While the statue artist has cleared the statue for unveiling—see below “street test”— Derrick has requested that it not be on display until he knows, in his mind, that it’s ready.
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Posted by Poohdini on 03 May 2013 - 03:18 PM
While the statue artist has cleared the statue for unveiling—see below “street test”— Derrick has requested that it not be on display until he knows, in his mind, that it’s ready.
Posted by Buffalo Bill on 29 May 2014 - 07:28 PM
My grandfather smoked his whole life. I was about 10 years old when my mother said to him "if you ever want to see your grandchildren graduate, you have to stop immediately..." Tears welled up in his eyes when he realized what exactly was at state. He gave it up immediately. Three years later he died of lung cancer. It was really sad and destroyed me. My mother said to me- "Don't ever smoke, please don't put your family through what your grandpa put us through." I agreed.. At 28 I have never touched a cigarette. I must say, I feel a slight sense of regret for never have done it. Because your post gave me cancer anyway
Posted by Djoker on 31 October 2011 - 09:59 AM
Everyone seems to be making one of these lists lately so I might as well. I won’t bore you with statistics unless it’s truly something exceptional but I’ll give my own views on these top 25 players and where they fit on the ladder of greatness. All factors like peak, longevity, competition, strength of teams, player profile (completeness of game, strengths, weaknesses), and intangibles will be considered. But allow me to make a disclaimer. Accomplishments generally do take precedence over anything else. A player with a monster peak but nothing else to show for it like Bob McAdoo or Nate Archibald won’t sniff this list and might make the back-end of the top50. MIGHT! We’re not going off of potential. It’s the real thing.
Here’s a couple of guys that barely missed out on my list:
Rick Barry – monster scorer, possibly the best shooter ever with a good all-around offensive game but average defender, locker-room cancer and spent way too much of his prime in the ABA. He’s likely to give you 1 or 2 quality contending years but the rest of the time he’ll be undermining your team or going elsewhere to be coached by his uncle. No thanks. Sorry Rick!
Bill Walton – monster peak but his career was effectively 1.5 seasons long! He is maybe the greatest intangibles player ever (yes arguably #1!) on top of being one of the most complete bigs ever but the bottom line is, I’d rather have 10 years of say David Robinson than 1.5 of Bill Walton.
Walt Frazier – maybe the most underrated player in history. He was the engine behind those titles and he stepped up in big games for the Knicks. His prime was a little short and playing with Willis hurts his standing.
Jason Kidd – could never take games over offensively. Always an overrated player in my book, mediocre shooter, poor man’s John Stockton with a bit more board work.
Elvin Hayes – one of the best big men ever with a good long career but a locker-room cancer like Barry. Took way too many shots for most of his career, turnaround fadeaways no less! Lot of talent, little brains. If you’re looking to win titles, you wouldn’t want him.
Other HM: Dwyane Wade, Patrick Ewing, Bob Cousy, Willis Reed, George Gervin
#25 Isiah Thomas
Those who have him in their top20 are greatly overrating Thomas in my opinion but he does belong here at #25. While he did play on deep balanced Bay Boy teams where he wasn’t even the best player on the floor in many games and even series, he was the heart and soul of the team. His ability to take over a game with his scoring, his heart, his desire, his determination, his tenacity were unparalleled. Let me tell you, Celtics/Lakers/Bulls players and fans alike in the 80’s were scared of Isiah Thomas when he had the ball. The man scored 25 points in a quarter of a finals game in 88 which is the all-time record. Did I mention that he did that on a severely sprained ankle under immense pain! He was a wildly inconsistent player like most scoring guards but that is ok when there is enough talented players to take over while he’s quiet. When he went ham, it was game over 9 times out of 10 for the other team. It’s worth noting that while Isiah was definitely a score-first point guard, he was a very capable playmaker averaging 8-10 assists for most of his career. In I have a must win game, I want this guy on my team period. Perseverance and heart is what will define Isiah Lord Thomas III. The fact that he was never even a clear top10 player in the league or finished higher than 5th in MVP voting over the course of a season hurts his case for moving up further.
#24 Dirk Nowitzki
The Big German. The greatest shooting big man ever. One of the greatest players of the past decade that is still humming along. In his prime despite playing on the perimeter, Dirk could rebound very well and he’s above average defensively. Obviously his greatest strength is scoring but where he really shines is taking games over offensively, especially in the 4th quarter, and making clutch plays in the dying seconds when his teams need it most. 06 WCSF Game 7 against the Spurs last seconds of regulation and-1 that forces games into OT and leads to a Mavs win, 11 Finals Game 2 drive on Bosh and a game-winning lay-up in what was basically a must win game, 11 Finals Game 4 game-winning jumper and many more plays like that is what defines Dirk’s career. He’s a cold-blooded killer who you want in the game when it’s on the line. The reason why he cannot go higher on this list is that fact that he is a 7-footer that cannot defend the paint effectively. If I was building a franchise, I’d rather have a big that is a premier rebounder and defender than one who plays like a perimeter player. With Dirk, I need a defensive big beside him. It isn’t a coincidence the Mavs couldn’t win it all until Chandler came over! In a few years and a few more All-NBA selections and such, Dirk could squeak into the top20.
#23 David Robinson
Maybe the best all-around big man ever! Tall, super athletic… the man could do everything on the floor. One of the best scorers, rebounders, passers, defenders at the C position ever. So what stops him from being higher on the ladder? Put simply, he just wasn’t meant to be an alpha player. He couldn’t take over games in the playoffs. He outplayed Hakeem in almost all of their H2H matchups in the regular season but when they met in the 95 WCF, Hakeem humiliated him. Despite his great resume and winning 2 titles as a #2 guy to Tim Duncan, Robinson will always be remembered as someone who just didn’t have the killer instinct, who folded and let others get the spotlight when the cards were on the table. His stint in the navy and a severe injury during the 96-97 season effectively cut his prime short as well. It’s too bad. He had the talent and the playing ability of a top10 player. EASILY!
#22 Bob Pettit
Probably the most underrated player ever. 2-time MVP, 4-time all-star game MVP, 10-time All-NBA 1st Team, NBA Champion (1958). He is the only player except Wilt Chamberlain ever to beat Bill Russell in the playoffs. Russell was a bit hobbled in that finals but still… he wasn’t 100% other times and people couldn’t touch him! Bob Pettit had a spectacular finals in 1958 averaging 29 ppg in the series and his game 6 is a stuff of legend. 50 points, 25 rebounds including 19 of the last 21 points of the game for his team. He was a 26, 16, and 3 player over his 11-year career and he led his team to 3 more NBA finals which they would lose to the Celtics. He was a dominant scorer and rebounder, an above average playmaker and defender. He faced weak competition though and had a really mediocre FG% so it’s hard to have him much higher.
#21 Charles Barkley
The Round Mount of Rebound. Charles Barkley was a monster scorer. 65%+ TS was not unusual for him. He was a beast rebounder and he had excellent court vision averaging 4+ assists often during his prime. He was most certainly a leader and he most certainly had heart. He had unquenchable confidence, always played with a chip on his shoulder and was one of the strongest players that ever played from a mental aspect. Most players would shy away from Michael Jordan when they had to face him. Barkley would go right at him and claim pre-game and during press conferences that he is indeed the greatest player in the world. And let me tell you, he’d go out there and try to prove it every single night! Playing against Chuck, you’d never get a night off. His energy, strength, and confidence would scare his opponents. Now Chuck is almost unquestionably the GOAT TNT guy (although Shaq may take that title soon!) but he did have one major weakness in his game. DEFENSE. Barkley was listed at 6’6’’ but according to many sources as short as 6’4’’. He played PF a lot and simply was undersized. He couldn’t contest Karl Malone or Chris Webber or Kevin McHale. I have a couple of pet peeves when it comes to ranking basketball players. One is when a player displays a lack of effort (read Vince *** Carter… yea I had to mention him! ) . Another is when he’s undersized. I hate players who are liabilities on the defensive end. If I had Barkley on my team, I’d exclusively play him at SF but then he wouldn’t be in position to rebound as much which would go against his strengths! He never won a title in his career. I don’t consider it his fault because he had great intangibles but still…
#20 John Stockton
There are bad non-alpha superstars like Robinson and then there are good ones like Stockton. He exemplifies what a point guard should be all about. He is the greatest pure passer that ever lived. Now he isn’t the most talented passer ever… that title belongs to the one and only Magic Johnson but Stockton is the most effective passer in NBA history. He is #1 all-time in career and single season assists, apg, and AST%. He has the highest AST/TO ratio of any star PG in history. John was a solid scorer as well, averaging 15-18 ppg on 50+% shooting in his prime and a very good defender, making a couple of all-defensive teams and getting more steals than any player in NBA history. He often gets criticized for not taking over on offense but that wasn’t his role. He was a facilitator, not an alpha and did so with ruthless efficiency with USG% of under 20% for his career. He let others have the ball and glory but without him, those Utah teams wouldn’t be significant. He is like a role player on steroids. He knew what he had to do and did it while also pulling in more than his share on the defensive end of the floor. He had a productive 19-year career in the league, spending all of it with the Utah Jazz. Playing with Karl Malone has hurt his legacy, fairly or not.
#19 Elgin Baylor
The original highflyer, Mr. Hangtime. Baylor turned a horizontal game into a vertical one with an array of aerial moves that transformed basketball and paved the way for players like Dr J, Michael Jordan etc. But Elgin wasn’t all flash. Before his injury in 1963, he put up 36 ppg 15 rpg and 5 apg over four postseasons. He dominated against arguably the greatest defense ever in the finals. Against Russell’s Celtics he had a series averaging 40+ppg including a 62-point game that is still an all-time finals record! He scored with the best of them, rebounded like a big, passed like a point guard. A Frank Selvy miss on a wide-open 10ft jumper as the time expired in regulation of Game 7 in the 62 Finals cost Baylor his best chance at a title. Elgin made 10 All-NBA 1st Teams in his career and 8 NBA finals, losing all but 1 to the Boston Celtics! If it weren’t for his prime cut short by injuries, average defensive impact, and a lack of titles, Baylor could have made a significantly bigger dent on this list. His abilities were truly extraordinary.
#18 Kevin Garnett
Greatest all-around PF in NBA history. KG scored 20+ ppg in his prime year after year, he won 4 rebounding titles, he had 6 seasons over 5 apg, and he is arguably the greatest defender this game has ever seen. His versatility on that end is insane. There has never been a big that can defend the post and then move to the perimeter and cover guards chasing them around like a hound dog. His quickness, length, dexterity, and intelligence allow him to pull this off. Garnett is a model for consistency as well but his greatest asset is that he simply makes his teammates better. He came to Boston and turned them into a championship team from Day 1. His playing ability certainly helped but that wasn’t it. His energy is infectious, his swag gives his teammates confidence, his intensity and constant communication on the defensive end inspires average defenders to become great ones. He changed the culture of the team and when he was injured in the 09 playoffs, his teams still fed off his energy and did what he had inspired in them. He is a player who makes homecourt advantage really an advantage. When he bangs his head on the basket support or raises his hands into the air, fans in the arena are sent into delirium by his passion and commitment. Upon entering the game, he’s covered in sweat within 2 min. His level of effort, dedication, and pure energy has arguably never been seen in any player in history. There is probably no one that I will miss more when they retire than KG.
#17 Oscar Robertson
Big O. Mr Triple Double. Oscar Robertson is the standard by which any all-around basketball player is judged. Over his first 5 seasons in the league, he averaged a 30-10-10 triple double scoring at higher efficiency than most C’s in the league! High pace or not, that’s still ludicrous. Big O was 6’5’’ but he rebounded like a forward and getting assists was more difficult in Oscar’s era due to how they were credited, making his feat even more impressive. He was yet another victim of the mighty Celtics dynasty, never managing to win a title with the Cincinnati Royals. He was thought of a little bit as a selfish player at times, dominating the ball and putting up good numbers but never winning. His playoff performances also frequently hadn’t lived up to the expectations. In 1970, he got traded to the Bucks where he won a title. After the first year success in Milwaukee, he couldn’t stay healthy but Bucks’ contention for the title was largely a result of Oscar’s declining but still very noticeable presence. Winning an MVP award and a title even if not as a #1 option puts Oscar ahead of Baylor for me.
#16 Jerry West
The Logo is the single hardest player to rank on this list. On one hand, he was a monster scorer and shooter, great all-around, solid defender, super-clutch and a great playoff performer. On the other hand, a perennial 2nd place finisher, a guy who wasn’t any of those good things in one postseason run that mattered most. In 1972, Lakers finally won a championship on arguably the greatest team in history. Problem is West had the worst postseason in his career by far, putting up just 23ppg on 38% shooting in the playoffs and 20 ppg on 33% shooting in the finals. Those are not typos! When Lakers lost like in 66, 68, 69, 70, West put up monster numbers and was always efficient. That puts forward this question… There is absolutely no doubt that West was a great player with basically no weaknesses but was he as valuable to his team? If his teams can lose with him playing out of his mind and win in a dominating fashion with him playing god awful, there is something wrong! As his career went on, he switched into more of a PG role and his team success increased. Maybe he was meant to be a more of a facilitator? Maybe his scoring hurt his team as a whole offensively? West retired with no MVP award even though he was the best player in the world a couple of years there in 1969 and 1970. In 1971 with West (as well as Baylor) sidelined in the postseason, Lakers still made the conference finals and lost to one of the greatest teams of all time featuring Kareem and Oscar. There is no doubt that Jerry West had the mentality of a champion and the drive and unquenchable thirst for success, but the question of his real value to the team will always haunt him most in my opinion.
#15 John Havlicek
Most underappreciated player in history. Drafted to play in the NFL as well as the NBA, the man known as Hondo chose basketball and boy was it a good choice. His physical attributes were astounding. While he wasn’t a high leaper, he was extremely quick, very strong, and probably the most durable player ever. His stamina was unmatched. He would run opponents into the ground with his relentless running game and constant full court pressure that frustrated opponents. He was a great versatile scorer, excellent rebounder and passer, arguably the best perimeter defender ever and yet none of those is his most defining quality. Havlicek has more rings that any player on this list not called Bill Russell. He was a true winner and maybe the most clutch player in history. The 1965 steal against Hal Greer, 40 10 and 7 on 50% shooting in Game 6 to close out LA on the road in the 68 finals, 26 9 and 5 game on 58% shooting in Game 7 on the road to beat LA in the 69 finals, him and Kareem going back and forth late in games in the 74 finals, the shot in 2nd overtime against the Suns in the 76 finals. These are moments that define Havlicek, playing at his best in the greatest moments. In his prime from 68-74, he averaged a stellar 27 8 and 7 in the postseason and similar numbers in the finals with All-Defensive 1st Team selections virtually ever year. Few people realize that he won 3 championship rings (68, 69, 74) as the best player on his team. Despite that, he’s a player who would sacrifice his own personal success for the betterment of his team. He played as a 6th man for the first couple of years in the mid 60’s and deferred to Cowens and White in the late 70’s as his game declined. Missing on his resume is an MVP award and that he was never the #1 best player in the league. I can’t put him any higher because he wasn’t a consistently efficient scorer either who you can count on to carry your team on offense every night in a long season.
#14 Julius Erving
Enigmatic player. Julius “Dr J” Erving revolutionized the game like perhaps no other player. The tomahawk dunks, acrobatic lay-ups from behind the backboard and out of bounds are some of the signature moments that define the Doctor. I had a lot of trouble deciding whether to put him ahead of West and Havlicek. I decided to go with Erving ahead of them. While Julius won a title as a #2 to Moses in 83 similar to how Jerry did to Wilt in the 72 postseason, Julius played well during the run. Erving’s value to his teams was much more clear to me. Erving won an MVP award in 1981 (something West and Hondo never did) and lost to 3 teams in the finals with dominant big men (Walton once, Kareem twice) that his Sixers simply had no answer for. Erving has a more dominant peak than Hondo and more impressive career longevity than West as well tallying 30k points in his career. I also rated him ahead of West because I feel like he was more impactful on the defensive end because of his off-ball skill and shotblocking. Erving is stuck here and cannot move any higher because his best years were in the ABA, a league where high-paced offensive basketball was played and it was far easier to put up big numbers. When he came to the NBA at age 26, Julius was never quite as dominant as before and did win just one title as a 2nd option.
#13 Karl Malone
The Mailman. A name that suits him well because of his remarkable consistency and longevity but is also ironic because Malone could never deliver at those precise moments when his teams absolutely needed it. Karl Malone was a great all-around force in the NBA at the PF position from the late 80’s to the early 00’s, winning 2 MVP’s and losing twice in the championship round to Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. Malone didn’t lack intangibles per se but he could have used more killer instinct and leadership. His career also came to be defined by some of his most painful moments, missing 2 free throws that could win the game in Game 1 of the 97 finals and getting stripped by Jordan for that infamous shot in Game 6 of the 98 finals. On the other hand, Malone doesn’t get nearly enough credit for all his successes. Getting those Utah teams to the finals in the first place with declining John Stockton wasn’t trivial. Luck of the draw was truly against Karl… MJ is the last guy you would want to face in the finals and he is the only one Malone ever faced! He had no weaknesses in his game and generally performed well in the postseason against a tough group of elite big men. Malone is #2 on the all-time scoring list, #6 on the all-time rebounding list, and #1 in all-time FT’s made and attempted. His body of work is undeniable.
