Sunday, December 16, 2012

Greatest NBA players of all time


The NBA is constantly debating comparisons of greatness. Whether it is Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, often the conversation goes through the legendary Michael Jordan. What he did for the game of basketball was unparalleled and very few argue where he belongs on this list.

While there is certainly subjectivity to this argument, I believe that there are certain “tiers” to this debate which I will outline and using that as a guideline, place each star according to their regular season and post-season prowess. Another important thing that I find necessary to keep in mind is the era in which they played.

For example, Finals MVPs give Bill Russell a problem considering he won a grand total of zero. But considering he was a part of 11 championship runs, it would be illogical to consider him anything but one of the greatest—if not the greatest—champion to play the game. After all, the Finals MVP award is named after him…

My definition of greatness certainly includes rings on the fingers but does not solely consider that. My placement of Karl Malone outside of the top 10 and Kobe Bryant where he is are predicated on the fact that Malone needed that elusive title and Kobe’s five rings don’t skyrocket him to the top of this list.

A final qualification for my particular list is that LeBron James is not included. I have been an avid supporter of him (just read my last column) but I do not want to put him in a spot that will nearly certainly change five years from now. With that in mind, here it is: the greatest NBA players of all time.

The outsiders: five who missed the top 10

15. Bob Pettit

Bob Pettit was honored with the first MVP award in the history of the NBA. An All-Star for each of the 11 years he was in the league, Pettit claimed two MVP awards and an NBA championship before his retirement and induction into the basketball Hall of Fame.

14. Moses Malone

An NBA champion and three-time MVP and, the “chairman of the boards” had an illustrious career that spanned both the NBA and the ABA over three decades (70s, 80s, and 90s).

13. Karl Malone

AKA “the Mailman,” Karl Malone averaged 25 points and 10 rebounds per game over a career that included two MVPs. He’s one of the most decorated players in history that did not win an NBA title.

12. Isiah Thomas

A two-time NBA champion, Isiah Thomas posted one of the best playoff performances that ended in a losing effort. This list has him as the third best point guard of all time behind Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.

11. Hakeem Olajuwon

The first overall pick in a 1984 NBA Draft that included Charles Barkley, John Stockton, and Michael Jordan, “Akeem The Dream” was a NBA MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP, and three-time NBA blocks champion. He holds the NBA record for blocks at 3830—nearly 600 more than the second-place Dikembe Mutombo and 1000 more than Shaquille O’Neal.

Top 10, yes, but something more is missing

10. Kobe Bryant

Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
Blocks
FG %
FT %
Titles
MVPs
Finals MVPs
25.5
5.3
4.7
1.5
0.5
.453
.838
5
1
2
*Statistics as of 12/16/2012

Kobe Bryant’s place among the greatest NBA players is a heated debate. His place is often blown out of proportion because of the comparisons to Michael Jordan. While the two do have similar playing styles, Kobe is no Jordan. What he is doing at this stage in his career is amazing but needs to be put in perspective because Jordan’s final year was at age 39—Kobe is “only” 34. He belongs in the top 10 as one of the greatest players of his generation, but no further.

9. Oscar Robertson

Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
Blocks
FG %
FT %
Titles
MVPs
Finals MVPs
25.7
7.5
9.5
N/A
N/A
.485
.838
1
1
0

Like Kobe, Oscar Robertson had an amazing career but his regular season and Finals MVP awards are not there. Unfortunately for him, that was because there were three other guys named Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who often overshadowed his greatness. Nonetheless, Robertson is well deserving of top-10 recognition—after all, he is the only player in the NBA to average a triple-double over the course of an entire NBA season.

8. Tim Duncan

Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
Blocks
FG %
FT %
Titles
MVPs
Finals MVPs
20.3
11.3
3.1
0.7
2.2
.507
.689
4
2
3

TD is that guy in the corner who gets the job done so quietly that sometimes you forget he’s there. Not only that, but when you think he’s finally met his match, he steps up his game. Putting Duncan over Kobe is a controversial decision—and I will discuss this comparison in depth in the very near future. For now, suffice it to say that, unlike Kobe, he was the best player in most of his championship runs and has a couple MVP awards to boot. He was nothing flashy but he has helped keep the Spurs in the championship hunt well past his prime. Again, like Kobe and the Big-O though, he isn’t quite to that list of guys that you would do anything to get on your team.

