TIME wrote:He was top 10 at that point, but rings are too important IMO, so not #1 at that point. I still had Magic ahead of him for example.
The importance of Rings is puzzling. Championships are a team accomplishment that is dependent on health, coaching and the willingness of a franchise to spend money. Plenty of great players are great players but never get all three at the same time to win a championship. It's not within the talents or abilities of any ONE player to win a championship.
I don't disagree that the debate comes down to championships..... I do however disagree, if we are talking about the greatest players, including championships and especially MVP's or any other "Individual" award.... because again, those awards don't go to great players whose team, coach and organization aren't achieving.
For me.... walking away from the game shows some character issues that keep MJ from being the one I consider the best player I've ever seen play. Kareem is the best I've seen play regardless of awards or titles. Consistency, still adjusting and developing his game into his late 30's, longevity an sheer skill. No total package is better IMO.
As for others I've seen play.... in no particular order, would be guys like Jordan, Kobe, Bird, Magic, Hondo and a guy no one ever puts in this group..... Maravich. He was Jordan/Kobe and LeBron all in one and played in the lost 70's on horrible teams. Injuries kept him from putting up massive numbers.... Is he the GOAT.... no but he's a massively overlooked great who, when healthy, was one of the best 4 or 5 I ever saw play.... that's for sure.
I didn't see Wilt, Russell, Baylor, Oscar or Mikan play so I can't do anything other than look at stats and extrapolate.
..... also what is the importance of 10 years?.... Is the OP trying to say that what Jordan did after that is of no consequence in a GOAT argument?..... he was so good in that first 10 years that no one can come close because he came back and did more?....