The NBA Finals are set to begin Thursday with the Golden State Warriors hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers. It marks fifth straight year LeBron James had reached the championship round. James will have the opportunity to win his third title and improve his standing among the all-time greats.
Still in the peak of his career, James could potentially contend for more titles past this season and come close to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in terms of NBA titles. The trio of Jordan, Bryant, and James are wildly considered to be among basketball’s best players.
In a phone interview with Dan Patrick, Shaquille O’Neal offered his thoughts on the debate. Since he was teammates with both of them, O’Neal got to see them first hand. As far as who he felt was better, O’Neal went with the player he won multiple titles with:
I played with both of them. Kobe has that killer instinct. I’ll probably have to go with Kobe. That’s not a knock against LeBron.”
O’Neal has long considered Bryant to be his best teammate despite the feud and eventual falling out between the two. It was reported one of their scuffles lead to O’Neal threatening to murder Bryant, something O’Neal also addressed in the interview.
Bryant has been one of the best players of his era having won five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is currently getting ready for his 20th season in the league after suffering season-ending injuries the past three years. Whether or not Bryant will play beyond next season remains to be seen.
Should James and the Cavaliers win, it will be his third in 12 seasons in the league. Bryant didn’t win his fourth title until his 13th seasons.