What's up, everybody? Some people might remember me, some might not. I've had a FTS account since the Bynum Watch days (My God what a dark time) and was really active for a few more years afterwards, but life kinda took away my time here. Though, I do want to make a fun little fanpost like the old days and see if anybody wants to discuss some basketball history.
As you all know, the old GOAT debate is stronger than ever, especially since Akron's very own (Akron, stand up!) LeBron James won his fourth title and fourth finals MVP, being the first player in history to do that on three separate teams. The Last Dance came out when everybody was in quarantine, and you had MJ fans screaming in full force. You have people who think Kareem is the GOAT, it just goes on and on.
Regardless, for whoever cares, this is my personal top 10 NBA players of all time.
1: LeBron James - Okay, okay. Yes, I'm a Cavs fan. Yes, Bron is my favorite player. I've been watching him for pretty much his entire career. Even after he left the first time with the egregious Decision thing, I never found it in my heart to hate him since we're both from Akron. It also helps he came back and beat the Warriors in spectacular fashion. Ever since that championship, he's been my GOAT. And now since he just won his fourth title, it only increases his argument as the GOAT even more. I personally think there's never been a better all-around player than LeBron, and his resume speaks for itself. The scary thing is he still has time to add to his HOF resume and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
2: Michael Jordan - MJ fans, don't kill me please. If you really want to get technical, you can say LeBron or MJ, MJ or LeBron, however you want to put it, are 1A and 1B. MJ is obviously in a class of his own. His career is darn near storybook like. I'll even go as far to say his career is darn near perfect. Cultural icon, the greatest psycho this game has ever seen, his natural ability, resume, and killer mentality are legendary.
3: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - The NBA's all time leading scorer, while also probably having the most accomplished basketball career in history. Whether you're talking about high school, college, or the NBA, Kareem was the man at any given time. His skyhook may have helped with that.
Personally, with these three I just mentioned, you can make a case for them being the GOAT. Here's the rest of my list.
4: Magic Johnson - Arguably the greatest passer this game has ever seen, (along with Stockton) one of the greatest winners in NBA history, conducted the Showtime era with complete mastery of the game, Magic was really freakin' good. It's a shame his career got cut short. Who knows how much more he would've been able to add to his resume.
Now this is where things might get a little controversial...
5: Wilt Chamberlain - I mean, look at all the records this man holds. This dude was Zeus, and it's not even really an exaggeration. 100 points, man. 100! Could he have won more if he wasn't truly focused on his stats? Absolutely. We all know he played in a different era, but my God, his gaudy numbers are too hard to ignore. Wilt is a record book all to himself.
I kept on going back and forth with the fifth spot, because to me, it seems like the hardest to rank. I feel like I'm disrespecting a certain player by not putting him at least in the top 5. With that being said, let's go to the player I was debating to put in the top 5 over Wilt.
6: Larry Bird - Cold blooded assassin, was the undisputed GOAT SF until LeBron came along, deadly shooter and scorer, gifted passer, and a very good rebounder. Larry Legend and his Celtics were battling toe to toe with Magic's and Kareem's Lakers in the 80's. This was hard, but I think I'm okay with placing him here.
7: Bill Russell - Greatest winner in the history of the game? Yeah, 11 championships can confirm that statement. While he was more of a defensive player, (and arguably the greatest defensive player ever) that doesn't mean he couldn't score. There were multiple times where he came through with a clutch performance on both sides of the ball. Would he have won 11 championships in the modern era? Probably not, but I don't go by that. You can only go by what players did in 'their' era, and yeah, Bill dominated.
8: Tim Duncan - This was tough too. Just to put it out there, I love Timmy D. As far as overall career goes, this man rivals LeBron and Kareem with his own longevity. In his prime, he was consistently a 22 & 10 machine. Even as his scoring dipped later into his career, he was the defensive anchor of his Spurs while still being the leader.
9: Shaq - You wanna know the scary thing about Shaq? I really think he could've been number 1 on this list if he was really devoted to staying in shape. Yes, Shaq could've been the GOAT. His 1999-2000 MVP season is one of the greatest seasons of all time. This dude destroyed anybody he went up against. As much as he's accomplished in his career, and to be clear, he accomplished a lot, he still underachieved. Can you imagine if he had Kobe's, MJ's, or LeBron's motivation to consistently be the best? Lord have mercy on the league. Maybe in an alternate universe, it happened.
I also like to think in an alternate universe, all that 'Ring for the King' stuff came true when Shaq got traded to the Cavs. That obviously didn't happen. I still love him, though.
10: Kobe Bryant - Okay, I know I'm treading dangerous waters here. Let me get this out of the way right now. If I was doing a favorite players list, my top 3 would be LeBron, Kyrie, and Kobe. I love Kobe. Again, I LOVE Kobe. I was in shock for about a week when he tragically passed away along with his daughter Gigi. It still comes into my mind from time to time and I'm just like, "Dang man, Kobe is really gone." He was supposed to get to Bill Russell's age and hand out Finals MVP's or something. I'm explaining all of this to say I'm the farthest thing from a Kobe hater, so my ranking of him being at number 10 has nothing to do with hate. In fact, for the people I put ahead of him, you can make an argument he's better than them. For his actual basketball skill, Kobe was essentially the remix of MJ. Was he as good as MJ? No, but then again there's only two players at most that can compare to MJ in the first place. That's not a knock on Kobe. You could make a case for Kobe as the greatest scorer ever. Yes, he was that electric. Not only that, but in his prime, he was a lockdown defender too. If he never tore his Achilles, he could've added even more to his elite resume. Unfortunately, the 2012-13 season is the last season where Kobe was truly the Black Mamba. He was dragging those Lakers to the playoffs off his will, and it was really amazing to watch. R.I.P, Kobe.
For random honorable mentions.
Hakeem, Oscar Robertson, and KD.
Hakeem was tough to not put in the top 10, because I think he's the greatest all-around big man of all time. Oscar has to be mentioned for his all-around game as well, obviously averaging a triple double in the 1961-1962 season and being the only one to do so until Westbrook came along. KD still has time to add to his resume, but we'll see if he comes back as the same KD or not after his Achilles injury. If he's the same KD we know, I have the Nets coming out of the East and he'll have a chance to get more championships.