Perhaps one of the most underrated superstars in the history of the game is Julius Erving, better known as Dr. J. The high-flying dunker was the first to truly capture people's imaginations, and he inspired some of the greatest players ever. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and even LeBron James have mentioned Erving among their list of influences growing up.
LBJ went as far as to name him in his Top 3 players in NBA history, alongside Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. However, while Erving has complimented the King heavily on occasion, there was a moment in 2021 when he criticized one aspect of LeBron's career. Addressing the superteams that James has been on, Erving didn't choose him for either of his 2 all-time teams.
First team: Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain
Second team: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
"He's the guy who has led the charge in terms of superteams being put together, when he put them together in Miami. He put together a team in Cleveland as well, and put together a team in Los Angeles. He can put together his own team -- I ain't gonna pick his team," Erving said.
Not having James in any Top 10 all-time would be blasphemous; he is about to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time NBA scorer, on top of his many other achievements. And Stephen A. Smith made it a point to refute Dr. J's statements after they came out, addressing it on ESPN's First Take.
(starts at 4:56 minutes):
"I think he's wrong here because there's no way on earth you can have the second-best player we've ever seen in the history of basketball not even on one of the Top 2 teams. That is ridiculous. That is blasphemous. And Dr. J is positively, absolutely, wrong."
That is far from an unfair take from Smith. It's wild not to include LeBron on the lists. However, it's evident that Dr. J was more focused on the NBA greats of the past. In any case, things are fine between the two legends off the court, the mutual respect between them is off the charts.