Monday, April 29, 2013

Jason Collins coming out as gay changes more than just the NBA


NBA free agent Jason Collins is not known for particularly memorable on-court performances, but the spotlight is now shining brightly on him because he just made history. The 34-year-old wrote in a story for Sports Illustrated:

            I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.

I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.

By coming out as the first active, gay professional male athlete, Collins has immediately changes the course of the NBA's future. The door is open for gay players to come out. The boldness of Collins' openness increases particularly in light of homophobic comments that have been made in sports recently, the most shocking being San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver saying on Media Day before Super Bowl XLVII that openly gay players are not welcome on the (49ers) team.

Strong backlash ensued after those comments and Culliver did retract them, but his point was all too clear: the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that the US military has recently revoked was an unwritten rule in sports. Legendary coach Phil Jackson went so far as to say that he never saw a gay NBA player. The message to any gay player had been clear: if there are any of you, keep it quiet.

Collins came forward with a powerful "no, I won't be quiet" to that and has forever changed the landscape of sports. The machismo that comes with being a professional male athlete has drawn a disconnect between both gays in pro sports and the general American sentiments on this issue. It’s a fact that Americans are increasingly more supportive of gay rights. Even Republicans have spent money lobbying for gay marriage. Yet somehow the discussion of gay rights in sports had remained silent.

Jason Collins boldly stepped forward as a man to change that and most importantly, his initiative will provide a strong boost to the progress of gay rights in the United States. Now, homophobia in pro sports is put on blast. And what better place to do it than in American professional sports…a place so integrated into our daily lives. Acceptance will need to come from one of the areas that was rather unwelcoming to openly declared gay men considering there were a grand total of zero prior to Collins. It will spark discussion from our youngest sports fans and athletes to the oldest, more experienced fans and athletes.

In a show of how powerful one individual can be, this excellent example proves how one (mediocre) basketball player can pave the way for future athletes to come out. One person can provide a figure for the gay rights movement in sports. Masculinity is innately built into male professional sports and now people can see proof that being heterosexual is simply not a prerequisite to make it to the grandest stage in basketball.

A veteran of the league, Jason Collins will be ready for whatever comes his way.

High profile players like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Baron Davis have already jumped to support Collins. Using the leverage that these athletes have for the well-being of humanity is ultimately what sports are all about.
It says more about the people who dish out homophobic comments than the recipients of those harsh words and hopefully this will prove to be a large step in the right direction progressing to more than just acceptance. That doesn't mean that the road will be easy, but Collins put himself out in the open at the risk of intolerance for the goal of bettering sports and society. That is more important than the result of any playoff game.

Sports like the NBA symbolize and represent the American heart and soul. It must follow that these games proudly represent all of our diversity.

The NBA's best coaches


In total, more than 300 men have their names cemented as a coach in the history of the NBA. Most of them haven’t lasted for a long period and those who did manage to do that came to be known as the best of the best. Irrespective of their age, sports background or prior coaching experience, these leaders had a defined vision about the growth and success of the team. It is because of these men that basketball now enjoys a huge fan following, and websites like http://www.bodog88.com provide sports betting base for those interested online gambling games and potentially profiting from the ups and downs of the game.

The prototypical NBA coach has the foundation of the team built on solid defense, madcap ball movement, calculated halftime changes and self-control reflected through smart switch patterns and strategic timeouts. In the history of the NBA, there have only been a few coaches who have displayed such abilities and have enjoyed a successful career spanning over a decade or more, or even continue to prevail till date.

Here are the top four names that are widely commended for their victories, winning percentage, championships, and overall impact on the sport.

Phil Jackson

The Knicks star and the Lakers mastermind superannuated 13 championship rings in his career. However, this is not the only reason why he stands atop the league of over 300 coaches in the world of the NBA. He managed to train the enormous fresh talent along with managing the colossal egos, earning the respect of the team members in the process. His anarchic out-of-the-box motivational techniques were more than effective and the tactical abilities remained far underrated. However, his persona of a Zen Master combined with consummate success make him one of the best coaches in NBA history.

