October 11, 2021

NBA at 75 - LeBron or MJ? Hey Just Name the Best Players Instead of Sparking Controversy About Who is The Best

Kareem, MJ, Magic, LeBron, and Kobe in their rookie seasons in the NBA. Could they imagine the greatness that was ahead of them to come? Just five of the greatest players in the NBA.

A number of publications are attempting to rank the 75 Best Players in the history of the NBA. The game has changed so much from a center dominated game to a three point shooting league over the years. It's one of the reasons you constantly hear Shaq on the TNT broadcast tell Joel Embiid to get his  a** down in the paint instead of shooting a three. By the way kids get off of his lawn. One particular panel of sportswriters from USA Today attempted to do this anyway. We would say the results were disastrous. Don't even click on the link. Ranking Robert Horry and Jack Sikma in your Top 75 means you don't know much about basketball.

Then next out comes the hater.      ...This is what the media does. It's getting old.

In 1996 the National Basketball Association celebrated their 50th Anniversary with naming the league's 50 greatest players. This year the NBA will name its 75 greatest players in its 75th year of existence. The league is expected to release its list soon, but before they do, we have to name ours.

Hey NBA, you can't just add 25 names to the original list!

25 years ago most people would put Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Bill Russell as the Top 5 players. Some would've had Larry Bird in the mix as well. We definitely would have had Wilt Chamberlain over Russell. Wilt holds the rebounding record of 55 rebounds against the Celtics and Bill Russell. Plus he scored 100 points in a game. He averaged 50 points and 25 rebounds per game in the 1962 season. But as time has passed let's reconsider. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar now has to be recognized as the greatest center. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer and a six-time NBA champion. You know the same number of chips as Michael Jordan. Wilt even said, the only player that really gave him any trouble was Kareem when the rookie entered the league in 1969-70 as Lew Alcindor from UCLA.

Wilt was ahead of his time for sure. It was too easy for him. Born too early. Not his fault. He was on cruise control for most of his career. He was that dominant. He even led the NBA in assists one season because he just wanted to. Wilt dominated all centers in the history of the NBA except for Kareem. Russell on the other hand was on the superior teams as a member of the Boston Celtics and won 11 championships. When people say MJ and LeBron are the greatest players, the goat 🐐 if you will, Kareem and Wilt are often left out of the conversation nowadays.

Wilt was physically bigger than Shaquille O'Neal. Which surprises many people. 
Shaq would not have dominated Wilt if they played in the same era. Watch it here.

Now let's start our list with some of the greatest 75 players. They are listed here in no particular order: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, and Kobe Bryant. We don't see how anyone could argue with these choices. Next let's add Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, Shaquille O'Neal and Bill Russell since we mentioned them earlier, Again we are not here to argue or rank them in any order. Let's add Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tim Duncan, Stephen Curry, Allen Iverson, and Julius Erving. No matter what you think, this is a group of players that should be on anybody's Top 75 list without a doubt. 

Here's the NBA at 75 Video:

Now Let's Pick 75 Players

We can't just add 25 players to the first list made for the NBA at 50 anniversary. Some of them got to go.

We are wondering when the NBA makes their official announcement, will they just add 25 players: 

We hope not. Let's correct that list before we move on.

The original list was missing five players, in our opinion, that should have been on the list of 50. Besides Shaq should not have been there as well. He was too young in the league to be given that honor. A Rookie of the Year in 1993, but no championships. Although he did play in the NBA Finals for the Orlando Magic in 1995. 

Now how could they NOT have included Bob McAdoo, Bob Lanier, Bernard King, David Thompson, and Dominique Wilkins on the list when they were eligible in 1996? We know this was after the crack era? So how did they miss them? Perhaps it was happy hour.

Well if you don't know them... YouTube it.

Now let's move on.

Here's the list of the original NBA at 50 list we chose. But first we removed 12 players from the 1996 NBA at 50 list.

Paul Arizin, Dave Bing, Dave Cowens, Billy Cunningham, Dave DeBusschere, Jerry Lucas, Bob Pettit, Willis Reed, Dolph Schayes, Bill Sharman, Nate Thurmond, Lenny Wilkens.

They were great players in their own right. There just isn't enough old tape of these players for us to keep them on our list to measure their greatness against players of the last 25 years. (On the other hand perhaps we've seen enough old YouTube videos, to know that they probably don't belong.)

The game has evolved. Therefore a great player from the 1950's like Bob Pettit, who was a league MVP and being one of the tallest players at the time;
 just couldn't make our list as a 6'5" power forward. 