#12 Moses Malone
Another Malone! All-around player? No… in fact he had arguably the most weaknesses in his game of any player on this list. His post moves were rudimentary at best, he was a solid but hardly spectacular defender, and he wasn’t a good passer when compared to other elite bigs. So what the heck did he do well? Two words… OFFENSIVE REBOUNDING. THAT’S IT!! His team would shoot and he’d grab the misses. Sounds like a rebounding specialist… However when you combine his ability to sneak or push himself out of a box out to gain position for the rebound with his incredible strength and physicality, you had one of the greatest forces in history. He would get the ball at point blank range off of a rebound and the defense would be helpless. They would foul him and he’d shoot FT’s again and again. Moses was at his peak from 79-83, winning 3 MVP’s and a title on one of the most dominant teams ever. He made a finals in 81 with a truly mediocre 40-win team. His teammates loved playing with Moses. He was a guy who you didn’t have to feed the ball… he’d get it himself! I’ve watched footages of a playoff half where he would get 20 points, all of them off of offensive boards. His peak is one of the greatest ever but he also played in the NBA for 19 years and another 2 in the ABA. He was one of the first high schoolers ever to enter the league. He is #1 all-time in offensive rebounds by a huge margin, #3 all-time in total rebounds, and #2 In FT’s made. Bottom line is, I love Karl Malone who is a more complete player but if I had to pick which Malone I want on my team, Moses takes the cake. He was more difficult to stop at his peak and managed to win a title in an era that was tougher than the 90’s. He had the it factor, the killer instinct, the alpha male mentality that David Robinson and even Karl Malone never had.
#11 Lebron James
Now Lebron is just 28 years old but he already has all of the credentials of an NBA legend and pantheon member. Four MVP’s, two straight Finals MVP's leading some of the greatest runs ever, two other finals appearances, seven 1st teams, five defensive 1st teams, 2nd all-time in PER and scoring. Arguably the best passing forward ever and a true fantasy league stud. Barring serious injury he is pretty much guaranteed to end up in in the Magic/Bird/Shaq group when it's all said and done even with no more titles. Sky is the limit for the King and he just has to continue to rack up MVP's of all types! He won his first title at a younger age than both Jordan and Shaq. As committed as he has been in the past year in improving his post-game, jumper as well as his off-ball skills, his shot can still become a bit more consistent to make zone defenses pay. It's amazing to have an opportunity to follow the career of such a transcendent player, arguably the most talented individual ever to grace the NBA court.
#10 Kobe Bryant
I’ve always been called a Kobe hater but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I love Kobe’s game and appreciate his status as an all-time great. I only have an issue when people claim Kobe > Jordan. That will never be a real debate despite Bryant’s impressive resume. 5 titles of which 2 as the man, 1 MVP, 2 scoring titles, an 81 point game, 62 in three quarters game. Kobe is one of the most devastating scorers ever unleashed on this league. He is arguably the most skilled player of all-time, more so than MJ. Kobe can make shots from anywhere and with insane degrees of difficulty. He could drive to the rim, rebound, pass, play elite defense, close out games. He has an insatiable killer instinct… there is a reason they call this man the Black Mamba! Turnaround fadeaway 20 footers are miracle shots for anyone else but when Kobe is hot, he nails them. Ironically, what is his strength is also the cause of his greatest weakness. His ability to hit any shot makes him take too many difficult shots on a regular basis, lowering his FG%. His choppy finals performances characterized by poor FG%’s are why it is difficult to consider him any higher. Being a sidekick to Shaq for 3/5 titles is also a dent in his resume. If he has a couple of more strong years, I might be willing to push him to #9.
#9 Tim Duncan
The Big Fundamental. While not an unstoppable offensive force by any stretch of imagination, Duncan always took over when it mattered. He was a great rebounder, a world-class defender (total crime he never won a DPOY!), and a marvelous passer for a big man. His leadership by example and his quiet confidence make him the most well-liked player of this era. The reason I have him slightly ahead of Bryant is that while he also had some choppy finals performances, he still won 4 titles as the best player on his team and won 2 MVP awards. He to me is a smarter player with regards to shot selection and generally picking his spots. Timmy would never refuse to pass the ball. Why do people call Tim Duncan boring? He isn’t flashy but he’s always been effective. He was never the most dominant player, but he was the player that had the last laugh more often than not. His expression-less face confused opponents. It was hard to get in his head, focused like a laser beam, a champion playing for one goal. The privilege of remaining one. Duncan has been a unique superstar in the decade. With many stars bent on individual dominance, Duncan ALWAYS put team first. The Big Fundamental truly stands for everything that is good in basketball – teamwork, unselfishness, desire, humbleness, and graciousness in those rare defeats.
#8 Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt the Stilt. The Big Dipper. The man who rewrote the record books, setting countless scoring and rebounding records that will never be broken. A guy who was so strong, so athletic, so physically coordinated that none of his adversaries had any hope of playing him to a standstill individually. That description sounds like a description for the GOAT, doesn’t it? Well unfortunately, Wilt is far from receiving that kind of honor… For almost his entire career, he played solely for stats and personal glory by winning individual match-ups. Winning was secondary to him and winning 2 titles is a testament to his greatness that he could win despite his shortcomings but he still severely underachieved. He set his mind to never fouling out of a game, refusing to play defense when in foul trouble and hurting his team in who knows how many games. He passed up easy shots just so he could win an assist title. He would either shoot too much early in his career taking his teammates out of their comfort zones or too little in his late career, not taking over in big playoff games when his teams needed it and he could clearly still provide it. His playoff numbers can’t hold a candle to his regular season. If all that wasn’t enough, Wilt was a notoriously bad FT shooter. For all of his regular season heroics and dominance, I can’t put him above any player from here on out because he didn’t deliver consistently enough when it mattered.
#7 Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem the Dream. A super strong and athletic yet gracious big man of truly unmatchable skills. Olajuwon’s footwork and offensive repertoire is legendary… the spins, the turns, the up and unders, the head and the shoulder fakes… He’d execute multiple moves and countermoves leaving opponents including HOF defenders dumbfounded. He could go up with power dunks, hit baby hooks, or nail 15-foot jumpers like it’s nothing. Ask David Robinson. If that wasn’t enough, Hakeem won 2 rebounding titles, was a great passer, and arguably the best defensive player ever. And even that doesn’t come close to describing the Dream. He had the dexterity and speed of a guard. He is #8 all-time in steals and could run the fast break! He was a clutch player who would score big baskets late in games and protect the paint with vigor. He led two of the most difficult title runs ever. One with a truly meager supporting cast and another without HCA in every single series. In those 2 playoff runs, he infamously dominated all the other top big men in the league in devastating fashion leaving behind nothing but rubble. We’ll never know if Hakeem was lucky to not face Jordan in the postseason or vice versa. Probably a little bit of both…
#6 Larry Bird
Larry Legend. The Hick from French Lick. A guy who didn’t even look like an NBA megastar was nothing but. There is absolutely no excuse to say you’ve never watched Bird. You have to see it to believe his real impact. Larry wasn’t athletic, he wasn’t that strong, he wasn’t that quick… but he was smart. Bird is the greatest trash-talker and maybe the most confident player ever and his leadership rubbed on his teammates. It didn’t hurt that he was the greatest shooter ever with unlimited range, could rebound like a big, and pass like a point guard. Larry was an excellent off-ball defender that fit well into a team concept of defense. Larry won 3 titles and 3 MVP’s in the toughest era in league history. His prime was unfortunately relatively short, his career cut prematurely by severe back injuries. He played a couple of more years but was never really quite the same.
#5 Shaquille O’Neal
Superman. The Big Aristotle. The league had never seen a player like Shaq before or since. The 7’1’’ 320-350 pound beast dominated the NBA for a decade and a half. His athleticism, speed, and vertical for a man of his size were simply unbelievable. The NBA had to get stronger rims and opposing centers started wearing masks and nose guards largely because of this guy. O’Neal struggled as a FT shooter so it was risky to keep him in late in a game and he was a poor pick n’ roll defender but it didn’t matter too much in the big scheme of things. Shaq’s peak is quite simply probably the greatest ever. From 00-02, he led LA to a 3-peat averaging 36 ppg and 13 rpg on 59% shooting in 3 NBA finals combined! There has never been a player more unstoppable than him… EVER. He made guys like Zo, Robinson, Divac, Mutombo, elite defensive bigs, look helpless. He was a Wilt Chamberlain who played a power game, who’d never back down, who had the desire to win and not put up stats as a way to prove himself. It was tough to put him over Bird but I’d rather have 13 prime years of Shaq than 9 prime years of Bird. True he had a big ego and he might leave my team after clashing with our star SG but it’s worth the risk. He stays for a couple of years and I’m almost guaranteed a title even with a fairly average roster.
#4 Earvin Johnson
Magic. The guy who made Showtime. The greatest point guard who ever lived. 6’9’’ Johnson was a handful, a walking triple double. An underrated scorer who in his prime consistently scored 22-25 ppg on 60%+ TS. He had the greatest court vision of any player ever. He would run half-court sets as well as the fast break to perfection. No look passes, behind the back passes, half court bounce passes… it was all there. Most importantly, his style wasn’t just fun, it was successful. He won 5 titles and made 9 finals in 13 years in the league in the strongest era in league history. Magic would always come through in a big game, arguably the most consistent playoff performer ever. He beat Bird three of out of the four times they met over their careers and had a longer prime. Magic vs Shaq is close but Johnson simply has less weaknesses. Magic could close games, Shaq could not. Magic was the ultimate teammate, Shaq was egotistical. Magic won 5 titles and 3 MVP’s. Shaq won 4 titles and 1 MVP. Magic won in a tough era. Shaq won in a watered-down era.
#3 Bill Russell
William Felton Russell was traded on draft day for Cliff Hagan and Ed McCauley. How often does a team give up a perennial all-star shooting guard and a top center for a player who hasn't played a single game in the NBA? The answer is when that player has such superior understanding of the game and locker room leadership that what he physically does on the court becomes less important. Of course, Russell was the greatest defensive anchor of all time, leading at least 9 Celtics teams (11 total) to a title and winning 5 MVP's until Hondo took reign of the team in the late 60's. Bill Russell is quite simply the greatest winner in the history of the NBA and maybe any sport period. The reason I don’t have him higher on this list is because he had clear weaknesses in the grand scheme of things. First of all, he was a mediocre scorer, 16 ppg on 43% shooting for his playoff career. He passed very well and was one of the best rebounders of all time but he couldn’t shoulder an offensive load for his team. He could ignite breaks off of defensive rebounds but his success is a product of his era and his team to a fairly large extent. A 6’9’’ center as late as the 70’s just wouldn’t be able to have such an impact. The late 50’s and most of the 60’s were not an era of parity. Boston won the most games in the league from 57-65 and had the most talented teams in that span. As great a leader and motivator Bill was (he was even a player coach from 66-67 season onwards), it cannot bridge the gap with much more talented players ahead who also had monstrous achievements in more competitive eras.
#2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Originally known as Lew Alcindor, Kareem is the most accomplished player in league history – 6 MVP’s, 2 Finals MVP’s (should have been 4!), 6 titles, 10 finals appearances, #1 on all-time scoring list, #3 on all-time rebounding list, #2 on all-time blocks list (despite the fact blocks weren’t even recorded his first 4 years!). Kareem is one of a type big man. The greatest scorer in history, an elite rebounder, an elite defender and shotblocker. Kareem passed the ball like a guard, had the agility to get more steals than any big ever except Hakeem. Jabbar learned from the greatest leader ever in Bill Russell. His quiet confidence would rally his team, his clutch heroics and game-winning shots are unmatched for a big man. Kareem’s skyhook is quite simply the best shot in history. It was the surest 2 points ever. You couldn’t block it, you couldn’t contest, you could hope that he misses but he rarely would. Kareem’s peak was on Shaq’s level except he didn’t have a problem with his FT shooting. His longevity is the greatest ever. He made 1st team all NBA at age 22 and then again at age 39. At 40 years and older, his team would still give him the ball when they needed a basket in a close game and he would deliver. His legacy as a good teammate is probably the most underrated aspect of his career. Kareem would sacrifice everything to win, even through the mid and late 70’s when he had truly mediocre rosters.
#1 Michael Jordan
Jordan is not a better player than Kareem, or more accomplished, or more impactful. If I was drafting one of them as a franchise player, I would take Jabbar. But Jordan is still the greatest ever. Media hype or not, Jordan is the household name in the world of basketball. He inspired and motivated kids to play basketball, he is the reason this forum exists. I probably wouldn’t be writing this article if MJ had never played because I wouldn’t care about the sport. He did everything on the court on an elite level, he showed up in big moments, his killer instinct was almost madness. Even those who weren’t alive in his time have heard of his exploits, the free throw line dunk, the shot over Ehlo, the Flu Game, the Last Shot. His number was retired by NBA teams for whom he had never played. He is the all-time leader in playoff points, PER, and Win Shares.
Posted by Mbb on 25 September 2013 - 02:58 PM
Hello Hoops-Nation 2k crew. It's been quite the three months hasn't it? Please bear with me through this long post :wine:
Together through our love of 2k and consistent activity, we brought this section from Hoops-Nation mediocrity to extreme relevancy. I'm proud to have been a part of that with all of you.
As we all know, our current 2k section consists really of only one thread; the infamous 'MyTeam' thread- which is currently the most active thread in HN history. It's impossible for me to measure the number of amazing moments, great games, and 2k knowledge I've absorbed from that thread alone.
The most important thing to me are the loyal members in this section. The most essential part to any good forum is a close community. A community consisting of both members AND staff that share a common bonds and goals, something the 2k section on Operation Sports truly lacked. I'm proud to say that the staff of Hoops-Nation are some of the best I've seen on any public forum, and I'm so happy to be working along with them.
All that being said, with 2k14 around the corner I think it is time for us to expand our community, and thus show our appreciation to the rest of Hoops-Nation for allowing us to have a home here. I think it is safe for me to say our 2k section has been exclusive- that is, very few members not associated with Operation Sports participate in our discussions. Even more importantly, many of the members on Hoops-Nation that are familiar with 2k don't post in the 2k section very often.
I don't blame them. From the outside the 2k section (MyTeam thread) appears to be a clusterfuck of randomness, which may cause them to stay away. It is my goal with the emergence of 2k14 to open the doors of the 2k section through organization and some structure.
Not only will this make the section more attractive to other members, but as new recruits sign up in anticipation of 2k14, the 2k section will have a more professional look. Let's also consider navigation. If someone signed up right now in hopes of current information about MyCareer mode, they would be forced to weed through the MyTeam thread, an issue I would like to remove.
If you haven't figured it out by now, this means the end of the current MyTeam thread..... :cry:
I kid. That thread will be renamed in honor of 2k14 MyTeam, however, discussion in that thread will be relevant to MyTeam mode only. Not your association lineup, not your MyCareer stats, not for my posts about an awesome Kobe fade-away in a team up match.. simply for MyTeam related discussion.
Soon after I post this announcement, I will be pinning several threads on the 2k forum in dedication of the major modes outside of MyTeam. One of the worst parts of the 2k13 forum layout was how unused the other topics were outside of the one main thread (see MyCareer smh). This change does not mean these modes will be talked about as often as MyTeam will be, but when they are, conversation will take place in the appropriate location.
I'd also like to take a minute to talk about off-topic posts. Recently, the MyTeam thread has turned into GTA V discussion. I was completely fine with this for the short term, but I let you all know that the switch over to the GTA V thread would be coming up soon. That time is now. With 2k14 days away, GTA V is no longer relevant to the 2k section.
I understand it isn't easy to post outside of the 2k section at first. It's less convenient (like three more clicks), and also that shift is intimidating for some. However, you're missing out big time if you limit yourself to the 2k section. If you think the members in the current MyTeam thread are great, you will be overwhelmed by the humor, intelligence, and passion for basketball the users on HN all share.
Go out and expand yourselves! Instead of posting about your new pair of shoes in a 2k topic, maybe consider posting in the Sneakers and Apparel section on the home page of the forums. The current GTA V discussion consisting of both 2k users and other HN members in the Entertainment section has already been a success.
Not only will this help you develop relationships with other users here, but by posting in these sub-forums you are helping out the site tremendously. We need as much activity as possible in all areas, and with more activity in all-sections, Hoops-Nation will become more and more popular. It's time for us to give back, and this is one of the best ways we as frequent posters can help. A lot of you guys have already been doing this which is great.