Second tier greats: great teams were built around these players

7. Shaquille O’Neal

Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
Blocks
FG %
FT %
Titles
MVPs
Finals MVPs
23.7
10.9
2.5
0.6
2.3
.582
.527
4
1
3

The Big Aristotle, the Diesel, or my personal favorite: Shaqovic—feel free to call the 7’1” 325-pounder whichever of the endless list of nicknames that he has given himself. While there is freedom there, no person can place Shaq anywhere but in the heart of the top 10 greatest NBA players of all time. His size alone made him one of the most dominant players in the game. Awkwardly enough, Shaq’s career field goal percentage was higher than his free throw percentage…which gave rise to the infamous Hack-a-Shaq techniques that teams used late in games.

6. Larry Bird

Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
Blocks
FG %
FT %
Titles
MVPs
Finals MVPs
24.3
10.0
6.3
1.7
0.8
.496
.886
3
3
2

Quite possibly the best pure shooter that the NBA has ever seen, Larry Bird managed over 10 rebounds, six assists, and nearly two steals a game, as well! 50 percent from the field and 89 percent from the line…he is the standard of greatness for shooting—which is likely why Kevin Durant looks up to him so much. The rivalry between him and Magic Johnson made the NBA’s most intense rivalry (Celtics vs. Lakers) that much more exciting to watch.

5. Bill Russell

Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
Blocks
FG %
FT %
Titles
MVPs
Finals MVPs
15.1
22.5
4.3
N/A
N/A
.440
.561
11
5
N/A

Russell’s monstrous rebounding numbers need to be put into the context of the era he was playing, but nonetheless the truth is that he and the Boston Celtics dominated that era. 11 titles and 5 MVPs? Bill Russell is top five but not higher because although his rebounding and defensive presence was unparalleled, his offensive skill set was not as impressive. The four players ahead of him on this list were better combinations of offensive and defensive greatness.

Top tier: their resume speaks for itself

4. Magic Johnson

Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
Blocks
FG %
FT %
Titles
MVPs
Finals MVPs
19.5
7.2
11.2
1.9
0.4
.520
.848
5
3
3

An NBA Finals MVP and the greatest playoff performance in his rookie year provided a hint at how special Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson was. The 6’9” point guard could truly do it all, and he had over 10,000 assists in his career which was good for fourth-best all time. However, none of the three players ahead of Magic had more than 13 points per game over the course of their career (Jason Kidd, John Stockton, and Mark Jackson).

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
Blocks
FG %
FT %
Titles
MVPs
Finals MVPs
24.6
11.2
3.6
0.9
2.6
.559
.721
6
6
2

Combine a 7’2” sky-hook with a 6’9” point guard and you have the dominant Lakers of the 1980s. Winning five championships from 1980-1988, this combination of talent was unparalleled considering the two are where they are in the discussion for greatest of all time. Abdul-Jabbar ekes out Magic because he earned twice as many MVP honors, had more titles, and was a more dominating player. 15 career games of at least nine blocks? Incredible.

The game changers, and quite literally so

2. Wilt Chamberlain

Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
Blocks
FG %
FT %
Titles
MVPs
Finals MVPs
30.1
22.9
4.4
N/A
N/A
.540
.511
2
4
1

100 points in a game is unfathomable; Wilt Chamberlain was simply the epitome of dominating. Again, his numbers probably would not hold up to the defensive efforts that Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant faced, but there is no doubt that he would be the best in that era. Check out these great quotes about his dominance—one from 11-time champion, Bill Russell: “I still remember the time when one of our strongest men, Gene Conley, decided to fight Chamberlain for the ball.  He grabbed it and hung on and Chamberlain just lifted him and ball right up towards the rim.” In terms of being a game changer, Chamberlain singlehandedly influenced rule changes in the NBA.

