Taking a day off from the 90 Day Basketball Improvement Plan.
I am often asked to name the greatest players in the history of the NBA. Over the years I have listened to announcers talk about the greatest players on television; there have been arguments in bars amongst passionate fans, discussions at coffee shops with old-timers, and even books written by knowledgeable basketball people. Plus, the discussion on Twitter and Facebook.
Everyone has their opinion on who’s the best. Here’s mine…
15- LeBron James: Yeah, yeah, I can hear ya now, “You’re crazy to put LeBron on this list!“. Well, no I’m not. Back to back MVP’s, which saw LBJ drop 30 per game, pull down 7.3 rebounds and hand out 8.6 assists each night out. His career stats? How about 27.8 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists per game! Plus, I still can’t forget about the 25 straight points he put on the Pistons in-game 5 of the play-offs in 2007.
14- Elgin Baylor: Yes I know. He never won a title and when he left the Lakers they went on to win 33 straight games. But the guy could play and play very well! 27 points and 13.4 rebounds per game over his career. In 1962 while in the National Guard, he would get a pass to play in Lakers games on weekends and still go off. This without practice all week. That season Baylor scored 38 points and 18 rebounds per game to be exact. Dude was first team all-NBA 10 times!
13- Karl Malone: Before you question this choice, chew on this. In 18 seasons with the Utah Jazz Malone only, and I mean only, missed 10 games! LOL. Hence, the nickname, ‘The Mailman”. Second all-time leading scorer in NBA history. Made 1st team all-NBA 11 different seasons. 25 points and 10 rebounds per game over his career.
12- Tim Duncan: The Big Fundamental. 4 NBA rings and was named MVP 3 times. Probably one of the most underrated athletes of all-time. Never needed to bring attention to himself by self-promoting. 9 time all-NBA first team. 21 points and 11 rebounds over his 13 year career in San Antonio.
11- Hakeem Olajuwon: The Dream. 2 rings with the Houston Rockets, MVP both times. One of only 4 players in NBA history to record a quadruple double in 1990 vs the Milwaukee Bucks – 18 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and blocked 11 shots. 21 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks per game over his career.
10- Jerry West: Mr. Clutch or call him ‘The Logo’. He’s the only player to be named MVP of a NBA Finals series…despite his team losing the series. Career 27 points per game and 6.7 assists. Has the record for scoring average in a play-off series; 46 PPG.
9- Shaquille O’Neal: One of the most dominating ‘big’ the game has ever seen. Has played in 15 all-star games. Finals MVP 3 times. Has 4 rings. Will try to get his 5th this year in Boston. Career numbers; 24 points and 11 rebounds per game.
8- Oscar Robertson: Mr. Triple Double. I know, how can you argue with that? Each night in 1962 Oscar was unreal! 25 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists over his career.
7- Kobe Bryant: Scored 81 points in one game back in 2005. Has 5 championship rings on his resume. 25 points and 5 rebounds per game his first 14 years. Moving up the chart.
6- Wilt Chamberlain: Once scored 100 points in one game! His attention to individual achievements over ‘team’ goals big reason why I place him 6th and not higher. 30 points and 22 rebounds per game over his career.
5- Bill Russell: 11 championship rings with the Boston Celtics. Russell cared more about winning than individual awards. He was the ultimate team player. 15 points and 22 rebounds per game over his career.
4- Larry Bird: Greatest forward ever, hands down. Could pass, shoot and most of all, worked his tail off. Was very serious about preparation. Was a killer on the floor. Won 3 titles with Celtics. Career stats. 24 points, 10 rebounds per game and 6 assists per game over his career.
3- Kareem Abdul-Jabber: Cap is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. His sky hook was a thing of beauty. 6 NBA titles. 6 regular season MVP awards. 2 NBA Finals MVP’s and 24 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists per game over his career.
2- Magic Johnson: Greatest point guard ever. 6’10″ guy pushing the ball up the floor making guys better; always hitting the open man. Won 5 rings and played in 9 total finals during his stint in LA. 19 points, 7 rebounds and 11 assists per game over his career.
1- Michael Jordan: G.O.A.T. 6 for 6 in NBA titles. In those 6 series’ he captured the MVP award each time. 30 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists per game over his career.
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