"If LeBron can win four or five (titles), it's a legitimate conversation in my opinion," Barkley said Monday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I never thought I would compare someone to Michael Jordan. I was like, Karl Malone is great, Patrick Ewing is great, John Stockton is great, that guy's better."
Part of what amazes Barkley about James is his 6-foot-8, 250-pound frame.
"Michael Jordan to me had a perfect body," Barkley said. "He was 6-6, 225, zero percent body fat. LeBron is like 40 pounds heavier and three inches taller. This guy is so special.
"I don't know if he's going to win six championships, to be honest with you -- that's going to be difficult. But if he's able to win three or four more championships, man, you've got to appreciate this guy. He's scary to watch play."
Jordan's former coach with the Bulls, Phil Jackson, recently praised James' physical attributes on "The Waddle & Silvy Show," but Jackson also gave Jordan the edge in the paint.
"I have a hard time judging the best player, but I do think that Michael had more moves in the post, and he had more of a perhaps shooting touch with his back to the basket and all these kind of things that were part of his game," Jackson said.
"LeBron has this train out of control when he gets the ball in transition that he can go coast-to-coast without anyone getting in his way, and if they do, he's going to over-run them. And he's got the power with the body, and he's developed a left hand that's extremely good. There's a lot of things that you are seeing in the development of this player that leads towards that, but the ideal and the whole reason behind this is what kind of championships are you gonna get from a player like this? Can he match what Michael has done?"
At 27, James may get a shot to match Jordan's number if he stays healthy.
"He's got all the physical attributes," Jackson said. "He is a player that can play four positions. Except for perhaps the center spot, which he hasn't (been) given a shot at yet, he can play those other four positions quite well. This is unique; Michael could play three and was very good at all three of those, but as a power player that LeBron can become, I think he has an opportunity to explore and advance some of the status that he has already gained.
"Winning six championships is an elusive thing out there, and they haven't won two yet. But he's kinda got the smell of it, and even the Olympic experience this summer, he was the granted leader of that team and was the critical player when they needed something to happen in the final games. I think he's there, I think he's at that position. He's got good things ahead of him, and a lot of it depends upon if he's gonna be healthy for the remainder of his career."