Charles Barkley's Latest Babble: Kobe Bryant Is Fifth Best Player in NBA History

Josh DelpContributor INovember 19, 2010

One of the things I was looking forward to at the start of the season was watching the Thursday night antics of Inside the NBA on TNT with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and the one and only, Charles Barkley. You just never know what will come out of Chuck’s mouth next, and last night was no exception.

After the Blazers eked out a win against the Nuggets in the nightcap game, Barkley referred to an earlier time where he said Kobe Bryant was one of the top 10 players in the history of the NBA. He took that a step further last night when he said he is now in the top five best players. Let’s take a look at his list:

5. Kobe Bryant
4. Wilt Chamberlain
3. Bill Russell
2. Oscar Robertson
1. Michael Jordan

Kenny Smith was surprised he picked Bryant over both Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, but he just about flipped his lid when Barkley said Kobe is better than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He tried to persuade Chuck from saying Bryant was in the top six and Barkley didn’t budge at first. After the commercial break, however, he aptly changed his mind and said Bryant is in the top six.

It seems to me that putting Kobe Bryant in the top five list of the best NBA players to ever play when he isn’t even done playing is premature. Barkley was a bit out of line in his declaration. He should have stuck with his first decision of putting him in the top 10.

To put him the top five while he is still playing does a great disservice to players who have come before him. I know Bryant has won five rings already, but let’s wait to properly evaluate him when his career is over. Heck, if he wins a couple more rings he could certainly move up that list, but for now, let’s not get too ridiculous. That’s why I love watching Inside the NBA. The things Barkley says are absolutely stunning.

Here’s my top 10:

10. Elgin Baylor
9. Moses Malone
8. Kobe Bryant
7. Larry Bird
6. Magic Johnson
5. Wilt Chamberlain
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Bill Russell
2. Oscar Robertson
1. Michael Jordan

What do you guys think of the list? Do you think Kobe is one of the top 5-10 players in the history of the game?

Also check out some of my other blogs on the Sports Fan Blog Network.