Alright, let’s get our sports talk going on. I’m hosting a debate about the Top 10 greatest basketball players in history and where Kobe Bryant and Lebron James fit on that list. Despite recent comments from Scottie Pippen that Lebron James might surpass MJ as the greatest player, there will never be another MJ.
Kobe and Lebron are both phenomenal players. I’m a fan of Kobe and think he’s an incredible player. He should be proud of his 5 NBA titles but there is no comparison between MJ and Kobe. Two years ago, he wasn’t in my list of Top 10 but Kobe’s 4th and 5th NBA title seal his place amongst the Top 10 greatest players of all time. As for Lebron, let’s wait till he wins couple championships. We all know he’ll easily be amongst the Top 10 players and likely in the Top 5. But let’s wait…
There is no comparison.
Below is my Top 10 list:
What do you think?
Who would you add?
Who would you remove?
Where would you place Kobe or Lebron (eventually) on that list?
1. Michael Jordan
Simply the best.
Over his career, he averaged an incredible 30.1 points, 5.3 assists, and 6.2 rebounds and had he not taken couple seasons off to pursue his baseball career, his numbers would even be that more incredible. His accomplishments are too many to list but here are some: 5 MVP awards, 10 All-NBA First Team designations, 9 All-Defensive First Team honors,14 NBA All-Star Game appearances, 10 scoring titles, and 6 NBA Finals MVP awards. He holds the NBA records for highest career regular-season scoring average (30.12 points/game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points/game). There is no equal.
Plus points for influencing my game. Minus points for gambling away.
2. Magic Johnson
He also revolutionized the game. Over his career, he averaged 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, and 7.2 rebounds and was still playing at an incredibly phenomenal level when he was forced to retired after 13 seasons. For some reason as a young teenager, I cried when he announced his retirement.
5 NBA titles and 3 MVP awards. 6 foot 9 inch point guard that could do everything including playing the center position with a baby hook.
Plus points for being Magic. Minus points for a shortened career and opening up movie theaters.
3. Kareem Abdul Jabbar
In my opinion, he’s one of the most under-rated players in history – even at #3. People don’t quite know how great he was over his expansive 20 year career. He averaged 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.57 blocks, and 3.6 assists. Total career numbers: 38,387 points & 17,440 rebounds. 6 NBA titles and 6 MVP awards, 19 All-Star appearances, and 5 NBA ll-Defensive Team (+ 6 2nd team).
He made goggles cool. Or maybe not. Extra points for being in a Bruce Lee movie. Minus points for not being so good in that Bruce Lee movie.
4. Wilt Chamberlain
Just consider his career average: 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. Just think about that. Yes, it’s true that he didn’t have many direct competitors at the center position but just consider those numbers. Think about the one season when he averaged 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds - per game. 2 NBA titles and 4 MVP awards.
Plus points for the 100 point game. Minus points for boasting of his supposed conquests of 10,000 women.
5. Larry Bird
Probably did the most with the least physical athletic ability amongst those on this list but certainly amongst the best pure shooters in the league. Over his career, he averaged, 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.3 assists. 3 MVPs and 3 NBA titles. Also consider that he shot nearly 50% over his career (.496).
Plus points for being a great team player. Minus points for that mustache.
6. Oscar Robertson
25.7 points, 9.5 assists, and 7.5 rebounds.
12 time All Star, 11 All NBA team, 1 NBA title, and 1 MVP. As most know. he’s the ONLY player who has averaged a triple-double over an entire season.
Triple double for the entire season. Wow.
Plus points for his courage in the face of overt racism over his career. Minus points for not winning enough titles but then again, he didn’t have the supporting casts of others.
7. Kobe Bryant
Give Kobe his props. Another complete player. 5 NBA titles and surprisingly, will likely end his career with only 1 MVP award. His current career averages: 25.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists/game.
How far will he ascend on this list after the completion of his career. He might barely crack the Top 5.
Plus points for speaking Italian. Minus points for the Colorado incident.
8. Bill Russell
Game changer. 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists.
And one more thing: 11 NBA titles. Rings. Rings. Rings. One for every finger and one for his big toe.
No one has ever won more championships than Bill Russell. Enough said.
9. Julius Erving
The author of one of the greatest basketball shot called by many as the Baseline Move. Over his career (via the ABA and NBA), he averaged 24.2 points/game and 8.5 rebounds/game. 3 titles, 4 MVPs, and the originator of playing above the rim.
Points for the fro. Minus points for his ABA career.
10. Tim Duncan
Another active player on the list. But over his career (thus far), he’s quietly building a very compelling career to warrant his place on the Top 10 list: 4 NBA titles, 2 MVPs, 3 NBA Final MVPs, 13 All-NBA teams, and 13 All-Defensive Teams. Career averages currently at 21.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.3 blocks/game.
Duncan began playing basketball in 9th grade but will likely go down in history as the greatest Power Forward of all time.
Plus points for the greatest bank shot in the game. Minus points for looking shocked every time he’s called for a foul.
Well, what do you think?
So many worthwhile contenders that I will simply include as Honorable Mention members and some that could easily be in slots 9 and 10 on my list:
Shaquille O’Neal, John Stockton, Hakeem Olajuwon, Pete Maravich, Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, David Robinson, Jerry West..
As for Lebron, let’s wait till he wins couple championships. We all know he’ll easily be amongst the Top 10 players and likely in the Top 5. But let’s wait…
And oh how I wish I was 6′ 7″ with game to play in the NBA: