Thursday, May 14
Ever try to make a top 10 list of the greatest NBA players in history? Man, it's difficult and I've been closely watching the sport for 57 years!
Karl Malone is maybe the top pure power forward ever. But he doesn't make my top 10. Neither do Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, John Stockton, Elgin Baylor, Tim Duncan, Bob Cousy, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Kevin Garnett, Julius Erving and Scottie Pippin.
Nothing against these mega superstars. It's a reflection on just how strong the top 10 is.
No. 10: Stephen Curry: This might be controversial, but I've never seen a better pure shooter than Curry.
No. 9: Larry Bird: Shot-making, passing, feel, basketball smarts. All were there at the highest level.
No. 8: Oscar Roberston: Those who saw him in his prime should support his spot in the top-10. He averaged a triple-double for an entire season when it didn't seem possible a guard could do that during the 1960s. He's the only player to rank in the all-time top 10 in points per game and assists per game.
No. 7: Bill Russell: Don't be fooled by personal statistics. Russell was the key in the Celtics winning 11 titles in 13 years. His defensive abilities, leadership and winning intangibles are matched only by Michael Jordan.
No. 6: Hakeem Olajuwon: The best inside-outside scoring big man, Olajuwon also is the NBA all-time blocks leader at 3,830.
No. 5: Magic Johnson: Best point guard. Could beat you scoring, passing or rebounding - and do it in flamboyant, crowd-pleasing fashion.
No. 4: Wilt Chamberlain: As great as Bill Russell was, Chamberlain was better. The most dominant player of all time. He remains the only player I ever saw who could score anytime he wanted.
No. 3: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: As Lew Alcindor at UCLA, he was the greatest college basketball player ever. Abdul-Jabbar was as dominant as Chamberlain during his early years in the NBA. His sustained excellence resulted in 19 times being named an All-Star. He remains the most overall talented big man I've ever seen.
No. 2: LeBron James: Power, finesse, durability and all-around skills. James is all of these things and his accomplishments are in today's era where the skill set is at the highest level.
No. 1: Michael Jordan: Transcended the sport with his all-around brillance, scoring and unmatched determination to win. Has the (six) world championship rings and (five) MVP honors to back his claim as the best ever.