Red Auerbach

Red Auerbach’s place in NBA’s history cannot be debated. With nine championships in his name and the second highest winning percentage, Auerbach has led one of the greatest dynasties the NBA has ever had. His legendary coaching abilities made the Coach of the Year award name it after his name. His emphasis on teamwork was a trademark of his pioneering abilities and worked in leading the teams to huge wins. With over 900 wins, Auerbach ranks seventh on the list of the best coaches of all time.

Larry Brown

Despite being the biggest winner in the history of basketball with over 1500 victories in his name as a college, ABA and an NBA coach, Larry Brown gives an impression of being permanently irked. Being a perfectionist, he frowns, frets and is always complaining. Given his exact gameplay standards, only a few of his teams brought laurels to his name. However, there are many other teams who showed tremendous signs of improvement under his name, the only exception being the 2005-06 team of the Knicks. The only coach to earn the NBA and the NCAA title, he will be perhaps remembered as one of the greatest team builders once he agrees to leave the game.

Doc Rivers

Though it isn’t like the 1980s and 90s when Hall of Famers like Riley, Jackson and Sloan were leading the NBA teams, the NBA still possesses its share of some amazing sideline visionaries today. Known as the players’ coach, Doc Rivers enjoys a powerful position in this sideline. Though he is often seen tabbing the assistant coaches as the defensive and offensive coordinator, Rivers is one amazing tactician, especially towards the end of any game. Celtics, under his reign of eight years, earned six Atlantic division titles and aim at getting more on-board in the upcoming seasons

Some other notable mentions include George Karl, Larry Drew, Red Holzman, Greg Popovich and certainly other names that have been associated with any successful basketball team. Just because of the longevity factor, the sheer success of the sport guides gets them atop the list.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Real 2013 NBA season awards


With all of the debate that surrounds the traditional NBA awards, sometimes we need to take a step back and think about which awards really matter. For that, I’ve created a brand new host of annual awards that go to a select few players. Some of these awards are shoo-ins, just like LeBron James with the 2013 NBA MVP award, but others are quite competitive. Here they are, the first annual selection for the eleven real 2013 NBA season player awards:

JaVale “I’m not sure what’s going on” McGee Award


If you have had the pleasure of laughing hysterically at any YouTube videos of the Nuggets center (see above), you know just how utterly clueless he can be at times. Free throw line dunks in game are only the beginning to his on-court antics and sometimes he just looks so hopelessly lost. So, unless somebody else comes into the league with the lack of intelligence that McGee brings to the table, this award is created and won exclusively by the guy who is never quite sure what is going on, JaVale McGee.

Defensive player for opposing teams Award

This award is handed out to the player that every opposing team loves. The traditional Defensive Player of the Year award goes to a player that shuts down opposing offenses. Well, that can be useful occasionally but this award is more important. Now we’re talking about a player who is so great that he can shut down his own team’s offense. It takes a truly special player to do that. And for now at least, the winner of this award takes first place in a landslide. Russell Westbrick Westbrook is truly one of a kind because he has the ability to hold three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant under 30 points per game on any given night.

Larry “White man wonder” Bird Award

With the ever-decreasing concentration of (good) white players in the NBA, the White Man Wonder award goes out to this year’s best player who looks like the color of the basketball net. Kevin Love may be the perennial favorite to take home this trophy but his injuries this year prevented him from taking home this award’s first annual winner. Undoubtedly, half of the Vanilla Towers in Golden State earned it this year. David Lee, the 20-10 machine, takes home these honors.

Rasheed “Ref, that was a FOUL!” Wallace Award

Who holds the single season record for technical fouls? Answer: Rasheed Wallace. Do you know who holds the second, third, and fourth highest single season records for T’s? Yup, those titles also go to Rasheed Wallace. If there’s one thing that you can count on Rasheed Wallace for, it’s yelling at the refs. Even though the list of top 20 players with T’s in 2013 is a star-studded lineup, no better and more frequent complainer exists than the Lakers great, Kobe Bryant. A 95-year veteran of the NBA, sometimes it’s hard to see if Kobe’s complaining or asking for a cane but he always finds a way to put on that “come on, ref” look when he gets fouled. The reality according to Kobe: if I missed a shot, I was fouled. Simple as that. Kobe, here you are, another trophy to add to your walls of awards and accolades.

Michael “should I stay or should I go?” Jordan Award

I lost count of how many retirements the great Michael Jordan had accumulated over the course of his careers. Was he trying to retire one time for every ring he won? This award honors his greatness in deciding to retire and unretire and recognizes the player who just can’t seem to finally pull the plug on his NBA playing career. Grant Hill, at 40 years old, averaged 3 points and 2 rebounds per game in 2013 which is almost on par with the great Luke Walton. Grant, it's time to call it a career.

Dennis “I’ll wear what I want to wear” Rodman Award

If you can explain the logic behind the Dennis Rodman outfits…who are we kidding? Nobody can do that. If anybody can surpass Rodman’s attire, I would be simply befuddled. The array of colorful and unusual clothes that Rodman adorned was interesting to say the least. Paying homage that trend-setting style, this award landed unanimously in the possession of the always attention-grabbing Russell Westbrook. My philosophy: Westbrook is auditioning to become a United States ambassador to North Korea.

Antoine “Keep on chucking” Walker Award

Despite leading the league in three-point attempts for three consecutive years in his highly regarded career, Antoine Walker spent years chucking from beyond the arc for the Boston Celtics. Finishing off his career with a .325 3PT field goal percentage, Walker shot below 30 percent for three different seasons. Apparently it is true: ignorance is bliss. There is no more perfect player to win the chucking award than Bucks guard, Monta Ellis. An excellent thrasher, Monta hoisted 4.0 threes a game in 2013 and shot…wait for the ball to hit the iron…28.7 percent from beyond the arc. Somebody enter this man into the three-point shooting contest.

Ben “Little Big Man” Wallace Award

There’s something to be said for the big man who, well…isn’t really that big. Ben Wallace was known for being a defensive force at center despite being only 6’9”. Leading the Detroit Pistons to the 2004 championship, Wallace also topped the league in rebounding and blocks throughout his career. So before the Little Man Complex kicks in, let’s give some love to the not-so-bigs who use energy and an undying motor to propel themselves to NBA success. And for the 2013 Little Big Man Award, the 6’8” Kenneth Faried comes out on top. The Manimal has a motor that never quits and is an athletic monster who will likely compete for these honors for years to come.

Metta Not World Peace a-War-d

Aside from wanting to vomit every time I hear the name Metta World Peace, I laugh at the idea that the man could bestow such a name upon himself. From the Malice at the Palace to innumerable other incidents, Not World Peace has made a name for himself by advocating for just about everything except world peace. Thus, you have the above named a-War-d. To nobody’s surprise (save maybe his own), DeMarcus Cousins is the perfect recipient for these honors considering his behavior was so bad that in December his own team suspended him. Congrats, DeMarcus.

Brian “MVP” Scalabrine-Cardinal Award

Even the NBA champion LeBron James stands little chance in the debate of greatest NBA players of all time when you mention the indomitable Brian Scalabrine. The two man debate for GOAT is between the White Mamba and the 4.6/2.3/1.0 career average of Brian Cardinal. So, in honor of these two greats, the real MVP award is named after the great Brians of the NBA. The Brians would support the man who earned the 2013 MVP honors, none other than Timofey Mozgov. Not only did the Russian Rocket pile up 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 2013, but he also kindly volunteered to be posterized by DeMar DeRozan in one of the greatest dunks of 2013.

Sam “sorry, Portland” Bowie Award

The Portland Trailblazers always seem to be the recipient of either some terrible luck or just poor decisions. Sam Bowie is famous for who he is not. That person he is not is the player drafted one slot below him in the 1984 NBA Draft: Michael Jordan. As if that was not bad enough, Portland proceeded to pass up on one Kevin Durant in the 2007 NBA Draft for the durable Greg Oden. Aside from the other achievement differentials, in 2010, Durant played in as many regular season games as Oden played in his entire career (82). So surely Portland would figure out a good draft pick in 2011, right? They opted to stop the trend of drafting big men in favor of a guard. Instead of Kenneth Faried, they selected the 6’2” Duke guard, Nolan Smith. Smith averages 3.3 points and 1.2 assists for his career.

