A tribute to the NBA all-time greats !
Choosing a favorite is not easy , there have been too many great players. But I'm sure everyone has a favorite .Here are my all-time favorites ranked 1 to 5. Feel free to share your list too.
Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had contracted HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years, but returned in 1996, at age 37, to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time. Johnson's career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA's all-time leader in assists per game, with an average of 11.2.Johnson was a member of the "Dream Team", the U.S. basketball team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1992.
Over the course of 14 seasons between the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks, Oscar Robinson put up video-game like numbers to dominate the NBA. In a career that spanned between 1961 and 1974, Roberston was to rank as a single-season leader in free throw attempts, free throw percentage, assists, games played, minutes played, and scoring average. As a measure of his leading end to end play, the Big O tallied a record 181 triple doubles, which includes a remarkable 1962 run where the man averaged 31 points, 11 assists, and 13 rebounds per game. When compiled together, Robertson slapped up 30/10/11 during his first five seasons as a professional. Although Great, Oscar Robertson is one of the most underrated characters in all of sports.
"Houdini of the Hardwood" dazzled fans with his slick ballhandling, no-look passes, and 20-points per game average. After his sophomore campaign, The Cooz went on to lead the NBA in assists for eight consecutive seasons between 1953 and 1960. In 1959, Cousy slapped up 20, 9, and 6, as the sparkplug for Auerbach's high octane offense. As a Boston Celtic, of course, the emphasis always remains upon team play and winning championships. Between 1957 and 1963, The Cooz joined forces with The Great Bill Russell to bring home six NBA Championships in seven years. As a staple of NBA lore, you can imagine Bob Cousy playing keep-away and dribbling out the clock to claim yet another title.
Thomas loved to get his teammates going, as evidenced by his 9.3-per game career assist average. In 1985, Isiah Thomas led the NBA—with 1,123 assists, which broke down into a 13.9 per game average.As a scorer, Isiah Thomas often waited until crunch time to dominate. Like all young bucks, however, Isiah had to earn his stripes before he reached the promised land. Isiah Thomas averaged 26 points per game in a 1985 Playoff run that ended against Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics. In defeat, Thomas infamously had his inbounds pass stolen by Bird, who flipped a pass to Dennis Johnson for the clinching lay-up. Three short seasons later, Isiah also hobbled his way to a sensational 25 points in one quarter against Magic Johnson and the L.A. Lakers, en route to a 1988 NBA Finals loss.
After the bitter losses, Isiah Thomas and his Bad Boy entourage were to return the favor, and force the upstart Michael Jordan to wait his turn outside the championship gate.
The game's all-time assist leader never made unnecessary movements and instinctively made the right decision at all times. Stock's limited use of steps made for a deceptively fast floor general, who could blow right past people but look as if he were nailed to the floor and moving nowhere. A scrapper, #12 would scratch and claw his way into position on each and every possession.
Stockton-to-Malone, of course, would pick and roll you to death. Stockton-to-Malone for the prettyboy hand-behind-the-head jam. Stockton-to-Malone off the pick and pop for the 15-foot jumper. Stockton-to-Malone for the lay-in and the three-point play. Stockton, curls off the Malone screen and fakes it to The Mailman, before knocking down a three from deep.
Honorable mention : Steve Nash,Maurice Cheeks,Walt Frazier,Jason Kidd
MJ was unquestionably the greatest, baddest, meanest, fiercest, and most competitive son of a gun to ever step on the hardwood. To go with his athleticism and work ethic, Michael simply took a sick pleasure in ripping your heart out and stomping on it at mid-court, before making you eat it. For motivation, Jordan would make up false demons of disrespect - so that he could drop 50 on your head - by the end of the third quarter. Jordan drives the lane. Michael Jordan spots up and hits the three. Michael posts up and connects on the fade away. Michael Jordan steals the basketball and feeds Pippen in transition for the jam.After 40 minutes of action, Jordan is well on his way to another victory, NBA Championship, epic performance, and title as the all time greatest to ever lace 'em up.