That of course doesn't mean you can't go off topic at all!!!
I encourage posts that keep the threads entertaining and fun, but I would greatly appreciate it if you considered posting in some of the other great HN forums like
and a lot more. Seriously go look at that off topic section. EVERYTHING imaginable has been poster there.
My goal is not to go all "Kehlis" on you guys (for those who don't know, the mod who banned everyone from Operation Sports), and throw out warnings or bans anytime anyone goes off topic. No one has been banned under my watch of the 2k section except for that troll who made like 30 accounts the other day.
I hope you can all see where I'm coming from. Keep in mind that everyone will still possess the freedom to have fun in the various 2k topics, but let's not keep all that fun to ourselves. Expand into other forums and discussions outside of 2k! That being said, my main focus is not to control your posts, but to organize 2k information and discussion into various threads for the benefit of new members.
Overall, let's keep it light like it has been for the past three months. This change will only be significant if you want it to be.
I think that's about it. If you read through the whole thing, I'm impressed. I have talked with enough staff and members to know the general consensus is that these changes, while perhaps awkward at first, will be beneficial to both our veteran 2k guys, as well as the rest of Hoops-Nation. Please post below or PM me with any questions, comments, or concerns.
I just wanted to take a moment to give my thoughts about the 2k section and how it has developed.
You guys can't imagine how happy I am to see the multiple threads beings used for the various 2k topics! I was so nervous at first, I was worried that by changing the original culture of the thread, everything might go downhill.
But you all proved me wrong right away. The transition was not easy at first, but everything that I envisioned when I proposed this idea has come into full effect. It makes me happy to know the loyal members in this section were willing to make a change for the betterment of the 2k section.
So again, I just want to give a shout out to thank you all. I also must add that it pleases me to see 2k users posting in the H-N topics, and other users from around the site coming to join in 2k conversation. That's all I ever wanted!
Aristotle said: "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts"
I interpret that as this- together, we can achieve so much more than we can achieve individually. That being said, let's continue to work together to make the NBA 2k sub-forum the greatest section on HN!
Thank you all for contributions, nothing means more to me than you guys, AKA the heart and soul of the 2k community. Let's keep up the pace
Posted by The Veteran Custodian on 24 June 2014 - 05:44 AM
So Heat fans are now free agents atm too
Posted by TeoTheGreek13 on 07 March 2012 - 11:27 AM
Posted by Tony Hoops on 13 April 2013 - 05:44 PM
Hoops-Nation.com has reached a new milestone! We've now surpassed one million posts on the forum!
Gotta say, I really love this community. Wasn't expecting anything this amazing when I originally put the forums together. Couldn't ask for greater people to be apart of the Hoops-Nation!
Posted by Swish on 05 July 2012 - 12:51 PM
Posted by Clutch on 30 September 2012 - 05:17 PM
It all began on May 19, 1976 in a small town called Greenville, South Carolina. That is the birthplace of NBA legend, Kevin Maurice Garnett. Garnett moved from his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina, to Chicago, Illinois, due to racism. In Chicago, Kevin played for Farragut Career Academy, and instantly shined. He led them to a 28-2 record, averaging 25.2 points, 17.9 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 6.5 blocks, and shot 67% from the field. Due to this amazing stat line, he won the National Player of the Year award, and was named the Most Outstanding Player at the McDonald's All-American Game. After high school, Garnett declared for the 1995 NBA draft. There, he was selected 5th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Since he first entered the league, Garnett has been a dominant force in the NBA. In his rookie season, he averaged 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, and almost two blocks. The next year, he improved by a great amount, averaging 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. That year was his first NBA all-star game appearance of many. After his first all star game appearance, he ended up visiting 13 other all star games, 14 in total. In 2003, he even won the All-Star MVP award. In 2004, he had an outstanding year. He averaged 24.2 points per game, 13.9 rebounds per game, five assists per game, 1.5 steals per game, and 2.2 blocks per game. He led the league in rebounds and win shares, with an impressive 18.3. Another category he shined in that year was defensive win shares. He had eight defensive win shares. That is a very high mark. This impressive stat line allowed Kevin Garnett to snatch NBA MVP. This was his first and only MVP award he won in his career, but he has many, many other remarkable seasons. In the 2004 Playoffs, Garnett led the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Western Conference Finals, but unfortunately they fell short to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
In 2008, Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for seven players, which includes Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, and Sebastian Telfair, which is the most players traded for a single player in NBA history. With the additions of Hall of Famers Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, the Celtics had formed a dominant trio of superstars. The Celtics’ big three consisted of three future hall of famers, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. The three dominated games, all averaging over 17 points per game. Garnett had a very impressive year in 2007-2008, and his defense is what really stood out. He averaged 1.9 blocks per game, 1.4 steals per game, and had a defensive win shares of 6.2. He also led the entire NBA with a 92 Defensive Rating. Defensive rating is an estimate of how many points allowed per 100 possessions.
KG is known for his high intensity and love for the game. You can see the look in his eyes when he plays, and just tell he has a burning love and passion for the game of basketball. Every loose ball, every rebound, every time the ball is heading out of bounds, Garnett is hustling everywhere on the court. He brings such intensity to the game, which makes him a very fun player to watch. He is always trash talking, celebrating, pumping his fist, banging his chest, screaming, ect. He is considered “mean” by opponents, because of his ruthless trash-talking. But that is just the way KG has always played. KG is the most intense player to ever play basketball, and that is one of the biggest reasons why he will forever be remembered in this league.
The Big Ticket, in my opinion, is the second best power forward to ever play NBA basketball, behind the great Tim Duncan. Many consider him to be number three behind Tim Duncan and Karl Malone, but I think Garnett is the better player. Kevin Garnett has averaged more rebounds per game, assists per game, has a better Defensive Rating, has more blocks per game, has much less turnovers per game, more rebounds per game in his playoffs career, more assists per game in his post season career, also more total career blocks, in less seasons played. Garnett definitely has the upper hand in defense, and passing. Garnett is also a slightly better rebounder. But, there is no denying that Malone is the better offensive player. Plus, Malone never carried his team to a championship. Garnett has. In 2008, Garnett carried the Celtics during the playoffs and into the finals. His defense, clutch plays, passing, and intensity were too much for the competition in 2008.
Posted by TGIA on 28 January 2014 - 10:29 PM
Honestly not sure if it was a glitch or @Tony Hoops did it on purpose, but HN has gone pretty crazy with the fact that the reputation system is gone, so I went to AdminCP and fixed the problem..
Tony if you intentionally did it, sorry but decided to take action while you were offline because alot of members really really disliked that reps were gone.
Posted by Tony Hoops on 14 July 2014 - 09:33 PM
The biggest software upgrade in forums history is on its way! Everything from the main index to the navigation bar will change.. but here, I'll only show you a sneak peak of user profiles!
Profiles are one of the key sections of a community, as everyone knows. They are what represent your users; where their information is shown and their content is gathered. When users contribute quality content to your community, their profile is where other users go to find it in one place. In short, it's an important area.
In IPS4, profiles have had a complete makeover. There's a lot to cover, so I'll start with a numbered screenshot, and address each section individually (please note this is a large image; if you're on mobile, you may wish to wait to view it full-size).
1 - Header images
In 3.x, users could customize their profiles by uploading a background image. In practice, this didn't work well when the software was integrated into an existing website design, and the options presented often ended up with a garish profile. In addition, social networks like Facebook and Twitter have adjusted user expectations on how profiles are customized.
In IPS4, instead of page backgrounds, users instead get to customize their profile header image. This provides the best of both worlds - ample space to choose something creative, but it's contained and won't mess up a website design.
2 - Reputation
The user's current reputation count is shown prominently in the info column, letting other users know if this member is an asset to the community.
3 - Warnings
For moderators/staff, the profile now provides quick access to warning tools. By expanding the panel, they can see a brief history of recent warnings:
And clicking one of these pops up the warning details:
4 - Followers
Followers replace friends in IPS4, and the user's followers are shown in this block. Instead of requiring mutual acknowledgement as with the traditional friends system (an approach that isn't entirely useful in a community of anonymous users), in IPS4 you follow users whom you find interesting in order to be updated when they contribute to the community. Users can of course prevent others from following them, if that is a concern to them. We'll have more details on how followers works in a later entry.
5 - About the user
Traditional information about the user is shown in the next block, including custom profile fields.
6 - Recent visitors
Recent visitors to this user's profile are shown next. As with 3.x, this can be toggled on and off by the profile owner. In 4.x, this is done by clicking the X in the corner of the block.
7 - Follow/Message member
These primary buttons enable others to follow the user (if enabled), and send a new message inline, without leaving the page.
8 - User's content
In 3.x, browsing a user's content was handled by the search area of the community (though links were available in the user's profile and hovercard). We felt this wasn't the best place for it, though. After all, a user's content should be available in their profile.
That's what this button does. It switches the profile view to 'content browsing' mode, where you can see everything the user has done. It's smooth and buttery, and because it all loads dynamically, it feels like a true part of the profile. Here's a video of it in action.
9 - Long-form custom profile fields
IPS4 supports various kinds of custom profile fields, including rich-text editors for long, styled content. Those custom profile fields will be shown in the main section of the profile where they get the space they need to be effective. About Me is a default field, but you can of course add your own too for your users to fill in.
10 - User's 'Nodes'
A node is a fancy developer term for content containers that a user creates themselves, like gallery albums and blogs (as opposed to forum categories, which are created by the admin). In IPS4, a user's 'nodes' are shown right on their profile page, making it easy to find more interesting content from the user. In this screenshot, you can see my profile is showing my albums, my blogs, and other blogs to which I contribute.
For developers, supporting your application in this section is easy too.
11 - Status feed
The status feed from 3.x is of course still present, and the interaction is all inline without leaving the page.
Posted by Tony Hoops on 31 December 2013 - 07:30 PM
I wish 2014 brings all of you nothing but success, joy and health!
Hoops-Nation has been serving the basketball community for THREE years now! Time flies like crazy when you're having fun, doesn't it?! Being an owner of such an active and awesome basketball forum has been my dream since I was in Elementary school. Now that I have reached this goal, I am only going to put more pressure on myself to take us to yet another level. I'm talking top notch content and top notch discussion.
Much love from me to you,
Posted by Ace I on 07 August 2013 - 09:29 PM
Posted by PHILOLOGY on 13 April 2014 - 07:19 PM
It's nearly impossible to try to quantify what makes a great dunk. We can delude ourselves into believing there's some scientific ratio of force, speed, and grace that goes into every great dunk. In the end, there's no better indicator of a great dunk than the helpless leaps from our seats, the exchanged glances of disbelief, and the collective, "Did he just do that?" With this in mind, I set out to rank the 10 men who have excited us the most with just those types of reactions over the years.
10. Nate Robinson
Chances are Nate isn't the puny-powerhouse most expected to see on this list. Fittingly, N8 The Great's greatest dunk saw him jump over Spud Webb. Without Webb's improbable, exhilarating challenge of none other than Dominique Wilkins himself en route to a 1986 Slam Dunk Championship, countless little dunkers never would have had the inspiration to take to the skies. That mantle, however, has been thunderously and unquestionably taken over by Nate Robinson. Sporting a record three contest wins and multiple facials and put-backs over legit 7-footers, Nate's already inspired a new generation of kids, and cemented himself as one of the games dunk greats in the process, height be damned.
9. David Thompson
What more can be said when you're the man who was plastered all over the walls of Michael Jordan's bedroom? David "Skywalker" Thompson first gained repute for his dunks at NC State. Over his college years and first few years in the ABA and NBA, Thompson helped popularize such dunk staples as the double-clutch, sideways finish and reverse cradle. He was there the night the dunk was forever made legitimate in the basketball world, battling Dr. J in the inaugural ABA Dunk Contest in 1976. With a seemingly effortless takeoff and eternity's worth of hang-time, Skywalker inspired His Airness himself, and, consequently, the great dunkers of the late 90s and 2000s.
8. Clyde Drexler
Clyde's critics will always write him off as one-dimensional. Admittedly, Drexler's jams never elicited the reactions of others on this list, and perhaps even those that missed the cut. He rarely served out any facials. But for the better part of two-decades beginning from his time as the frontman of Phi Slamma Jamma, The Glyde kept his silky, floating and oft-unexpected finishes as the staple of his arsenal. Some may have called him boring, but that didn't stop The Glyde from displaying his graceful, inimitable dunking style in five excellent contest appearances and well into his 30s.
7. Blake Griffin
Yes, Blake Griffin belongs on this list. No, it's not too soon to already begin giving The Flying Lion his dunking dues amongst the greats. Blake's critics will always pick nits in his dunks. "He's not dunking, he's just throwing the ball in after he commits charges." "Plenty of people could jump over the hood of a car." "Blake's only popular because of his KIA commercials." Unfortunately for those people, most great artists aren't understood during their times. Be it by himself on the break often preceded by sick handles for a big, or as possibly the most feared alley-oop target of all-time, nobody is quicker to send would-be defender scurrying for fear of being posterized faster than Blake. When you've forever added verbage like "getting Perkins'd" or "Mozgov'd" into the basketball vernacular by the time you're 25 years old, you know you were born with a gift of dunking like few others.
6. Scottie Pippen
When I'd originally compiled my draft for this list, I'd had The Black Mamba holding down the sixth spot. I'd almost published my final copy having committed the same mistake of overlooking Scottie Pippen as seemingly everyone else. With all-due respect to Kobe Bryant, I'm glad I caught myself. In many ways, Pip's lack of recognition as a dunker mirrors his underrated career. Scottie always seemed doomed to linger in MJ's, or in this case, The Jumpman's shadow. And yet, that doesn't make our obliviousness any more excusable. We forget that Pippen was truer to the free-throw line in the 1990 Dunk Contest than Jordan or Dr. J ever were. Or that he compiled a list of facials as good as anybody's, including over Barkley, Bol and Mourning. Fortunately, Scottie forced us to remember a dunk so legendary that it, in my humble opinion, ranks as the greatest ever, and is simply dubbed, "The Ewing Dunk".
5. Shawn Kemp
As strange as it sounds, dunking didn't always come naturally to Shawn Kemp. Had it not been for a late growth spurt or the good fortune of no longer needing leg braces as he did throughout his childhood, the world may never have been exposed to one of dunking's true virtuosos. Even as a young man growing into his immense athletic gifts at Concord High School in Elkhart, Indiana, crowds by the thousands and at exceeding capacities for high school gyms would come both home and away to try and catch a glimpse of the legendary exploits of the boy who would come to be known as The Reign Man. With unparalleled length, verticality and strength, Kemp blurred the lines of what was possible for a dunking big. With Gary Payton feeding him lobs or with his own craftiness and underrated handles, Kemp left defenders helpless in his his wake. It's what caused Chris Gatling to merely give Kemp a high-five after a vicious facial. It's what caused us to jokingly yet half-seriously wonder whether Alton Lister was actually dead.
4. Julius Erving
From his first few playground appearances at New York's Rucker Park, where people would climb neighboring trees, roofs and overpasses to get a glimpse of the man known simply as Dr. J, The Doctor's legend grew and grew. In many ways, one of Erving's earlier attempts at a nickname, "Black Moses", may have been more fitting, as he truly was messianic in terms of his contribution to the art of dunking. As Johhny "Red" Kerr once put it, ""A young Julius Erving was like Thomas Edison, he was inventing something new every night." He brought us our first look at the free-throw line dunk and became national news for his flash and style in dunking despite playing in the fledgling ABA. He's the reason the NBA, who were often deliberate in their attempts to distance themselves from the ABA's image after the merger, had no choice but to integrate a Dunk Contest of their own following his historic performances. There's a reason for men and even NBA legends of a certain age, the mention of the game's dunking greats always begins with the simple, inevitable mention of "Dr. J".
3. Michael Jordan
If I'd based this list solely on total impact in promoting dunking as a staple of modern basketball in the minds of NBA fans, not only would Michael Jordan be number 1, I would find someway to make all ten slots on the list Michael Jordan. That's how inexpressibly huge Jordan's influence as a dunker was and continues to be. Sure, we can characterize MJ's dunking through his unmatched hang-time, or his ferocity coming down on those unfortunate or foolish enough to stand in his way. But what made His Airness truly exceptional as a dunker are the same qualities that set him apart as the greatest player the game's ever seen - distinct swagger and determination. It's why no other iteration of the free-throw line dunk holds a candle to MJ's classic. It's what spurred MJ to hold a personal checklist of dunking on all the great bigs of his time, from Robinson, to Shaq, to Bol, to Ewing, to Malone, to Mutombo, to Mourning, even guaranteeing the likes of The Admiral and Mt. Mutombo he would do so and, sure enough, following through on his promise. It's his iconic dunks that enabled Nike and the NBA to experience booms as they did in the 90s, drawing a new, global young fanbase. And it was His Airness that served as the blueprint for the game's recent premier dunkers, including the likes of Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Vince Carter. Speaking of which...