However, the irony is that the recipient of this terrible decision is another team that dwells in the cellar of the NBA and the last men laughing are the Blazers front office! In the 2012 draft, Portland selected Damian Lillard with the sixth overall pick. One slot earlier, the Kings opted for Thomas Robinson and his 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Although he was hardly as bad of a choice as Bowie, Robinson was so great that the Kings decided to share his talents and traded him mid-season to the Rockets.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

2013 NBA Playoff Preview and Predictions



With superstars littered throughout playoff teams and exciting back-stories to virtually all series, the 2013 NBA playoffs are certainly shaping up to be entertaining and exciting. While the eventual fate of the playoffs falls into the hands of the likely MVP LeBron James and the Miami Heat, (almost) all series should prove to be exciting and very few teams will dominate their opponent.

Some of the bigger stories to follow and see how they unfold: can the Lakers overcome Kobe Bryant’s injury and Dwight Howard take over the reins in Los Angeles? The Lakers finished the season on a five-game win streak and Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard appear to be clicking without Kobe. Another major story: can the Thunder win in the playoffs without Harden? And how will a Harden vs. Durant-Westbrook first round go? Much has been said about whether or not OKC should have kept Westbrook over Durant, and now the magnifying glass returns to the athletic point guard in Oklahoma City.

Of course, Carmelo Anthony’s perennial playoff struggles will also be something to focus on. Melo has been an impressive regular season performer—and recently beat out Kevin Durant for the 2013 scoring title—but can he do it in the playoffs? He certainly has the surrounding pieces, and his legacy may be on the line this year as much as LeBron James’ was last year. 

As mentioned earlier, the No. 1 story is clear: can anybody beat Miami? And how much does San Antonio have left in the tank? The Spurs finished the season with a three-game losing streak…a far-cry from their ten-game win streak at the end of the 2012 season. A final major story: what Clippers and Nuggets teams will show up in the playoffs? Both teams have had periods of incredible success and are coming into the playoffs relatively hot, so can that continue that when it matters most?

Here is how I see some of those stories and the 2013 NBA playoffs panning out:

Round 1 Games

Western Conference

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (8) Houston Rockets

It will be very interesting to see if the Rockets can run with OKC, but ultimately this series should not be much of a competition. The Thunder have experience and talent on their side and barring an incredible meltdown should be able to overpower their former teammate, James Harden.

Prediction: OKC wins, 4-1

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers

In my mind, San Antonio is the biggest question mark going into the playoffs. They have not played very well of late which certainly has the potential to carry over into the playoffs. Duncan’s minutes have also been very limited this entire season and it’s difficult to see how he could play extended minutes in the playoffs, especially against the duo of Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. On the other hand, when the playoffs come around, San Antonio always seems to show up and prove any doubters and nay-sayers wrong. This series will last six or seven games and in the end, I think the Lakers have a shot at pulling off a big upset. Dwight and Pau have been clicking of late and Duncan and Parker average less than 35 minutes a game each. The Lakers got hot at the right time.

Prediction: Los Angeles wins, 4-3

(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Golden State Warriors

This should also be a very entertaining series. The raining threes show that Steph Curry and Klay Thompson can put on is something that can be nearly unstoppable at times. The Nuggets, however, owned the NBA’s best home record at 38-3 this season. If the Warriors can play defense like they have in the final games of the regular season and continue to nail outside shots, the wild West is in for another upset.

Prediction: Golden State wins, 4-3

(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies

Ironically, the four vs. five seed game will likely be less competitive than either the two vs. seven or three vs. six seed games. Lob City is rolling and Memphis always seems to choke in the playoffs. It would be tragic if Los Angeles finished the season that they started off so well with with a first round loss—and that should not happen.

Prediction: Los Angeles wins, 4-2

Eastern Conference

(1) Miami Heat vs. (8) Milwaukee Bucks

Not much to say here. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh will handle Monta and Brandon Jennings with ease.

Prediction: Miami wins, 4-0

(2) New York Knicks vs. (7) Boston Celtics

Like Popovich, I would never cast out the coaching ability of Doc Rivers in the playoffs. Clearly New York has the better player personnel but Boston has the been-there-done-that attitude and found a way to get into the playoffs without their superstar point guard, Rajon Rondo. In the end, however, I will keep with my theme of out with the old in with the new. KG’s limited minutes won’t be enough to slow down the 2013 NBA scoring champion.

Prediction: New York wins, 4-3

(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks

Like Memphis, Atlanta has a knack for playing teams very well in the first round of the playoffs but are just never able to pull off the series win. Indiana played Miami well in the 2012 playoffs and their core group is still together. With one of the NBA’s best defenses, the Pacers will win this series relatively comfortably.

