NBA 75 at 75: the Greatest Players in League History

The NBA released its 75 at 75 list this season and it was trash, the roll out was bad, the decision to confuse voters on if the 50 at 50 had to be included or not, the idea that you could have SEVENTY SIX PLAYERS ON THE LIST! All of those things are infuriating but here we are. 

Without further a due I will try to convince you of my 75 at 75. Here are some caveats. 

1- I count every league that has been merged into the NBA so NBL, BAA and ABA accolades are counted. 

2- I try to count your impact on the sport instead of just “Who is the better player in a vacuum?” 

3- This is my list so players I personally disliked (D-Wade) do get dropped. 

Honorable Mentions: 

76- Klay Thompson

77- Joel Embiid

78- Sidney Moncrief

79- Artis Gilmore

80- Damian Lillard

81- Dave Debusschere

82- Carmelo Anthony

83- Pete Maravich

84- Bill Sherman

85- Nate Thurmond

86- Robert Parish

87- Spencer Haywood

88- Dekembe Motumbo

89- Yao Ming

90- Jerry Lucas

91- Pau Gasol

92- Chris Webber

93- Chris Bosh

94- Dominique Wilkins

95- Anthony Davis

96- Alex English

97- Adrian Dantley 

98- Chris Mullin

99- Vince Carter

100- David Thompson

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75- Derick Rose

6’2 Combo Guard Bulls, Knicks (Cavs, Pistons, Wolves)

MVP, 3x All Star, All NBA, ROY,

Glass knees ruin joy and happiness. I dare you to watch Rose highlights and not smile at the way he dunks Goran Dragic into contemplating if he should go back to Europe. Rose was one of the most electrifying players in the history of basketball. Watching Rose rise for a dunk was like watching a leopard stalk baboons in Kruger National park (I know that is really specific but that’s one of the memories I have of seeing something that graceful yet ferocious at the same time). Another underrated aspect of Rose was his passing, his vision wasn’t amazing but his ability to pass was incredible. You know how your coaches told you “Never jump without a plan, you should pass before you jump.” Well apparently D-Rose was like, “Nah fam, I’m gonna jump, eat a taco, clip my nails, read a book, then pass.” I really wish his knees didn’t give out. It’s one of the sports tragedies of all time. He has basically the second shortest prime of anyone in my top 100 but it was glorious, it was incredible, it was Derrick Rose.

74- Grant Hill

6’8 Hall of Fame Wing- Pistons (Magic, Suns, Clippers)

7x All Star, 5x All NBA, ROY

Hill was amazing his career mirrors Vince Carter but his height is even higher, he was supposed to be the “next Jordan” but his knee and ankle turned that into what we have. Hill could do a little bit of everything though he struggled from 3 pt range he was a passable defender, a great secondary ball handler and a fantastic cutter and driver to the basket. His career should have mirrored Shaq and Duncan instead we wonder what we missed out on. The Fact that Hill played for so long even though his body betrayed him is also impressive. 

73- Tiny Archibald

6’1 Hall of Fame Pure Point- Kings and Celtics (34 games for the Nets, Set injured a whole year with the Braves, 46 games with the Bucks)

Champion, 6x All Star, 5x All NBA, Scoring Title, Assist Title (both in 73! Where he also led the league in Minuets) NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time List Member, 75th Anniversary Team.

Nathaniel “Nate” Archibald, who also went by the name Tiny, is a pretty controversial player. He is by some considered extremely inefficient (averaging 3 turnovers a game when turnovers weren’t counted in the really crazy part of his career), and by others a revolutionary who brought the playground style to the NBA. Tiny was named after “Big Tiny” his dad’s nickname, a dad who abandoned Nate and his family in the Patterson Projects of the Bronx. His story should have ended there, fatherless in one of the most drug infested neighborhoods of America, he should have been like all the other street ball legends who didn’t make it because of their addiction, but Tiny was addicted to basketball, a game he shouldn’t have dominated. A small, shy, and unconfident Archibald almost dropped out of high school, but he made it through and eventually to college all the way in El Paso Texas at UTEP. Drafted in the Second Round of the 1970 NBA draft by the Legendary Bob Cousy Tiny dominated on bad Royals/Kings teams till he was traded to the Nets, where his feet began to break down, a torn Achilles, the death sentence in basketball had him miss his entire career with the Buffalo Braves, who traded him to Boston. His career should have been over, another what If or wasted potential but once again Archibald stood up after defeat. In Boston Tiny 20 pounds over weight argued with the team stars JoJo White and Player Coach Dave Cowens, then everything changed, new ownership came in and brought in Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale. In Boston an admittedly slower Tiny learned to trust his teammates and became an integral part of a championship roster and made 3 more All Star games and an All NBA second team. He also saved his legacy as a survivor.

72- Tony Parker

6’2 Pure Point Spurs (Hornets)

4x Champion, FMVP, 6x All Star, 4x All NBA.

The Parisian Torpedo was lightning quick. He had probably the greatest acrobatic display of layups ever (this is probably bias but I’m going with it.) He was a winner, a leader, and an entertainer. Parker was the prototype drive and dish point guard. Yes, his finals MVP is kinda stolen from Duncan, yes he wasn’t as willing of a passer as he should have been. But, TP was energy exploding into a basketball. Words aren’t enough to explain how he changed the league. Dirk and Pau get a lot of credit for bringing the European game to the NBA, and rightly so, but Parker played a huge role in that as well. The sad thing about his per game stats and his career accolades is the fact he was on a super team. Parker only tops 34 minuets once. He sacrificed to win and to be laser focused on perfecting his role in the offense. Duncan was the heart and sole of the Spurs, Manu was the brain, Parker was the Bugatti that sped them to victory.

71- Draymond Green

6’6 Front Court- Warriors

3x Champ, 3x All Star, 2x All NBA, DPOY, 6x All Defense, Steals Champ, All Time NBA Leader in Below the Belt Kicks. 

Draymond is the most annoying player in NBA history. He’s too short, too fat, too un athletic to be a good defender, and yet he’s amazing at it. Draymond is a front court player who can’t shoot so his offensive game shouldn’t work, but it does. Draymond is also the most annoying player because he whines and plays dirty far too often. BUT MAN IS DRAYMOND GREEN A FANTASTIC PLAYER. You cannot start mentioning greatest defenders and not think about him. His Passing made it possible for Steph to play off ball therefore making the Warriors offense go supernova. His basketball IQ and Motor made what should have been a guy who didn’t make the league into one of the most important players on one of the best dynasties the game of basketball will ever see. 

70- Ray Allen

6’5 Hall of Fame Wing Milwaukee, Seattle, Boston, (Miami)

2x Champion, 10x All Star, 2x All NBA, 75th Anniversary Team.

Prime Stats: 23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal. 7 poster dunks and 4-4 from 3 point range (the last 2 are fake).

Walter Ray Allen was the best off ball shooter in NBA history. There is only one other option (Klay Thompson) and I’m gonna stand by this statement. He was a 3nD specialist, but “D” stands for Dunk instead of Defense here. He had a lot of success in Milwaukee (and probably should have made a finals over a certain overrated guy with cornrows) but blossomed in Seattle. He was an amazingly athletic sniper that presented modern offensive ideas to the early 2000s NBA known for its slow pace and low scoring. Eventually as the worst member of the most overrated trio in NBA history he won one title, literally one so you guys can quit acting like a dynasty. Later on he went to Miami where honestly the most clutch shot in NBA history won Dwayne Wade another title he didn’t deserve. Ray Allen was good, in fact he was great. So great that his myth makes other people look better than they are. Which leads to quite possibly the most confusing thing about Allen. He was a bad teammate. He demanded shots, treated teammates poorly, left 3 teams angry with him when he left, and feuded with coaches. However, on the court he was the perfect team player. It’s a really interesting dynamic that to this day confuses me.

69- Ben Wallace

6’9 (this is most definitely a lie) Combo Big Pistons (Bulls, Magic, Wizards, Cleveland)

Champion, 4x All Star, 5x All NBA, 6x All Defense, 4x DPOY, 2x Rebound Title, Block Title. 75 at 75 SNUB! SNUB I SAY!

There are some people who say if you don’t play offense you aren’t really a good player. Those people didn’t watch Ben Wallace. Big Ben was the most incredible player to watch especially when he was probably 6’6. His strength and athleticism were incredible. His passion and defensive IQ were inspiring. His tenacity and grit were amazing. His Afro was glorious. Ben Wallace was the 3rd center in the 2000s according to most, here is the thing— at this point I want all of my rockets fans to close their eyes and maybe skip this sentence. Ben Wallace was way better than Yao Ming. You can’t in any way understand how the dominant pistons teams were his team. I know they still made the conference finals without him. I don’t care. He was the man on those teams. Ben Wallace is a Hall of Famer and one of probably the top 5 defenders of all time.

68- Luka Doncic

6’7 Point Forward- Mavs

2x All NBA, 2x All Star, ROY. 

Luka the Don is on pace to make this ranking look too low but I’m going to stop right here, For some he is already too high on this list. Luka is a master at using balance and deceleration to fool defenders into getting out of position. He is a Larry Bird type passer, and a Dirk Nowitzki style midrange assassin. The fact that Luka Don-THICC came in this year and was considered a horrible player by casual fans for averaging 22-8-8 while being out of shape and dealing with ankle issues proves that if Luka can start taking his body seriously the sky is the limit for the Wonderkid. 