2. Vince Carter
Air Canada. Vinsanity. Half-Man/Half-Amazing. And, by most, known better as simply the greatest dunker in history. For many of you reading, this will be the most blasphemous and contentious slot on the list. For those people, just know that I myself struggled for a long time placing V.C. any lower than number one. Ultimately, I went with my gut, and couldn't help but place only one name (whose identity I hope is clear by now) higher. Yes, Vince Carter once legitimately dunked over a perfectly-erect 7 footer. His 2000 Dunk Contest performance is easily the greatest ever, and would have been the only one to even come close go garnering perfect 50s on every dunk had it not been for a trolling Kenny Smith. As much as anybody, V.C. was a terrifying threat for rim protectors. And yet, I can't help but feel there could have been more. Vince claims he didn't enter any more dunk contests because he was afraid people would expect too much out of him a second time, and perhaps he's right, but damn if I didn't want more. For Vince's ability, there's no way he should have been settling for jump-shots and not attacking the rim more and giving us an even greater memory of him with more legendary facials. In essence, though I'd likely agree with the statement that V.C. was the greatest prime dunker ever, I can't help but feel his longevity should relegate him to the 2nd spot. His one-better certainly didn't have that problem...
1. Dominique Wilkins
The Human Highlight Reel is my pick for the greatest dunker ever. As I hinted at, nobody made more of an indelible impact in the minds of true dunk enthusiasts the world over with his dunks than Dominique Wilkins. When comparing resumes, even with contemporaries like Dr. J, Jordan and Vince Carter, 'Nique blows everyone else out of the water. As 'Nique himself admits, he entered the Dunk Contest five times yet rightfully should have won four of them, but was robbed because of crowd bias towards Spud Webb and Michael Jordan. If you're still skeptical of my placement of Nique, ask yourself this; "Even in 'Nique's lesser dunks in the contest, had any other man done them, would we not absolutely lose our minds every time?" It's because 'Nique was so exceptional on a regular basis that we began taking him for granted. He's the only person on this entire list who can say he regularly performed the exact same types of dunks in games that he did during All-Star Weekend. As if already self-assured that he was going to dunk on you, Dominique would add extras to his posterizers just because he could, including double-clutching, wind-milling or finishing it Olympic-style, usually more than one variant at a time. That level of flair and pageantry exemplify the art of dunking in my mind, and make Dominique Wilkins its greatest artist.
I basically want to join the HN Journalism Team because I feel like I have a diverse array of talent as a writer. I can do opinion pieces coated with a healthy does of knowledge and objectivity or report on events as needed. My interests aren't just relegated to basketball either, I could add some insight into pop-culture or music if given the chance. I think I'd get a better sense of my abilities and be able to share with the awesome community here as an important piece of the team at the same time.
Would like to gain some insight on the general vibe of the community here too so have made some attempts at a poll.
Posted by Tony Hoops on 20 August 2013 - 12:12 AM
Okay, so here is the deal... Since I don't have much time to be online nowadays (university + work), we have to become much more strict with users who participate in abusive language.
I've noticed more and more cyber-bullying here. Users have gotten away with it due to my inactivity as of late. That's going to change now, since users will face extremely long suspensions & bans, rather than continuous warnings.
I started this forum back in 2011 because I hated how other communities couldn't get along. That should show you how serious I am about demolishing all drama.
Posted by MaddSkillz on 01 August 2013 - 06:34 PM
Top 50 Players of All-Time
Here is my top 50 Players of All-Time list. I have 8 different tiers and I will start at the bottom and work my way up. I took everything into consideration while making this list. MVP’s, Finals MVP’s, Rings, PER, WS, 1st Teams, Defensive Teams, stats, longevity, ect. I had 27 different categories in which the players received points for what place they finished in said category. So without further adieu, lets get started.
Current Players who could crack the top 50 in the next few seasons
These 5 guys have great career numbers and have accomplished a lot in the NBA so far, but none of them have a championship or MVP. If any one of those guys were to win a championship with a Finals MVP, I don’t think there is any question that they’d go down as a top 50 player All-Time.
CP3 statistically has had a fantastic career so far. He really is only missing a ring and/or MVP to make this list. The Clippers are loaded and could very well make it out of the West this up coming season.
Dwight Howard and James Harden could be a very good tandem for years to come. Dwight has always been a great defender and rebounder, but now that he has The Dream and McHale working with him, he should be able to finally develop some better post moves. If he can become an unstoppable force on the block, Dwight could very well become a champion.
KD is still very young and could be the best player in the league in a few years, so there is no telling how high he will climb on this list.
The clock is ticking for Melo, he is only getting older and PPG alone will not make this list. He desperately needs to figure out a way to get some hardware before it’s too late.
Here are some Honorable Mentions that came very close to making my list but fell just short.
These are all great players but not everyone could make the list.
I broke it down into 8 different tiers or levels. By doing this I am admitting that players on the same tier could be argued over another on the same level. Everyone has different opinions and not one person will agree 100% with me.
Now for the good stuff.
50 Dave Cowens
Just making the cut is Dave Cowens. The undersized big man averaged 17.6 PPG and 13.6 RPG throughout his career. Winning 2 championships with the Boston Celtics in the 1970’s and being named NBA MVP in the ’73 season. He was also a 7x All-Star.
49 Steve Nash
Nash isn’t in everyones top 50, but 2 MVP’s is hard to deny. Only 12 players in the history of the league have won the award at least twice. Throw in the fact that he’s an 8x All-Star, made 3 All-NBA First Team’s, led the league in assists in 5 different seasons and you can see that he has had a very impressive career.
48 Dolph Schayes
Schayes averaged over 18 PPG and 12 RPG during his 15 year career. He also was a 12x All-Star and led the Syracuse Nationals to the 1955 NBA Championship.
47 Wes Unseld
Even though Wes was not a high volume scorer (averaging 10.8 PPG for his career) he was a fantastic rebounder and defender. As a rookie, he won the 1969 MVP by leading the Baltimore Bullets with his defense to the best record in the league. He was named the Finals MVP in 1978 when his Bullets beat the Seattle Sonics in 7 games.
46 Reggie Miller
Did you know that Reggie is 14th on the All-Time scoring list with over 25,000 points? I feel like some people forget that Reggie was a bad bad man... Of course he wasn’t the best defender and never won a championship. But that is why he isn’t any higher.
45 Ray Allen
This may seem high to some people, but the leagues all time greatest 3 point shooter belongs in the top 50. It doesn’t hurt that he has 2 championships and 10 All Star appearances on his resume. Ray Ray always seems to come through in the clutch and without his game tying 3 pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, LeBron would be in hiding right about now. Is it cliche if I say He Got Game?
44 Willis Reed
Reed is 1 of just 10 players that has won the Finals MVP twice in their career. 2 rings, 2 Finals MVP’s, the 1970 MVP and 7 All-Star appearances along with career averages of 18.7 and 12.9. I don’t know how many Knick fans that were alive when they last won a championship... I bet his knees are still in better shape than Amare’s are.
43 Allen Iverson
I am not a huge A.I fan.. But only Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain have led the league in scoring more times than Iverson did. Leading the Sixers to the 2001 NBA Finals while winning the MVP that season is easily his best accomplishment. But he was also an 11x All-Star and he is 6th in Career PPG average at 26.7. Random but am I the only one who thinks Melo went back in time and is some how A.I.'s dad? No... Just me? Moving on.
42 George Mikan
Mikan was an absolute monster and the leagues first well known player. Even though he played just 7 seasons, he led the Minneapolis Lakers to 5 championships. Mikan averaged over 22 PPG and 13 RPG during his career.
41 Paul Pierce
PP is one of the best Celtics of All-Time. His legacy wouldn’t be much without the 2008 season, but winning the Finals MVP that season puts him into the top 50. He’s a 10x All-Star and averages 21.8 PPG so far in his career. As long as he doesn’t suffer a major injury this season, he will reach the 25,000 Career Points Club.
40 Bob McAdoo
The 1975 MVP averaged over 22 PPG and 9 RPG during his 14 year career. He averaged over 30 PPG and over 12 RPG for 3 consecutive years (74-76), all 3 seasons he won the scoring title. He snuck in 2 rings as a role player for the Lakers in the 80’s, I won’t hold that against him.
39 Walt Frazier
Clyde is one of the best PG’s of all time. He averaged at least 19.1 PPG, 5.8 APG, 6 RPG and 47.2% in 7 straight seasons from 1970-76. The only guys who did that more than 7 times are Larry Bird, LeBron James and Oscar Robertson. Frazier was an all around great player making 7 All-Defensive First teams, with career averages of 18.9 PPG, 6.1 APG, 5.9 RPG and shooting 49%.
38 Kevin McHale
McHale had some of the best post moves the league has ever seen and is easily the best bench player ever. Despite starting less than half of his career games, he averaged 18 PPG on 55.4%... That’s the 13th highest career shooting % of all time. He won 2 Sixth Man of the Year awards and helped Larry Bird’s Celtics win 3 Championships in the 80’s.
37 Jason Kidd
Kidd’s career averages don’t jump off of the page, but few had a bigger impact on his teams success than he did. Kidd is one of the best Floor Generals of All-Time, leading the league in APG 5 times. He was also one of the scrappiest defenders making 9 consecutive Defensive Teams from ’99-’07. He led the Nets to back-to-back Finals Appearances in his first 2 seasons in NJ, losing both times. However, he finally got his ring in 2011 as the starting PG of the Dallas Mavericks. Did I mention he is 3rd All-Time in Triple-Doubles?
36 Dennis Rodman
I am a big fan of Rodman’s. I feel he is the best rebounder of All-Time... (Yes, better than Wilt and Bill. If you haven’t read my article on this topic, I suggest you do so.) Even though Rodman was pretty much useless on the offensive side of the court, he was a great piece for championship teams, helping the Pistons win in ‘89-’90 and the Bulls from ‘96-’98. He also won back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards in ’90-’91, made 7 Defensive First Teams, and 7 Rebounding Titles.
35 Dominique Wilkins
Only 2 players have ever put up at least 50 points in a game vs Michael Jordan... One of those was when MJ was an old man on the Wizards to a guy named Kobe Bryant... The other was Dominique Wilkins. The Human Highlight Reel was mostly known for his athletic dunks, but Nique was also a great scorer, winning the Scoring Title in the ’86 season, he also is 11th All-Time in Career Points and PPG. He was a 9x All-Star, however he was an average defender and never made it past the 2nd rd of the playoffs. That is why he comes in at 35th and no higher on this list.
34 Clyde Drexler
I feel like Clyde “The Glide” Drexler is underrated by most people simply because he didn’t match up to Michael Jordan... Then again, who has? Clyde was a 10x All-Star, led the Blazers to the ’92 Finals before MJ shrugged them off and helped the Rockets win the ’95 NBA Finals. He averaged 20.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.6 APG while shooting 47.2% during his 15 year career.
33 Patrick Ewing
During the 90’s the Knicks were one of the best teams in the East, mostly because they were led by Patrick Ewing who was a great player on both sides of the floor. There was only one problem... Michael Jordan. Ewing’s Knicks faced MJ’s Bulls 5 times during their careers, with the Bulls winning all 5 series. Ewing was an 11x All-Star, with career averages of 21 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.4 BPG while shooting 50.4%.
32 Gary Payton
The Glove might be the best defensive PG of All-Time, winning the ’96 Defensive Player of the Year award and leading the Sonics that season to the Finals was extremely impressive. Especially when you look at how he helped limit Michael Jordan that series. It was MJ’s lowest PPG and FG% in any of his 6 Finals appearances. GP was a 9x All-Star and made 9 consecutive All-Defensive Fist Teams from ’94-’02. He averaged 16.3 PPG, 6.7 APG and even won a ring as a role player with the ’06 Heat.
31 Isiah Thomas
Zeke was the best player on a loaded Bad Boy Pistons team in the late 80’s. Their back-to-back Championships in ’89 and ’90 over Pat Riley’s Lakers and Rick Adelman’s Blazers is nothing to take lightly. Zeke was named the Finals MVP in 1990, was a 12x All-Star and averaged 19.2 PPG and 9.3 APG during his career.
30 Elvin Hayes
Hayes is an underrated player by the average NBA fan. He was one of the best bigs in the 1970’s, being named to 12 straight All-Star games from ’69-’80, making 3 First Teams, the ’69 Scoring Title and helping the Washington Bullets win the ’78 Finals. Hayes averaged 21 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 2 BPG during his 16 year career. He is 10th All-Time on the Career Points list.
29 George Gervin
“The Iceman” was one of the greatest scorers the league as ever seen. He is 11th All-Time in PPG and 14th on the All-Time Points list. Only Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain have more Scoring Titles than Gervin does. He was a 9x All-Star made 5 All-NBA First Teams.
28 Dwyane Wade
Some may think this is too high for D-Wade, but pretty much from the time he stepped foot on an NBA court he has been the 2nd best SG in the league. He led the Heat to their first ever Championship in just his 3rd season, with one of the most impressive Finals performances of All-Time. With 3 rings now on his resume, 9 All-Star appearances, a Scoring Title and 8 total All-NBA Teams, Wade has consistently shown he is only 2nd to Kobe Bryant amongst SG’s since MJ has retired.
27 Scottie Pippen
Pip is definitely a top 30 player of All-Time to me despite the fact that he won 6 rings as MJ’s “Robin.” Scottie is arguably the best perimeter defender of All-Time making 8 consecutive All-Defensive First Teams and 10 total All-Defensive Teams. He was also a 7x All Star and made 7 total All-NBA Teams. Scottie’s versatility on both the offensive and defensive side helped the Bulls dominate the ’90’s.
26 Bob Cousy
Before Pistol Pete and Magic Johnson there was Mr. Basketball. “Cooz” led the way for future PG’s with his style of play. He helped the Celtics win 6 Championships, won the MVP in ’57, was a 13x All-Star, made 10 consecutive All-NBA First Teams and won 8 straight Assist Titles. During those 8 seasons he never averaged lower than 18 PPG.
25 Rick Barry
Rick Barry starts off my top 25 list. Barry was much more than just a scorer, even though that is what he was best at. He has very well rounded career averages of 24.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 4.9 APG. He helped the Golden State Warriors win the 1975 NBA Finals, winning the Finals MVP and averaging 28.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 6.1 APG in the playoffs that year. He also was an 8x All-Star, made 5 All-NBA First Teams and is a member of the 25,000 Points club.
24 Dirk Nowitzki
Some may think this is too high because he isn’t a great defender or rebounder, but the fact remains that Dirk has a very impressive resume. Winning the MVP in ’07, Dirk and his Mavs were known as chokers in the playoffs until they finally broke through and beat the Miami Heat in 2011. Dirk of course was named Finals MVP. He also is an 11x All-Star, has made 12 total All-NBA Teams and is also the leagues newest member of the 25,000 Points club. Something only 20 other players have done in the history of the league and as long as he doesn’t get injured he could move into the top 17 on that list by the end of next season.
23 John Stockton
Stockton is one of the best PG’s of All-Time. Winning 9 Assist Titles and 2 Steal Titles is just the tip of the iceberg, he also is #1 in both Career Assists (by more than 3,000) and Career Steals (by almost 600). Isiah Thomas is the ONLY other player to EVER average at least 13.6 APG in a season besides Stockton... Isiah did it once... Stockton did it 5 consecutive seasons. Even Magic Johnson never averaged more than 13.1 APG in a season. If only the Jazz could have found a way to beat the Bulls in either the ’97 or ’98 Finals, Stockton would have been much higher on this list.
22 Bob Pettit
Pettit is another guy that could be overlooked if you don’t know your NBA history. He was one of the leagues first stars, winning the first ever MVP in ’56 (he also won another one in ’59) and led the St. Louis Hawks to the ’58 Championship over the Boston Celtics (he scored 50 points on Bill Russell in the closeout win). He also was an 11x All-Star, winning 4 ASG MVP’s, 2 Scoring Titles, and made 10 consecutive All-NBA First Teams. He retired with career numbers of 26.4 PPG (8th highest All-Time) and 16.2 RPG (3rd highest, only behind Wilt and Russell).
21 David Robinson
I feel The Admiral is overlooked by some because he didn’t win a Championship as “Batman.” Robinson controlled the paint on both sides of the court, with career averages of 21.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG and 3 BPG while shooting 51.8%. He helped the Spurs win 2 Championships, won the ’95 MVP, was the ’94 Scoring Champ, was a 10x All-Star, made 10 total All-NBA Teams and 8 total All-Defensive Teams.
