Time

For all intents and purposes, Inside the NBA is a slap-stick comedy show. I love watching the show anytime it comes on because EJ, Shaq, Chuck, and Kenny have amazing chemistry, but I’m definitely not watching for their elite breakdown of the sport of basketball.

For the clip shown above, Shaq takes offense to Chuck leaving him out of his top-10 players of all time. All the guys begin to scream and argue why Shaq is easily a top-10 player, but what seems to go under the radar is how bad Kenny and Chuck’s lists are.

Kenny went first and he listed his top-5:

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Wilt Chamberlain
  3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  4. Bill Russell
  5. Shaquille O’Neal
  6. Honorable Mention: LeBron James

Then Charles went and gave his top-10:

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Oscar Robertson??
  3. Bill Russell
  4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  5. Wilt Chamberlain
  6. Kobe Bryant
  7. LeBron James
  8. Jerry West
  9. Elgin Baylor
  10. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird (tie)

These lists only show one thing, and that’s people who grew up playing or watching basketball in the 80s and 90s hate LeBron. I hate him just as much as anyone I know, but I’m not dumb enough to move him outside my top 2, and could easily consider him for number 1.

Let me start off with Kenny’s list because it at least makes some sense. MJ at number 1, I have no complaints with, but Wilt at number 2 makes no sense. Wilt the Stilt has the most insane in-season numbers, but he was going against part-time garbage men, in a league with only 10 teams. Not only that, but the average height of an NBA player in the 1960s was a full 2 inches shorter than the average player today, and that’s not even counting how much more genetically gifted today’s players are. And if you want to talk about the importance of rings, then why would Russell, who has 11 rings, be lower than Wilt with only 2?

Also, it’s hard to devalue an NBA Championship, but when there are only 10 teams in the entire league, and competition as a whole was much worse, it’s difficult to put these guys above today’s players.

Now we’ve got the Chuckster. You can’t have Oscar Robertson at number 2. Who else has Oscar Robertson at number 2? Why would you have him at number 2? He shouldn’t even be in the top-10; and not only that, but having him above every other player on this list makes anything else Chuck says seem invalid. After that, my next big complaint comes at the number 6 spot.

Kobe is a great player, but he’s not better than LeBron. It’s not even close. When people make comparisons between these two, their go-to argument in favor of Kobe is that LeBron doesn’t have that “killer mamba instinct”. Nothing about stats, just some made-up mumbo jumbo about LeBron not being at the same level mentally. Your main argument for the skill level of one player shouldn’t be based on an immeasurable figure of speech.

The only other argument in favor of Kobe is his number of rings. Yes, he does have more than LeBron, but LeBron has more Finals MVP’s. That should mean more in and of itself.

Lastly, get Elgin Baylor and Jerry West off of your list. They have no business to even be in the conversation of top-10 players. West can somewhat make a case to be in the top-20, but Baylor doesn’t have any of the stats or rings to make a case for being in the top tier of all timers.

Now you’re probably wondering what my list is, so here you go:

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. LeBron James
  3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  4. Shaquille O’Neal
  5. Magic Johnson
  6. Tim Duncan
  7. Kobe Bryant
  8. Kevin Durant
  9. Bill Russell
  10. Wilt Chamberlain

For me personally, the top 3 could interchange, but you can’t leave any of them out. Next, Shaq comes in at number 4 due to his sheer dominance in the paint. Magic comes in at 5 because of the way he revolutionized the point-center position. Number 6 did the exact opposite. Tim Duncan did all the little things perfectly, while completely controlling the pace of the game.

Everyone wants to move Kobe up on their own list, but he wasn’t even the best player on his team for the first stretch of his career; however, I want to add that he was not carried to his first three rings. Shaq was a significantly better player, but they don’t make four straight finals appearances without Kobe.

Even more controversial than Kobe is KD. Durant is the most dominant scorer of all time. He has the MVPs, scoring titles, rings and overall statistics to back that up. People hate him because he went to Golden State (me included in that hate), but it doesn’t erase what he’s previously done. If you want to invalidate his rings and leave him off your top-10, that’s understandable, but you should also leave off Bill Russell as he played with an all hall of fame starting five.

Last, and certainly not least, are the old guys. I think a lot of players I have behind them are actually better, but statistically, I’ll ignore their crappy era and give them the final two spots.

So there’s my breakdown of the top-10 players of all time, let me know where you disagree in the comments.

Follow the Author: @Drew_Thirion

Featured Image: Business Insider

Author: Drew Thirion
Founder of On The Lake Sports. Follow me on social media platforms @drew_thirion

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