There are three players from the current era and two from the past era of NBA players that make the conversation of greatest power forward of all time. Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Dirk Nowitzki make the list from the current era. Charles Barkley and Karl Malone make the list from the past era.
Barkley has said that Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward of all time, but he’s not as generous with his ranking of Karl Malone, who many have second on the list.
“You take Karl. Karl needed John Stockton. That’s not a knock on Karl; it’s just a fact. I could get mine any time I wanted to. So I’ll say it on the record: I was better than Karl,” Barkley told Jack McCallum. “Nothing against Karl. He was great. But I was better. The only thing he did better than me was score, and that came down to John Stockton.”
Barkley also says he’s one of the 20 best players all time.
“Look, I’m in the top twenty of players who ever lived,” says Charles. “When I first started out, they said, ‘He’ll never make it. Too short.’ That never even concerned me. Because you know what? I could get all my stuff on my own.”
Barkley cites some career statistics that place him in exclusive company, and he also says Chuck Daly told him he was the second-best player on the Dream Team.
Barkley makes a convincing argument for himself, but I believe his logic is faulty.
Malone shouldn’t be penalized just because he had a great teammate. He should be rated based on what he did with what he had. And with Stockton, he made two NBA Finals (lost twice to the Bulls) and lost in three conference finals, and put up some of the best numbers in history. I’ll still put him ahead of Barkley.
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