1. Michael Jordan

Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
Blocks
FG %
FT %
Titles
MVPs
Finals MVPs
30.1
6.2
5.3
2.3
0.8
.497
.835
6
5
6

Game changer only begins to describe what this man has done for basketball. Air Jordan got the NBA to where it is today. Nobody before him did that and nobody after him can do that. In that regard, MJ is something to be looked up to. All of the reasons why his on-court performance are so heralded take pages to describe but let the table above suffice for the purposes of this debate. Michael Jordan is the standard for all those seeking NBA immortality.


Check out the rest of our "greatest of all time" series where we have ranked the top-10 point guardsshooting guards, and centers in NBA history.

72 comments:

  1. I think he's a
    great player. I'm a fan.
    top 10 nba players of all time

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad you liked it and that is a good list as well. I think you have Kobe and Magic a little too high and Duncan and Wilt a little low.

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  3. I agree eli.....all hale his airness .....mj

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  4. ur an idiot .. completely off.. kobe 10th are u dumb? td over kobe? are u serious.. i don't see td scoring 82 points or scoring 62 points by third quarter (outscoring the opposing team single-handedly).. you wanna talk about offensive skills, you can't mess with this guy buddy.. people like you are always discrediting kobe -- man is 34 and is still dominating the nba in terms of scoring -- one of the top 3 scorers of all time.. in his prime, I would say kobe is unrivaled in terms of offensive skills.. as for mvps and all that -- he was on a terrible team during his prime which is why he didn't receive some key mvps which he really deserved!

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  5. MJ and Kobe comparisons are futile. Jordan is better than Kobe in literally every statistical category. He averaged more points, more rebounds, more assists, more steals, more blocks, and most importantly shot just under 50% for his career and Kobe has shot around 45%. MJ also had more 4 more league MVP awards, 4 more finals MVP awards. The first 3 rings Kobe won were on Shaqs team (that's why Shaq was the NBA finals MVP all three times, they couldn't have won without Kobe but it was Shaqs team and Shaq was the MVP those 3 years and one MVP of the league in 2000, where was Kobe then?) There is NOT one aspect of Kobe's game that is better, there is NOT one statistical category where Kobe is better, and MJ has clearly had a much more remarkable career in terms of accomplishments. Don't get me wrong Kobe is awesome, but he is no MJ. Kobe isn't even the best Laker ever. People really need to get a clue.

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  6. The one thing that I would say is that Kobe's best scoring years were actually better than Jordan's best if you adjust for pace of game and defensive ability of the respective generations. To Kobe's credit, there is no doubt that defenses today are much better than they were during Jordan's era.

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  7. Pippen didn't get an
    y MVP honors whilst winning rings with Jordan

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  8. I agree with most of these. Tim Duncan stands out as being too high for me, he is good, but I don't believe he's all time top 10!
    I knew the Kobe debate would start, and lets face it, it's all down to bias about who you support. MJ may not have won so many rings with within having Pippen, but he was the main reason they won. Kobe wasn't that guy on the successful Lakers team, Shaq was the MJ equivelant, and Kobe was Pippen. I'm glad Lebron isn't in, one day he may be worthy, but even if he gets another 5 rings his own game will never live up to the other greats in this list. He's just a brute & doesn't make bball an attractive game. Most plays he just charges to the rim like a bull. Not a fan

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  9. Who would you put ahead of TD? As you can see, his accomplishments and statistics match up with the best of the NBA. Also, with regards to Kobe, there are people that put him way too high but that doesn't give it validity. Like you mentioned, Kobe wasn't the best player for the majority of his championships!

    As for LeBron, I completely disagree (which you may know if you've read articles like this one or this one. He is a power player but that doesn't take away from the elegance with which he outperforms every other NBA player.

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  10. Elijah, the stand out player that I
    think should be higher than Duncan is Hakeem. Granted his rings &
    awards count isn't quite as high, but I would put that down to the
    specific time that he was playing along Jordan, and what was arguably
    the greatest team ever in the Chicago Bulls. I genuinely believe that
    had Hakeem been at a different age, maybe the same as Duncan, then
    the debate between these 2 would seem silly. I know he isn't on the
    list, but I do think Duncan would be overshadowed by David Robinson,
    again if they had been a similar age.