Kobe Bryant is that rare athlete whose career arc has actually exceeded the obscene hype that preceded his first professional warm up session. As a young pup fresh out of high school in 1996, Kobe Bryant quickly established himself as a dangerous slasher to the goal and the next big thing. Like any great, Bryant improved each year as he worked tirelessly on his game each summer to add to his bag of tricks: turnaround jumper, D.C. crossover, and the Hakeem - Dream Shake. Both off an on the court, Kobe has gone full circle from wunderkind to despised brat to cagey veteran.
Kobe Bryant is the closest thing that we have seen to Michael Jordan.
As testimony to his all-around play, Mr. Clutch averaged 27 points, 7 dimes, and 6 boards throughout his 14-year NBA career. With this stat line, Mr. West proved that he was equally adept as a playmaker, as he was as a scorer. In 1972, Jerry West actually led the League - with a 9.7 assists per game average to go alongside 26 points each contest. In the NBA Playoffs, West earned his Clutch moniker, despite the fact that he lost eight out of his nine bridesmaid trips to the Finals. Mr. West holds the record for playoff scoring average - with an unreal 46 points per game in 5 match-ups versus the 1965 Baltimore Bullets. Also of note, Jerry West took home the 1969 Finals MVP trophy - in a losing effort against the Boston Celtics. In the clinching Game 7 defeat, West slapped together 42 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. Thwarted by the Boston juggernaut yet again, Jerry West would not taste NBA Championship victory until he teamed up with Wilt Chamberlain to beat the 1972 Knicks. A team player, West easily transitioned into his role of scout, general manager, and team builder for the Lakers after ending his playing days.
George Gervin could finger roll.
As cool as the other side of the pillow, The Ice Man knew how to score the basketball. Seemingly at will, Gervin could get hot from the outside, post up, and drive the lane. To finish, George Gervin would elevate and finger-roll the ball into the hoop, over the outstretched arms of big men stiffs time and time again. Working the perimeter in the ABA and the NBA, The Ice Man averaged 25 points per game as a professional basketball player between 1972 and 1986. #44, of course, did most of his damage in San Antonio - where he led the NBA in scoring four out of the five seasons from 1978 to 1982. In his best season, Gervin cooked the opposition for 33 points per game.
Pound-for-pound, Allen Iverson is the toughest man to ever play basketball.
Standing 6'0 and weighing in at a svelte 165, Allen Iverson had no regard for his own body. Relentless, A.I. remained locked into attack mode from the opening tip. Love him or hate him, no reasonable NBA fan can question this man's tenacity, aggressiveness, and overall swagger. In terms of stats, Iverson reigned as the NBA's scoring champion on four separate occasions and finished up his League career with a 27-point per game average. Beyond the stats, cornrows, tattoos, and practice talk, A.I.'s career can be crystallized by his 1997 encounter with The King.
Honorable mention : Pete "Pistol Pete" Maravich, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe,Clyde Drexler, John Havlicek , Ray Allen
. As a shooter, Larry could light it up from all spots on the floor. On any possession, Bird could reach deep into his bag of tricks to destroy you with a turnaround jumper, up and under move, or dribble drive to the bucket. As a passer, Bird could play the angles to feed the likes of his Big Three comrades Kevin McHale and Robert Parish for pretty dunks and scoop shots beneath the basket. After 13 Boston seasons, Larry Bird had compiled an all-around statistical record of 24 / 6 / 10.
A vital cog of the Lakers vs. Celtics rivalry, the gritty #33 excelled as the perfect contrast to the the Magic Man and his Hollywood showmanship. The pair met three times in contentious Finals battles of the 80's—with Bird claiming one title and MVP award during the rivalry. In total, Larry Bird was to claim three NBA championships to go alongside two Finals MVP awards.
Incredibly, Baylor saved the Lakers franchise and sparked the Lakers versus Celtics rivalry. One of the game's most prolific scorers, Baylor simply could not be stopped as he put fans in the seats to watch him fill it up off the wing. Standing 6'5, Elgin Baylor was a shorter, yet powerfully built small forward who could both beat defenders off the dribble and create enough space with a forearm shiver to rain down jump shots from deep. After hanging it up, Elgin Baylor finished up his 14-year career with 27 points and 14 rebounds per game averages. In his most impressive season, Baylor dominated for 38 and 19—as an Army Reservist based out of Washington State who could not even practice with his own team. Regrettably, Elgin Baylor was to retire without an NBA championship, despite the video game statistics, all-world accolades, and Jerry West - Logo backup in Los Angeles.
