Is There Truly a Greatest?

Kelvin ChanContributor IMarch 20, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 11: Michael Jordan is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during a ceremony on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

To be honest, I've never really grasped the sport of basketball until I was 13, around two years ago. Until then, my favourite sport had been football (soccer), and saw basketball as a "soft" game, with fouls called for no reason (or so I thought).

This all stopped when I started watching highlight reels of players such as Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. One's highlights didn't just stop at the offensive end, defensive stops featured heavily in films. Heck, I even came across a video solely dedicated to Kobe's defense!

This made me thought, is basketball the ONLY sport in which you can be the COMPLETE player (coming from China and living in Australia, the only sports I had watched regularly were soccer, rugby league and basketball)?

The whole package?

Actually filling the criteria, "good at everything"?

My initial answer was yes, you could be the "perfect" player, specializing in every single facet of the game.

Of course, the concensus defintion of the "perfect basketballer" would be Michael Jordan, Hall of Fame shooting guard. There was virtually no flaw to #23's game. Jumper, midrange game, post-up game, ballhandling, passing, defense...all big fat checks.

But one could argue that, although Jordan could do all those things "perfectly", he didn't do EVERYTHING. And don't give me the, "He didn't need to" arguement, because I'm sure that all players in the NBA would give their all and play to the best of their abilties.

Perfect is being complete of its kind and without defect or blemish.

MJ's career averages look like this:

30.1ppg, 5.3apg, 6.2rpg, 2.3spg, 0.8bpg, .497FG%, .327 3P%, .835FT%.

Yes, those stats look pretty, but you could argue MJ's stats with other players' stats, for example, Oscar Robertson (point guard), or Wilt Chamberlain (center).

OR: 25.7ppg, 9.5apg, 7.5rpg, .485FG%, .838FT%

WC: 30.1ppg, 4.4apg, 22.9rpg, .540FG%, 511FT%

Both these players didn't have three-point percentages as there was no such thing as a three-point line. Blocks and steals stats weren't accumulated until 1973, Oscar's final season, so therefore, it is negligible.

However, one thing I would like to point out is Big O's assists and rebounds per game, as well as Wilt's points and rebounds per game, and his shooting percentage.

Big O averaged a triple-double in a season, with averages of 30.8ppg, 11.4apg, and 12.5rpg.

To me, this IS the definition of perfect, because he didn't just have the ability to do things, he actually DID them. Combining shooting guard/small forward point averages, with point guard assist averages, and big man rebounding averages.

Wilt's case is less outstanding, although a career rebounding average of 23 (!) is just insane.

Of course, he lived in an era of five-foot-six ballers while he was a mammoth, and that the league's highest point scorers usually connected at around 45%, but catching a basketball is actually harder than you think.

And after all, Wilt the Stilt is the only player in the history of the game to score 100 points in a single game. Second place is Kobe Bryant, a massive 19 points behind. Averaging 30.1 points per game at a 54% clip is very effective, connecting over half your attempted shots is impressive.

So this brings me back to my original question, and an attempt to answer it again. Can you truly be the perfect player? My answer, logically, without thinking of anything other than what happens on the court is no. Every player on the court has a different responsibility and job. Therefore, stats could be inflated due to one's position. Also, there are too many factors to get a conclusive answer.

Time, rules, size, opponent and teammate skill are just some factors that get in the way of a true answer.

It would be wiser if people dropped the GOAT argument for basketball's sake, you can see clearly that David Stern treats the "contenders" with greater care.

If people really wanted to talk about the GOAT, I truly think that it would better to separate players into categories or positions. That way, players can be "judged" against others that can have similar qualities, players who do similar things for their teams. Being complete of its kind means being complete in your area. Using a center's stats with shooting guard or point guard stats is biased and unfair.

So if I was to use my own way of GOATing (as much as I hate it. TOO MANY FACTORS), this is how the three giants of basketball should line up in the argument.

Michael Jordan isn't the greatest of all time, he's the greatest shooting guard of all time.

Wilt Chamberlain isn't the greatest of all time, he's the greatest center of all time.

Oscar Robertson isn't the greatest of all time, he's the greatest "point guard" of all time.

Feel free to say your opinion. Also, I would also like some help with article writing, please give me some hints and tips.