    Kobe's criticisms are unfortunate
    really, for someone who is a truly great player. I believe this all
    boils down to the fact that he came along at a time when everyone was
    looking for someone to take over Jordan's crown, and given their
    similar types of style, he got the label. He isn't a patch on Jordan,
    and again if we had to change ages and era's, Kobe would have never
    got the type of credit he's received had he competed in the early/mid
    90's. This can also be said in an opposite manner for lots of
    players, think of all the rings and success that the players from
    this era could have gained had it not been for his airness?! Karl
    Malone would have a ring or 2, along with Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton,
    Charles Barkley, and quite a few more. Jordan cast a very big shadow
    over all in his era as nobody could compete. It was slightly
    different in the 80's as Magic, Kareem, and Bird could play of each
    other, and it is quite difficult or simply a matter of who's your
    favourite team, as to who was the best. Jordan had nobody like this
    when he was at his peak.

    As for Lebron, the best way I can
    describe why I don't look upon him as a great player is that he
    doesn't quite play the game with the style that I like. Yes it's all
    about winning, something which he has also yet to build upon to be in
    the top class, but winning with style is better. It's a spectator
    sport at the end of the day, and finesse is a key factor in what
    makes a player great. Kareem's sky-hook springs to mind every time
    the word finesse is mentioned, it was a thing of beauty, and Lebron
    has nothing like that. His best move is 'charge to the rim like a
    bull' and throw it down. I'm not denying he is one of the most
    influential game players these days, but he isn't a player I want to
    watch or find entertaining.

    Finally, one topic which I've mentioned
    with Lebron should be influential in choosing the best, and that's
    their 'watchability' factor. Did that player make people want to buy
    a ticket or turn on a TV to see them play?

    Nice list overall, lots of thought and
    conclusion put into it, and doesn't seem to be much bias, which is
    always better than a Laker fan screaming Kobe is the greatest! lol

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  11. The problem with Hakeem is that he didn't have those accomplishments even though being in Jordan's era certainly hurt him. Part of listing the greatest players of all time is synthesizing the greatest across generations and in order to be one of the truly greatest, you need to dominate a generation. All of the top 10 players on the list are more dominant than Hakeem - who is, by the way, only one slot out at 11. Similar things can be said of Malone who didn't win a ring because of the generation he played in. Maybe it is unfortunate but when comparing the legacy of players he just is not a top-10 player and Duncan is clearly greater.


    Now, with LeBron, the fact that you don't like his style is not good enough to say that he isn't great. He puts up amazing numbers, has one of the greatest singular impacts on the game of any player of all time, and has a title, MVPs, and many awards under his belt. You are completely right in saying that he is a power player and since you like finesse, that's your personal preference. But personal preference has no real impact in a discussion of a players greatness. I am personally not a fan of Kobe, but I recognize that he is a top-10 player of all time.


    Also, if I could pick any player in the NBA to watch, it'd be LeBron. And I don't think that I am in the minority either. The man is a freak of nature and your comment of "winning with style" doesn't resonate across the NBAs fan base. Case in point: the Heat are almost always on national TV. And another thing, one of the greatest of all time, Shaq, was a pure power player. People loved him. Both Shaq and LeBron made people buy a ticket or turn on a TV and that's a fact.

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  12. No way you leave Jerry West out. He was an all star 14 times, more than most of the guys on this list.

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  13. You serious?! Lebron is the reason why I watch and play basketball. I stay up 'till 4 am to watch him play. Whenever he plays! And I live on the other side of the globe! Basketball here is like... Curling in America ahah Okay you may not like him and have your own opinion but I think it is incorrect for you to say things as if they were "absolute" truths... It is your opinion. I think he has style, class and his the face of this new era of basketball. Things have changed so much, even the legends say that. Basketball is a team's game now, not a single player's game who scores 50+ points.

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  14. ppl needa get their mind fixedFebruary 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    know what? this article is really just sh!t... trashing kobe in such way '... but no further'

    HE IS STILL PLAYING... he can still build up these numbers and achievements that u use to compare them... one important thing is he is playing in a very competitive era... from AI, T-mac, to LBJ then Kevin Durant... look at these talents... it is way harder to dominate in this era, especially in the MJ style... today's game is really physical... SO IT IS ONLY FAIR TO COMPARE TO THEIR OWN RESPECTIVE ERA!