67- Tracy McGrady

6’8 Hall of Fame Wing- Magic, Rockets (Raptors, Knicks, Pistons, Hawks)

7x all star, 7x all NBA, 2x Scoring Title, MIP

T-Mac was electric. There was a time The Big Sleep vs The Black Mamba was an actual debate, one at times Tracy Lamar McGrady Jr. won. That debate had its flaws, and ignored that Kobe was a superior defender but it still happened and needs to be acknowledged. T-Mac could explode to score on any-one from any-where at any-time. His body was perfectly designed for basketball. That athleticism, length, size, co-ordination, speed, vision. The Raptors didn’t know what they had with T-Mac and he went to Orlando, this was his break, he would team up with Grant Hill and dominate the competition, Hill signed a huge contract and only played 47 games for Orlando, forcing them out of contention. Tracy won the Most Improved Player award in Orlando but his teammates failed him. McGrady was traded to Houston where his teammates (Yao Ming and co.) would continue the trend of getting injured right when the playoffs came around. While T-Mac’s career is a what if, that what if is not his fault. T-Mac was a Hall of Famer and that is pure fact.

66- Hal Greer

6’2 Hall of Fame off Guard Philadelphia

Champion, 10x All Star, 7x all NBA, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

High Gear Greer was always trying his hardest, he beloved he didn’t have a secure spot. In fact he didn’t even unpack his bags when he first got to Syracuse, NY to come off their bench. Greer had a great midrange game, was a good driver and talented defender for the Nationals who later became the 76ers. Eventually Wilt Chamberlain arrived to take the reigns as the best player on the team and Greer thrived as the number 2 guy. His ability to catch and shoot as well as cut to the basket paired well with the big mans passing from the low and high post pairing with Billy Cunningham and Chet Walker to become what many called the greatest team of all time. Later Chamberlain left and Greer wasn’t quite able to be the best player on a championship team, though him and Cunningham put in valiant efforts. Finally after a season as an assistant player coach the 15 year vet retired as the best guard, to date (yes this is foreshadowing, yes it is AI, yes the good AI, no Simmons isn’t a Guard), in franchise history. Dolph Schayes, the first Superstar Hal was sidekick for after Greer’s Hall of Fame enshrinement said this, “Greer always came to play.” That is probably exactly how he wanted to be remembered.

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65- Joe Fulks

6’5 Hall of Fame Small Forward- Warriors.

2x All Star, 4x all NBA/BAA Scoring title. Biggest Snub from 50 @ 50 and 75 @75.

Ok for those who think this doesn’t look great let me explain who Jumpin’ Joe was. Called “The Babe Ruth of Basketball” Fulks was a pioneer for the sport, in 1946 the BAA began, Joe Fulks lead the league in scoring and won the first championship. While he didn’t invent the jump shot he was the first real star to use it. He also had a deep bag of acrobatic layups and turn around jumpers. He was basically a 90’s backup small forward playing against defenses that didn’t know you should jump to contest yet. Fulks once scored 21 points in a quarter, before the shot clock was invented to keep opponents from holding onto the ball. As for his limited all star appearances, the game wasn’t played till he was 29, his career didn’t start till age 25 because he fought at Iwo Jima and then traveled with the USMC’s All Star Leathernecks. His career is short but he was extremely vital to the creation of our game.

64- James Worthy

6’9 Hall of Fame Small Forward Lakers

3x Champion, FMVP, 7x All Star, 2x All NBA, 50th anniversary team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Big Game James showed up in the playoffs, he averaged 22/5/3/1/1 in his prime even better than his regular season showings. Now James did have some weakness, he couldn’t really create for himself. So this guy named Magic Johnson turned him into an unstoppable force by finding him 97% of the time he was open (this is not an actual stat, please don’t quote this). Worthy’s totals aren’t as good as Dominique’s but he is also sharing the court with (spoiler alert) 2 top 10 guys all time. An interesting thought experiment is what would happen if you switched those 2 and see who does better. The saddest part of James Worthy’s career (other than his appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation) was he almost played for my Mavs but the deal didn’t go through. Today we don’t really have Small Forwards who don’t shoot and pass and honestly after writing about Worthy and Nique I’m beginning to wonder if that’s a bad thing? Worthy was like if Nique just more “Human” than “Highlight.” Yet, his impact on the league is what moves him ahead of Wilkins in my list.

63- Billy Cunningham

6’6 Hall of Fame Small Forward Sixers, Cougars

Champion, MVP, 5x All Star, 5x All NBA/ABA, ABA All Time Team 50th Anniversary Team. 75th Anniversary Team. 

The Kangaroo Kid or “Kang” was a great role player he was basically a left handed pogo stick with a lethal midrange game and acrobatic finishes around the hoop. He also could flat out JUMP hence the Kangaroo name. Ironically one of the best forwards from the college game was tried out a guard because he was only 6’6, thankfully they stoped that failed experiment and he became one of the greatest small forwards ever. It’s really nice to be able to point to his influence on Dr J who he eventually coached. He played with Wilt and Greer dominating on his way to a title and was really good as the best player for the Sixers but never a one man title contender.

62-Paul Arizin

6’4 Hall of Fame Small Forward- Warriors

Champion, 10x All Star, 4x All NBA, 2x Scoring Title, 25th Anniversary Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

If Joe Fulks Innovated the Jump Shot than Pitchin’ Paul tweaked it even more. He built off of the play style of his teammate to creat a team with 2 jump shooting forwards. Poppin’ Paul also could handle the ball and was known for good defense, the typical all around forward before those came into being. In the slowest paced era of basketball Arizin averaged 20 points per game 9 seasons in a row and every year, save one, of his career (after his sophomore year he spent 2 years in the military then returned to ball), making the all star team every year. In high school Arizin was cut every year from his teams so he would play in other leagues (church leagues, independent, intramural, etc) at one point playing for 7 teams at the same time. He accidentally discovered his jump shot on those slippery floors in thrown together leagues. It’s worth noting that he retired rather than move to California and one wonders if how long he would have played.

61- Kevin McHale

6’10 Hall of Fame Front Court Boston

3x champion, 7x All Star, All NBA, 6x All Defense, 2x 6th Man, 50th Anniversary Team. 75th Anniversary Team.

The Black Hole was amazing to watch. He would bring people into “The Torture Chamber” and go to work. Call “The man of 1000 moves” for good reason he was a master at the post up, probably the second best player at posting up in NBA history. He had incredible length and athleticism basically he was similar to Anthony Davis but a little smaller and slower. Being the second guy in the really good Boston Big 3, he was a great complement to Parish liking to shoot from mid range and Bird’s shooting, it left the low post as the easel for McHale’s masterpiece. McHale wasn’t even a real basketball player till high school when a growth spurt moved him off the hockey ice and onto the hardwood. It’s therefore even more amazing that a guy who’s dad (5’10) wasn’t a post player and who picked up the game late became that good at a skill that requires a lot of practice. I LOVE McHale highlights and old Celtics games. That’s why I was surprised in my rankings that McHale dropped this low. Before my deep dives I had him in the 30s but his accolades and spot in the “front court” position ranking brought him down quickly. The 80s Forward position is deeper than the 90s but not enough to justify only one All NBA selection. So the biggest shock to me in my rankings is Keven McHale this low.

60- Dennis Rodman

6’7 Hall of Fame Front Court Pistons, Bulls (Spurs, Lakers, Mavs)

5x Camp, 2x All Star, 2x All NBA, 8x All Defense, 2x DPOY, 7x Rebounding Champ, 75th Anniversary Team.

Rodman is both culturally and basketball wise divisive. He was a horrible teammate on teams that weren’t competing but when his teams were he was one of the reasons why. He couldn’t shoot and sometimes even refused to take open layups in order to pad other stats but yet he was the best rebounder in history and one of the most versatile defenders in history guarding Bird, MJ, Magic, Shaq, Hakeem, and Nique. One player shouldn’t be able to guard all those kinds of players. 

59- Connie Hawkins

6’8 Hall of Fame Front Court Pipers, Suns, (Lakers, Hawks)

Champion, MVP, 5x All Star, 3x All ABA, ABA All Time Team.

In 1960 Cornelius Lance Hawkins was the #1 recruit in the nation. An absolute legend for Boys High School in NYC, the next year he was preparing for his Freshman Season at Iowa his coach, the man who should have protected him, told him he needed a lawyer, sent him with FBI agents back to New York. The Agents, starved and basically tortured a confession out of Connie, that he fixed games in high school, a confession proven false in a court of law later. The NBA decided to blackball Hawkins Because they were afraid of him throwing games, even though the courts proved he didn’t. Connie played 2 years for the Pittsburgh Rens of the NBL, a minor league that folded. 4 years as the star of the Harlem Globetrotters. 2 years as the best player in the ABA for the Pittsburgh (and later) Minnesota Pipers. Before finally at the age of 27 he was able to play in the NBA, most of his other worldly athleticism was taken away by the multiple knee surgeries he had because of the subpar courts the Globetrotters had him playing on. Still he made 4 All star teams and one All NBA team (Beating out Hall of Famers John Havlicek and Gus Johnson). Hawk remains the biggest what if in NBA history. He was going to be in the GOAT conversation you can’t convince me otherwise.

58- Patrick Ewing

7’ Hall of Fame Pivot. Knicks (Sonics, Magic)

11x All Star, 7x All NBA, 3x All Defense, ROY, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Ok I’m gonna say it, if it wasn’t for the Cult of Michael Jordan Patrick Ewing wouldn’t be this high on my list. He was on the dream team but was the worst center on that team. He played in New York but wasn’t the best center in Knicks history. He’s not even the second best player in Knicks history. He could spread the floor and play good defense but he wasn’t a DPOY ever and his defensive prime was short. Literally they named a Theory about your team being better without you about the Hoya Destroya. That being said in a vacuum I think Ewing was great. He probably would have maybe won a ring in a different era, maybe. But of all the players who’s legend is grown because they lost to MJ his is the one that bothers me the most. MJ was awesome, he’s the *redacted because you will find out his ranking later* player of all time! So you don’t have to pretend Ewing was better to say he was Awesome.

