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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Robert Marvi

Shaquille O’Neal thinks no player has feared LeBron James

Many people agree the greatest NBA player of the past dozen years or so has been LeBron James. His accomplishments speak for themselves, and he’s not done yet, at least not individually.

The debate about where he ranks among the greatest basketball players of all time continues to rage. Some believe his individual accomplishments and 10 NBA Finals appearances make him the greatest, while others cite his 4-6 record in the championship series as the reason they believe he doesn’t rank extremely high on that list.

Perhaps one critical requirement for being the greatest ever is being feared by the rest of the league. Last year, Mario Chalmers, a former teammate of James on the Miami Heat, said no one fears the league’s all-time leading scorer. On a recent episode of “The Big Podcast,” Shaquille O’Neal said  while players feared Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, he has never heard of a player fearing James.

Chalmers then elaborated on his claim that no one fears or has feared James.

“It’s not that you shouldn’t fear ‘Bron,” Chalmers said. “I just think, at the end of the day, ‘Bron has been through so much that he wanted to be liked. So it was kinda like, ‘I’m gonna do things now where people like me, people will respect me.'”

There is no doubt, regardless of where he deserves to rank among the greats of the NBA, that James has a different personality than Jordan or Bryant. Bryant, the late Los Angeles Lakers great who won five world championships with the team, was made into a villain due to the immense volume of hate he received from fans and journalists. He decided to embrace being a villain, and above all, he needed to win to be OK with himself.

James has a different type of motivation that drives him, but he has still placed himself into the highest pantheon of basketball greatness alongside men such as Jordan, Bryant, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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