’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Basketball Players Of All-Time’

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Basketball Players Of All-Time’

The NBA has been unavoidable over the last two months.  And if you live in South Florida, there is a lot to be excited about.  We are witnessing NBA history being written in our backyards down here – and if you fail to recognize that, even if just for a split-second, then you have issues.

So, with so much attention getting paid to my second favorite sport, I thought I would take my ‘Top Ten’ lists on a detour this week and present to you my ‘Top Ten NBA Players Of All-Time’.

As you can imagine, I like the history of the sport – and the legends that helped build it.  So while I appreciate West, Russell, Jabbar, and the other guys that helped bring the sport to new heights, they are not on my list.  Instead I will focus on the guys that I loved watching – the guys that represent the NBA to me.

Honorable Mention – Kobe Bryant, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Dennis Rodman, Grant Hill, Chris Webber, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Dan Majerle, Udonis Haslem, and David Robinson.

And now, I will throw a few chest passes, and a few bounce passes, and a few alley-oops to my ‘Top Ten Basketball Players Of All-time’.

10B – Tim Duncan – Mr. Fundamental.  The guy’s skills were solid from the day that he stepped onto the NBA hardwood.  I guess that fou years of college helped with that.  Still, multiple championships later, Duncan is a reflection of the game that I love.  Too bad that he is a dying breed.

10A – Hakeem Olajuwon – The most gifted big-man that I have ever seen play.  Olajuwon could do it all – score, shoot, play defense, and for a center, he was a heck of a passer. 

9 – Isiah Thomas – I love the little guys that play bigger than their frame.  Thomas was able to dominate games on a regular basis, and he was always the smallest guy on the court.  He may be one of the toughest little men that the sport has ever seen too.

8 – Dwyane Wade – He ia absolutely fun to watch.  And even when he is having an ‘off’ night by his standards, it takes just one shot to get him going.  And when he is not, there is absolutely no more exciting player in the game to watch than D-Wade!!

7 – Scottie Pippen – One of the most well-rounded players from my youth, Pippen could do it all.  And as a ‘second’ option next to MJ, he was fabulous.  His defense was brilliant, and I really enjoyed watching him guard point guards when no other 6-8 guys would even try.

6 – Tim Hardaway – Timmy thrived in big moments, and I saw a lot of them live and in person back in the day.  He played with such a high level of confidence, and when he was battling the Knicks, he was AWESOME!!!

5 – Allen Iverson – Say what you will about his shot selection and field goal percentages, but Iverson was fearless on a basketball court.  And as the competition got bigger and stronger, Iverson’s speed and tenacious style of play kept him at a very high level of play.  And I think he was seriously underrated as a defender too…

4 – Alonzo Mourning – What can I say?  I was so happy for him to win a title in 2006.  Zo was and is still the heart and soul of the franchise.  A tough and incredibly skilled defender, I enjoyed watching Alonzo take his game to the next level when he came to Miami.  He is, and will always represent Miami Heat basketball to me.

3 – Michael Jordan – Not much to say here.  I am happy that I got to live in Chicago from 1989-94 so I could witness the greatness more regularly than the regular fan.  MJ is the best of the best – enough said!!

2 – John Stockton – My definition of a ‘pure point guard’ is #12.  Stockton was as tough as they come – and while he was never relied on for scoring, he was a fantastic shooter and was never afraid to take it into the paint.  And if there was anyone I wanted shooting free throws at the end of a close game it was Stockton.

1 – Karl Malone – One of these days I will have to tell you about when I met Malone in Utah during a Spring Break road trip.  There is nothing that I didn’t like about Malone’s game.  A tough rebounder, and a versatile offensive threat, I am so very proud to call Malone my favorite NBA player of all-time.  As a kid, when everyone’s room was decorated in Jordan, I was the odd-man-out, but I would not have wanted it any other way.  I got to witness and celebrate of the game’s greatest scorers and one hell of a ‘real team player’.

Man, that really took me down memory road…  I still enjoy watching hoops, and I have been re-enthused now with the success and celebrity of the Miami Heat, but nothing will replace the game I spent enjoying during my youth and the players that made me really value the fundamentals of the sport.

Who is your favorite baller?  Come on, give me your lists now too….

Thanks for reading!

10 responses to “’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Basketball Players Of All-Time’

  1. I think I am older than you, thus my list would have to include Bird, Magic, Kareem and Julius.
    I am undecided on Pippen. Without MJ, would he be one of the greatest?

  2. This isn’t an all time team this is a last 20 year team. Where is Russel and Chamberlain. Check out this link and tell me if anyone of the 10 you listed can touch the stats.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_career_achievements_by_Wilt_Chamberlain

  3. Wow – epic fail.

    Just by mentioning Udonis Haslem you get the reward for worse list ever.

    Mourning over Kareem or Shaq?
    Bird not in the top 10?
    Chamberlain?
    Russel?
    Dr. J?

    • Brian- I became a fan of the NBA in 1988. My memories of Bird, Dr. J, and Kareem are of guys way past their primes…
      With the exception of Haslem, a local favorite, my list is representative of the Top Ten from my vantage point…

  4. I got to remove Wade, Hardaway and Mourning from your list. But I realize your from Florida & understand you choosing them. BTW Im a huge Tim Hardaway fan & think hed ‘school’ todays big guys who try to point. I think Kareem has to make the list. I realize picking 10 guys is tough but I think Magic & Bird also have to make the top 10. I would replace Isiah Thomas w/ Oscar Robertson but itd be one hell of an argument. It seems like you focused on players of your generation but leaving guys like Moses Malone, Sam Jones, John Havlicek and Bill Russell out raises eye brows. That said I never got to see these guys play but according to history, stats and video clips these guys were incredible. I almost have to pull Pippen from the list. Especially bc of his recent LBJ vs MJ comment. Just being humorous here…

    As I prepare a top 10 list in my head I realize just how hard putting one together is. Good blogging Brian. Makes & creates a lot of discussion. Could have done w/oy the Haslem mention though. Just giving you crap. If you would have mentioned LBJ I would strangled you through my computer. GO MAVS!

    g

  5. my fave ten, not top ten of all-time…

    10. horace grant
    9. muggsy bogues
    8. penny hardaway
    7. hakeem olajuwon
    6. pau gasol
    5. spud webb
    4. derek fisher
    3. blake griffin
    2. kobe bryant
    1. michael jordan

  6. I am also from Germany therefore we are incredibly happy with Dirk Nowotzki. A German born is a really superstar inside the gem basketball league across the globe. Everyone is delighted how the Us citizens celebrate “our own” Dirk. This might be not as well recognized in america.

  7. Sounds like we got into basketball around the same era… Growing up, Pippen was my #1, so glad to see he’s making others’ lists. They always say he never won a championship without Jordan, but Jordan never won one without Pippen either. I think they made each other better.

    Looking back, I’d have to go with, in no particular order, other than Pippen at #1:

    Kobe Bryant
    Michael Jordan
    Dino Radja
    Tim Duncan
    Toni Kukoc
    Rex Chapman (hometown hero)
    Shaq
    Manu Ginobili
    Dennis Rodman
    Scottie Pippen

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