57- Garry Payton

6’4 Hall of Fame Pure Point Sonics, (Bucks, Lakers, Celtics, Heat)

Champion, 9x All Star, 9x All NBA, 9x All Defense, DPOY, Steals leader, 75th Anniversary Team.

The Glove is the best defensive pure point on this list, counting only defense. Payton was capable of locking up anyone even making Jordan actually work for his points. Now isolation defenders aren’t as valuable as rim protectors and switchable wings but he was probably the best iso defender of the 90s. And he still remains the only Point Guard to win DPOY. Payton and Shawn Kemp were like Stockton and Malone if they were cool like actual Jazz, from New Orleans where that name makes sense. He was probably the best scoring point guard of the 90s and a better defender than Stockton. His passing was underrated but not the best. Look, Payton was incredible but he just misses the cut for being the top 50 which will be coming soon.

56- Manu Ginobili

6’6 Combo Guard Spurs

4x Champion, 2x All Star, 2x All NBA, 6th Man, 

El Contusione was electrifying. He was Pistol for my generation, he was perfection on the fast break. Manu came off the bench to eviscerate defenses every night as his black mullet became a graying circlet of championship spirit. I admit his stats don’t look amazing, that’s fine he embraced the needs of the team and was the second best Shooting Guard of the 00s. Never will I ever accept Manu slander. He was by far the most terrifying player on those Spurs team. Duncan was the best player but Manu would beat your team in heartbreaking fashion and make you root for him to keep going because it was so beautiful to watch. It. Was. Devastating. There is no way that anyone who actually watched the Spurs play would think he wasn’t a Hall of Famer.

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55- Reggie Miller

6’7 Hall of Fame Wing Pacers.

5x All Star, 3x All NBA, 5x FT% Title, 75th Anniversary Team.

Uncle Reg was the best shooter of all time… the Steph Curry happened. However we are talking about Mighty Mouth. The brother of the greatest female hooper of all time (I know I am not an expert on this but I do feel pretty confident in this) Reggie was the King of Clutch or “Miller Time.” Reggie was born with a hip defect and had to wear a corrective brace till he was 4 and was tiny till a massive growth spurt. Reggie was so fun to watch dominate and score from everywhere. He was definitely 2 decades early for the small ball, 5 out game that was coming, the game he is at least partially responsible for sparking. By far the best Pacer ever he was capable going toe to toe with Jordan, but not beating him. Still Reggie was one of the best shooters, trash talkers, and Jordan opponents he had.

54- Paul Pierce

6’7 Small Forward Boston (Nets, Clippers, Wizards)

Champion, FMVP, 10x All Star, 4x All NBA, 75th Anniversary Team.

The Truth was the second best player on the overrated Celtics Big 3 of the late 00s and early 10s. Also, PP was way more team first than Ray and way less fake than KG. He also was an actual leader unlike Rondo though he was. Pierce was the heart of those teams even if KG was the Soul. While KG was the better player Pierce was the more likable one. He was never the best player in the league, probably only the best player at his position for 2-3 years max, wasn’t the best player in his draft, but he was awesome. Larry Bird said he was the best Isolation Scorer in Celtics history. His legend even proceeded him even in his old man years, “I called Game!” Is still one of the best lines ever, and one I used any time I won a pick up game. His old man game let him age gracefully. I loved Pierce and in case it’s not obvious it’s not a sentiment I share with his teammates in that Trio. Pierce was one of the 75 best players ever and that’s The Truth.

53- Wes Unseld

6’7 Hall of Fame Combo Big Bullets

Champion, FMVP, MVP, 5x All Star, All NBA, Rebounding Title, FG% Title, ROY, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

“The Wide U” was basically immovable down low. Being the size of some guards he held his own against Kareem, Wilt, Reed and the rest. The king of the outlet pass, a move his namesake Kevin Wesley Love also perfected. A master at dropping guards with a well set screen. Dennis Rodman on the boards before Dennis Rodman. Unseld made the finals 4x after the team had never had a winning season till he was drafted. Similar to Ben Wallace he was the heart and sole of a team that also included another superstar and it’s hard to rank him or Hayes as the better player. The term “Superstar Roleplayer” was used to describe him, I feel it’s pretty accurate. He played on teams with really balanced scoring and didn’t demand the ball but did his best to put the team first and win the game.

52- Bob McAdoo

6’9 Hall of Fame Combo Big, Braves, Knicks (Celtics, Pistons, Nets, Lakers, Sixers)

2x Champion, MVP, 5x All Star, 2x All NBA, ROY, 3x Scoring champion, 75th Anniversary Team.

Mac was the original KAT. You can’t watch his highlights and not be surprised by a Center in the 70s with his level of handle, shooting and completely disregard for real defense in order to get stats. Winning 3 straight scoring titles by his jumper where he almost brought his heels into his butt (seriously it’s super distracting to watch) and the fact that big men couldn’t guard him on a fast break. He made his way into MVP contention but had little team success. Doo (a nickname I assume will never come back) was very reluctant to admit he wasn’t a superstar and it led to him almost falling out of the league till he became a bench guy for the show time lakers. McAdoo was interesting and unique at the time and honestly probably would have been a better player today.

51- Elvin Hayes

6’9 Hall of Fame Combo Big, Rockets, Bullets

Champion, 12x All Star, 6x All NBA, 2x All Defense, Scoring Title, 2x Rebounding Title, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

The Big E was a walking bucket. Known for his Abrasive personality he needed a team first partner like Unseld to help keep him in check. Hayes had a beautiful fade-away jumper. But his honesty with himself and teammates wore thin and Hayes contemplated suicide early in his very individually successful career. When he made it to the Bullets he was known as one of the top players in the league but also a perpetual coach killer. Moving to forward helped unlock Hayes but giving him less defensive responsibility and letting him roam and save his energy for offense. His career arch is so matched with Wes Unseld that it’s crazy they were drafted right after each other. The 2 of them made the best front court duo before the merger of the NBA/ABA and it really could have had multiple rings together.

50- George Gervin

6’7 Hall of Fame Wing Spurs (Squires, Bulls)

12x All Star, 9x All NBA/ABA, 4x Scoring Title, ABA all time team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

First of “Iceman” or just “Ice” is flat out one of the coolest nicknames of all time (yes I used “cool” on purpose). 2 players have more scoring title than Iceberg Slim: Chamberlain, Wilt and Jordan, Michael. The fact that we talk about greatest scorers and AI is usually mentioned before GG is flat out disgusting. He had a smooth jumper and the deadliest fingerroll in history, he also just got to the basket with footwork and head fakes. Look Gervin wasn’t a one man army. He should have been paired with another star and been given a chance to win a title. I dare you to watch Ice and not think of KD eviscerating opponents. He had back to back MVP runner up seasons and that could have easily changed his perception and maybe moved him higher up this list. Just as he had entered the league tying to learn from Dr J, Gervin left the league teaching things to MJ. It’s a cool bridge that really could have made something awesome.

49- Clyde Drexler

6’7 Hall of Fame Wing Blazers, Rockets

Champion, 10x All Star, 5x All NBA, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Clyde the Glide, it’s such a great name, one that perfectly fits his play style and rhymes so that is another plus. Drexler turned in some great performances in Portland where he should have had a ring if either Sam Bowie, a player legitimately good enough to be defensible going before MJ, or Arvydas Sabonis, who if he would have played a full NBA career would be top 20 talent, had been able to have their primes with him. Even with all the problems of having lesser teammates Clyde still dragged his team to 2 finals and became a member of The Dream Team. Then half way through his 12th season he was traded to his hometown team, in Houston Clyde reunited with his college teammate Hakeem Olajuwon to bring back “Phi Slamma Jamma” to the NBA, the Rockets had been a little slow out of the gate after resting on their champion laurels and Clyde brought energy back to the team. Despite being the 6th seed The two friends dominated their way to stopping Shaquille O’Neil and Penny Hardaway from creating an Orlando Dynasty. Drexler’s all around game made him a perfect second guy to Hakeem’s singular brilliance, because of age they only made that one finals but one has to wonder if any of the other what ifs of Drexler’s career would have worked out how much higher he would be on this list.

48- Dwight Howard

6’10 Pivot Orlando, Houston, (Lakers, Atlanta, Washington, Charlotte, 6ers)

Champion, 8x All Star, 8x All NBA, 5x All Defense, 3x DPOY, 5x Rebound Title, 2x Block Title, 75th Anniversary Team SNUB!

People completely forgot how good prime D12 was. He was a massively powerful defender but also had hops for days, Superman really did fit him (even if it fit Shaq more). His shot blocking was not always the smartest but it demoralized opponents into thinking they couldn’t score. In Orlando he was an absolute monster who took a team to the finals. The youngest player ever to have a 20/20, the youngest ever to have a DPOY. Then Dwightmare happened. He forced his way out of Orlando all the while trying to have everyone love him, he clashed with Kobe and Didn’t fit well with Pau in LA and in Houston took too long to realize he was second banana to James Harden. Some people seem to completely forget how singularly dominant Prime Dwight was and it’s a shame that most people think of him post back injury and feuding with teammates. Dwight Howard is a Hall of Famer for those of you who don’t think so, you are just plain wrong.

