I don't really like listing the GOATs in order from 1-10, I honestly prefer doing it in tiers. It's fairly difficult to rank these guys in sequential order since they all played in different eras, rules, pace, etc. Doesn't help that many of us never really saw them perform in their time and can only go by limited footage and stats. So...
Not gonna lie, I'm probably a bit biased considering I'm a Lakers fan.
I think you can put almost all of them in any order from 1-6. Well, all of them aside from maybe
I have Duncan and Kobe above Shaq, barely. Shaq's dominance was absolutely insane but Duncan and Kobe's success/skill edges him out to me. Kobe and Timmy are still
somehow going strong and both of them are having incredible years considering their age and mileage. I can see either of them cracking that top tier if they get 1 more ring or even another Finals appearance.
The 10th spot is the toughest for me, I can see arguments for Oscar Robertson, The Logo, and maybe a few other guys but all of those guys have key flaws. Hakeem gets the spot for me because his game and footwork was just beautiful. Love watching videos of him school David Robinson.
LeBron at this stage in his career is possibly already in the top 15-20. I see him as a wing version of Shaq. Absolutely dominant and unstoppable. If he ages well and continues to build his resume, he'll most likely exceed the Kobe/Duncan/Shaq tier. I don't know if he can pass MJ as the GOAT though. LeBron has already failed miserably twice in the Finals whereas MJ was almost always flawless.
Now, to address the Kobe hate.
Shaq I have 9th, and while he won more title than some of the above players, he was prone to being hacked, send to the line, and that was a huge weakness. Still, he won 4 titles, and he (not Kobe) was the finals MVP all three times they won the championship. His dominance is why I am strongly hesitant to list Kobe at all; Kobe kinda did, get carried to 3 finals. And to be entirely fair - The Kings were straight up robbed in 02 and should of gone to the finals. Lakers should not of 3 peat.
Ehh, I don't like how people completely discredit Kobe's first 3 titles. Obviously prime Shaq was alpha on those teams compared to a young up and coming Kobe but let's not act like Kobe was a role player. It's like saying Duncan and Shaq were carried to their last couple championships since Wade and Parker got the MVPs. It's absurd. I mean, Kobe put up some insane numbers himself. Yes, Shaq definitely deserved those Finals MVPs I'm not arguing that but it was just smarter to go through your dominant big when he's up against Eastern Conference teams with forgettable starting centers like Rik Smits and Todd Macculloch (yup).
Last, we have Lebron. I didn't rank him, as his career is far from over. I will say this: at his current pace... (and I'm going to get flak for this no doubt) I think he really might have a chance at 6 titles. I think if he continues at this pace, he will end up ahead of Magic and Bird on the list. I'm not sure he'll pass MJ, but the fact Michael insists on putting Kobe ahead of Lebron, tells me that Jordan feels even a little bit threatened. That just helps solidify my thoughts on Lebron.
Plus the guy scored a lot of respect from me when he told fans to stop booing the Big 3 v2 last year and gestured them to clap as Paul, Kg and Ray came off the court. He is FAR more likeable than Kobe.
Likability has nothing to do with being the best player to ever step on the court. If that truly was the case, Magic would be everyone's GOAT and not MJ. Jordan was a total douche bag and probably still is an over-competitive douche, much like Kobe. I mean, the man was known for getting into fights with his teammates
! He even punched Steve Kerr iirc. The amount of ridicule he would get now for antics like that in this 24-hour media cycle is unimaginable.
Also, you penalize Kobe for 'riding' Shaq in his first 3 titles (he was still the 2nd best player on the court in those Finals) yet you're not penalizing LeBron for laying the biggest egg ever for a GOAT candidate in the 2011 Finals?