Julius Erving knows a thing or two about being great. He was the biggest star in the ABA in the 1970s before heading over to the NBA, where he won an MVP in 1981 and a championship in 1983. Erving has been voted into the 35th, 50th, and 75th Anniversary Teams in the NBA for his excellence on the court, and he is truly one of the best to have ever done it.
Erving's cultural impact was also immense, and he was an idol for most young hoopers at the time, including a certain Michael Jordan. MJ would, of course, go on to become the man who is widely recognized as the greatest player of all time, but LeBron James has emerged as a serious challenger to the throne. While debates rage on about which of the two is really the GOAT, Erving recently stated that he doesn't consider either of them worthy of that title.
He isn't the only one to consider Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to be the GOAT, as Kareem does have an incredible resume. He won a record 6 MVP awards during his career to go with 6 championships and remains the all-time leading scorer in NBA history to this day. He was a giant of the game and did deserve to have his name mentioned in that debate, as his accomplishments speak for themselves.
What is interesting, however, is that just a few months back, Dr. J seemed to have LeBron as his GOAT, as he hyped up the King during an interview on the Rich Eisen Show.
"So, LeBron is the Chosen One in that regard. He's gonna play into his 40s. He's gonna have, you know, a 22 or 23-year career. And nobody's done that in basketball either. Those last few years for Shaq and for Kobe, you know they were on the bench, they were on the sidelines. LeBron, it won't be the same for him. So he can still be that complete player... He's a total machine. He's gonna be the guy. He's gonna be the guy who re-establishes the bar for what the GOAT is."
LeBron really is wiping the floor with everybody when it comes to longevity, and it is remarkable how he is still going strong as he heads into his 20th season in the league. His continued success will intensify the debates even further, and perhaps Erving will change his mind once again. There is really no correct answer to this question at the end of the day, though, which is what makes it a never-ending debate.