20 Charles Barkley
If you consider that Chuck stands just 6’6” tall and played the PF position, it’s incredible that he was such a great rebounder throughout his career. He averaged 11.7 RPG (22nd All-Time) and grabbed over 12,500 rebounds during his career (19th All-Time). He also won the Rebounding Title in the ’87 season averaging 14.6 RPG. He was much more than just a rebounder though, Chuck averaged over 22 PPG and shot over 54% (22nd All-Time) during his career. He was an 11x All-Star, made 11 total All-NBA Teams and the ’93 MVP when he led the Phoenix Suns to the best record in the league and lost in 6 games to “God himself.” MJ had to average 41 PPG in the Finals to beat the leagues highest scoring team, the Suns averaged 113.4 PPG that season.
19 Elgin Baylor
Elgin’s stats jump off the page, averaging 27.4 PPG, 13.5 RPG and 4.6 APG during his career. He also was an 11x All-Star and made 10 All-NBA First Teams. The reason why I don’t have him any higher on this list is because despite the fact that he played in 8 NBA Finals, he never won an NBA Championship (he only played 9 games in ’72 when the Lakers finally won). Now 7 of those were against Bill Russell and the loaded Celtics, so I don’t blame him too much. He also only shot 43% during his career. That was a good number in the 60’s, however his smaller teammate Jerry West shot 47.4%. In my opinion, Jerry was the main reason the Lakers were making those Finals.
18 John Havlicek
Only Bill Russell and Sam Jones have more NBA Rings than Havlicek’s 8. Hondo was one of the best players in his era on both sides of the court, making 11 total All-NBA Teams and 8 total All-Defensive Teams. He was also a 13x All-Star and has a Finals MVP. He took over the Celtics in the late 60’s from Bill Russell, helping the C’s win in ’68 and ’69 and then later without Bill Russell, Hondo helped Jo Jo White and Dave Cowens win 2 more in the 70’s.
17 Kevin Garnett
KG is a do it all PF turned C in todays league. Not only is he a great scorer (19.1 PPG and 19th All-Time on the Career Points list) he is also a great rebounder, winning 4 straight Rebounding Titles from 04-07 and one of the best defensive anchors the league has ever seen. KG won the ’08 Defensive Player of the Year award and he has made 12 total All-Defensive Teams. He also won the ’04 MVP, has made 15 ASG’s (only Abdul-Jabbar made more) and 9 total All-NBA Teams. In the end, the only thing holding him back is more rings.
16 Karl Malone
Karl is 2nd on the All-Time Points list, won 2 MVP’s, made 14 All-Star Games, 14 total All-NBA Teams and 4 All-Defensive Teams. With career averages of 25 PPG on 51.6% and 10.1 RPG he dominated the late 80’s and 90’s. However, Malone was another player that suffers from playing during MJ’s era. Malone and the Jazz had back-to-back chances to win a Championship in ’97 and ’98, both of which Malone would have been named Finals MVP. As you know though, MJ was too clutch when it counted most.
Just remember, all 7 of these players could be argued as the 9th best player of All-Time in my opinion. This is just how I view it.
15 Julius Erving
If you were to combine both Dr. J’s ABA and NBA careers together, he would be one of the top 7 players to ever play. He dominated the ABA, winning 3 straight MVP’s with the Nets from ‘74-’76 and helped them win 2 ABA Championships. His athleticism and ability to finish around the rim was something the NBA hadn’t seen before and he was easily the ABA’s most well known player. After the merger, Dr. J went on to make 11 straight NBA ASG’s (winning 2 ASG MVP’s), winning the 1981 MVP, helping the Sixers win the ’83 Championship and made 7 total All-NBA Teams. With career ABA averages of 28.7 PPG on 50.4%, 12.1 RPG and 4.8 APG it’s a shame he didn’t play his first 5 seasons in the NBA. He is 6th on the All-Time NBA/ABA Points list with 30,026 career points.
14 Moses Malone
Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James have more MVP’s than Moses Malone has. He led the Sixers to the ’83 Finals, winning the Finals MVP, was a 12x All-Star, made 8 total All-NBA Teams and is one of the greatest rebounders of All-Time winning 6 Rebounding Titles.
13 Oscar Robertson
The Big O might be the most versatile player ever. He has the NBA record for most Career Triple-Doubles with 181 (43 more than 2nd place), a record which has stood for almost 40 years and doesn’t look like it will ever be touched. The man literally averaged a Triple-Double in 1962 averaging 30.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 11.4 APG and he also came close 4 other seasons. He is 4th All-Time in APG at 9.51 a game, but he easily averaged more PPG (25.7) than any of the 3 players ahead of him (Magic, Stockton and CP3) on that list. Oscar won the ’64 MVP, was a 12x All-Star (winning 3 ASG MVP’s), made 11 All-NBA Teams and won 7 Assist Titles. But his only ring he won was in large part due to Lew Alcindor when he averaged 27 PPG and 18.5 RPG when the Bucks swept the Bullets in 1971 NBA Finals.
12 Jerry West
The Logo is an underrated player to me. The reason I have him 12th is because he was the 3rd best player of his era, only behind Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. At just 6’2” he shot al least 47% 9 times in his 14 year career and 5 times in the playoffs. At 6’10” Bill Russell never shot higher than 46.7% in any season and he only did it 2 times in the playoffs. West also led the league in PPG in the playoffs 4 different times, including 1965 when he averaged 40.6 PPG. He set the record (which MJ, nor anyone else has ever broken) with the highest PPG in a series with 46.3 PPG in the ’65 Western Division Finals Vs the Baltimore Bullets. He helped the Lakers reach 9 NBA Finals, averaging 29.1 PPG (which is the 3rd highest All-Time), 5.6 RPG and 6.3 APG in his playoff career and 30.5 PPG in his Finals career. Jerry and Elgin should have found a way to grab at least 1 title against the Celtics when they lost 6 times to them, but the C’s had much better teams. His only Finals MVP came in ’69 when the Lakers lost to the Celtics once again even though West averaged 38 PPG during the series and posted a Triple-Double in Game 7 with 42 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. He was easily the best player that series, but did not play for the best team. He finally got his ring in 1972 when the Lakers beat the Knicks, West averaged 19.8 PPG and 8.8 APG, but Wilt Chamberlain was named the Finals MVP. He was also a 14x All-Star, won the ’70 Scoring Title, made 10 All-NBA First Teams (tied for 3rd most ever), made 5 All-Defensive Teams and won the ’72 Assist Title. If Jerry and the Lakers had of beaten the C’s just once, maybe he’d be a lot higher on most peoples list.
11 LeBron James
Through just 10 NBA seasons, The King has already made a solid case as a Top 10 player of All-Time. Only Kareem, Russell and MJ have more MVP’s than he has. At 6’8” and over 260 lbs, LeBron is a freak of nature and uses his length, strength, athleticism and speed on both sides of the floor. Because of this, he is arguably the best finisher ever and often finds ways to finish plays even while getting fouled. At that size, his passing skills remind people of Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson, but neither were the defender that LeBron has been so far. He already has 2 rings, 2 Finals MVP’s, is a 9x All-Star (2x ASG MVP), won the ’08 Scoring Title, has made 9 total All-NBA Teams and has made 5 straight All-Defensive First Teams. Only MJ and Wilt have averaged more PPG than James has, only MJ has a higher Career PER and he is 3rd on the Playoff Win Shares Per 48 Minutes list. The scariest part about all of this? He is only 28 years old and his FG% has increased in each of his last 6 seasons as he has looked to take more efficient shots and get open looks for his teammates. The question remains with LeBron, will he win any more rings? If so, how many? With a few more, he could easily crack the Top 5.
10 Kobe Bryant
The Black Mamba is a 5x Champ, 2x Finals MVP, won the ’08 MVP, has made 15 ASG’s (only Abdul-Jabbar has made more) winning 4 ASG MVP’s (tied for most ever), is a 2x Scoring Champion, has made 11 All-NBA First Teams (tied for the most ever), 15 total All-NBA Teams (tied for the most ever), has made 9 All-Defensive First Teams (tied for the most ever) and 12 total All-Defensive Teams (tied for 2nd most ever). Let me catch my breath... Ok... Kobe is the 2nd best SG of All-Time and arguably the best player since MJ retired in 1998. As long as Kobe stays healthy for a good amount of next season, he will pass MJ on the All-Time Career Points list where only Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone would be ahead of him. His lethal array of scoring moves, the ability to lock up opposing players on the defensive side, his killer instinct and will to win, his countless game winners, ect... Kobe Bean Bryant is a top 10 player of All-Time.
9 Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan and Shaq are the only 2 players in NBA history to average at least 21.1 PPG, 11.9 RPG and 54.9% in their rookie season. Considering that David Robinson was still in his prime, Timmy’s rookie year was a little more impressive. His nickname is obvious,”The Big Fundamental” always plays the game the right way and is one of the greatest winners, low post scorers, defenders and teammates of All-Time. His longevity might be the most impressive thing though. He has averaged at least 17.8 PPG and 9.9 RPG, 14 times. At age 36 he made the All-NBA First Team and helped the Spurs make the NBA Finals, where if it was not for a last second 3 pointer by Ray Allen in Game 6, Timmy would have 5 rings and possibly 4 Finals MVP’s. He also has 2 MVP’s, has made 14 ASG’s (winning the 2000 ASG MVP), has made 10 All-NBA First Teams and 13 total All-NBA Teams (only KAJ and Kobe made more) and a record 14 All-Defensive Teams (2nd most has 12). He also has the 9th highest Career PER, the 8th most Win Shares, the 3rd most Playoff Win Shares, the 6th most Career Playoff Points, 3rd most Career Playoff Rebounds and is the All-Time Career Playoff Blocks leader.
The reason these 6 players are on the 2nd tier is because I feel like you could argue any one of these players as high as 3rd All-Time, but in my opinion at least, none could be argued as a top 2 player of All-Time.
8 Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt the Stilt made his presence felt in the NBA right away, winning both the Scoring and Rebounding Titles in each of his first 4 seasons. If you go by stats alone, nobody in the history of the league had a better career. Wilt averaged 30.07 PPG (2nd All-Time), 22.9 RPG (1st All-Time), is top 25 in FG%, the 5th highest Career PER and 2nd most Career Win Shares. He also has the record for highest RPG in a Single Season (27.2 RPG), most PPG in a Single Season (50.4 PPG) and the highest Individual Scoring Game in NBA history when he put up 100 points vs the New York Knicks in March of 1962. He also is #5 in Career Points, #1 in Career Rebounds, is a 2x Champion, winning the ’72 Finals MVP (his first ring came in ’67, the Finals MVP was not awarded until 1969), 4x MVP, 13x All-Star (winning the ’60 ASG MVP), 7x Scoring Champ, 11x Rebounding Champ, 8x’s averaged the highest RPG in the Playoffs and made 7 All-NBA First Teams.
After reading all of that, you might wonder why he is not higher on my list. Wilt struggled to win it all, only winning 1 championship while Bill Russell was still playing. Wilt lost to Russell’s Celtics 7 of 8 times they faced in the playoffs. Even though Wilt outplayed Russell, it was still not enough to advance. On top of this, Wilt’s production dipped severely in the playoffs. He averaged just 22.5 PPG for his Playoff Career, which is nearly 8 PPG less than his Regular Season Career average of 30.1 PPG. Even though he was a career 54% shooter in the Regular Season, for 5 straight seasons (’66-’70) he shot 41.2% or lower in the playoffs. He also only led the Playoffs in PPG just once in his career despite winning 7 Regular Season Scoring Titles. Most of this was due to him facing Russell in the playoffs nearly every season. But stats alone won’t make the top 5 in my books. You have to figure out a way to come up when it matters most, even if the other team is better.
7 Hakeem Olajuwon
The Dream in my opinion, is the most well-rounded Big to have ever played in the NBA. Only 2 players have ever averaged at least 3 BPG and 2 SPG in a single season, David Robinson did it in the 1991-92 season. Olajuwon did it 3 straight seasons.
With career averages of 21.8 PPG (51.2%), 11.1 RPG, 3.1 BPG and 1.7 SPG you can see he did it all. Which he literally did in the 1993-94 season when he won the MVP, DPOY, Finals MVP, was named to both the All-NBA and All-Defensive First Teams and led the Houston Rockets to the NBA Finals where they defeated the New York Knicks, who were led by Patrick Ewing, in 7 games. Hakeem had 25 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks in Game 7. He averaged 26.9 PPG (50%), 9.1 RPG, 3.9 BPG and limited Ewing to just 18.9 PPG on 36.4% shooting in that series.
The next season the Rockets struggled to just the 6th seed in the West. They acquired Hakeem’s college teammate and friend Clyde Drexler midway through the season which helped come playoff time.The Rockets were the lower seed in each round and faced probably the hardest path any team has ever faced on the way to winning a title. Defeating the team with the 2nd best overall record in the 1st rd (Jazz led by Malone and Stockton), the 3rd best overall record in the 2nd rd (Suns led by Barkley and KJ), the #1 overall record in the WCF (Spurs led by David Robinson, Sean Elliott, Avery Johnson and Dennis Rodman) and finally the team tied with the 4th best record in the NBA Finals (Magic led by Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway). After finally making it out of the brutal West, the Rockets went on to sweep the Magic and Hakeem outscored Shaq in all 4 games while averaging 32.8 PPG. Hakeem is now 1 of just 5 players to have ever won the Finals MVP in back-to-back seasons, the other 4 being MJ, Shaq, Kobe and LeBron.
He was also a 12x All-Star, 2x DPOY award winner, won 2 Rebounding Titles, won 3 Block Titles, made 6 All-NBA First Teams, 12 total All-NBA Team and 9 All-Defensive First Teams. He is 11th on the All-Time Points list, 13th on the All-Time Rebounds list, is the Career Blocks Leader, 9th All-Time in Steals (the only Center in the top 10) and is 5th in Career Playoff PER.
6 Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq is arguably the most dominating player of All-Time. In 10 straight seasons, he averaged at least 26.2 PPG. More than Wilt (7), Kareem (8) or West (7). Because MJ retired in 1993, he only did this in 7 straight seasons. On top of all of this, Shaq led the league in FG% 10 times. Only Tyson Chandler has a higher FG% all-time, however there is a big difference between 5.5 FGA per game (Tyson) and 16.1 FGA per game (Shaq) in your career.
Shaq’s best accomplishment is his 4 Championship Rings and the fact that he led his team to 5 Finals as the best player on the team, his 3-peat with the Lakers especially. From ’00-’02 no player or team could stop Shaq. He led the league in FG% all 3 seasons, won the Scoring Title along with the most PPG in the playoffs in ’00, led the playoffs in RPG in ’00 and ’01 by averaging 15.4 RPG each season, led the league in Win Shares in both ’00 and ’01, led the payoffs in Win Shares in ’00 and ’02 and led the league in PER 5 straight seasons from ’98-’02, including ’01 and ’02 in the playoffs. As impressive as he was, his stats were even more impressive in the Finals, averaging 38 PPG (61.1%), 16.7 RPG and 2.7 BPG in ’00, 33 PPG (57.3%), 15.8 RPG and 3.4 BPG in ’01 and 36.3 PPG (59.5%), 12.3 RPG and 2.8 BPG in ’02. He also averaged 28 PPG and 12 RPG in the ’95 Finals when the Magic lost to the Rockets and 26.6 PPG (63.1%) and 10.8 RPG in the ’04 Finals when the Lakers lost to the Pistons.
Shaq won the MVP in 2000, was a 15x All-Star (3x ASG MVP), 2x Scoring Champ, made 8 All-NBA First Teams, made 14 total All-NBA Teams and made 3 All-Defensive 2nd Teams. He is 8th All-Time in Career Points and Career Blocks, #1 in Career FG% (players with at least 900 career games played), 3rd All-Time in PER, 10th All-Time in Win Shares, 4th in Career Playoff Points, Rebounds, Blocks and PER (yes 4th in all 4 stats) and 6th in Career Playoff Win Shares.
5 Larry Bird
Larry Legend was one of the two best players in the 1980’s. He helped the Celtics reach 5 Finals from 1981-87, winning in ’81 vs the Rockets, ’84 vs the Lakers and ’86 once again vs the Rockets. Even though Larry didn’t win the Finals MVP in ’81, he averaged 15.3 PPG, 15.3 RPG, 7 APG and 2.3 SPG. He did go on to win the Finals MVP’s in both ’84 and ’86 though, averaging 27.4 PPG (48.4%) and 14 RPG in ’84 and averaging nearly a Triple-Double in the ’86 Finals with 24 PPG (48.2%), 9.7 RPG and 9.5 APG.
Larry was an all around great player, averaging at least 25.8 PPG 4 straight seasons, shooting at least 49% in 7 straight seasons, averaging at least 9 RPG 11 times and at least 6 APG 8 times. Larry was also an underrated defender, he made 3 All-Defensive Second Teams, but never a First Team. He averaged 1.7 SPG and 0.8 BPG for his career, had 5 seasons of a 99 Defensive Rating or lower, 4 seasons of 97 Defensive Rating or lower in the playoffs, led the league in Defensive Win Shares 4 times and then 3 more times in the playoffs. He is 18th in Career PPG, 18th in Career PER, 12th in Career Playoff Win Shares and 9th in Career Playoff Points. He won 3 consecutive MVP’s from ’84-’86, was a 12x All-Star (won the ’82 ASG MVP) and made 9 straight All-NBA First Teams.