Julius Erving " Dr. J"
Before Michael Jordan, it was Julius Erving who captured our collective imagination. As poetry in motion, we can all picture the Great Doctor and his well-coiffed 'fro taking flight from the foul line, wrapping around the basket support to finger roll, or skying from the wing to swoop in for the cradle dunk in transition.
Beyond the aerial show, Dr. J. was a fundamentally sound offensive threat who led the ABA in scoring upon three separate occasions for the Virginia Squires and New York Nets. After winning two ABA titles and making the transition to the NBA game, Erving continued to dazzle crowds at Philadelphia where he put up 22, 7, and 4 in eleven seasons. In 1983, Dr. J. joined forces with Moses Malone, Andrew Toney, and Maurice Cheeks as one of the greatest NBA teams of all time to claim championship hardware.
The Rocky Balboa of professional basketball, is an over achiever. Moving between the NBA and ABA, Barry was to complete his career with averages of 25 / 7 / 5. In his sophomore season, Barry led the NBA in scoring—with a 36-point per game average. Behind his deadly jump shot, deceptively fast dribble drive, and automatic underhanded free throw shooting, Rick Barry could take over games and score in bunches at any moment. With age, Barry reinvented himself as a play maker who could draw the defense and find teammates for easy buckets off the wing. Always a scrapper, Rick Barry is one of the all-time great rebounders from the small forward position.
Playing Robin to Michael Jordan's Batman, Scottie Pippen emerged as the most versatile small forward of all time. Through his all-around game, Pippen could alternate with Jordan to control the game offensively as a scorer and distributor, clean the glass for rebounds, and also wreak havoc on the defensive front. Always in Jordan's shadow, Pippen transitioned from his role as a battered but talented little brother against the Bad Boy Pistons and into the trusted confidante who held down the fort to carry a flu-ridden MJ off the Salt Lake City Finals floor.
Honorable mention : LeBron James, ,James Worthy, Dominique Wilkins, John Havlicek, Alex English,Adrian Dantley.
Power Forward :
The Admiral didn't win his first title until The Big Fundamental came to town. Duncan may not be as emotionally charged as Garnett or as physically imposing as most of the players on this list, but this guy can score, rebound, pass, block shots, and dominate games as well as anyone. So why is he at #1? Well, he's probably the most intelligent on this list who rarely makes mistakes or miss a crucial defensive assignment. Plus, he's got more rings than any power forwards in the game so far. I love you Timmy.
Pettit was one of the pioneers of the post and the NBA's second great big man (after the foundation George Mikan laid). Pettit retired as the NBA's all-time leading scorer and was the first player in league history to top 10,000 points. He was able to battle toe-to-toe with Bill Russell on several occasions, even besting him once and interrupting Boston's decade of dominance. Grainy black and white footage likely makes modern viewers forget what Pettit did for the game
Arguably the most versatile power forward in history. He can score from anywhere, defend any frontcourt position, rebound, block shots, run the floor, anchor the defense, and has one of the best smarts ever. KG is as tenacious as they come who gets a kick out of big defensive plays...and, of course, talking some trash.
Dirk gained his redemption and validation in the 2011 Finals when he took over and stepped up on a big stage. That was always the knock on Nowitzki because there simply is not much to hate. Dirk can hit jumpers seemingly from anywhere and very few players could contest his shots. There has never been a 7-footer that plays like he does. Nowitzki is likely the best player ever to emigrate from Europe to the NBA
The Mailman delivered everything but an NBA title. Malone and Stockton was one of the great double acts in the history of the league. Played in the league 19 years and played in the post-season 19 times. No championships, but that kind of longevity and results counts for a lot.
Honorable mention : Dolph Schayes, Dennis Rodman, Kevin McHale , Charles Barkley .
1 .Wilt Chamberlain, "The Big Dipper"
Wilt was, without a doubt, the most dominant player of all time. In his 14-year career, he had averages of 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game, while shooting a fantastic 54 percent from the field and a terrible 51.1 percent from the line. He won seven scoring titles and an unheard-of eleven rebounding titles in his career. He also would've been at the top of the blocked shots list, but they weren't recorded in his era. 4 MVP Awards and who could forget the 100 points scored in a single game.