Prediction: Indiana wins, 4-2

(4) Brooklyn Nets vs. (5) Chicago Bulls

As great as the Chicago Bulls have played without their MVP point guard, Derrick Rose, it won’t be enough come the playoffs. Brooklyn has Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and a force down-low in Brook Lopez. While none of that trio has been particularly impressive on their own in playoff situations, the combination of the three will be enough for Deron Williams to beat his former teammate, Carlos Boozer, and the Chicago Bulls.

Prediction: Brooklyn wins, 4-3

Conference Semifinals

Western Conference

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (4) Los Angeles Clippers

Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins will help showcase their roles for OKC in this conference semifinal matchup and keep Blake Griffin from throwing down many Chris Paul alley-oops. Durant and Westbrook will provide the brunt of the scoring load and they will prove that they don’t (yet) miss James Harden.

Prediction: Oklahoma City wins, 4-2

(6) Golden State Warriors vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers

Six seed vs. seven seed…you probably didn’t expect that but there is certainly a legitimate possibility that three California teams advance to the second round of the playoffs. A Golden State vs. Los Angeles matchup will be very interesting because the Lakers will struggle to stop the outside shooting of the Warriors and the Warriors will have trouble with Gasol and Howard on the inside. In the end, Bogut, D-Lee, and Festus Ezeli will provide the interior defense needed to muffle LA’s duo and if Curry and Klay can hoist up threes with success similar to their regular season performance, this “We Belong” team can advance a round further than the 2007 “We Believe” team.

Prediction: Golden State wins, 4-3

Eastern Conference

(1) Miami Heat vs. (4) Brooklyn Nets

Again, barring an incredible surprise, the Heat road to the conference finals should be smooth sailing if they don’t take anything for granted. I don’t see that happening after the scare that Indiana gave them last year. They know what it takes to win in the playoffs.

Prediction: Miami wins, 4-1

(2) New York Knicks vs. (3) Indiana Pacers

A Knicks-Pacers series will be a fun one to watch as strength battles strength. Can the Knicks great offense beat the Pacers stellar defense? My thoughts: Carmelo realizes what these playoffs mean and it is his time to prove he is more than a great regular season performer.

Prediction: New York wins, 4-3

Conference Finals

Western Conference

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (6) Golden State Warriors

As much as I would like to say that the Warriors can earn a trip to the Finals, one year together (really less because of Bogut’s injury) is not enough to beat a perennial championship contender. Unless Westbrook makes some bone-headed decisions like he did in last year’s NBA Finals, this is the Thunder’s series to lose. If the shots fall for Golden State and Bogut solidifies the interior, the series may go to six or seven games but otherwise look for the Thunder to return to the Finals.

Prediction: Oklahoma City wins, 4-1

Eastern Conference

(1) Miami Heat vs. (2) New York Knicks

This is the battle of the 2003 NBA Draft as four of the top five picks fight for a trip to the NBA Finals—LeBron James (1st overall pick), Carmelo Anthony (3), Chris Bosh (4), and Dwyane Wade (5). Melo should give Miami more than an easy walk-through but like their previous series, the Heat will take care of business in the conference finals.

Prediction: Miami wins, 4-2

NBA Finals

Miami Heat (1) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (1)

Just as I stuck with my preseason predictions for the NBA Finals matchup, I’m also doing so for the NBA champion. If OKC cannot beat Miami with Harden, then they definitely cannot do so without Harden. While it is probably legitimate to say that an OKC team minus Westbrook would have a tough time against the Big Three in Miami, too, what the Thunder have now is not enough to win a championship. Like last year, LeBron will take home regular season and NBA Finals MVP honors en route to a second consecutive title for the Heat.

Prediction: Miami wins, 4-1; Finals MVP: LeBron James

Friday, April 12, 2013

Greatest shooting guards of all time

NBA shooting guards arguably define the sport. In a sport where the goal is to put the ball in the bucket, that’s exactly what these guys are supposed to do. Granted, it is a little more nuanced than that, but you'll see that all of these guys were primarly known for their scoring ability. Here is a ranking of the top-10 best NBA shooting guards of all time:

10. Pete Maravich


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
Games played
24.2
4.2
5.4
1.4
.441
.820
N/A
658

One of the most exciting players of his time, “Pistol Pete” dazzled NBA audiences in the 1970s. In the words of the Basketball Hall of Fame, he was “perhaps the greatest creative offensive talent in history…[with] Globetrotter-like dribbling, ability to toss a no-look pass with pinpoint accuracy, or make a fall-away jumper with two defenders draped on him. The court was his personal playground, every night was a show.”

