As the NBA season winds down, there are a few players that have taken their game to the next level. This is not just due to what they’ve done on the court but also how they’ve handled themselves off of it.
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The NBA is the sport that generates the most top-five lists. Players, coaches, commentators like as Charles Barkley, and fans all appear to have a top-five list of their favorite players on hand at all times. Oscar Robertson, an NBA great, is also a member of this club.
The Big O joined Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles on Knuckleheads to talk about a range of NBA-related subjects. Miles asked Robertson to pick his five favorite NBA players of all time towards the conclusion of the hour-plus interview.
Robertson didn’t include you on his list? LeBron James is one of the most famous basketball players in history.
Oscar Robertson and LeBron James have a lot of things in common.
Before the NBA All-Star Game in 2016, Oscar Robertson (left) and LeBron James (right) shake hands. | Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Despite the fact that the game of basketball has evolved dramatically in the 60 years since Robertson first stepped onto the floor, he and James share a number of traits.
Both Robertson and James were first-round selections in their respective drafts: Robertson in 1960 and James in 2003. Oscar was a rare 6-foot-5 point guard in his day, whereas LeBron has spent the most of his career running point at 6-foot-9. Each of them was also named Rookie of the Year, had numerous All-NBA and All-Star appearances, and won at least one NBA championship.
However, the most striking resemblance between Big O and King James may be seen on the stat sheet.
Long before anybody else, Robertson was averaging triple-doubles, becoming the first player in history to do it for a full season. In fact, until Russell Westbrook broke it in May 2021, his career total of 181 was the all-time high. However, with 99 triple-doubles, James is just nine away from overtaking Jason Kidd for fourth place on the all-time record.
Despite their similar playing styles, Robertson did not include James in his top five favorite players.
The first name Robertson named on the Knuckleheads podcast when asked about his favorite five players wasn’t surprising.
Michael Jordan was first on the Big O’s list, followed by Elgin Baylor, who joined the league only two years before Robertson. With “The Kid Out of Golden State” (Steph Curry), Jerry West, and Wilt Chamberlain, he completed his five.
Robertson said, “I know I’m going to miss a couple people.” “However, it’s awe-inspiring to see outstanding sportsmen execute under duress.”
Before getting to King James, Robertson addressed Bill Russell and Shaquille O’Neal.
Robertson smiled as he stated, “I simply thought of missing great basketball players, the one and only LeBron.” “Extremely talented basketball player. But it’s tough to say this man was better than this player, than that player, at various ages.”
Even though LeBron James didn’t make Robertson’s top five, he hopes the two could have joined together.
Regardless of Robertson’s ranking, his love for James as a whole is undeniable.
Oscar told ESPN’s Mark Schwartz shortly after LeBron departed the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in 2010 that “LeBron is in a class by himself” as a player.
Then, in 2016, Robertson praised James in an article for The Undefeated:
“No one has ever seen a player like LeBron James. He’s a five-tool player with solid fundamentals who can do about everything on the floor. As the NBA evolves, I believe he is the role model that other players should follow.”
The Undefeated Oscar Robertson (2016)
“I wish LeBron and I could have teamed up together,” Robertson said. “Who could have defeated us?” says the narrator.
Even though James didn’t immediately make Big O’s favorite player list, it’s obvious that Robertson adores him.
Basketball Reference provided all statistics.
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