Leaving them in would be like having an 80's rapper in your all-time Top 5. Did someone say LL or Rakim? (I don't think so. Let's get back not
 to Cali, but the list.)

Here's our choices from The NBA at 50 list. 

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  
2. Nate "Tiny" Archibald
3. Charles Barkley
4. Rick Barry
5. Elgin Baylor
6. Larry Bird
7. Wilt Chamberlain
8. Bob Cousy
9. Clyde Drexler
10. Julius "Dr. J." Erving
11. Patrick Ewing
12. Walt "Clyde" Frazier
13. George "The Ice Man" Gervin
14. Hal Greer
15. John Havlicek
16. Elvin Hayes
17. Magic Johnson
18. Sam Jones
19. Michael Jordan
20. Karl Malone
21. Moses Malone
22. "Pistol" Pete Maravich
23. Kevin McHale
24. George Mikan
25. Earl "The Pearl" Monroe
26. Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon
27. Shaquille O'Neal
28. Robert Parish
29. Scottie Pippen
30. Oscar "The Big O" Robertson
31. David Robinson
32. Bill Russell
33. John Stockton
34. Isiah Thomas
35. Wes Unseld
36. Bill Walton
37. Jerry West
38. James Worthy

Add in the 5 players we feel should have made the original NBA at 50 list. We thought about adding Alex English, the great Denver Nuggets forward. He did not make the original NBA at 50 list. 

   39. Bernard King
   40. Bob Lanier 
   41. Bob McAdoo
   42. David Thompson
   43. Dominique Wilkins 

Our list of 43 is solid. Players that played up to 1996.

So that leaves us with 32 more players to add, including those players at the top of this page in no particular order. We did not forget Shaq. He made the original NBA at 50 list.

Our Additional 32 players from the 
last 25 Years for our total of 75 

Admittedly we are a little heavy in this era. We like the players from the Kobe and Iverson era. From the late 90's to 2015 could be considered the greatest era of basketball. That bully ball era from the late 80's and 90's with the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons, and the Pat Riley coached New York Knicks was NOT exciting basketball. It had to go. Check the scores. Teams could barely score 90 points a game. And you won't find Robert Horry here either.

44. LeBron James
45. Kobe Bryant
46. Kevin Durant
47. Allen Iverson
48. Kevin Garnett
49. Tim Duncan
50. Chris Webber
51. Dirk Nowitzki
52. Pau Gasol
53. Carmelo Anthony
54. Vince Carter
55. Paul Pierce
56. Giannis Antetokounmpo
57. Kawhi Leonard
58. Tracy McGrady
59. Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway
60. Reggie Miller
61. Dwyane Wade
62. Ray Allen
63. Stephen Curry
64. James Harden
65. Grant Hill
66. Kyrie Irving
67. Russell Westbrook
68. Chris Paul
69. Steve Nash
70. Gary Payton
71. Jason Kidd
72. Tony Parker
73. Dwight Howard
74. Dennis Rodman
75. Manu Ginóbili

There You Have It

We'll put our list up against any other sports website or blog. 

No panel of sportswriters. Just being a fan of the game from 
a very young age is all the credentials we need.

Missing the cut: (players we considered for our Top 75)
Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson, Chris Bosh, Dikembe Mutombo, and Alonzo Mourning.

We just had to put players like Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, and Grant Hill ahead of the above players. The one player we don't see on most list is Hill. People just forget how good he was due to his injury-riddled career. He was on his way to being the next Michael Jordan. Take a look.

Active Players on our list
: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Dwight Howard. (Howard is the only center from the last 25 years to make our list as well. The game has truly changed.)

Not as well known old timers from the 50's, 60's and 70's that made our list: Sam Jones - The Celtics run of championships in the 60's was more than just Bill Russell; Hal Greer - The 76ers all time leading scorer; Bob Cousy - the first player to define the point guard position, George Mikan - the first dominant big man and "The Mikan Drill" is still used today as an essential skill for centers; John Havlicek - the original sixth man.

Today's NBA players that might make The NBA at 100 List (a lock if they win a championship): Joel Embiid, Damian Lillard, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, Nikola Jokić, Luka Dončić, Donovan Mitchell, LaMelo Ball, Trae Young, Zion Williamson and yes even Ben Simmons.

Let us add the greatest shot in the history of the NBA before we go. 

1 comment:

  1. Your list is good but you miss on not putting Anthony Davis in there, sorry bruh Chris Webber is not top 75.


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