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  15. ppl needa get their mind fixedFebruary 22, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    I am a fan of Kobe

    First of all u r wrong... Steve Nash had Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudamire, Leonardo Barbosa... compared to kobe's team... the only 'up to standard' player is Lamar Odom... then smush parker... luke walton... are u f-king kidding me? Steve Nash has way better teammates, at least they can score as Nash dishes out... allowing Nash to built up number... look at the lakers at those years... without kobe, the team would have became the joke of the league... btw LBJ might deserve MVP in Cavs... but not in Heat... cuz heat won't sink to the bottom without him... and LBJ actually have Antawn Jamison in Cavs... the number 9 all time scorer in active players... number 44 all time... so that's not as bad as u people think

    #RESPECTKOBE

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  16. Michael Jordan is the seccond name of the NBA! And unstopable force in offence and a steel wall in defence. A perfect player and every other player on the list had a weakness. But tha word is not in Jordan's dictionarry!

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  17. First of all, for those people who say Kobe is underrated in this article I gotta say that they don't know anything about the history of this game!!! Kobe is "NOT THE BEST", Kobe may look like a legend or a G.O.A.T or whatever u wanna call, but he is not the player who u tend to believe. I don't say that he is an utter garbage, I just wanna say that he is not the person who u think he is. BTW this article is not perfect, but the position of Kobe here is almost correct.

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  18. Some of your arguments are flawed. MJ is arguably #1, but it isn't the slam dunk you make it.

    Kareem has as many titles, more MVPs, and (obviously) more points scored. Outside of Kobe, Kareem kept his effectiveness over time better than anyone else ever.

    Wilt has fewer rings and 1 fewer MVP awards, but was the most statistically dominant player ever. Wilt had more 50 point games in one season (45 in 61-62) than MJ had in his entire career (39, including playoffs).

    Russell has as many MVPs and was the backbone of the best dynasty in NBA history with almost twice as many rings. Russell was SO valuable to the C's that he won 5 MVPs despite only being all NBA First Team at Center 3 times (due tomplaying at the same time as Wilt). The fact he wasn't a top scorer just shows that his D, Rebounding, and Leadership was THAT GOOD.

    I also think Bird shouldn't be any lower than 5, as he's arguably the most complete offensive player ever ( The ONLY career 20/10/5 guy ever at 24/10/6).

    Glad you have Duncan in the Top 10, where he belongs. He's definitely ahead of Kobe and arguably should be ahead of Shaq as well.

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  19. If that was the case, there is no such thing as the greatest players of all time.

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  20. I wouldn't put Wilt ahead of Bill Russell for the simple reason that Russell did more in the playoffs. It's a fallacy that the Celtics had better talent than Wilt's Sixers teams. And when Wilt averaged 50 ppg, who was the league MVP? Mr. Russell. Jordan's dominance in the 90's is the offensive equivalent of Russell's defensive dominance in the 60's. It's not just about scoring, folks.


    And Shaq is not better than Tim Duncan because Duncan had more peak seasons. Shaq was more dominant, if not just because of his size, but he is not a better basketball player. You couldn't even leave him in-game during clutch situations.

    But I agree with placing Duncan ahead of Kobe. Here's an extended reasoning: http://cesc-pistol.blogspot.com/2012/11/why-tim-duncan-is-better-than-kobe.html

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  21. Michael jordan is the best


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  22. Patrik ewing is good

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  23. Has anyone watched space jam soooo good

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  24. That's true but you can't dispute that Jordan doesn't beat the Bad Boys w/o Pippen nor does he go on to win 6 rings.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I hope people stop comparing Pippen and Shaq. Pippen was a top 40 player of all time, Shaq was a borderline top 10 in many peoples eyes. As the 2nd Wheel Shaq>>>>>Pippen. We also have to point out that sense it's a team game, you have to base greatness on an individual level and MJ was the GOAT! Hands down!

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  26. Wilt Chamberlain was the most dominant basketball player of all time.

