John Stockton

John Stockton Doesn't Believe GOAT Debate Revolves Around Jordan, LeBron, Kobe

The idea of who the greatest of all time (GOAT) is across the storied history of the National Basketball Association is ever-changing and fluid, but the same names tend to creep up more often than not, with the likes of Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant usually at the forefront of those conversations.

One Hall-of-Fame point guard believes those aforementioned legends aren't the be-all and end-all of those debates, though.

In a recent interview with Odds Shark's Andrew Avery and Tony Farmer, Utah Jazz great John Stockton - the league's all-time leader in both total assists and steals across his 19-year career - mentioned how Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are two players who can sometimes be unjustly snubbed when discussing who the GOAT actually is.

Stockton even went as far as suggesting that some combination of Jordan, James, and Bryant may not even be on his own personal top-five list.

Two other legendary figures in Shaquille O'Neal and Isaiah Thomas shared the clip of Stockton's GOAT thoughts on their respective social media platforms, perhaps implying that they're in agreement with his train of thought.


Is John Stockton Fair With His NBA GOAT Opinion?

Even though the vast majority choose to believe that either Jordan or James is the greatest player ever, with Bryant's name sometimes sprinkled in, the entire concept of who's the GOAT in any major professional sport will forever be subjective. There's far too many positions to consider, personal achievements and statistical milestones to analyze, and more often than not, the players involved have never actually faced each other, so there's rarely any head-to-head data to review for these types of matters. 

Stockton is correct in saying that James, for example, had an advantage by playing in an era where foul calls were far more lenient and a three-point line existed to boost scoring numbers quicker and more efficiently. Abdul-Jabbar was the all-time leading points getter from April 5, 1984 through Feb. 7, 2023, and that can't be ignored either, along with Chamberlain's perhaps unmatchable 100-point game. That doesn't mean James isn't worthy of the GOAT title, though, or anyone else whose competed in the same era for that matter. 

Ultimately, there isn't a correct answer here. If you believe any one of Jordan, James, or Bryant is the GOAT, then there's enough reason there to justify it. If you want to go down a different path and hitch your wagon to a Chamberlain or Abdul-Jabbar, then there's nothing wrong with that either. 

Comparing NBA GOAT Candidates Resumes 

PlayerTenureTotal PointsNBA ChampionshipsNBA All-Star AppearancesNBA MVP Wins
Michael Jordan1984-1993, 1994-1998, 2001-200332,2926145
LeBron James2003-Current40,4744204
Kobe Bryant1996-201633,6435181
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar1969-198938,3876196
Wilt Chamberlain1959-197331,4192134
Shaquille O'Neal1992-200128,5964151
Bill Russell1956-196914,52211125
Magic Johnson1979-1991, 1995-199617,7075123
Larry Bird1979-199221,7913123
Tim Duncan1997-201626,4965152
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