47- Bill Walton

6’11 Hall of Fame Pivot, Blazers (Clippers, Celtics)

2x Champion, FMVP, MVP, 2x All NBA, 2x All Defense, 6th Man, Rebound Title, Blocks Title, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Ok let’s face it Walton has the shortest prime on this list. Big Red would have had 2 DPOYs if they had that award back then and he was amazing in what he did by being his teams entire offense from the high post while being the teams entire defense as well. He was the next Bill Russell and then his body betrayed him. It’s ironic that I have him and Lanier right next to each other but it really fits. Both of them are so good but lose their careers. I feel like Walton is one of the most controversial players on this list. I’ve had people vehemently argue he should be way lower or even off this list and other scoff at how I don’t know anything having him this low. That makes me feel kinda great about this ranking because if everyone is mad at me I’m probably right.

46- Nikola Jokic

6’11 284! Combo Big- Nuggets

MVP, 3x All Star, 3x All NBA, 

Jokic will make this ranking look stupid in a few years, he’s the best passing big man of all time, he might be the best bigman shooter of all time when this is all said and done as well. Jokic is a winner and it is weird that people say he isn’t, his numbers and wins in the playoffs prove that he shows up when it matters. While Joker isn’t the best defender he does use his positioning well enough to not get played off the floor and he is only going to get better as his career continues to grow. 

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45- Russell Westbrook

6’3 Pure Point, Thunder, Rockets, Wizards, Lakers

MVP, 9x All Star, 9x All NBA, 2x Scoring Title, 3x Assist Title, 75th Anniversary Team.

Few players in any era are capable of the individual statistical brilliance of Russell Westbrook. 3 years averaging a 20 point triple double, a 20-20-20 game, 43 points in a finals game. Westbrook is this generations Allen Iverson, his power and grit being both his greatest strength and his fatal flaw. Westbrook gets caught up in the moment, trying to go tit for tat with the lethal shooters of the era, something he can’t do, his style of play makes him hard to pair with other superstars who need the ball, he cares way too deeply about statistical outcomes. Even with all of that Westbrook is an outstanding player. One who can go toe to toe with any superstar on any given night. Westbrook is one of the most powerful guards to ever grace the NBA hardwood. His fast break ability as either the finisher or set up man is breath taking. Westbrook is overrated but at the same time one of the greatest overachievers in NBA history.

44- Allen Iverson

6’0 (praying God doesn’t strike me down for this lie) Hall of Fame Combo Guard Sixers, Nuggets, (Pistons, Grizzlies)

MVP, 11x All Star, 7x All NBA, ROY, 4x Scoring Champ, 3x Steals Champ, 75th Anniversary Team.

Who is the most overrated player in NBA history? In “The Answer” you have your answer. Look I’ll be completely honest if this was up to me and how much I would want this player on my team AI is probably in the 90s on that list. However I don’t think you can tell the history of the NBA and get to this point on your list and not mention Allen Ezail Iverson. Yes, he was selfish. Ye, he never once met a shot and thought “this is probably a bad shot.” Yes, his defense was extremely overrated. But, he was so fun to watch. He could go for like 1000 points and I as a pre teen would have believed it, I would have also assumed he shot 1.6 million times, but hey he was fun to watch. The problem with AI is for him to really thrive you couldn’t have good offensive players with him. Therefore it made it hard for team success. I loved watching him but knew he wasn’t the best player in the league.

43- Jason Kidd

6’4 Hall of Fame Pure Point Nets, Mavs, Suns (Knicks)

Champion, 10x All Star, 6x All NBA, 9x All Defense, ROY, 5x Assists Title, 75th Anniversary Team.

J-Kidd was so fun to watch. I. Love. Passing. So when Kidd was in the zone it was Jordan’s Basketball Nirvana. Originally mockingly calls Ason Kidd because he had no J, he finished his career 3rd in 3 pointers made, he is now 10th. Kidd started out with the Mavericks “Triple J” line up of Jim Jackson, Jamaal Mashburn and himself. While those 3 all individually were great the team as a whole struggled, and arguments over women became public and caused the Mavs to eventually trade away all 3. In Phoenix he frequently played in a 4 guard lineup (Kevin Johnson, Steve Nash, Rex Chapman and himself) to have a blistering pace, He was later paired with Penny Hardaway in an attempt to have the best backcourt in the league, injuries kept that from happening. He was traded to the Nets and exploded. That team fit him perfectly and he finished second in MVP voting and made consecutive finals appearances before losing to the Dynasty of the Lakers and Spurs. A trade for Vince Carter was supposed to make the team finally break through but it never worked out. Kidd finally slowing down was returned to Dallas where he had one more all star appearance and led a fantastic offense built around Dirk Nowitzki to a title. Kidd’s defense on Wade in those finals was extremely important as was his sometimes placement on LeBron. Kidd was one of the greatest Pure Points in NBA and one of the few pass first point guards to win a title.

42- Sam Jones

6’4 Hall of Fame Off Guard. Celtics.

10x Champion, 5x All Star, 3x All NBA 25th Anniversary Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Mr. Clutch came through when it counted. A super fast Shooter with a great bank shot, he also played good defense and would do anything the coach asked. Jones was devastated to be drafted by the Celtics a team he thought he couldn’t make, he determined himself to always out work everyone on the team, something he did for his entire career. His career performance in the playoffs was incredible he seemed to always hit the big shot. Russell would catch the ball and outlet pass to a streaking Jones for a wide open bank shot, repeat, every game, till the championship, off season repeat again. Jones, in 1969, game 4, behind by one point turned and looked to player coach Bill Russell in the middle of the time out, the two locked eyes. The teammates nodded and Russell one last time called the play for Jones, Jones knew the shot was going in before it left his hands. With that both Russell and Jones retired as champions, just like it should have been.

41- Chris Paul

6’1 Pure Points, Hornets, Clippers, Suns (Rockets, Thunder).

11x All Star, 10x All NBA, 9x All Defense, ROY, 4x Assists Title, 6x Steals Title, 75th Anniversary Team.

Chris Paul is one of the best passers in NBA history, one of the greatest mid range guys ever and a fantastic performer in the clutch. He can do almost anything on either side of the court including guarding prime Kevin Durant in the playoffs. A super efficient and advanced stats darling he tends to fall short in the playoffs. I don’t think this is totally a fair assessment though. Pass First Point Guards don’t win titles, Jason Kidd, Rajon Rondo, Louie Dampier, and Bob Cousy, are the only ones to do it in the ABA/NBA (Magic is a Point Forward). When your teammates are that dependent on you creating looks for them it makes it harder to beat great defenses in the playoffs. CP3 is a generational point guard who earned his spot on this list, even if he didn’t win a title.

40- Kawhi Leonard

6’7 Wing Spurs, Raptors Clippers

2x Champion, 2x FMVP, 5x All Star, 5x All NBA, 7x All Defense, 2x DPOY, Steals Title, 75th Anniversary Team.

Kawhi is the best perimeter defender in NBA history. He’s one of the most clutch players ever who completely goes to a different world in the playoffs. He’s the closest thing the modern NBA has to Michael Jordan. Watch the clips of LeBron cussing when Kawhi enters the finals games and realize how good he is when totally locked in. When entering the NBA the biggest knock on him was his shooting, he locked in with the Spurs shooting coach and his career 3FG% is .381 on almost 4 attempts a game. Turning strengths into absolute strengths and weaknesses into strengths is how The Claw rolls. This year for the Clippers he’s averaging a career high 5.5 assists per game! If his body holds up (not a guarantee at this point unfortunately) Kawhi will Skyrocket up this list.

39- Bob Cousy

6’1 Hall of Fame Pure Point Boston (Royals it was 7 games at the age of 41 we won’t be talking about it.)

6x Champion, MVP, 13x All Star, 12x All NBA, 8x Assists Title, 25th Anniversary Team, 35th Anniversary Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

The Houdini of the Hardwood was fantastic at making magic with his dribbling, passing and shot creation. Having watched what full games I could I was struck by how many things he did that looked like a modern player. His efficiency wasn’t good but at that time it was normal, his athleticism was average but his IQ is tremendous. Breaking his arm at 13 “Cooz” learned to be ambidextrous and it showed later in his playing style. Red Auerbach tried hard not to have Cousy on the Celtics but fate almost forced it to happen and the Point Guard from Holy Cross was the best player a available when the Celtics picked in a dispersal draft after passing on him once. Red would later be extremely happy he got the flashy guard and the two would make the Celtics a popular team to watch in the 50s and a championship powerhouse when Russell joined the team. Cousy was the player who made Russell look even better and Russell covered for Cousy’s mistakes. Cousy was the perfect second guy for basketball’s original GOAT.

38- Dave Cowens

6’9 Hall of Fame Combo Big Celtics (Bucks)

2x Champion, MVP, 8x All Star, 3x All NBA, 3x All Defense, ROY, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Big Red is both overrated and also underrated. His MVP season was basically given to him for him doing statistical achievements no one else had done, kind of like Westbrook’s triple double, and just like that year the person who really deserved MVP didn’t get it (Harden, Kareem). Cowens could spread the floor and defend the paint. He was a really good defender and a modern big man in the 70s. While he gets bumped up in the imaginations of people just because of his undeserved MVP his way of thinking the game is super underrated. He wasn’t the best player on those Celtics teams (Hondo) but he definitely brought a lot to the table and was extremely important to them.

37- Steve Nash

6’3 Hall of Fame Pure Point, Suns, Mavericks, (Lakers) 

2x MVP, 8x All Star, 7x All NBA, 5x Assist Champion, 75th Anniversary Team.

