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Charles Barkley on the best player behind Michael Jordan

NBA, Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan

Basketball Hall of Famer and Inside the NBA analyst Charles Barkley made an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up Monday morning, and shared some major praise for some of the newest inductees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

When host Mike Greenberg asked Chuck about his memories of facing a young Kobe Bryant at the tail end of Barkley’s career in the late 1990s, Barkley said: “Kobe Bryant is the best basketball player I’ve seen compared to Michael Jordan. I think Michael is the greatest I’ve seen and played against. I’ve always said this — Kobe’s the closest I’ve  ever seen [to Michael]. I didn’t get to play against Kareem in his prime, or Wilt or Bill Russell or LeBron. But I’m telling you, Kobe Bryant’s the best player I’ve ever seen other than Michael Jordan.”

Barkley also had some high praise for Bryant’s fellow inductees, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. The legendary power forward called Duncan the “greatest power forward ever” — though he pointed out that Boston Celtics legend Kevin McHale is the “best player I ever played against.”

He also called Garnett one of his favorite players, noting that he’s “never seen two NBA players play as hard as Kevin Garnett and Russell Westbrook night in, night out. There’s a lot of great players, a lot of great Hall of Famers, but Russell Westbrook —who’s gonna be in the Hall of Fame one day— and Kevin Garnett are the two hardest working players I’ve ever seen, and played against.”