4 Bill Russell
Bill Russell is the greatest winner to ever play the game. He is arguably the greatest defender and one of the best rebounders ever. His Celtics won 11 Championships in 13 years, including 8 straight from 1959-66. Bill won 5 MVP’s, 5 Rebounding Titles, was a 12x All-Star (winning the ’63 ASG MVP) and made 11 total All-NBA Teams.
Because there was no Finals MVP or Defensive Player of the Year award and they didn’t track Offensive Rating, Defensive Rating, Blocks or Steals until after Russell had retired, trying to rank him is a very hard thing to do. They also didn’t start awarding All-Defensive First Teams until the 1968-69 season which was his last season, Russell of course was selected.
But nonetheless, winning 11 Championships with 2 coming as the Player/Coach is something that has never been done and should be respected despite his lack of scoring ability, averaging just 15.1 PPG on 44% during his career and 11 of his 13 seasons having less than 4 Offensive Win Shares. Bill more than made up for this on defensive and the glass. He led the league in Defensive Win Shares 11 times and in Rebounding 5 times in his 13 year career. You could really make a case that he could have won up to 11 DPOY awards. The award has only been around since the 1982-83 season and no one has won it more than 4 times. Bill is #2 All-Time in both Career Rebounds and RPG. He is the All-Time leader in Defensive Win Shares with almost 40 more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who is 2nd All-Time, despite Kareem playing in almost 600 more career games than Russell. He is also #1 in Career Playoff Rebounds and Career Playoff Defensive Win Shares.
3 Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson was the best player to play in the 1980‘s, he played in 9 Finals in his first 12 seasons. His rivalry with Larry Bird started in the 1978 NCAA Championship Game when Magic’s Spartans of Michigan State University defeated Larry’s Sycamores of Indiana State University. They would later face 3 times in the NBA Finals where Magic’s Lakers defeated Larry’s Celtics 2 out of the 3 times they faced. From 1984 until 1990 Larry and Magic combined for 6 of the 7 MVP’s during that time. The only person who snuck one in during that time was Michael Jordan in 1988 when he averaged 35 PPG on 53.5% shooting.
Magic helped the Lakers win right away in his young NBA career. In the 1980 Finals the league MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was injured in Game 5 and could not play in Game 6. The Lakers were up 3 games to 2 but were playing Game 6 in Philly. At the time Magic was just a rookie, but he led the Lakers to a 123-107 victory over the 76ers without their best player. Magic started at Center but he also literally played all 5 positions during the game. He put up 42 Points, 15 Rebounds, 7 Assists and 3 Steals. He was of course named the Finals MVP. Magic would also go on to win 4 more Rings and 2 more Finals MVP’s. In the 1982 Finals he averaged 16.2 PPG (53.3%), 10.8 RPG, 8 APG and 2.5 SPG and the Lakers beat the Sixers in 6. His last Finals MVP came in 1987 vs Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, he averaged 26.2 PPG (54.1%), 8 RPG, 13 APG and 2.3 SPG and the Lakers won again in 6.
On top of his 5 rings, 3 Finals MVP’s and 3 MVP’s, Magic also was a 12x All-Star (winning 2 ASG MVP’s), made 9 consecutive All-NBA First Teams, won 4 Assists Titles and 2 Steals Titles. His Career averages are 19.5 PPG (52%), 7.2 RPG and 11.2 APG (highest All-Time). He also averaged the most APG in the Playoffs 5 times and averaged 12.3 APG in his Playoff Career. He is #5 on the All-Time Assists List, the All-Time Playoff leader in Assists, #13 in Playoff Points, #18 in Playoff Rebounds, #13 in Career PER and #4 in Playoff Win Shares.
2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Lew Alcindor is the only player that could be argued as being on the same level as MJ as the Greatest Player of All-Time in my opinion. But even then, he still falls just short of His Airness.
Most players either have a crazy prime or crazy longevity, with Kareem, you get both. He dominated the league from his very first season when he averaged 28.8 PPG (51.8%) and 14.5 RPG. In just his 2nd season he won the Scoring Title, MVP and led the Bucks to the 1971 Finals where the Bucks swept the Bullets. Kareem won the Finals MVP averaging 27 PPG and 18.5 RPG. He averaged at least 12.8 RPG in each of his first 10 seasons and at least 23 PPG 14 times. He won 2 Scoring Titles, 1 Rebound Title and 4 Blocks Titles (blocks weren’t counted until his 5th season).
Kareem has 6 rings, winning the Finals MVP twice, the most MVP’s All-Time with 6 (in his first 11 seasons), the most ASG appearances with 19, made 15 total All-NBA Teams (tied for most) and 11 total All-Defensive Teams. He is the All-Time leader in Points, 4th All-Time in Rebounds, 3rd All-Time in Blocks (blocks weren’t counted his first 4 seasons), has the 12th highest FG% of All-Time, 12th highest PER, the most Career Win Shares, 2nd All-Time in Career Playoff Points, 5th in Career Playoff Rebounds, 2nd in Career Playoff Blocks and has the 2nd most Playoff Win Shares.
1 Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is the greatest player of All-Time... That could be the only sentence I write and you probably wouldn’t mind. Well too bad.
MJ started his career by averaging 28.2 PPG (51.5%), 6.5 RPG, 5.9 APG and 2.4 SPG in his rookie season. His play led not only to him winning the Rookie of the Year but he was also voted a starter in the All-Star Game.
In his 2nd season MJ only played in 18 games because of a broken foot. However, he returned for the playoffs where he averaged 43.7 PPG on 50.5% shooting vs the eventual 1986 Champions, the Boston Celtics. In Game 2 of this series, MJ broke the record for Most Points in a Single Playoff Game when he dropped 63 at the Garden. A record that still stands today.
The next season he averaged 37.1 PPG becoming the only player in NBA history to score more than 3,000 points in a single season besides Wilt Chamberlain. He also became the first player in NBA History with at least 200 steals and 100 blocks in a single season.
In 1988 MJ won his first MVP, leading the league in both scoring (35 PPG on 53.5%) and steals (3.2 SPG.). Once again he finished the season with over 200 steals and 100 blocks, becoming the 1st and 2nd player to ever do this (only Olajuwon and Pippen have done this since, each just one time). He also won the Defensive Player of the Year that season. He finally won his first playoff series that year scoring 39 points on 54.5% in Game 5 (remember it was a Best of 5 in the First Round pre 2003) vs the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The next season he had arguably his best statistical year when he averaged 32.5 PPG (53.8%), 8 RPG and 8 APG. MJ had 15 Triple-Doubles that season including 10 out of 11 games at one point. He delivered one of his most memorable moments in Game 5 of the First Round that year. The Bulls were on the road in Cleveland, down 2 points with a few seconds left and with their season on the line, Michael Jordan ran to the free throw line, elevated, double clutched and made the Game Winner as time expired over Craig Ehlo. MJ then led the Bulls past the Knicks in the 2nd rd and ended up losing to the Pistons in the ECF who were the eventual NBA Champions sweeping the Lakers in the Finals.
In 1990, Phil Jackson took over as the Bulls head coach. MJ once again led the league in PPG, which was his 4th straight Scoring Title and steals, which was his 2nd steals title. But once again the Detroit Pistons were too much for the Bulls in the ECF, winning the series in 7 Games and going on to win their 2nd consecutive NBA Championship. MJ had little help in Game 7, his teammates shot just 15-63 (23.8%).
Despite his fantastic individual play from 1985-90, he never could reach the NBA Finals. Finally in 1990-91 Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant were both in their 4th seasons and became the players MJ needed to win. The Bulls finished with the 2nd best record that season, MJ won his 2nd MVP and led the league in scoring once again. They met the Pistons in the ECF for the 3rd consecutive year but this time it was the Bulls who were the dominant team as the swept the Pistons winning Game 4 by 21 points. Playing in his first ever Finals, Jordan didn’t disappoint, he averaged 31.2 PPG (55.8%), 11.4 APG, 6.6 RPG, 2.8 SPG and 1.4 BPG. The Bulls won in 5 Games and MJ won his first Finals MVP.
In 1992 MJ once again led the league in scoring, won his 3rd MVP and led the Bulls back to their 2nd straight Finals where they faced Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers. In Game 1, Michael Jordan made 6, 3 pointers in the first half and sat most of the 2nd because the game was already in hand. MJ averaged 35.8 PPG on 52.6% that series and he won his 2nd straight Finals MVP (at that time the first ever player to win back-to-back Finals MVP’s) when the Bulls beat Blazers in 6 Games.
In 1993 Charles Barkley led the Suns to the best record in the NBA and the highest scoring team, winning him the MVP. MJ would get his revenge in the Finals however when he set a Finals record by averaging 41 PPG (50.8%) and the Bulls won in 6 Games. This was MJ’s 3rd straight Finals MVP, before this no one had even won 2 in a row. Shaq would later go on to tie MJ’s record winning 3 straight Finals MVP’s from ’00-’02.
Fast forward to the 1996 season, MJ’s first full season back. The Bulls go on to have the greatest regular season in NBA History going 72-10. Another Scoring Title and MVP for Jordan. In the Finals the Bulls faced Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and the Seattle Sonics. Despite MJ having his worst Finals performance, he still averaged 27.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 4.2 APG, winning his 4th Finals MVP.
In 1997 despite leading the league once again in scoring, leading the Bulls to the best record in the league and finishing with the most Win Shares, Karl Malone was voted as the MVP. Maybe the voters got bored. Once again, MJ would get his revenge in the NBA Finals. In Game 1, Michael Jordan hit the Game Winner at the buzzer to give the Bulls a 84-82 win. In Game 5, Jordan had yet again one of his most memorable moments aka The Flu Game. Battling a stomach virus and being dehydrated, he scored 38 points (48.1%), had 7 rebounds and 5 assists. He averaged 32.3 PPG (45.6%), 7 RPG, 6 APG and won his 5th Finals MVP as the Bulls beat the Jazz in 6.
In Jordan’s final season as a Bull, he won his last Scoring Title and MVP. Once again the Bulls faced the Utah Jazz in the Finals. Jordan averaged 33.5 PPG that series. In Game 6, Down 3 with 38 secs left Jordan drives to the basket and makes the lay in, with 22 secs left the Jazz feed Karl Malone in the post, MJ comes from behind and strips the ball clean and with 5.2 secs left he knocks down the most famous shot of All-Time, his last shot as a Bull and the Game Winner for his 6th ring and Finals MVP.
On top of his rings, MVP’s, Finals MVP’s, DPOY award, 10 Scoring Titles and 3 Steals Titles which I have mentioned, Jordan was a 14x All-Star (winning 3 ASG MVP’s), 10x All-NBA First Team and 9x All-Defensive First Team. He led the league in PER 7 straight years from ’87-’93, led the league 9 times in Win Shares, had the highest PPG in the Playoffs 10 times, the highest Playoff PER 6 times, most Playoff Win Shares 7 times, the All-Time leader in PPG, 3rd All-Time in Career Points, 5th most SPG, 3rd most Career Steals, highest Career PER, 4th most Win Shares, the most Win Shares Per 48 Minutes, highest Playoff PPG, most Playoff Career Points, highest Playoff PER, most Playoff Win Shares and most Playoff Win Shares Per 48 Minutes. He also has the most Playoff 50 point, 40 point, 30 point and 20 point games. The only player to score 15+ points in every playoff game (179 games), the only player to scorer back-to-back 50+ point games in the playoffs, most consecutive 20 point games with 60, highest PPG in 1 Finals Series and 6 of the 10 highest PPG in a Single Playoff Series, no one else has more than 1 series in the top 10.
In closing, Jordan is the best scorer of All-Time, arguably the best perimeter defender of All-Time, the most clutch player of All-Time and is arguably the best winner of All-Time. When his team needed him to pass he showed that he could (1989 season, ’91 Finals). When his team needed him to put the team on his back and will them to victory he did. With 11 total MVP trophies, nobody else has more and by using advanced stats, nobody has had a bigger impact on his teams success than Michael Jeffrey Jordan did.
Posted by The Logo on 01 August 2012 - 10:43 AM
25. John Stockton:10 time All-Star, holds playoff record for most assists in a game (24), led the league in assists 9 times, led the league in steals two times, 2nd best player on 2 runner-ups (1996-1997 Utah Jazz and 1997-1998 Utah Jazz) missed 22 games throughout his whole career, played 82 games in 17 of 19 seasons, first all time in assists, third all time in games played, has and average of 13 PPG and 10.4 APG, member of the '92 Dream Team
John Stockton was one of the best Robins of all time, running the show at point for Utah and excelled in Utah with their Stockton-Malone duo, that worked very efficently on offense with their pick and roll. He was unbelieveably consistent throughout his whole career, even in his final NBA season, there was no major drop for John Stockton. He had one of the best careers in terms of longetivity, only dropping below 7 assists per game, once in his career, and will be known as one of the best playmakers ever. He certainly wasn't ever the best point guard in his era, with the likes of Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Gary Payton, prime Penny Hardaway, and prime Kevin Johnson being there, but he will still go down in history as one of the greatest playmakers ever.
24. Bob Cousy: 13 time All-Star, '57 MVP, two All-Star MVPs, record for most assists in a half (19) led the league in assists 8 times, 2nd best player on six Boston championship teams, most playoff free throws made in a game. Average of 18/8/5 throughout his career.
You may now be asking, “really? Ahead of Stockton?” Yes. Really. He was the floor general for Boston during those 6 championships, was a quality scorrer, and one of the better floor generals, has an MVP, and of course, those 6 championships that he won with Russell. Cousy also finished second in points and first in assists in 1954 and 1955. He never was lower than top three in assists throughout his whole career and cracked at least top ten in scoring eight times in his career, and had the highest assist average eight straight times. He also had a 50 point playoff game against Syracuse where he went 25 for 25 from the free throw line. Cousy was arguably the best point guard in the 60's and opened the door for guys like Magic, Payton, Stockton, Nash, and Paul today.
23. Isiah Thomas: 12 time All-Star, 1990 Finals MVP, two time All-Star MVP, led the league in assists one time, led the league in minutes one time, finished seventh all time in assists, 14th all time in steals per game, best player on 2 championships (1989 Pistons and 1990 Pistons)
Poor Isiah. He gets commonly hated on throughout NBA history. Whether rightfully so or not, he gets hated on for being one of the worst GM's, no one wanted him on the Dream Team, even though he was clearly better than Laettner, and arguably better than John Stockton, everyone on the Dream Team didn't want him, especially Michael and Scottie, who were both sour after Thomas ordered the Pistons players into the locker room without congratulating Chicago, even Magic didn't want him on the Dream Team. Despite how much he gets hated on, he put on one of the most remarkable performances in NBA Finals' history, spraining his ankle in the third quarter, and still put up 25 in the third quarter, in a desperate attempt to finish off the Lakers in game six of the 1988 NBA Finals. He gets knocked off for having multiple feuds with Jordan, and people commonly forget Isiah as one of the greatest point guards of all time.
22. David Robinson: 10 time All-Star, '95 MVP, '90 Rookie of the year, All-Defensive First Team eight times, Defensive Player of the Year ('92) led the league in scoring once, rebounding once, and block shots once, 2nd best player on a championship team ('99 Spurs) starter on another championship team ('03 Spurs) member of the '92 Dream Team, scored 71 points in one game and put up a quadruple double in one game (34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 blocks)
Robinson commonly gets overlooked as one of the best centers ever, and gets completely lost in the discussion along with the likes of Kareem, Russell, Chamberlain, Shaq, and Hakeem. But make no mistake. He was one of the best players to play the game. He was strong, athletic, had good defensive tactics, and had a good offensive game. The knock on Robinson is that he was never the best center of his era. Throughout his prime, Hakeem dominated as the best center in the game and in the later part of his career, Shaq was easily the best center in the NBA. He was though, one of the greats, and was conducted himself nicely, and was very humble. He also had a three year peak where he averaged 28/11/3.
21. Scottie Pippen: Seven time All-Star, led the league in steals once, 2nd best player on (1991-1993 Bulls and 1996-1998 Bulls) four year peak of 20/8/6, averaged 22/9/6 in the 1991 NBA Playoffs, All-Defense 10 times, member of the Dream Team.
Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan was the most succesful duo of all time, winning six championships, and Pippen was the alpha dog for Chicago while Michael Jordan was under his baseball stint from 1994-1995. During that stretch, Pippen was a top five player in the league. He was one of the best defensive swing men of all time, and could give you the whole package. He was a good alpha dog, but is arguably the GOAT “Robin”. We will always remember Pippen for his six championships with Chicago and the infamous Game 3 of the 1994 Knicks series when Pippen refused to enter the final play for game three because Phil Jackson called the play for Toni Kukoc. That play was probably the biggest knock of his career. During Jordan's baseball stint, Scottie's ego was high. He felt like he should be the best player on the team. That he should be taking the last shot, and it was an insult for Jackson to call the last play for Kukoc. Despite this, Scottie was definitely the GOAT “Robin”
20. Charles Barkley: 11 time All-Star, '93 MVP, led the league in rebounding once, best player on runner up ('93 Suns) member of the '92 Dream team, averaged 22.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG and 54% shooting throughout his career, part of the 20K points, 10K rebound club.
Sir Charles is a hell of a funny analyst on TNT and he was certainly, without a doubt, one hell of a basketball player. He was undersized to play power forward, listed at 6'4, but he was a great rebounder, and an average defender and a great scorer. He was one of the most explosive power forwards ever and had a really versatile game. He was a great chemistry guy and was a great trash talker. He certainly deserved to be on the Dream Team and he's certainly a delight to have on TNT for Inside the NBA. He had a three year peak of 26/13/4 and in the Suns' '93 Playoff run, he averaged 27/14/4.
19. Lebron James: 8 All-Stars, MVP ('09, '10, '12) best player on two runner-up ('07 Cavaliers, '11 Heat) best player on championship ('12 Heat) one of eight players to win three MVP's, one of four players in NBA History to lead his team in five different statistical categories, led league in scoring (1x) All NBA First Team (6x) All Defense First Team (4x) one time Gold Medalist ('08 Redeem Team)
There is no question, with Lebron's most recent NBA Championship and Finals MVP, he is definitely already in the talks for one of the greatest to play the game. Top 10 is premature, but there is no question that he belongs in around the 15-19th mark. He is probably the most criticized and most hated basketball player in recent memory, but this season, Lebron was just plain awesome. No question about it. He definitely deserved the MVP award and the Finals MVP. He stepped up when it mattered. Game 4. Indiana. Eastern Conference Semi Finals. Lebron puts up one of the greatest stat lines in the playoffs, ever (40 points 18 rebounds 9 assists 2 steals and 2 blocks). Game 6. In a win or go home situation against Boston. They went back home alright. But with the series tied at three games a piece. Did Wade take over? No. Did Bosh take over? Heck no. It was Lebron James, destroying the Boston Celtics in game six with 45 points 15 rebounds and 5 assists preventing the haters from talking how Lebron choked. He just had so many clutch moments this season. He deserves to be on this list. And if he wins a few more championships and finals MVP? Well. We'll talk about that if it happens.
18. Julius Erving: 11 time All-Star NBA MVP ('81), runner-up MVP ('80), best player on three runner ups ('77, '80, '82 Sixers) second best player on NBA championship ('83 Sixers) All NBA First Team (5x) All NBA Second Team (2x)
The Doctor is one of the hardest players on the greatest of all time list, simply because of his ABA stint. There is no question that he was the best player in the ABA during that time. I personally don't think that the ABA stint should count, but if I were to count it, he'd be much higher on the list. Doctor J revolutionized the game for today. He made the game more exciting with his dunks and in the ABA, averaged 28.7 PPG and 12.1 RPG in his ABA career. If you were to combine his ABA and NBA stint together, he'd be in the 30 and 10 K club, which is pretty spectacular. We'll remember Erving as one of the most influential and exciting players of all time, and opened the game for young high flying athletes today.
17.John Havlicek: 13 time All Star, '74 Finals MVP, All-Defense First Team (5x) led the league in minutes (2x) most career assists for a nonguard (6114) second best player on two championships ('68 '69 Celtics) best player on two championships ('74, '76 Celtics) played for eight championships, 25K point club, played for eight championships, 12th all time in points scored, '74 Finals MVP.
Hondo is commonly one of the more forgotten small forwards in NBA history. He was complimentary to the eight championships that he won with Russell and the Celtics to say the least, and during the '74 and '76 title run, he was the alpha dog of the Boston team. He was a great scorer, averaged 22/7/5 throughout his whole playoff career. We will all remember Hondo for the “Havlicek stole the ball!!!” moment.
16. Elgin Baylor: 11 time All-Star, '63 MVP runner-up, '59 Rookie of the Year, All-Star MVP ('59) best or 2nd best player on eight runner-ups (Lakers throughout the 60's) 4th all time in PPG average (27.4) and 10th all time in RPG average (13.5) 20K and 10K club.
Another small forward we forget throughout NBA history. Baylor was a monster at scoring and on the boards. He had a three year peak of 35/17/5 and a four year playoff peak of 35/15/4. And in 1962, in only 48 games played, due to military service, he averaged 38/19/5 where he could not practice at all. That 1962 season is up there for one of the greatest statistical seasons ever in my opinion. If he won at least a couple of times during the Lakers' 60's run, he would most likely be much higher on the All-Time greats list.
15. Kevin Garnett: 12 time All-Star, '04 MVP, '00 runner-up, Defensive Player of the Year ('08) All Star MVP ('03) led the league in rebounding (4x) 2nd best player on championship ('08 Celtics) 2nd best player on runner-up ('10 Celtics) 20K-10K Club
Garnett is one of the most defensive minded athletes of recent history, as well as he is obsessed about winning. He's really passionate about the game and put defense above everything else. I never liked Garnett. I always thought he was a dirty player, and I still detest him at this point, especially that he's on the Celtics, but I can't help but respect what KG has done throughout his career. He made such a big impact on Boston when he first joined the team in '08. He changed the culture of their defense and helped them win the title. Kudos to him.
14. Karl Malone: 15 time All-Star MVP ('97 '99) All Defense (3x) All Star MVP (2x) member of the 1992 Dream Team, first all time FT's made and FTA's, second all time in points, sixth all time in rebounds, fourth all time in games played, second all time in minutes played, 35K-14K club, 11 All-NBA first teams, best player on two runner ups ('97 '98 Jazz) starter on one runner-up ('04 Lakers).
The Mailman delivered for the most part throughout his career. He was amazingly consistent, in 19 seasons in the NBA, he only dipped below 20 points twice in his career and never dipped below eight rebounds a game. Amazing consistency. He only dipped below 20 points per game in his rookie season with Utah and in his final season with the Lakers. He made the finals three, but was defeated two times by Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls and was upset by the underdog Pistons in the final year of his career. Overall, Karl Malone had a tremendous career and has one of the best careers in terms of longetivity out of all the NBA greats.
13. Moses Malone: 12 time All-Star, '83 Finals MVP, best player on one championship ('83 Sixers) best player on 1 runner-up ('81 Rockets) MVP ('79, '82, '83) led the league in rebounding (6x) led the league in minutes (1x) one of eight players to be a three time MVP, fifth all time in rebounds, fifth all time in games played, seventh all time in points, 12th all time in minutes played.
Moses Malone definitely has a resume of one of the all time greats, being a three time MVP. In the playoffs throughout his career, he averaged 22/14 and is one of the best rebounders of all time, averaging 12.2 rebounds a game. Already, with three MVP's, he deserves to be on the list as one of the top 25 greatest payers of all time. His championship also validates that he should be on the list.
12. Kobe Bryant: 15 time All-Star, Finals MVP ('09 '10) MVP ('08) led the league in scoring (2x) best player on 2 championships ('09 '10 Lakers) 2nd best player on three championships ('00, '01, '02) arguably best player on one runner-up ('04 Lakers) best player on another runner-up ('08 Lakers) 25K Point Club, All-Star MVP ('02, '07, '09) All NBA First Team (10x) All Defense First Team (9x)
The resume speaks for itself. Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players of all time. And he's still here, in an attempt to improve his resume. He has five championships as well as two Finals MVP, and if he wins any time before he retires on the Lakers, he will most likely be the Finals MVP of that Lakers' team as well. He is just so great. In a leader standpoint. He takes and makes so many tough shots. To me, he was the best player in the league in 2006. That season was the same season where he scored the second most points in NBA History (81) as well as outscoring the Mavericks through three quarters by himself (62-61) as well as setting the record for most points scored in MSG (61 points). He has averaged 25/5/5 throughout his career and has built up a great career in terms of peak (averaged 33/6/5). He has yet to dip below 24 points per game since the 1999-2000 season, and will look for his sixth championship this year.
11. Oscar Robertson: 12 time All-Star, MVP ('64), Rookie of the Year ('61) 2nd best player on championship ('71 Bucks) starter on runner-up ('74 Bucks) 25K point club, averaged 25.5 PPG, 9.5 APG, 7.5 RPG throughout his career. First (and only) player in NBA history to average a triple double
Oscar Robertson was probably the greatest all around player in NBA history. His scoring was extremely high, as well as his assists numbers, and his rebounding numbers was really high for a point guard, averaging almost eight boards a game. Here's another amazing stat. During his peak in the playoffs, he averaged 31/11/9 in 22 playoff games. Really good right? He also averaged 47.2 minutes per game!!! He almost played every single minute of the game! Just amazing. Also in 1962, we remember Wilt's 50/25 season, but let's not also forget Elgin's 38/19/5 statline while in the military, and of course, Oscar Robertson's historic triple double season.
10. Jerry West: 14 time All-Star, Finals MVP ('69) All-Defense (4x) set record for most free throws in a season (840) set record for most PPG average in one playoff series (46.3) led the league in scoring (1x) led the league in assists (1x) best player on 6 runner-ups ('65, '66, '68, '69, '70, '73) second best player on 2 runner-ups ('62, '63) best player on one championship ('72)
Now you're really mad aren't you? You're probably saying “How dare you put a '60's player ahead of Kobe Bryant! Kobe Bryant is the greatest SG in Lakers' history!”. I love Kobe. I really do. He's one of my favorite players of all time. But I need to open some eyes here. Before you stop reading this article in pure anger, please consider these few things. You say that Kobe Bryant is a better defender? Jerry West was a better defender. In his last season, they started keeping track of steals and blocks and West averaged almost three steals a game. West was a better passer, averaging almost 7 assists per game as a shooting guard, about two assists more than Kobe. West was a very underrated rebounder, averaging almost six rebounds a game, about one more rebound per game than Kobe, and he shot about 47% from the field. Great for a shooting guard. In 55 games in the NBA Finals, he averaged 30.5 points per game, averaged 27 points per game throughout his career, and averaged 26/6/10 during the stretch during the Lakers' 33 game winning streak in the 1971-1972 season. I hoped that I opened up some eyes and did not lose some readers in the process.
9. Tim Duncan: 13 time All-Star Finals MVP ('99 '03 '05) MVP ('02, '03) Rookie of the Year ('97) best player on 4 championships ('99, '03, '05, '07 Spurs) All Defense (12x) (eight time first all defense) All NBA First Team (9x)
Tim Duncan has one of the best resumes of all time. His two MVPs, three Finals MVP's and four championships speaks for itself. He has great longetivity, averaging 20/11 and two blocks throughout his career, was arguably the greatest player of the decade, with Kobe Bryant being a close second and in the '03 playoffs, he was tremendous, averaging 24/15/5, which is outstanding. Timmy did it efficiently, and was a tremendous leader on and off the court.
8. Shaquille O'Neal: 15 time All-Star Finals MVP ('00, '01, 02) MVP ('00) six top five MVP finishes, Rookie of the Year ('93) best player on three championships ('00, '01, '02 Lakers) second best player on one championship ('06 Heat) best player on one runner-ups ('95 Magic) second best player on one runner-up ('04 Lakers) led the league in scoring (2x) led the league in field goal percentage (9x) 2nd all time in field goal percentage. 25K-10K club.
The Big Diesel is one of the most loved sports figures of all time, constantly very funny and one of the most dominant big men ever. He was so strong and mobile in his prime, averaging 29/14/4 in his peak and in the three championships he won with the Lakers, he averaged 30/14/3 on 55% shooting. He averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds a game throughout his career, and was constantly on different teams like the Magic, the Lakers, the Heat, the Suns, the Cavaliers, and the Celtics. Shaq was arguably the most dominant center of all time in his prime, but there are better players than him. And so we continue.
7. Hakeem Olajuwon: 12 time All-Star, Finals MVP ('94 '95) MVP ('94) All Defense (9x) Defensive Player of the Year ('93 '94) tied for most playoff blocks in a single game (10) holds record for most career blocks, led the league in rebounding twice, led the league in blocks three times, best player on two championships ('94 '95 Rockets) best player on one runner-up. 25K-10K club.
The alpha dog of the NBA during Jordan's baseball stint is number seven all time. The Dream had amazing footwork in the post, was a terrific post defender, and was the clear cut best player in the league at the time during Jordan's baseball stint. His combined playoff averages between the '86 '94 and '95 playoffs, he averaged 29/11/4 and in the '95 Playoffs, he averaged 33/10/4.5 with 62 blocks in the whole playoffs and beat Malone, Barkley, Robinson, and Shaq. Great run by Hakeem the Dream, Olajuwon. By the way, I'd love to see the '95 Rockets against Jordan's Bulls to see who was the better team just to see a matchup between Hakeem and Jordan. We never got to see a matchup in the NBA Finals between the two best players in the 90's, unfortunately.
6. Wilt Chamberlain: 13 time All-Star MVP ('60, '66, '67) one of eight players to win three MVPs Finals MVP ('72) Rookie of the Year ('60) led the league in scoring seven times, led the league in rebounding 11 times, led the league in assists once, led the league in field goal percentage nine times, led the league in minutes eight times, holds season records for PPG (50.4) RPG (27.2) Field Goal Percentage (72.7%) most points (100) most rebounds (55) consecutive scoring titles (7) first all time in rebounds, fourth all time in points, fourth all time in minutes, best player on one championship ('67 Sixers) second best player on one championship ('72 Lakers) second best player on three runner-ups ('69, '70, '73 Lakers) best player on one runner-up ('64 Warriors) 30K-20K club (only player in that club)
The second best center in the league in the 60's is right here at number six. He of course has the record for most points in a game (100) as well as averaging 50/25 in the 1961-1962 season. He was obsessed with stats and had this thing with trying to not foul out, which is odd. When he was in foul trouble, he stopped defending as well. He put his stats ahead of the team, which is a bad thing. Yeah, stats look good on paper, but they aren't any good if you put them ahead of your team. Wilt was a statistical monster, probably the greatest stat sheet stuffer ever, and might be the most obsessed player with stats all time. Respect to Wilt for putting up great stats in his prime, but I don't really like how he sometimes put stats ahead of the team.
5. Larry Bird: 12 time All-Star, Finals MVP ('84, '86) MVP ('84, '85, '86) Rookie of the Year ('80) All Defense (2x) led the league in threes (2x) led the league in free throw percentage (4x) highest career APG for a nonguard (6.1) best player on three champioships ('81, '84, '86 Celtics) and two runner-ups ('85, '87 Celtics) member of the Dream Team. 20K point club.
Larry Legend was truly a legend in the green and white. He was a tremendous all around player, was good on defense, a great scorer, and did whatever it took to win. He averaged 27/10/9 in the '87 Playoffs, 24/10/6 on 50% shooting, 88.6 percent from the free throw line for his career and so many clutch moments. I have come to respect Bird for what he did, winning three MVPs and three championships, but I also detest him. Bird was an amazing shooter, was dead on from wherever, and was one of the greatest trash talkers of all time.
4. Magic Johnson: 12 time All-Star, Finals MVP ('80, '82, '87) three time MVP ('87 '89 '90) one of eight players to win the MVP three times, led the league in assists (4x) steals (2x) free throw percentage (1x) second best player on three championships ('80 '82 '85 Lakers) best player on two championships ('87, '88 Lakers) second best player on two runner-ups ('83 '84 Lakers) best player on two runner-ups ('89 '91 Lakers) holds 12 playoff records, member of '92 Dream Team, 10K assist club.
Magic is without a doubt, the greatest Laker of all time. He dealed with adversary after forcing Westhead out, receiving a bunch of criticism for that, was called Tragic Johnson after the '84 Finals and dealt with the HIV virus, forcing him to retire early. Did he just give up? Hell no. He came back stronger and stronger than ever. After the Lakers lost to Boston in '84, he led the Lakers to two series victories over Boston in three years, he had probably the clutchest shot in NBA Finals history, hitting the game 4 skyhook against Boston in the 1987 NBA Finals, was an inspirational leader, and happy go-lucky. He averaged 26/8/13 in the '87 Finals, averaged 19.5/7/11.2 throughout his career. He finishes as the fourth best player of all time and probably the best all around point guard the league has ever seen aside from Oscar Robertson.