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  27. Even though Wilt had the greatest stats of all time, he still got dominated by russell consistently with a similar quality team, which is why you always have to put russell over wilt. From what i;ve read wilt cared way too much about stats as opposed to NBA titles. It even got to the stage where he argued with one of the game scorers over an assist he made. Shaq is also overrated in this list, would put Hakeem over him any day. Even though Shaq has more awards than Hakeem, he won them in a diluted league with the second/third best player (Kobe) at his side and didnt really play against another quality centre during that 3-peat run. Hakeem is the second best defensive centre of all time behind russell (i.e multiple DPOY + blocked shots),had some of the deadliest offensive moves (dream shake), had to compete with at least 4 other quality centers and played in the 90's, arguably the greatest decade of the NBA. My order of centers: Kareem, Russel, Wilt, Hakeem, Shaq, Malone

    ReplyDelete
  28. Bill did not consistently dominate Russell. In the 51 games that they played against each other, Russell owns the W-L record by one game, 26-25. In the playoffs it's a slightly greater disparity, 21-15, but again I would hardly call this "domination." Also, Wilt was a part of the Lakers team that rattled off 33 straight so to say that Wilt doesn't care about winning (which is what you implied by saying that he "cared way too much about stats as opposed to NBA titles") is not backed up with facts. Russell vs. Wilt was considered one of the greatest rivalries in the NBA...and why would it be considered a rivalry if it wasn't competitive? These guys went at it and Russell was never "dominated" by Wilt. Here are some of those stats.

    Not only that but you could argue that in fact Wilt dominated Bill! According to this article, Bill had about half as many points and five less rebounds per matchup than Wilt. That is very significant because they matched up against each other. If Bill dominated Wilt defensively, which is his strong point, why did Wilt still put up nearly his career average against such a great defensive center?

    I also disagree with your analysis of Hakeem vs. Shaq. A diluted league? One quick example: in the 01 playoffs the Lakers beat the Spurs in the WCF 4-0. That team had two Hall of Fame big men: Tim Duncan and David Robinson.

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  29. I think a Pippen/Harden comparison is in order. You take Pippen off of the Bulls and not only does Jordan fill in part of the gap, but Pippen's numbers as the go-to-guy would have sky-rocketed.

    The Jordan/Kobe debate comes mostly from the similarities in their style of play. At about the same height, one can't help but reminisce when he watches Kobe fadeaway from ~15 feet. He's a literal reincarnation of the same competitiveness and worth ethic, with a slightly inferior skill set, in a different basketball era.

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  30. Larry Bird is only 6th in the list? C'mon. What gives?

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  31. My only major complaint with this list is Shaq over Hakeem. Hakeem was better than Shaq. You couldn't hack a Hakeem cause Hakeem could actually shoot foul shots. If you want to put Russel, Wilt and Kareem above Hakeem okay, but Hakeem was better than Shaq.
    And one of the most interesting facts about Shaq is teams he played on were swept as many times as they swept people.

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  32. Where is Pippen ?

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  33. He is not a top 15 player all time.

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  34. Oh let's just say for argument's sake that offensive skills and the Pippen-Shag factors cancel each other out.To me there is one VERY VERY VERY OBVIOUS thing that separates them.It is so obvious that it TOTALLY amazes me that people (Kobe nuthuggers) conveniently are blind to it.Jordan was a CONSISTENT SHUTDOWN DEFENDER (read:all throughout his career).He took a REAL pride in it.Couldn't say the same for Kobe.In particular he says openly he doesn't take a charge so that he can preserve his back whatever that means.And you can infer in numerous interviews that he doesn't focus on defense too much (or for that matter passing the ball) because it takes away from the SINGULARITY OF HIS FOCUS in offense.And before you say something about Kobe's defensive player awards just google the master's (Phil Jackson)opinion of it.

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  35. As the author of this column you are instantly discredited. Go and do a little research on Kobe's 82 point game against the raptors. And also the the team Kobe had wasn't favorable to Nash suns team and Kobe single handly took them to a game seven with the likes of Kwame Brown and Smush Parker starting while the suns started joe Johnson Steve Nash, Shawn Marion. Are you insane and lebron a team was better as well. Your an idiot to think Kobe had the better team. It wasn't until he got Pau Gasol the lakers was a formidable team even then not the best talent in the nba not close as a team. Back to the drawing board. And to place magic about Kobe discredits every thing you write. Magic was a beneficiary of being on the greatest team with several of the greatest players of all time. Smh.

