Paul Pierce: “Bill Russell built up the organization of Boston and should get way more credit than we give him. A lot of time he gets left out of the conversation [For GOAT]. Kareem, Magic, Jordan, Tim Duncan, Kobe, Bird. These guys are all top 10 players who either helped build up their organization, or continued the tradition. I haven’t seen that from LeBron. He went and put together a team in Miami, then he went to Cleveland and put that team together. Then he went to the Lakers where a tradition already remained… My top 5 is Jordan, Kareem, Russell, Magic, and Kobe.” (Full Video Above)
Former NBA All-Star Paul Pierce made headlines on Wednesday for a take he made on ESPN that detailed why he doesn’t think LeBron James is a top 5 all-time NBA player.
Pierce ranked Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, and Kobe Bryant as his top 5 greatest of all time list, and says he didn’t include LeBron because LeBron never won championships while building an organization from the ground up.
LeBron’s Cavaliers missed the playoffs his first two seasons, made an NBA Finals appearance in 2006-2007, but then went out in the second round or conference finals the next three seasons before bolting for the Miami Heat to form the ‘Big Three’ with Heat star Dwyane Wade and Raptors All-Star Chris Bosh.
LeBron came back to Cleveland four years later and won the franchise’s first title ever, but the team had already built its team around number one pick Kyrie Irving, and traded their no. 1 overall pick in 2015 to the Minnesota Timberwolves for All-NBA player Kevin Love, who at the time was one of the top 5 or 10 players in the league.
For this reason, Pierce is not ranking LeBron on his GOAT shortlist because LBJ played for four different teams, and didn’t single-handedly build up his franchises to metaphoric levels like Jordan with the Bulls, Russell with the Celtics, Kareem with the Bucks, and Magic with the Lakers.