3. Bill Russell: 12 time All-Star MVP ('58, '61, '62, '63, '65) one of eight players to win three MVP's, led the league in rebounding five times, second all time in RPG, first all time in RPG in the playoffs, holds record for most rebounds in one half (32) most rebounds in the Finals (40) averaged 29.5 RPG in the Finals, best player on 11 championships and 2 runner-ups (late 50's and 60's Celtics) 10-0 in Game 7's, 16-2 in elimination games, only player-coach in NBA history to win a title (2x)
I can't amount for how much Bill Russell has done. You may think that I overrate Bill Russell. Your reasoning may be because he wasn't that great of a scorer unlike Wilt Chamberlain, or Magic Johnson, or Larry Bird. He wasn't ever as dominant as Shaq or Hakeem on the offensive end. But he absolutely was a monster on defense. It was so hard to get a shot up in the paint because Russell was always there blocking your shots. Of course, blocks and steals weren't taken into acount back then. Russ also instigated the Celtics offense and when Cousy retired, Russell was always the guy who started off their offense. He was the main focus of their offense. Whether it was a rebound and a quick outlet to a cherry picking John Havlicek for two or a backdoor pass by Russell to Sam Jones, he did it all. His offense is very underrated and he is probably the greatest defensive player of all time.
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 15 time All-Star Finals MVP ('71 Bucks, '85 Lakers) MVP ('71, '72, '74, '76, '77, '80) Rookie of the Year ('70) All-Defense (11x) led the league in scoring (2x) rebounding (2x) blocked shots (2x) FG percentage (1x) minutes 1x) all time leader in points, minutes, FG's best player on four championships ('70 Bucks '80 Lakers '82 Lakers '85 Lakers) and three runner-ups ('71 Bucks '74 Bucks and '84 Lakers) second best player on one championship ('87 Lakers) third best player on one championship ('88 Lakers). Member of 35K-15K club.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the best center in NBA history. He was great on defense in the earlier part of his career, has two Finals' MVP, six MVPs, which is the most in NBA History, was a great teammate, and holds multiple records, including the all time leader in points. In '87, when Riley asked Kareem if he could be the number two option with Magic being the alpha dog of the team, he was perfectly fine with it. He was a mysterious figure, rarely showing much emotion. He was definitely the best player of the '70's and played on multiple championships and has a good case for GOAT, but the next guy has a better case, and is viewed by many as the greatest player of all time.
1. Michael Jordan: 16 time All-Star, MVP ('88, '91, '92, '96, '98) Rookie of the Year ('85) Finals MVP ('91, '92, '93, '96, '97, '98) Defensive Player of the Year ('88) All-Defense First Team (9x) averaged over 30 PPG eight times, averaged over 34 points per game in seven different playoff years, led the league in scoring (10x) led the league in steals (3x) most scoring titles of all time, most consecutive scoring titles (7) most Finals MVPs (6) highest points in a Finals series (41.0 vs the Suns in '93) most playoff points, most playoff points in a single game (63) most points in one half of an NBA Finals game (35) third all time in points, 30K point club, most threes in one half, third all time in steals.
Give yourself a high five if you survived for this long and read this whole article word for word! Obviously, Michael Jordan was the clear cut GOAT. Just had a killer instinct, the best of all time, tremendous scorer, averaged 30/6/5 throughout his career on 50% shooting and 84% free throw shooting, averaged 33/6/6 in the playoffs, and averaged 34/6/6 in the Finals, with so many clutch moments. What else is there to say? The resume speaks for itself. Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time.
Posted by MaddSkillz on 06 November 2011 - 03:22 AM
The Greatest Rebounder Of All-Time Isn’t Who You Think It Is
Did you notice a trend?
First let’s look at Bill Russell’s rookie year.
Now let’s look at Wilt’s rookie year.
Now let’s look at the top 5 center’s on everyone’s list.
So here it is. My top 2.
Posted by Saint Nick C on 07 July 2013 - 03:56 PM
If they have kids, those kids are gonna be tall as hell.
If it's a boy, hopefully he gets his mother's build.
Posted by TeoTheGreek13 on 01 July 2013 - 04:29 PM
October 6, 1993... the Chicago Bulls are coming from yet another tough season, facing doubt and controversy, and yet another NBA championship. Their third. Third in a row. Led by the, widely accepted, greatest and most dominant player in the game.
The Chicago Bulls organization and the whole Bulls nation was (getting) ready for yet another championship defense while facing a unique challenge of becoming just the second team in the history of the league to win four championships back to back.
It was a month (almost to the day) before Bulls' opening game against the Hornets when a guy shocked the world by announcing that he'll stop playing basketball. That guy was Michael Jordan. This announcement "froze" the whole city of Chicago and every Bulls fan around the globe. And basketball fans as a whole, regardless of their preference when it comes to which team they root for.
The Bulls were quick to sign Pete Myers at shooting guard as Michael Jordan's replacement.
Although losing the undisputed best in his prime is a shock, the reality was that the Bulls didn't win three championships because of one player. They still had the -arguably- best coach in the game, they still had another star (soon to be proved a superstar), they still had the mastermind of triangle offense Tex Winter and they still had the double-double big in Horace Grant.
The Bulls faced controversy and doubt once again, only on a much higher degree. The first to "bury" their chances for anything good were Chicago media like The Tribune. They were predicting a free fall for the Bulls and a rather characteristic line is this:
“Record: 41-41. Reason: The Los Angeles Clippers were 41-41 last year, and the Bulls without Jordan are the Los Angeles Clippers.”
As John Paxson later admitted, people were saying that they were gonna win no more than 25-30 games... but Pippen said "Nope, it's not going to happen".
Even Phil Jackson himself predicted that the Bulls would drop at least 15 wins in comparison with the season before.
With the additions of the "Croatian sensation" from Europe in Toni Kukoc, Luc Longley, Steve Kerr, Bill Wennington, plus Pete Myers, the Bulls were set to start a very challenging season, under a new leader, with new faces and without their best player.
Proving The Doubters Wrong (Regular Season)
The Bulls began the season with a trip to Charlotte where they faced Mourning's and Larry Johnson's Hornets, beating them 124-123 in the OT with BJ Armstrong scoring a game high 28 points on 67% efficiency and with Pippen recording an 23/16/7/2/1 statline. The next game was scheduled in Chicago where the Heat blew the Bulls out of their own gym dominating and getting away with a +24 victory in the Windy City.
After the next ten games in which Pippen didn't play due to badly bruised right foot, Bulls' record was 5-7. Twelve games into the season, the 1992/93 Jordan-led Bulls team, had a 9-3 record.
Pippen's return, sparked the team and with Scottie's all-around dominance and impact the Bulls steamrolled whoever stood in their way, winning 13 of the next 14 games, including a 10-game winning streak during which, Scottie Pippen recorded two triple-doubles.
The Bulls were on a roll, with Pippen showing all-around brilliance, unselfishness, maturity, leadership and considered by many as the best forward in the game.
With 21 games to go until the all-star break, the Bulls kept on impressing the NBA and keeping themselves near the top of the league as they won 16 of the 21 showdowns finishing the first half of the season with a 34-13 record (72.3%). At the same time the previous season, the Jordan-led Bulls had a 35-17 record (67.3%).
In the all-star game, the Bulls were reprisented by three players! Scottie Pippen and two first timers at Horace Grant and BJ Armstrong who continued the streak of a Bulls guard being in the all-star game for 10th straight season. Needless to say that Scottie was a huge factor for the all-star appearance of Grant and Armstrong as he was a guy that would feed everyone on the team and would make everybody better. He was praised for his unselfishness many times from his teammates.
In the meantime, Scottie didn't stop dominating as he scored 29 points to go along with 11 rebounds in the all-star game, winning the MVP award!
As the second half of the season came to a start, the Bulls found themselves losing their first three games and eight of their first eleven, only to see their record falling at 37-21 (63.8%).
Then Chicago went on a tear again winning 18 of their next 22 games, including another 10-game winning streak where Pippen averaged 22.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 3.8 steals on 51/44/74!
With two games to go in the regular season, the Bulls had a 55-25 record and they needed to win both games in order to match last season's record. Obviously the season was already successfull as they proved everyone wrong. People that thought the Bulls wouldn't even make it to the playoffs.
Eventually, the Bulls lost both games and they ended up with a 55-27 record, but the message was already sent. The post-Jordan Bulls are here and are relevant!
The Bulls were the runner-up of the Central division to the big surprise at Atlanta that was tied for #1 in the East with the Knicks at 57-25 (the Bulls could have this record as well if they didn't lose the last two games).
The Bulls ended up #3 in the Eastern conference!
What if Pippen hadn't lost those 10 games at the start of the season were the Bulls went 4/10? This was an impressive season and Pippen was recognised as a bona fide superstar, a true leader and a guy who can dominate any aspect of the game. As Reggie Miller said, "Pippen could score 5 points and still dominate a basketball game".
Scottie was selected for the first time in the all-NBA first team and for third time in a row he was a member of the all-defense team. Recognition didn't stop there though as Pippen ended up 3rd in the MVP voting only trailing legends Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson who had a similar to Pippen's task: carring a team on their shoulders. However, many people felt that Pippen should have won the MVP trophy because of his incredible impact on the Bulls, guiding both the offense and the defense and contributing in every aspect while recording career high numbers (points, rebounds, steals-2nd in the league).
Worth noting is that Cartwright shot a career high from the field that season and newcomers Kerr, Longley and Wennington saw increase on their shooting percentages. That's mainly attributed to Scottie Pippen, his playmaking abilities and his altruism.
What If? (Playoffs)
Going into the playoffs as the 3rd seed in the East, the Bulls had earned the right of homecourt advantage through their impressive -given the circumstances- regular season, and they were destined to meet a familiar foe at the Cleveland Cavaliers who where at their last legs having kept the same core of Mark Price, Larry Nance, Brad Daugherty and Hot Rod Williams.
The Bulls easily won the first two games in Chicago and they closed the series out in Cleveland in a close 95-92 victory.
Key Bulls players:
Pippen: 25.3 / 9.7 / 4.3 / 3.3 / 1 on 49/10/85
Grant: 15 / 9.7 / 3 / 3 (blocks) on 49/58
Kukoc: 11 / 5.7 / 4.7 on 54.5/67/87.5
Going into the second round and full of confidence, Pippen-led Bulls were about to square off against yet another -even more- familiar foe in East's #1 seed New York Knicks of Patrick Ewing. That was the fourth straight post-season that the two franchises would meet. The previous three had found Jordan-led Bulls emerging victorious. However, this was a whole new series for obvious reasons.
New York, proving why is the #1 seed, took the first two (close) games in New York, and there we go to the famous game 3 of the series. Famous for two incidents.
Going into game 3 in Chicago, the Bulls were with their backs against the wall as no team has survived an 0-3 deficit throughout playoff history.
The first incident was the brawl which was started by Derek Harper of the Knicks and Jo Jo English of the Bulls and soon after you had both rosters going at it in the stands... all that in front of an unhappy David Stern who was there to attend the game!
And of course the second and most memorized incident with Pippen denying to enter the court for the final play. Why?
The game was tied at 102 apiece, with 1.8 left and ball to Chicago. Phil Jackson called a timeout and everyone on the huddle was ready to see the play that he'd draw up. Shockingly enough and to everyone's surprise, the play had Bulls' MVP Scottie Pippen inbounding the ball to the rookie from Croatia for the Final shot that whether would put the nail in the coffin of the Bulls or it would give them life. Pippen refused to enter the floor being obviously unhappy, or more than that.
The play was executed to perfection with Toni making a difficult turnaround contested two, to give the Bulls the victory! The aftermath of the shot found Phil Jackson being the only (along with Pippen I guess) emotionless person in the stadium.
That was a really uncharacteristic action of Pippen and his teammate Kerr rushed to "defend" him:
"I don't know what got into Pippen. He is such a great teammate and maybe the pressure was getting to him and he just could not take it anymore, no one knows for sure but he is a team player".
Re-energized, the Bulls entered game 4 eager to win and got a convincing victory to even things out, led by Pippen's 25 points.
That brings us to the most famous game of the series and possibly of the whole 1994 playoffs. Game 5 of the series was held in New york and the team that would win would get a 3-2 advantage and would be the favorite to advance.
Last possession of the game, Knicks are down 86-85. Starks has the ball, penetrates and kicks it out to an open Hubert Davis who shots from the top of the key (with his foot on the line) while Pippen rushes to contest the shot and does so perfectly as his hand is on Davis' face. Davis missed the shot badly... but then... suddenly... Hugh Hollins blows his whistle leaving everyone on red in disbelief.
See, the contact was made after the release, and according to the rulebook, that's not a foul. In this ocassion though, it was called a foul.
Here are some quotes on the call:
"When I heard the whistle, it was like 'What happened? Who fouled?'"
"I've seen a lot of things happen in the NBA, but I've never seen anything happen like what happened at the end of the game"
"That's a call you normally don't get"
In game 6 in Chicago, the Bulls went in, determined and set the tone from the first quarter and they won the game without major problems. This game, also, offered one of the greatest highlights in playoffs history and one of the greatest dunk-statements in Pippen's dunk over Patrick Ewing and the trash talk on him and courtside celebrity, Spike Lee.
Finally, with both teams winning their home games, the series would be determined in seventh game in New York.
The seventh game didn't have any headlines apart from the off the roof intensity and passion and hate that was built throughout the series - one of the most memorable in history.
The Knicks, eventually, completed the home team dominance and got the ticket for the ECF.
Key Bulls players:
Pippen: 21.7 / 7.7 / 4.7 / 2 on 40.5/31/90
Grant: 16.7 / 6.4 / 2.9 / 1.3 / 1.3 on 56.5/87
Armstrong: 16.7 / 2.3 / 3 / 1 on 50.6/54.5/83
Which brings us to this rhetorical question: "What if... Hollins hadn't blow the whistle?". Many people thought that the Bulls could have made the Finals and even win the whole thing. Would they? We certainly don't know that, but we could see what was the ceiling of this Pippen-led Bulls team that proved everyone wrong and kept moving on and on and on to only be stopped by a wrong call. Possibly.
That was the "story" of the Jordan-less and Pippen-led Chicago Bulls which was just a strong proof that Scottie Pippen was a legitimate superstar in his own right, a true leader and one of the best all-around athletes and players to ever play the game of basketball.
Earned the respect and praise of his contemporaries, of coaches, writers, reporters, fans...
A true legend and rightfully a member of the top 50 players in NBA history. Many would argue top 25 as well!
"Scottie was our team leader. He was the guy that directed our offense and he was the guy that took on a lot of big challenges defensively...the year that Michael retired, Scottie I think was the most valuable player in the league. He was probably the player most liked by others. He mingled. He brought out the best in players and communicated the best. Leadership, real leadership is one of his strengths. Everybody says Michael was a great leader. He led by example, by rebuke, by harsh words. Scottie's leadership was equally dominant, but a leadership of patting on the back, of support."
- Phil Jackson
"The luxury is for us to have a defender like Scottie who can cover more than one situation at a time. He's able to hang tight with whoever he's playing and help on a defensive set so the other team can't operate. Scottie is able to be a one-man wrecking crew".
- Phil Jackson
"He's the best athlete all-around ever to play in the NBA. Tell me somebody who can do what he could do for 48 minutes on the basketball court. He was the best all-around. He could play three positions, four positions, rebound, assists, steals... Michael was the singer and Scottie was the drummer. They didn't need no backup singers."
- Charles Oakley
"There are certain things that Pippen does for that team that Michael doesn't do. Definitely defensively. I think offensively he's always conscious of getting the other guys involved. Not to take anything away from Michael, but I think Scottie is just more cognizant of the total package, and that makes them complement each other real well."
- Julius Erving
"Scottie is one of the best teammates I've ever had. Everyone loves him. He's so unselfish the way he plays and plays so hard. He knows where you'll be and where you want the ball for a shot. And he'll consciously try to get you shots. He'll be aware when you're struggling in a game, or when you've gone awhile without a shot. He would run by and say, "I know you haven't gotten a shot. Don't worry. Next time, I'll get you one." He cares about everyone like no star I've ever played with."
- Steve Kerr
"Tremendous teammate, that's what comes to mind when I think of Scottie Pippen. He was a very caring teammate who was always concerned about the team, always concerned about it. He just had a great understanding of the team concept. Everyone talks about a great teammate, but he really was a great guy to play with. He may have been having a 25 or 30-point game, but if he knew you were struggling, he'd find a way to get you going as well. He's that type of guy."
- BJ Armstrong
"55 wins is terrific. It became a 70-game season because we started off 4-7. That was really when it mentally kicked in for him. We always knew he could do it. I think the one thing I found interesting that year was that statistically, things didn't change much for him. He didn't look at it like he had to take on everything, and that's where teammates loved him. He had his best statistical year, but he found a way to make his teammates feel a part of it, reward them when they were open, and do all those things that he had done before, but not just in a little different role. So many people had written us off that year because we didn't have Michael. Everyone said that we were going to win 25-30 games. Scottie kind of said, 'Nope, it's not going to happen'. He led us to 55."
- John Paxson
"Scottie made everyone better because he was unselfish. He'd move the ball to the right spot. He had such a great basketball mind and really understood what was happening on the floor. He was always willing to help out his teammates and make them better."
- Bill Wennington