Nashty was the second best passer in NBA history. His jumper was beyond lethal and his grit was unsurpassed. I want to hit the Elephant in the room. 2 MVPs is probably too high. Duncan, Kobe, Dirk, all of them had better cases for MVP that year but Nash did something special. But, MVSteve was coming off what some thought would be the ending of his career leaving a Dallas team that wouldn’t pay him because of his bad back. He turned his career around and became the puppet master of the first truly modern NBA offense. Every NBA team now uses his High Pick and Roll plays, the “Nash dribble” is part of the NBA vocabulary, his ability to shoot made Tre Young, Steph Curry and Damian Lillard’s careers possible. Would he be this high on this list without the underserved MVPs? No, would he still be one of the greatest Pure Points of all time? Absolutely.

36- Elgin Baylor

6’5 Hall of Fame Wing Lakers

11x All Star, 10x All NBA, ROY 35th Anniversary Team. 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Let me explain to you how we got Michael Jordan, Jordan patterned his game off of Dr J and David Thompson, they patterned their games off of Connie Hawkins, he followed Elgin. The first modern wing. His head fakes and change of direction layups were legendary (he invented the Euro Step that was later brought back). His jumping ability was insane, once in college he tore his armpit on the rim, HIS ARMPIT! A fantastic shooter and good passer, a great defender and insane rebounder “Rabbit” hooped his way to being one of the best players in the league. Elgin lost in the finals 8 times, and retired because he refused to come off the bench… his Lakers won the title that year. Baylor was one of the all time greatest players most casual fans have never heard of.

35- Isiah Thomas

6’1 Hall of Fame Pure Point Pistons

2x Champion, FMVP, 12x All Star, 5x All NBA, Assist Champion 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Zeke is one of the hardest players to rank on this list. His play elevated so high in the playoffs it feels like 33 is entirely too low. His dribbling is insane, he is in my opinion the best ball handler pre 2000. The Baby Faced Assassin was a killer in the clutch, his shooting stats don’t show how deadly his open jumper could be. Pocket Magic also could pass and was great at knowing which teammates needed touches before they would check out of games. He turned Mark Aguirre into a good teammate, as a Mavs fan I say this might be his greatest accomplishment. He is linked to Stockton by the time period and Tuss definitely had a better prime. Now Thomas had no business being on the dream team his body had already started to betray him (although Stockton was injured the whole time so he would have helped there). But, he was definitely the second best guard of the 80s, as MJ was coming into his own. The leader of the most hated team ever, was hated because he was that good.

34- Dolph Schayes

6’8 Hall of Fame Power Forward Nationals/Sixers

Champion, 12x All Star, 12x All NBA, Rebound Title, 25th Anniversary Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Jumping into the collective conscious as a 16 year old playing for New York University in an MSG game Schayes became a Star in the NBL at just 18. Playing across the entire beginning of the NBA he was the only Superstar to successfully translate from the beginning till after the shot clock era. His inside hook and deep range set shots made him a great offensive weapon and his interior defense and bruising stile made him age into a tough nosed defender. Schayes and Mikan were the rivalry of the 40s-50s Schayes was one of the best players to ever play the game. He was a fantastic free throw shooter in an era where everyone was hacked all the time. Schayes transitioned from the slow plodding style of Mikan and Larry Foust into the faster offenses of Bob Pettit and Wilt Chamberlain. Mastering both styles. Dolph Schayes was a legend and needs to be remembered as such.

33- Willis Reed

6’9 Hall of Fame Combo Big Knicks

2x Champion, 2x FMVP, MVP, 7x All Star, 5x All NBA, All Defense, ROY, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Willis Reed was a lot better than I thought before I watched the footage of him in his prime. Known for being super clutch in his 2 finals wins I thought he was just a big strong center who took all the credit from Clyde who really was the best player on those teams (I was right about Frazier, wrong about Reed). Reed was an inspirational leader and that is what he is most remembered for. He was the Tim Duncan of his day, solid fundamentals, really good at everything, would slam it on you if you weren’t paying attention. Those Knicks teams needed a strong leader. Cazzie Russell, Dick Barnett, Earl Monroe, Bill Bradley, Jerry Lucas, Phill Jackson and Clyde Frazier all had very big personalities. Reed once was called in as a National Guardsmen to a protest, Jackson was leading it. Reed was an anchor on those dominant defenses and the heart and sole of the team.

32- Walt Frazier

6’4 Hall of Fame Combo Guard Knicks, (Cavs)

2x Champion, 7x All Star, 6x All NBA, 7x All Defense, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

“Clyde” played by a philosophy made on the dirt courts of the segregated south. Aggressive defense first, Pass to the open man instead of taking a wild shot. These things would serve him well as the best point guard of the 70s. Several schools offered him scholarships to be their QB but Southern Illinois University offered him one for Basketball, Frazier desperately wanted to go pro in a sport and there were no Black QBs so he dedicated himself to the hardwood. Half way through a lackluster rookie year a new coach in Red Holzman took over and Frazier as well as fellow rookie Phill Jackson took blossomed. Though we didn’t keep the stat at the beginning of his career Mr. Cool was said to have multiple double digit steals games. Frazier deserves at least one of Reeds Finals MVPs and probably more accolades than he got. Many considered him the greatest defensive guard ever before MJ and some still do. These days Clyde is still working in MSG as their broadcaster, his colorful clothes hide the fact that he was once the King of the Garden.

31- James Harden

6’5 Combo Guard Rockets, Nets (Thunder)

MVP, 9x All Star, 7x All NBA, 3x Scoring Title, Assist Title, 6th Man, 75th Anniversary Team.

The Beard is an interesting player, he has had so many MVPs “stolen” from him because people “don’t like to watch his play style” I personally don’t have a problem watching Harden. He’s definitely the second best guard of the 10s, I do think he would do better if he went back to being the facilitator instead of having another point guard with him. I think that while his teams are built to make him look good they aren’t built to win in the playoffs. They play one style and don’t adjust. Harden is a singularly unique talent, he bends the rules to his advantage which is usually something we celebrate for Manu, Luka and Larry Bird but for some reason Harden gets knocked for this. The joke earlier about how bad his defense is was definitely a joke. I think he’s average and when he tries he can be good he just spends all his energy on offense. Harden is 29 because of regular season brilliance, if he ever finishes out in the playoffs he is definitely going to rise higher.

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30- Bob Pettit

6’9 Hall of Fame Power Forward- Hawks

Champion, 2x MVP, 11x All Star, 11x All NBA, ROY, 2X Scoring Title, Rebound Title, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

The Bombardier from Baton Rouge was doubted when he first came into the league, at 200 lbs it was laughable to think he could stand up to the pounding of the NBA. Bob Pettit wouldn’t quit. He kept going even when he would miss he would have a put back. He was tenacious on the boards and had a nice outside shot. After deciding to lift weights between his rookie and sophomore seasons, something his team trainers told him would make him a worse player because he would slow down and not be able to jump, he won the MVP. The next year the Hawks added 4 Hall of Famers, Ed McCauley, Cliff Hagan, Slater Martin, and player/coach Alex Hannum. They beat Bill Russell’s celtics in the Finals. Pettit has been greatly overlooked when talking about the best power forwards of all time and I hope to remind people he was really, really good.

29- Dwyane Wade

6’4 Hall of Fame Wing Heat (Bulls, Cavs)

3x Champion, FMVP, 13x All Star, 8x All NBA, 3x All Defense, Scoring Title, 75th Anniversary Team.

This is the point where Jordan, professional Dwyane Wade hater looks desperately for a way to keep him off this list. Searching frantically through my criteria for a way to make it so I don’t have to say good things about Flash. Maybe I can point out his stupid idea that he deserved the farewell tour that Kobe got? Or how to over inflate his ego he basically forced Dirk to retire with him? Or how he Froze LeBron out against the Mavs in 11? (That one I’m super thankful for) Or maybe how he cheated to get his first ring? That he was a relic guard who was a liability from three?… But, I believe in honesty, alas for this poor Mavs Fan, there is no way to keep him any lower, so I must unfortunately allow him his due. D-Wade was good. Really Good. He should have more All Defense teams but I can only assume Kobe Bryant had illicit photo of voters he used to black mail his way on and therefore Wade off the last 5 years he made it. He was nice as the number one guy and for 2 years with LeBron he was the second best Robin ever. Wade was really good, he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Now that I forced myself to do that I’m gonna go throw up.

28- Karl Malone

6’9 Hall of Fame Power Forward Jazz (Lakers)

2x MVP, 14x All Star, 14x All NBA, 4x All Defense, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

I’m gonna start with a story. My wife’s cousin lives in Louisiana, his church was needing to sell land and his dad had a friend interested in the land. That friend came to the church to meet the pastor about the sell and the pastor looked at him saying, “Wow, you sure are tall, you should’ve played basketball.” Now, this pastor probably didn’t know he was talking to the second all time scoring leader in NBA history so maybe we should give him a pass. Malone was really good at screening then rolling or popping. He was the perfect partner for John Stockton, the better player. A lot has been made about the terrible allegations of what Malone did off court. I’m not going to touch on that. On court Malone was a legend and worthy of his spot on this list.

27- John Stockton

6’1 Hall of Fame Pure Point Jazz.

10x All Star, 11x All NBA, 5x All Defense, 9x Assists Title, 2x Steals Title. 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Karl Malone wouldn’t be the player he was without Stockton. Stock could pass like crazy, shoot with the best of them, and Gonzaga probably didn’t need a real mascot in the early 80s because he was a real bulldog on defense. One thing watching Stockton is not only how he bends his defender to his will but how he uses the threat of the pass or shot to bend the second and third defenders into creating gaps for him to exploit. It amazes me that he never won a championship but pass first point guards rarely make it as the best player on a championship team. In my opinion Stockton was the best player on the 90s Jazz and the best player in Jazz history. For those of you keeping track of my positions Stockton is the best Pure Point in NBA history.