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  36. Interesting... you're telling somebody to do research when you didn't do the research to find out that Kobe scored 81 not 82. Not only that but I just mentioned this in the comment that you responded to.

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  37. MJ the greatest story in basketball history....period!

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  38. disqus_vkAtbZaRNqApril 27, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    LeBron is the best player EVER!! Love him or hate him he's the best!! Yes better than Jordan......sorry

    ReplyDelete
  39. I think The best team right now is Miami heat my god look at that shit line up!

    ReplyDelete
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  64. What’s the definition of “greatest” of all-time? I like to think of top tier players rather than specific ranking of #1, #2, #3 – because it’s difficult to compare a shooting guard vs. a forward vs. a center.

    If I were to rank the greatest of all time, I guess my question would be – who would I pick first on my team. And not having seen some of the oldtimers, I wouldn’t be picking fairly.

    Anyway, my guess is that if I was picking a team, my first choice might be Wilt Chamberlin. The reason for that is look at what even Roy Hibbert was able to do to Lebron – didn’t he clog up the clog up the middle completely and stop Lebron’s penetration, for the most part, when Hibbert and Lebron were on the floor at the same time. Now imagine Wilt instead of Hibbert. Then throw in Wilt’s offensive skills. Even MJ – he couldn’t have done all he did if Wilt was clogging up the middle. So while I don’t remember too much, it’s hard for me to not pick him. The wildcard here is I wonder why he didn’t win so many championships. Was he somewhat of a ballhog on offense – not in a bad way, but did all his teams try to run the offsense thru Wilt every single play and that impacted the team effort?

    Who would I pick second and if I couldn’t pick another center – probably MJ. The thing with MJ (as well as Kobe and Lebron) is that they played defense. There are some on your list for whom defense wasn’t their forte – Magic, Larry, maybe Isiah Thomas, probably John Stockton too (who’s not on your list). So I think you have to include defense and “complete” players if you’re talking about the greatest of all time. Related to this is what I was talking about in terms of making other players on your team better too. After all, basketball is a team sport – not golf, tennis, ping pong, etc.

    I would have to say, though, that it was darn fun to watch Magic play – same with Bird. Magic was really something to watch – I mean he would make these great passes all the time with great big smiles on his face. You’ve probably seen some of those highlights.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I understand and see your point. My next question is what is "top tier" - five players, ten players, 50 players? Is Kobe in MJ's "tier"? Rankings are tiers to the most specific level.

    As for the definition of GOAT - to me, it means exactly what you said: "who would I want if I was starting a team and had the No. 1 pick?" This is EXACTLY why I have been talking all about LeBron because I would take LeBron over MJ in such a situation. By that logic and our definition for GOAT, I just said LeBron is greater than Jordan. Wilt is another story and I would also put him in that discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Top tier is definitely not top 50 – maybe top 20 or top 10.

    I wouldn’t take Lebron quite yet – talk to me in a couple years. Whether it’s true or not, and as I mentioned, I still don’t believe his outside shot is nearly as good as Michael’s. And yes, he can guard more types of players. But players' muscularity increases and things like that over the years.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Yea I was going to say. Let's take my opinion away from it and let Phil Jackson end the debate. After all his opinion is what matters the most on the subject or has the most relevance

    ReplyDelete
  68. just 4 words ---> WAIT FOR THE KING

    ReplyDelete
  69. You do not go in depth enough with this, only one line of stats (which do not tell the half of it) and one small paragraph for each player?
    My one on Air Ball is much more in depth

    ReplyDelete
  70. I'm not really sure how this adds to the discussion but where you begin to talk about your greatest of all time players, you have 1200 words. This article is 1700 words. Regardless, I think most people would say that a ranking of MJ as the third best player in NBA history is more suspicious than even ESPN ranking Kobe 25th on their ranking of 2014 NBA players.


    Let me know if you have any concrete arguments one way or another and I'd be happy to further discuss the greatest NBA players of all time.

    ReplyDelete
  71. My whole MJ analysis is a concrete argument as to why he is number 3 lol

    ReplyDelete

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