Chuck: LeBron 'arguably, the greatest story in sports history'

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CharlesBarkley has never been one to not be critical, or at least needle, LeBronJames through the years, to the point James even lashed back at the most outspoken member of TNT's popular "Inside the NBA" show.

On Wednesday, though, Barkley heaped praise on James, just a few days removed from calling the Cavaliers' superstar a "drama queen."

Appearing on ESPN's "The Russillo Show," hosted by Ryen Russillo, Barkley was asked by the host if he would enjoy playing on the same team with James.

“I think LeBron James is arguably, the greatest story in sports history. What I mean by that, Ryen, for an 18-year-old kid … and let’s get one thing straight. I’ve been in the NBA since 1984. Kobe Bryant was amazing, but he was not ready for the NBA," Barkley said. "People forget that. Kevin Garnett [was] amazing, but he was not ready when he got to the NBA.

"LeBron is the only guy I’ve ever seen, who the day he came into the NBA as an 18-year-old who was ready."

Having said that, Barkley said James would not crack his personal top six of all-time players.

Barkey's list, in order, of his top six players reads like this -- MichaelJordan, OscarRobertson, KareemAbdul-Jabbar, WiltChamberlain, BillRussell and KobeBryant.

"For him, who on my list is the seventh-greatest player ever, since 18 years old has never been close to being in trouble, never been close to being in trouble, and considering what he’s accomplished as a player has to be arguably the greatest story in sports history," he said.

Barkley said he watched James' first game in the NBA at Sacramento and said, "ooh, man, this dude's pretty good."

“For an 18-year-old kid to be, No. 1, that good from Day 1, and all these years later to become one of the seven greatest players on my list of all-time. I think it’s just an amazing story.

“He’s a wonderful guy. He’s a control guy. He controls the narrative around him. He’s an amazing man who has done some great stuff off the court.”