The greatest of all time debate between LeBron James and Michael Jordan is one that is long-winded and, more often than not, leads to nowhere. It gets even more complicated when Lakers fans include Kobe Bryant in the conversation — unless, of course, you ask Bryant himself.
During an appearance on “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” Bryant was asked to rank Jordan, James and himself. If he refused to answer, he would have to eat cow tongue, as per the rules of the game “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts.”
At first, Bryant was just going to eat the cow tongue, but after smelling and feeling the tongue, he decided to give his answer on the age-old debate:
“Alright, fine: I’m the best, Michael’s second-best and LeBron’s third-best.”
Anyone that followed Bryant throughout his career knew there was only one answer he could possibly give. Most NBA players, past or present, will say that they’re better than “X” player regardless of whether it’s true or not. We’ll call this the “LaVar Complex.”
After himself, Bryant had to choose between the player he modeled his game after in Michael Jordan and the new face of the franchise he spent 20 years with in James. Unsurprisingly, he went with Jordan, likely because Jordan has six rings and James has three. It’s for the same reason Bryant told Frank Isola of The Athletic that he believes Bill Russell, who has an NBA-record 11 championship rings, is the greatest of all time.
That leaves James as the third-best player in Bryant’s list, but it’s safe to say he won’t lose any sleep over that. In most NBA circles, Bryant’s list is flipped, with James leading the G.O.A.T. debate. James himself even believes he’s the greatest to ever lace up a pair of sneakers.
So, for the betterment of society, please stop asking people where they stand on the G.O.A.T debate unless said person is Boban Marjanovic. I could listen him talk about anything for hours.