26- Scottie Pippen

6’8 Hall of Fame Point Forward Bulls (Rockets, Blazers)

6x Champion, 7x All Star, 7x All NBA, 10x All Defense, Steal Champion, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Pip was the best number 2 in NBA history. Hands down, not even close. His all around game, great ability to set up teammates, his other worldly help defense. That’s something I want to touch on. If Kawhi is the best perimeter defender ever, Pippen is number 2, he also might have been better on help defense. Pippen deserved a DPOY. Probably one of Dekembe’s 47 they gave him. A lot can be said about Pippen who had to walk on at a barely Division-I school in Arkansas and actually started out as the manager to becoming my 25th best player of all time. I’m not going to get into it but he was so much fun to watch dominate opponents. The defense of MJ, Grant and Pippen was insane, and with Rodman it was also good. Scottie was someone every single fan wanted on their team, a glue guy who was also a superstar.

25- Charles Barkley

6’6 (Liar!) Hall of Fame Forward 6ers, Suns, Rockets

MVP, 11x All Star, 11x All NBA, Rebound Title, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Sir Charles, The Round Mound of Rebound, The Chuckster, The Chuck Wagon, The Prince of Pizza, The Incredible Bulk, The Leaning Tower of Pizza, Bread Truck, Boy Gorge. Barkley is the only Non-MJ/Hakeem/Shaq MVP that should have happened in the 90s. His athletic ability was incredible for someone his size, his size was incredible for someone his size. His dunks are awesome his passing is fun and he’s the master of the one man fast break. You can’t watch him and not think “I really, really hope Zion is like him!” Because nothing. No. Thing. Compared to how fun prime Barkley is fun to watch. His off court personality is notable but his on court impact was greatly felt. He should have won a ring. He should have beat Jordan. The 93 finals, months before I was born, is probably Jordan’s greatest accomplishment because he beat Charles when he had no business beating him.

24- Rick Barry

6’7 Hall of Fame Point Forward, Warriors, Oaks, Capitals, Nets, (Rockets)

2x Champion, FMVP, 12x All Star, 10x All NBA/ABA, ROY, Scoring Title, Steals Title, ABA All Time Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

The Miami Greyhound was a great all around forward. He could do a little bit of everything and his shooting made it to where his off ball gravity created open driving lanes for himself and others. His passing was incredible. The only player to lead the NCAA, NBA and ABA in scoring he was individually brilliant, on court a fantastic team player. Off court kinda a jerk. In the 78-79 season Barry averaged 5 free throws a game, he missed 9… in 80 games… 160/169… That’s incredible. He averaged, AVERAGED, 40 points a game in a finals. Barry is one of the forgotten greats of the past.

23- John Havlicek

6’5 Hall of Fame Wing, Celtics

8x Champion, Finals MVP, 12x All Star, 11x All NBA, 8x All Defense, 35th Anniversary Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Hondo had more stamina than most players do in a lifetime. He just kept going and never, ever slowed down. The all time best scorer for Boston had actually been a 3 sport athlete in high school, in fact the Browns drafted him even though he didn’t play football in college— having given up his QB career to focus on Baseball, Basketball and his studies— which is the most Brown’s thing I’ve ever read. Hondo actually reported to the browns camp and was the last cut from the team, something the city of Boston probably should be extremely grateful for. The slowly aging Celtic needed John to come off the bench and provide a spark so for Sharman, Ramsey and Jones on the wing. He filled this role even being second on the team in minutes till he became the starter and slowly began to improve into a starter, than a star, then the best player on the Celtics who were still winning titles. Hondo just didn’t quit. Hondo is known for many things but one moment stands out the most. 5 seconds left game 7 of the eastern conference finals. Celtics up one, Hal Greer tried to inbound the ball when Jonny Most begins to scream, “Havlicek steals it. Over to Sam Jones. Havlicek stole the ball! It’s all over! Johnny Havlicek stole the ball!”

22- Moses Malone

6’10 Combo Big Rockets, Sixers (Stars, Spirit, Braves, Bullets, Hawks, Bucks, Spurs)

Champion, FMVP, 3x MVP, 13x All Star, 8x All NBA, 2x All Defense, 6x Rebound Champ, ABA All Time Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Big Mo is a really hard one to rank. He hoarded rebounds like a Robber Barron hoarded land along the rail roads. He stole accolades from better people like socialist steal other people’s money. He was loved by coaches for his extra efforts. But, basically, analytics HATE him. His defense is terrible and makes you wonder how those all defensive teams happened, his on off numbers aren’t great, the year he wins his title he’s the second worst starter and the 5th guy on the team overall. I asked my dad a child of the 70s and 80s, and a Rockets fan, why he was so beloved, his assessment was “everyone thought he worked harder than everyone else and that’s why.” Due to impact on the league I don’t feel I can keep him any lower but he seems to me to be the Allan Iverson of the 70s and 80s.

21- David Robinson

7’1 Hall of Fame Combo Big, Spurs.

2x Champion, MVP, 10x All Star, 10x All NBA, 8x All Defense, DPOY, ROY, Scoring Title, Rebound Title, 2x Blocks Title, 50th Anniversary Team.

The Admiral was incredible. Think KAT’s offense with Marc Gasol’s defense IQ in Gobert’s body, with the strength of Embiid, and the athleticism of BAM. That is D-Rob. While he didn’t win a ring before Duncan got to San Antonio he probably would have been top 20 without the rings, he was that good. I have a signed David Robinson picture in my room and it’s awesome. A great passer and one man offense, the second best defender of the 90s. The best big man on the dream team. Robinson was awesome and probably didn’t even live up to his full potential.

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20- George Mikan

6’10 Hall of Fame Pivot, Lakers, Gears.

7 Champion (2x NBL), NBL MVP, 4x All Star, 8x All NBA/BAA/NBL, 4x Scoring Champ, 2 Rebound Champ. Greatest Player of the Half Century, 25th Anniversary Team, 35th Anniversary Team, 50th Anniversary Team.

From Impact alone I don’t think any single player effected the league as much as Big Mike. The first true Superstar, his Lakers leaving the NBL after his first year with the team (His first year had been with the Chicago All American Gears) forced the NBL to seek merger with the BAA, creating the NBA. Mr. Basketball in his prime averaged 33% of his team points, 14% of his team assists, and 25% of his teams rebounds. Winning 78% of the Championships he played for. He did all of this while basically inventing the fundamentals while he went along. Until Mikan the Magnificent size was considered a liability in Basketball. At one point MSG’s marquee read “Geo Mikan vs. Knicks” he was that singularly dominant. Pairing with Jim Pollard, who barely missed this list and Vern Mekkelson, number 96, he dominated the first decade of professional basketball. Mikan was cut from his basketball team before being allowed to try out because he was too tall and wore glasses, he eventually made the team and in college his coach made him run side to side and up and down till his speed and footwork were better than the guards. His coach even made him dance with “the shortest and smallest” girls at school dances to improve his footwork. His hook shot was basically impossible to guard and the fact that goal tending wasn’t a rule till The Monster proved how much he changed the game. The paint moved from just 6ft to 12ft because of Mikan. The Sky Hook is based off his footwork. Mikan Drills are taught to every big man. The Ft. Wayne Pistons held the ball the entire game to keep Mikan from scoring leading to the creation of the Shot Clock. Mikan has his fingerprints on the league more than any other individual player. 19 might be too low for this all time great.

19- Kevin Garnett

6’11 Hall of Fame Front Court Wolves, Celtics (Nets)

Champion, MVP, 15x All Star, 9x All NBA, 12x All Defense, DPOY.

The Big Ticket is extremely overrated from a “Tough Guy” aspect. No player in history was better at starting fights, running away then pretending he won. HOWEVER, he is probably underrated as a player at this point. He was the best player, and heart and soul of the worst Celtics Big 3. Honestly he probably deserved the FMVP over Pierce. One of the most versatile defenders ever he should have won more in Minnesota, but it’s Minnesota and they apparently sent all the good championship vibes to LA. The best player KG played with in Minnesota? Marbury? Szcerbiak? Sprewell? Cassell? That’s a GIANT problem. Him, Dirk, Robinson, Kobe, Kareem they all could have been better if they had better teammates.

18- Giannis Antetokounmpo

6’11 Front Court Bucks.

Champion, FMVP, 2x MVP, 5x All Star, 5x All NBA, DPOY, 4x All Defense, MIP, 75th Anniversary Team.

The Greek Freak is the one who sparked my Idea that the traditional 5 positions don’t work he even stretched my definition of Front court by also playing both guard positions. Born to Nigerian refugees in Greece “The Alphabet” first caught my attention on grainy cell phone video’s. I grew up in Nigeria, and Giannis is the second best Nigerian player ever— if Greece wants him I don’t care he’s Nigerian, ask anyone who I talked hoops with in College and they will tell you I was convinced he was going to be Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen at the same time… turns out I was under selling how good Giannis could become. Yes it’s a little early to have him this high. I am ok with that because I know I’m going to have to move him up eventually. Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo is the best player in the world right now, and several players ahead of him on this list can never claim that they were ever top dog.

