’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!