Ranking the NBA's Top 15 Players of All-Time

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Ranking the NBA's Top 15 Players of All-Time
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Maybe, it's the proliferation of all of those ubiquitous—if not sickening—LeBron versus Michael (no last names needed for either) comparisons.

Perhaps, it's the recent story of legendary power forward Karl Malone apparently putting Scottie Pippen on his all-time NBA first team, while leaving off his slightly more famous, tongue-wagging teammate. Did he really?

In either case, I couldn't resist adding my own opinion to the exercise of choosing the greatest players to ever lace them up on the hardwoods of the NBA. Who am I to make such a list? Just another NBA fan and sportswriter (albeit a sleep-deprived one) who wanted to take a shot at compiling a list of the greatest of the great.

Of course, some of you will be kind enough to tell me if I somewhat succeeded in this near-impossible task, or to be frank, if my selections somewhat matched up with yours.

For this list, I settled on my version of the Top 15 NBA Players of All-Time. Why? Maybe, it was a mini-homage to the NBA's 50 Greatest Players list that was actually released 17 years ago. But, why only 15 players? For a couple reasons.

Fifteen is a nice, manageable number that allowed me to choose five centers, five forwards and five guards. After selecting these 15 immortal players, I was able to pick my first, second and third teams. Could I have done the same with 25 guys? Maybe, but I still would have left dozens of great players off that list, and I wouldn't have an even distribution from the three positions.(Yes, I realize that I could have broken the guards and forwards into smalls and bigs, but well, I chose to go a little old-school and just keep the three basic categories.)

Please read on for this list of the greatest players to ever suit up in the NBA.

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