17- Jerry West

6’2 Hall of Fame Combo Guard Lakers

Champion, FMVP, 14x All Star, 12x All NBA, 5x All Defense, Scoring Champ, Assist Champ, 35th Anniversary Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

The only FMVP to lose the finals. Mr Clutch would have had another ring if his 75 foot heave would have been counted for 3 instead of the 2 points it was worth at the time. His shooting is incredible even today he can drill free throws like a machine. One of the greatest defenders ever, The Logo, literally the NBA logo is designed to look like him, was the first person to lead the league in scoring and assists. West in a finals game had 44 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists and 10 blocks (not officially counted as a stat) his team lost. His relentless hustle led to him breaking his nose 9 times. As a kid his only outlet was a homemade hoop on his neighbor’s wall. He would practice on the dirt court, even in the mud, playing in the snow with gloves, shooting till his hands bled. West was relentless. Mr Outside was the best guard of the 60s. As impressive as West’s career as a player is, and for this list only playing careers count, West was also the greatest executive the NBA has ever seen. Showtime, he was a part of, Shaq and Kobe, West, Grit n’ Grind Grizzlies, also the work of The Cabin Creek Comet, the Warriors dynasty, yep, Kawhi and PG13 on the Clippers, also him. West is one of the all time greats.

16- Dirk Nowitzki

7’0 Hall of Fame Combo Big Mavericks

Champion, FMVP, MVP, 14x All Star, 12x All NBA, 75th Anniversary Team, Jordan’s Favorite Player All Time.

Dirty Dirk was one of the single best offensive engines in NBA history. If David Stern didn’t force the refs to keep Cuban from getting his first championship Dirk would have 2 rings and 2 FMVPs. If Avery Johnson was a competent coach he would have more. Dirk’s playoff battles are awesome, he was the best midrange player ever. His defense while not good wasn’t near as bad in his prime as some people say. Dirk could hit any shot at any time, he was a decent rebounder but not elite, a good passer, a great teammate and a passionate leader. Dirks Playoff run in 2011 is the single greatest run in history, The fantastic Blazers team, the OKC big 3, championship defending Lakers, The Heatles. Dirk is the best shooting big ever. His one legged fade-away, a move that will be a statue soon, was unguardable. I grew up in Africa as the only white guy and being the tallest of my age group. Dirk was who I wanted to be, I didn’t ever learn to shoot well, but I tried. Dirk was the second best power forward of the 00s by traditional positions and using my 10 position formula he is the best Power Forward ever. He and Curry are the ones who invented the 3 heavy NBA. Without Dirk the NBA looks very, very different in 2020.

15- Kevin Durant

6’10 Front Court, Thunder, Warriors (Nets)

2x Champion, 2x FMVP, MVP, 11x All Star, 9x All NBA, ROY, 4x Scoring Title, 75th Anniversary Team.

The Slim Reaper is probably the greatest single offensive player in NBA history. His size, shooting, passing and length make him unstoppable. His defense is underrated and he probably deserved at least one All defensive team if not more. KD is known for leaving more champion competing teams than actors leave marriages. Yet, you can’t tell the story of the NBA without one of the greatest players of all time.

14- Oscar Robertson

6’5 Hall of Fame Combo Guard Royals, Bucks

Champion, MVP, 12x All Star, 11x All NBA, ROY, 6x Assist Title, 35th Anniversary Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

The Big O was an all around marvel of the early NBA. He was sometimes listed as a forward in some games because of his size and rebounding. Ozzie had gaudy assist numbers even in an era where assists were handed out much more conservatively. He was demanding on teammates and even caused a few to regress because of the tongue lashing’s he would hand out for mistakes. His midrange almost one handed jumper was lights out and his determination was well known. He didn’t have a championship until parred with Kareem which is strange because Lucas was also a top 100 guy. Without Oscar’s example Magic, LeBron, Westbrook and Bird probably don’t have a prototype to follow.

13- Steph Curry

6’3 Combo Guard Warriors

3x Champion, 2x MVP, 7x All Star, 7x All NBA, 2x Scoring Title, Steals Title, 75th Anniversary Team.

Chef Curry is someone every player should be familiar with, probably one of the top 10 most influential players in the history of the league The Baby Faced Assassin shot his way into the public consciousness with back to back MVPs becoming the awards only unanimous winner ever. His ability to lead some of the best offenses ever and his on court leadership are easy to see. He takes advantage of off ball movement and gravity better than any player in history (it also helps that Bogut and Draymond never set a legal screen in their career). His defense is like Dirk is not as bad as people say, and his rebounding is solid for a guard. Curry is one of the most influential players to ever grace the hardwood. Coming at the perfect time for medical science to save his ankles, Curry set the world on fire and captured the imaginations of an entire generation coming up. In two and a half decades from now when the NBA celebrates its centennial the NBA will be shaped by several players. Steph Curry will be high up on that list.

12- Hakeem Olajuwon

7’0 Hall of Fame Combo Big Rockets (Raptors)

2x Champion, 2x FMVP, MVP, 12x All Star, 12x All NBA, 9x All Defense, 2x DPOY, 3x Blocks Title, 2x Rebounds Title, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Hakeem The Dream Olajuwon was born in Lagos, Nigeria a city I have spent considerable time in as it is the second largest city in Africa and I grew up a 15 hour drive away. Hakeem made basketball the Nations second favorite sport. If this was simply a list of who I want on my team in 2020 I might have Hakeem way closer to 1 than 12, and he sure would be above Kobe. 4 players can claim to be the best player on a championship team in the 90s Duncan, Zeke, MJ and Hakeem. His low post scoring was masterful, the best in history with his post moves and incredible touch, screen settings was solid, passing is underrated, and his offense is basically 70x worse than his defense. Hakeem is one of the top 5 best defenders ever. If his draft buddy Michael Jordan didn’t exist there would be a generation of people arguing he was the GOAT. Hakeem is one of the best players ever, a true champion, and a master at both offense and defense.

11- Kobe Bryant

6’6 Hall of Fame Wing Lakers

5x Champion, 2x FMVP, MVP, 18x All Star, 15x All NBA, 12x All Defense lol, 2x Scoring Title, 75th Anniversary Team.

The Black Mamba… ok full disclosure, I hated Kobe Bryant. I was a Mavs fan in the 2000s Kobe was the enemy. He methodically eviscerated defenses like a master chef cleaning fish for a special. He twisted the best defenders in the world into knots then laughed in their faces while hitting shots no human being had the right to make. His defense was really good (for like a 7 year span this 12 all defense thing is a joke) where he would take on the best player from the other team, shut him down, drop 30 on him, and hit the buzzer beater guarded by all 12 of the opponents active players. The myth of Kobe Bean Bryant was larger than life. His Vino years were great as well, he still had the ability to shut someone down for a game, but not every night. He could still go off on any defense at any time. His last game encapsulated everything good about Kobe, and also most of the bad. 60 points on 50 shots, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, the game winning free throws after coming up huge in the clutch. He sometimes drove teammates insane, he sometimes was a ball hog, he had way more influence on the game than someone who didn’t bring anything new to the sport should, Kobe was never the best player in the world, but for 18 years he was top 5. Kobe just misses the top 10 but he was fantastic in many ways.

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10- Shaquille O’Neil

7’1 Hall of Fame Pivot Magic, Lakers, Heat (Suns, Cavs, Celtics).

4x Champion, 3x FMVP, MVP, 15x All Star, 14x All NBA, 3x All Defense, ROY, 2x Scoring Title, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team. 

The summer of my freshman year of college I was working a comp, a group of middle schoolers were talking about basketball when one said possibly the stupidest thing ever, “Shaq was ok but Yao was probably better.” Now, firstly I feel very proud of myself that I didn’t punch that child, I wanted to but I didn’t. Shaq, Diesel, The Big Aristotle, Superman, Shaq Fu, Shaq Daddy, was way better than Yao, and this is the guy who wore 11 because of Yao. As far as the most dominant player of my basketball lifetime it was prime Shaq. No one was more, to borrow the phrase from Thanos “Inevitable.” Shaq was going to beat you, and you were going to be in a lot of pain afterwards. Shaq is also probably the most disappointing player of all time. His physical skills were top notch, but he didn’t dedicate himself to being in shape. Even with that it’s mind blowing that he only has one MVP. Shaq could do things that defy the laws of physics. Shaq was the most insane physical display I saw watching the NBA.

9- Wilt Chamberlain

7’1 Hall of Fame Pivot, Warriors, Sixers, Lakers

2x Champion, FMVP, 4x MVP, 13x All Star, 10x All NBA, 2x All Defense, 7x Scoring Title, 11x Rebounding Title, Assists Title, ROY, 35th Anniversary Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team. 

Wilt the Stilt was a bigger, stronger, faster, more athletic, more skilled, better defensive, Shaq. In college Wilt’s coach Phog Allen was advocating for moving the rims to 12ft. The Big Dipper decided he would just dunk on those anyway, his vertical was at least 40” and some say up to 50! We have on video him blocking shot at the top of the backboard (13.5 ft.), he was Big 8 champion in High Jump 3 years in a row topping out over 50 inches. After his retirement while contemplating a comeback with the Knicks he squatted a 600 lbs. cart that had broken one of the elevators in MSG. Once Paul Silas was about to fight Wilt’s teammate Happy Hairston (I promise I didn’t make that name up) and wilt picked Silas up and carried him away, Silas was 6’7 235. Wilt and Jim Brown ran barefoot against each other in a sprint at a party, Wilt won… Twice. Wilt ran a sub-eleven second 100m, 49 second 400m, 1:58.3 800m for Kansas. All of that and Wilt had the audacity to decide to be a skill player instead of just an athlete. Some of that was the rules, it was an offensive foul for the offensive player to initiate contact so Wilt used his agility to slide in between massive behemoths to slam the ball through the hoop. He had a sweet fade-away bank shot and was the second best defender of his era. Wilt was basically the best athlete of all time, who didn’t quite live up to his potential. Part of it was coaching. He had 2 elite coaches in his career, Hannam and Sharman, and basically he made the finals with them every time. Part of it was his focus on stats over wins. Part of it was the singular brilliance of Bill Russell. Wilt cannot be separated from Russell who was better than him. But Wilt was the greatest Athlete in human history.

