There are many great basketball players in the world, but the great ones are watched over and followed by sports fans everywhere. Hey, doesn’t it always seem like there are new great players coming through every year that you turn on the TV? It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the top three basketball players in the world right now right before the start of the NBA season are Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwigne Casey. Lebron James considers himself the best young player to ever play in the NBA, and some people think he might be right. Kobe Bryant listed him as one of his favorites to work with even though he wasn’t born when he made the list. And then you can’t forget the world-renowned Dwige Casey, who may more than likely never have been considered a top player if it were not for him. Here are the three of the best, and we thank them for being apart of the conversation.

Lebron James – Lebron is easily one of the most talented players in the world today. With 13 NBA championship titles, this guy can hardly be surpassed when it comes to ability. He has been competing with one of the greats – Pete Maravich – for the last few years, and has just flat out taken over the NBA landscape. He came up through the ranks with what some consider to be one of the hardest evolutions, being a shooting guard first – before he found his shooting guard’s groove. With a jersey number that reads “23” (not 23 and a week), James is a lethal weapon on offense and should easily lead the league in scoring this year, while adding 4 assists with 13ppg over the last 3 games. He’s currently the very closest thing to a lock that we’ve ever seen – and we’re just ahead of the starting gun on the Kobe Bryant train.

Kobe Bryant – When you’re talked about the three best players in the league, the name of Kobe Bryant should come up near the top 3. Having the highest scoring average for a superstar of any team since Michael Jordan, Bryant is the definition of a point forward. With amazing shooting form and ball handling skills, Kobe has always been considered a perfectionist in his game. He has added 3 more championships this year already, and is locked for another in 2009 – an unbelievable record so far. This guy is the literal definition of a “greatest” – and today, he a gunning to make a run at another 6 NBA championships this year. There is no doubt that Kobe will add to his list of accomplishments before the 2009 season is over – and you should too.

Dwayne Wade – This young man is the future of the Miami Heat franchise. Already a championship winner (2), Wade is an invaluable member of this team. Sporting a 21.5 points per game average, this guy is going to take this team to the next level (and he’s having a hell of a time doing it). Better than Kobe, Wade has more size than Kobe, but in a smaller court. Wade is also more of a defensive player in his game, making him special when it comes to guarding the opponent’s top player. Wade has moved himself from forward to center on the court recently, and can really play any of the 5 positions on the floor. He can score more (22ppg per game) than Kobe, but after several injuries, Wade has been held out of the line up a bit. Wade added 2 more championships this year, and really has deserved all the praise that he’s been heaped onto him. Although not highly regarded as a defensive player, Wade still manages to get to the bucket a lot. He’s a once in a lifetime type player when it comes to ascending to the highest peaks of basketball. After several seasons end in disappointment (2 before this win), Wade has evolved into the player that people are talking about in 5 years.

As we wrap up the top 3 basketball players right now, we’ve only looked at three from the Eastern Conference. Another young superstar is headed to the West this season – I don’t even know where to begin. There are two reasons that I haven’t had the time or space to write about him. 1 – he plays for the perennial doormat Cleveland Cavaliers, and 2 – he hadn’t heard of him until this writing (2 championships). The rest of this year’s rookie class should rise to the top as well. This should be a fun year to watch.