Drexler says LeBron James is wrong about first 'Big Three'


The NBA is 'Big Three' crazy these days. Teams like the Boston Celtics, and guys like LeBron James, are synonymous with the term.

But who exactly was the original 'Big Three'?

James has mentioned the 2002-03 Los Angeles Lakers, consisting of Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant (yes, that is four), and the 1995-96 Houston Rockets (Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon) as his idea of the first collection of stars to appear on the same team.

Though Drexler was fine with being mentioned as a building block for the recent NBA fad, he found some flaws in James' position.

"You know, I love LeBron and anything he says is gold. But I'd really like to give you a different opinion," Drexler said on Sunday.

"The Big Three was Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], [James] Worthy and Magic [Johnson], way before [Larry] Bird, [Robert] Parish, [Cedric] Maxwell and [Kevin] McHale and D.J. [Dennis Johnson]. Those great teams always had four, five great players. Not only three, they had four to five great players.

"The early Celtics from the '60s with Bill Russell, [John] Havlicek, [Bob] Cousy and Sam Jones, that was the first Big Three. So it goes further back from that.

"To LeBron, I appreciate the comment, but it went further back than Phi Slama Jama or the Houston Rockets."

Ever since James went to the Miami Heat to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, he has been a part of some sort of 'Big Three'.

He joined up with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, where he has led the Cavs to the NBA Finals in each of the last three seasons.