Warriors' Kelly Oubre: 'Disrespectful' to Compare LeBron to Michael Jordan

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, right, dribbles past Golden State Warriors' Kelly Oubre Jr. during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors forward Kelly Oubre Jr. said Tuesday it's impossible to compare the accomplishments of any active player to legends like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Oubre was asked about his opinion on the "greatest of all time" debate between MJ and the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James on The Complex Sports Podcast.

"This game today is a little bit more soft," Oubre said. "To call anybody a GOAT nowadays is disrespectful to...the hard-earned awards Mike and Kobe have won."

During the height of the Warriors' dynasty in 2016 there was a contentious debate about whether Golden State's star-studded roster could have competed with the 1990s Bulls led by Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

"Bulls in four," Pippen told reporters about a hypothetical seven-game series with Golden State.

Dubs head coach Steve Kerr, who played for the Bulls during their second run of three consecutive titles from 1996-98, refused to make a pick at the time, saying the NBA has changed too much over the years.

"For example, if you actually put the teams in a hypothetical game, my guess is the Bulls would be called for a million hand-check fouls, and we would be called for a million illegal defenses when we overloaded the strong side," he said. "So the game would take, like, six hours because the refs would be calling stuff all game. It's kind of hard to get past that. Now, they wouldn't call traveling in either era."

The Bryant-led Lakers are the middle point between the two eras, and Shaquille O'Neal said last year the L.A. squads that featured him and Kobe would have "easily" taken down MJ's Bulls.

It's interesting for an active player like Oubre, who joined Golden State in November trade and wasn't part of the team's prior dynastic run, to agree the modern game can't match the physicality of years past.

Finding a consensus about the best team or greatest player in NBA history will probably never happen.