In a dominant twenty-year career, he had averages of 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.9 steals, and 2.6 blocks per game. He also shot an amazing 55.9 percent from the field and 72.1 percent from the free-throw line. Kareem was also one of the game's biggest winners, as he led his teams to six championships, five of the them with the Showtime Lakers in the 1980s. He also led his team to the Finals a total of ten times, winning the Finals MVP twice, in the 1971 and 1985 Finals.Kareem also won the 1970 Rookie of the Year Award, and a record six MVP Awards in his career.
Russell was the greatest defensive center ever, the anchor of a great Celtic defense for over a decade and probably been the leader in career blocks per game if they had recorded defensive stats in his era. In his thirteen-year career, Russell had averages of 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists along with shooting 44 percent from the field and a terrible 56.1 percent from the free-throw line.Russell was also selected to the All-Star team twelve times, winning the All-Star game MVP in 1963. Russell was also selected to the All-NBA team eleven times, with three of the selections as a member of the first team. Russell also ranks tied for second all time in MVP awards with five in his career.He is also considered by many to be the greatest winner in team sports. He won eleven championships in this thirteen-year career and led his team to the Finals in every season he played in except for one.He led the Celtics to a record eight consecutive championships in the 1960s, with most of those Finals wins coming against the great Lakers teams of Jerry West and Elgin Baylor.
Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon
Hakeem was one of the most-skilled big men of all time at both ends of the floor. Offensively, he averaged 21.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, shooting 51.2 percent from the field and a solid 71.2 percent from the free-throw line. Defensively, he was amazing, with career averages of 3.1 blocks and 1.7 steals. He won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in both 1993 and in 1994 and he was selected to the All-NBA defensive team nine times, with five of the selections as a member of the first team. He was also selected to the All-Star team twelve times and to the All-NBA team twelve times, with six of those selections as a member of the first team.He also won his only MVP award in the 1993-1994 season. He won two rebounding titles in his career along with three blocked-shot titles. He also ranks first all-time in career blocked shots with a total of 3830, and he somehow is eighth all time in total steals with 2162.Hakeem led the Rockets to back-to-back championships in the mid '90s, winning the Finals MVP award each time.
Moses was one of the most dominant big man of all time. In his twenty-year career, he had averages of 20.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, and 1.3 blocks. He ranks fifth all-time in total points scored with 27,409. He also won seven rebounding titles, including six straight from the 1980-1981 season through the 1984-1985 season.He was selected to the All Star team eleven times in his career, and was selected to the All-NBA team eight times, with four of those selections as a member of the first team. He was also a solid defensive player, as he was selected to the All-NBA defensive team twice, with one of the selections of the first team.Malone is also one of only seven players in the history of the league to have won three or more MVP awards. He won three in his career, including back-to-back awards in the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons. Finally, Moses also won a championship in the 1982-83, as he led the Sixers to a dominant playoff performance.
Honorable mention : Shaquille O'Neal, George Makin, Dikembe Mutombo,David Robinson,Alonzo Mourning,Wills Reed,Patrick Ewing, Bill Walton,
And how can we forget those Dunk masters.
And finally an elite company of Coaches
Career W-L Record: 938-479 (.662)
Playoff W-L Record: 168-99 (.589)
NBA Championships: 9 (1957, 1959-1966)
Career W-L Record: 1155-485 (.704)
Playoff W-L Record: 229-104 (.688)
NBA Championships: 11 (1991-1993, 1996-1998, 2000-2002, 2009-2010)
Career W-L Record: 1210-694 (.636)
Playoff W-L Record: 171-111 (.606)
NBA Championships: 5 (1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2006)
Career W-L Record: 1327-1011 (.568)
Playoff W-L Record: 120-115 (.511)
NBA Championships: 1 (2004)
Career W-L Record: 1221-803 (.603)
Playoff W-L Record: 98-104 (.485)
Honorable Mention : Chuck Daly , Greg Popovich , Lenny Wilkens, Rudy Tomjanovich