Charles Barkley will be the first to tell you that he’s been accused of many things in his life.
Shying away from giving an unfiltered comment?
That’s definitely not one of those things.
Stick a camera in Barkley’s face, ask him a question, and voila — instant quote.
Barkley didn’t disappoint when TMZ Sports caught up with him at LAX.
The debate over “best athlete ever” was reignited Monday when Jason Whitlock compared two of the top candidates on FS1’s “Speak for Yourself.”
“Michael Jordan [was] not as committed as Tom Brady,” Whitlock said, crediting the New England Patriots quarterback’s commitment as to why he’s still playing so well at age 40.
“Michael Jordan loved to hit the clubs, loved to gamble, loved to drink … [He even] retired twice,” Whitlock added of the Chicago Bulls legend.
Naturally, this led TMZ to ask Barkley whether he considered Brady or Jordan the superior athlete.
At first, Barkley gave a somewhat disappointing boilerplate answer.
“There’s no winner. That’s either A or 1A. They’re the two greatest at what they ever did,” Barkley responded.
But then, somewhat unprompted, Barkley threw in one more name as belonging to be mentioned alongside Brady and Jordan.
“Wayne Gretzky’s in that conversation,” Barkley added.
“Wayne Gretzky, Tom Brady and Michael Jordan,” Barkley said. “They’re the three greatest.”
TMZ pressed Barkley if he could put one above the other.
“No, can’t put one [over] the other,” Barkley said.
It’s certainly an interesting and difficult comparison.
Gretzky won four Stanley Cups, Jordan won six NBA championships and Brady has won five Super Bowls so far.
All three hold numerous MVP awards, scoring records and gaudy lifetime stats.
The only other athletes from major North American sports who could probably enter the conversation are baseball’s Babe Ruth and football’s Jerry Rice and Jim Brown.
In the end, it’s a topic tailor-made for riveting sports bar conversation. But a definitive answer? Not so much.
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