Hall of fame candidate and current ESPN analyst Paul Pierce listed his top-five NBA players of all time, and LeBron James is not one of them.
During ESPN's "NBA Countdown" on Wednesday, Pierce said the greatest players in NBA history are Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant. In describing why James was not included on the list, Pierce said he has not helped build up any organization in his career.
“What has LeBron did to build up any organization from the ground?" Pierce said. "I’m talking about these players, top-5 players. Bill Russell built the organization of Boston, Kareem, Magic, Jordan, Tim Duncan, Kobe, Bird. These guys are all-time top 10 players who helped build their organization or continued the tradition.”
Pierce said that James "put together" teams when he won championships with Miami and Cleveland. He then added that James' impact in Los Angeles is "to be continued," but that a tradition had already been established with the Lakers when he arrived.
It did not appear that Pierce's co-hosts on "NBA Countdown" agreed with James' omission from the top-5 list, as Jay Williams listened to the argument with his head held in his hands.
James is in the middle of his 17th NBA season and is averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 10.6 assists with the Lakers. He stands at third in NBA history in career points scored (34,087) and is a 16-time All-Star, four-time MVP and three-time NBA champion. The Lakers are first in the Western Conference with a 49-14 record.