NBA

Charles Barkley says LeBron James will never crack his top five

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21: Analyst Charles Barkley shares a laugh before the game against the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Five of the 2012 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 21, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21: Analyst Charles Barkley shares a laugh before the game against the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Five of the 2012 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 21, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Charles Barkley had a lot of nice things to say about LeBron James on Wednesday night, but he still doesn't think the Cleveland star is one of the NBA's five best players of all time.

In fact, he says there's no way James (or anyone else) is going to crack his top five of Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Barkley made the comments as a guest on the debut episode of Bill Simmons' new HBO show, "Any Given Wednesday." Here's the clip:

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While it may seem incendiary, Barkley lays it out more as a case for his top five rather than a case against LeBron James.

In fact, he says LeBron is in the midst of "probably the greatest career ever" and says he's got him ranked in his next tier of players -- after Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan and in the mix with Larry Bird, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Magic Johnson.

"I will say this about LeBron James, I've never seen a man coming out of high school who has handled the success, been a great player -- never got in a stitch of trouble -- it's probably been the greatest career ever," Barkley said.

After that, Simmons asked again why LeBron wasn't in his top three (his original question .. Barkley brought up the top-five business.)

"Well, because he's not gonna be in my top three. First of all, My top five never gonna change. He can move past Kobe and Tim Duncan, but my top five are never going to change."