8- Julius Erving

6’7 Hall of Fame Wing Squires, Nets, Sixers.

3x Champion, 4x MVP, 16x All Star, 12x All NBA/ABA, All Defense, 3x Scoring Title, ABA All Time Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team. 

Dr J saved the ABA, and in doing so he saved the NBA, while Kareem was the better player the writers and Kareem hated each other. The writers loved Doc. As impressive as his stats are I have a few what ifs to go over. 1- The Doctor agrees to go strait to the NBA and pairs with Kareem, Oscar, and Dandridge to make a dynasty. 2- The NBA and more accurately the Hawks and Bucks come to an agreement allowing him to pair with Bellamy, Bridges, Hudson and Pistol in actual games not just the amazing pre season spectacular that happened. 3- the Knicks don’t do the dumbest thing ever and accept the Nets offer of waiving the fee they would get for the Nets would have for joining the NBA in exchange for The Claw’s contract pairing him with Frazier, Monroe, Haywood, Reed. 4- the Squires don’t blow up a team of Charlie Scott, George Gervin and Baby Hawk therefore making the NBA when the leagues merge. Doc was one of the most influential players of all time, who was only a fraction of what could have been. His style made the NBA infinitely more watchable. Doc is someone the NBA didn’t deserve, someone who is somehow forgotten as just a dunker even though he was so much more. His passing was underrated, his Defense was good, his scoring was electric. Dr J is the most underrated player in NBA history.

7- Larry Bird

6’9 Hall of Fame Point Forward Boston

3x Champion, 2x FMVP, 3x MVP, 12x All Star, 10x All NBA, 3x All Defense, ROY, 4x FT% Title, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team. 

Larry Legend was a fantastic player. First off I want to address the morons who say Bird couldn’t play in today’s NBA. Look if Luka Doncic is an All NBA player The Hick From French Lick would be MVP. Bird was the single greatest basketball mind to ever play the sport. He was a chess grand master manipulating the defense and his own teammates into the perfect positions for him to control the game. He knew when to kill the momentum of a game with a dagger 3, how to fake even the greatest players with a pass or a pump fake, how to out hustle anyone on the court any moment. Bird was a fantastic leader, and probably the best all around player ever. The only thing keeping Bird lower on this list is how short his career was. Larry Bird is the first of 7 players I will hear arguments about for being the GOAT. His argument I will admit is the weakest but I will hear it.

6- Magic Johnson

6’9 Hall of Fame Point Forward Lakers

5x Champion, 3x FMVP, 3x MVP, 12x All Star, 10x All NBA, 4x Assist Title, 2x Steals Title, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Magic was the greatest passer to ever play basketball. Before I started this list I had Magic as my GOAT. His dynamic Showtime offense was one of the most exciting things in the history of our league, no the history of America. Magic wasn’t just a nickname, it was the truth, science could not explain what Ervin Johnson jr. did on a basketball court. His smile while destroying other teams was magnetic making Johnson the most likable star in the history of sports. Magic could see passes that we’re impossible and just made them anyway. Magic was also more clutch than anyone remembers. While not a fantastic shooter if the game was on the line it was just going to go in, no argument he was going to hit the circus shot, the distance heave, or the baby sky hook to win the game. Magic was just that good. The only knock on Magic is that his career ended so abruptly. If he had played 5 more years there is a very likely chance he is unanimously remembered as the GOAT. No one in the history of basketball has ever or will ever pass Magic Johnson as the most likable Superstar to exist.

5- Tim Duncan

6’11 Hall of Fame Combo Big Spurs

5x Champion, 3x Finals MVP, 2x MVP, 15x All Star, 15x All NBA, 15x All Defense, ROY, 75th Anniversary Team. 

The Big Fundamental has the same amount of All NBA awards as seasons MJ played, even Wizards counts for this. Duncan is the reason Kobe is never the best player in the league, the reason Dirk, KG, T-Mac, and Nash have such little playoff success. In all my years watching the NBA nothing was more apparent than Tim Duncan was the best teammate to ever play in the NBA. His perfect bank shot, masterful post moves, defense that should have earned him 3 DPOYs, the clutch rebounding, the crisp passing, the little things like picks and directing the defense. Tim Duncan was not flashy, he showed very little emotion, except for that goofy surprise face when called for a foul. Yet, TD showed up to play, to sacrifice for the team, and to win. Timmy should have more MVPs, Nash and AI, and 2 more FMVPs, Parker was good but not better than Timmy and Kawhi only got it for “Holding” LeBron to 28-8-4. Even with all the Hall of Famers Duncan played with, Robinson, Manu, Parker, Kawhi, McGrady, Aldridge, it was always his team. Tim Duncan is A GOAT.

4- Bill Russell

6’10 Hall of Fame Combo Big Celtics

11x Champion, 5x MVP, 12x All Star, 11x All NBA, All Defense (the only year they had it and he played), 4x Rebound Champion, 25th Anniversary Team, 35th Anniversary Team, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team. 

William Fenton Russell was the best defender in the history of basketball. I’m not a huge advanced stats guy but Russell is first in Defensive Win Shares by over 27, that the difference between number 2 (Tim Duncan) and number 11 (Artis Gilmore). There has never in history been a defender as singularly capable of ending the other team. Red Arbauch used to make him sit out of practices so the team could work on offense. We don’t have his blocks or steals numbers but we have footage of him having several 20+ block games. Russell was the ultimate competitor, the original GOAT. No one could match him in his ability to lead teams to titles. Watching his defense you just know it would translate to today. His athleticism was off the charts. A reported max reach of 14ft. Russell could actually kick the net. The American Olympic committee made Russell chose between High Jump or Basketball even though he had the best jumps in the qualifying events, he was ranked #7 in the world. His times in Hurdles would have won the Olympics. We are talking about someone taller than Dwight Howard who is an Olympic level sprinter and high jumper. Add to that incredible timing and instincts and you have the greatest defender in history.

3- LeBron James

6’9 Point Forward Cavs, Heat, Lakers

4x Champion, 4x Finals MVP, 4x MVP, 17x All Star 17x All NBA, 6x All Defense, Scoring Title, Assist Title, ROY, 75th Anniversary Team

LeBron should have 1 more MVP (Rose), a DPOY (Gasol), and another ring (2011), but voters and a D-Wade freeze out kept that from happening. Still LeBron has 4 rings (which is one more than the amount of times MJ quit in his prime) and had more All NBAs than anyone else. His overall statistical brilliance is hard to match, his finals performances (the 2011 freeze out aside) are incredible. No one can do the things LeBron can. His biggest thing is his durability. King James spends over $1 million a year on his body, Wilt Chamberlain’s career earnings adjusted for inflation were $1.7 million. That dedication shows by LeBron having made the finals as his teams best player 9 times so far over 12 years, Larry Bird played 13 seasons. LeBron is the only player active right now with a shot at the ultimate GOAT.

2- Michael Jordan

6’6 Hall of Fame Wing Bulls (Do I have to mention the Wizards?)

6x Champion, 6x FMVP, 5x MVP, 14x All Star, 11x All NBA, 9x All Defense, DPOY, ROY, 10x Scoring Title, 3x Steals Title, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team. 

Michael Jeffery Jordan had from 90-93 the single most impressive run in NBA history. No one can compare to that. After The Last Dance, a piece of propaganda that makes Mein Kampf look fair and balanced, I’m not sure I can add anything not already said about MJ. I only have one knock on the Ultimate Competitor. Air Jordan quit, twice, in his prime. His Royal Airness was in 93 at the top of the world, finishing the single greatest achievement in league history, and he quit. I personally want to believe he was suspended but everyone involved has always denied it. So I am left with only one answer the GOAT quit. Then in 98, he did it again. at age 34, still in his prime. He quit again. It’s not crazy to say Michael Jordan wasn’t as good as he could have been. Some people automatically give him those Rockets titles but I don’t. MJ was a quitter and it defines his legacy for me. He is still the second greatest player of all time, still has the greatest prime we probably will ever see. But Michael Jordan left a lot on the table.

1- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

7’2 Hall of Fame Pivot Bucks, Lakers.

6x Champion, 2x Finals MVP, 6x MVP, 19x All Star, 15x All NBA, 11x All Defense, ROY, 2x Scoring Title, Rebound Title, 4x Block Title, 50th Anniversary Team, 75th Anniversary Team.

Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor jr. has the best resume in NBA history. If not for the media lying about him in college and therefore damaging the relationship with the eventual Kareem Abdul-Jabbar he probably has 8-10 MVPs. Kareem was that good. He earned 4 finals MVPs even though he only got 2. His MVPs are farther apart than MJs first stent with the Bulls— before as you know by now, MJ quit. The All time leader in points used his incredible soft touch to master the Hook shot to deadly effect. His amazing ability to score should have made him the most beloved athlete of all time. His winning impacted the league in a variety of ways. Kareem had the ability to lead his team to championships 17 years apart as at least a top 2 guy. Shaq’s entire Career was 18 years. My top 8 of my top 10 have all had people argue them for GOAT and win, but Kareem seems to be one people forget a lot. To me the Greatest Of All Time is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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Jordan Ennis lives in West Africa where he is a pastor at an international church, he also co-hosts the Assisted Development Podcast on the HoopSocial Podcasts feed. He can be found at Assisted Development Podcast on Facebook and @BaturePreacher on Twitter.

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