If you ask today's generation of basketball fans who their favorite basketball player of all time is, there's a huge probability that Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or LeBron James would come up as the common answers. These as (at the very least) the top 10 all-time players to grace the NBA, as they have 15 champions combined.
Aside from their success on the court, , Bryant, and James have enormous individual fanbases, so it's not a shocker why these three generational talents are arguably the most popular to ever play the sport. But given their all-time rankings, how do their competitors view them based on individual skill? Tracy McGrady provides some insight on that.
If there's a former player and Hall-of-Famer that is more than qualified to rank Jordan, James, and Bryant, it's — who got the opportunity to compete against the three legends. In his latest appearance on The Player's Tribune's T-Mac was asked who he'd start, bench, and cut among Jordan, Bryant, and James. With no hesitation, the two-time scoring champion went with both guards instead of the forward.
While McGrady didn't expound on his answer, he once reiterated that he'd never . It also just so happens that T-Mac and Kobe and practically blossomed into the player they turned out to be in the same era.
By the time reached his prime, the 7-time All-Star was literally in the twilight years of his career. So it's safe to assume that starting Jordan, benching Bryant, and cutting James is merely based on McGrady's preference.
Ultimately, just like McGrady's decision, the "GOAT" debate that has dominated sports conversations these days also boils down to preference. It isn't easy to rank these 3 superstars because, for one, they played in different eras against contrasting competitors, and two, these three peaked in their own timelines.
For as fun and intriguing it is to debate which player should start, bench, or be cut, sadly, this all remains hypothetical and based on preference — and given how much Jordan, and James have contributed to the sport, it's perfectly okay to appreciate all 3 all-time greats the same way.