While both Kevin Durant and Darius Miles agreed that Michael Jordan is basketball’s greatest, LeBron James’ place on the list was debatable.
The GOAT debate is one that has engrossed basketball fans a lot over the past decade or so. It’s a rather fresh development among sports fans to start ranking historical players on such lists.
A part of what makes this debate so interesting in some sports is the multitude of options. Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Pele, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini and Zidane are just a few footballers in the discussion.
But it’s clear that basketball fans seem to have had Michael Jordan as the consensus GOAT for a long time. A lot of people still don’t see it, but LeBron James is the latest player to make a compelling case for himself.
Mainstream sports media likes to paint LeBron and MJ as rivals for the GOAT crown. But not many former players who faced one or 2 of them necessarily share that view.
A few of them, like Charles Barkley for example, often mention the likes of Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in this conversation ahead of LeBron. And it seems that Darius Miles belongs to that camp as well.
Darius Miles and Kevin Durant discuss Michael Jordan, LeBron James and top-5 NBA players ever
Kevin Durant was on the Knuckleheads podcast with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles a few years back. D-Miles brought up the GOAT conversation late into the interview, which was all about pure hoops talk.
Miles asked KD to lay out his top-5 players of all time. But before he did that, Darius let his own top-5 list be known to the world. He chose to keep players who didn’t play in the 80s onwards out of his rankings:
“Michael Jordan, of course, is number 1 to me. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is number 2. Kobe Bryant is number 3, Shaq is number 4 – just seeing their dominating ability – and LeBron, probably by the end of his career, is my number 5.”
KD threw in a slight spanner in the works by mentioning the name of Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon in the conversation:
“Mike’s obviously 1, Kobe 2, Shaq 3, Hakeem Olajuwon 4, and Magic Johnson. I’m looking at it from a pure skill standpoint. It’s like a toss-up for me between Kareem and Hakeem.”