9. Earl Monroe


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
Games played
18.8
3.0
3.9
1.0
.464
.807
N/A
926

Another flamboyant guard of the 1970s, “Earl the Pearl” was a second overall pick who went on to have a solid NBA career, winning an NBA championship and being named to four NBA All Star teams. His jersey is retired by two teams, the Knicks and the Wizards.

8. Reggie Miller


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
Games played
18.2
3.0
3.0
1.1
.471
.888
.395
1389

Although he doesn’t have much hardware to back up his impressive NBA career, neither do many other excellent players of the 1990s thanks to one Michael Jordan. Although the player one position higher than him on this list currently holds the NBA record for career three-point field goals made, Miller did hold that record when he retired in 2005.

7. Ray Allen


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
Games played
19.4
4.1
3.4
1.1
.452
.894
.402
1221

Often regarded as the greatest three-point shooter in NBA history, Ray Allen is known for his smooth, quick-release shot and was also a primary scorer early in his career. An NBA champion and 10-time All-Star, Allen may still have a championship to add to his resume with the Miami Heat. As mentioned earlier, he holds the NBA record for career three-point field goals made.

6. Clyde Drexler


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
Games played
20.4
6.1
5.6
2.0
.472
.788
.318
1086

Having had the pleasure to interview Clyde Drexler, I can verify firsthand that he is an incredible classy guy which is remarkable considering how great he was. Ironically, he has an NBA championship and 10 NBA All Star appearances to his name exactly like Ray Allen. Similar to LeBron James, Drexler was an incredibly well-rounded player—he is one of only three players in NBA history with 20,000 points, 6000 rebounds, and 6000 assists.

5. George Gervin


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
Games played
26.2
4.6
2.8
1.2
.511
.844
.297
791

Gervin defines scoring greatness as the above stat line shows. 26.2 points per game and over 51 percent from the field is unparalleled. The Iceman has four scoring titles and nine All-Star appearances to support his regular season greatness. If it weren’t for his lack of playoff resume, Gervin would be No. 4 on this list.

4. Dwyane Wade


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
Games played
24.8
5.1
6.1
1.8
.489
.768
.289
662

Yes, 31-year-old Dwyane Wade is already one of the greatest shooting guards of all time. A two-time NBA champion who led his team to the 2006 title with one of the greatest playoff performances of all time (per ESPN), Wade is also a nine-time All Star, NBA scoring champion, and Sportsman of the Year. His overall greatness may be subject to debate once his career is over after teaming up with LeBron James but in terms of individual, he’s already No. 4 as a shooting guard.

3. Jerry West


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
Games played
27.0
5.8
6.7
N/A
.474
.814
N/A
932

The man in the NBA logo had an illustrious career despite his small stature at 6’2” and 185 pounds. A Laker for the entire duration of his career, he won a scoring title in 1970, an NBA championship in 1972, and was a 14-time All-Star.

2. Kobe Bryant


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
Games played
25.5
5.3
4.7
1.5
.454
.837
.336
1235

The Black Mamba. Not much to say that you don’t already know about the five-time champion and prolific NBA scorer. Two-time scoring champion, NBA MVP, 15-time All-Star, 10-time All-NBA First Team…and he’s still adding on at age 34. Quite simply, Kobe is one of the greatest NBA players of all time.

1. Michael Jordan


Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
FG %
FT %
3PT %
Games played
30.1
6.2
5.3
2.3
.497
.835
.327
1072

The greatest player of all time is, of course, also the greatest shooting guard of all time. Some of his many accomplishments: six-time NBA champion and Finals MVP, five-time NBA MVP, 14-time All-Star, 10-time scoring champion, three-time steals champion. A great quote that epitomizes the career of Jordan from coach Doug Collins after MJ’s game-winner against the Cavs in the 1989 playoffs: “that play was ‘give the ball to Michael and everyone else get the @##@#% out of the way.’”

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