Blake Griffin Joins Exclusive Company: NBA Legends
I have compiled many greatest-ever lists. I base these lists on career statistics, championships and production per minute. Many of these lists are considered controversial and several B/R readers claim I choose my favorites to compile my lists.
I got to thinking about who my favorites really are, and I found that the majority of them are not on the those lists. I went through every team and chose players that I have always liked and then ranked them from #40 to #1.
It just so happens, I warn you, that my favorite player of all time is also the greatest player of all time (you know who); but there's a reason behind that. He's not my favorite player because he is the greatest ever, he's my favorite player because he is the reason I fell in love with basketball in the first place.
40. Nate Tiny Archibald
I like him because he was so small yet he was so effective, and exciting. He went to UTEP and then made it to the pro's and soon became the only player to ever lead the NBA in scoring and assists in the same season! I am glad that later in his career he won a ring with the Celtics.
39. Will Perdue, C
He is one of my favorite players ever because he was so tall and lanky and goofy that I liked him for it. Yeah, he sucked but whenever he would do something like dunk it or block a shot or make a good pass, I was always impressed. A true winner.
38. Chris Jackson -AKA- Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, PG/SG
Before he changed his name from Chris Jackson I loved Rauf's game. This guy could straight up shoot and he did it while continuously having physical spasms on the court. He was so fun to watch and I always looked for him on the court unless they were playing the Bulls, and then I'd watch Jordan instead.
37. Manute Bol, C
The tallest and skinniest player ever (along with Muresan) at 7'7". Just look at him—how cold he not be one of my favorites? I used to watch him block shots and shoot threes like it was going out of style. RIP Manute!
36. Ron Harper, SG/SF/PG
His game was so smooth, and he played defense, which I really love to see in an NBA player. When he was with Cleveland and the Clippers I thought he was so exciting to watch. He could score, pass, and rebound too. He never seemed to have to try hard to be good. When he was with the Bulls and Lakers I thought he kinda sucked, but he was still Stuttering Ron.
35. Clyde Drexler
Clyde Drexler was quietly one of the greatest players of all-time. He was overshadowed by Jordan, Wilkins and Pippen but he was better than both Wilkins and Pippen. I love his attitude and work ethic and I felt sorry for him (just a little) when his team lost in the 1992 Finals. Luckily he won a title in 1995, and I was ecstatic.
34. Bernard King, SF
I just loved that he could score like crazy. He was fun to watch, and when he came back later in his career after some major injuries he was still a scoring machine for the Bullets. I would always tune in because King could score 60 on you at any time. He averaged 32.9 ppg in 1985, which was when MJ averaged 28.2 as a rookie. Bernard was sending MJ a message: "I am the best scorer in the NBA." He was; at least in 1985.
33. Dennis Rodman
I was always impressed by the job Rodman did on Pippen and Jordan in the late 1980s. Later, when he was with the Bulls, I was always captivated by what he did to opponents. He was a master of defense, and annoying the hell out of opposing players.
32. Larry Bird
Must I really explain why I love the Bird man? Pure and absolute greatness.
31. Tyrone Bogues
The shortest guy ever is a hero to anyone under six feet, at least when it comes to the pro game. Muggsy could pass and steal, which is another reason I liked him. At 5'3" it was amazing that he made it to the pros. I am 5'9" and I look UP to Tyrone Bogues.
30. Marlon Maxey, PF/SF
Maxey was a really good player on the early Timberwolves teams who was pretty amazing while playing at UTEP. He only played a couple of seasons as a pro but I think people gave up on him too quickly. Nevertheless his playing style and power are etched in my brain.
29. Danny Ainge, SG/PG
Ainge was a pesky defender in a tough era who won multiple titles with the Celtics. He almost won in 1993 while with the Suns. He could shoot the three and he was a smart player who got into a lot of fights. It was always fun to watch Ainge, a true professional.
28. Rod Strickland, PG
He was one of the most exciting and versatile [players I have ever seen. I love how he ran a team. He scored in so many fun ways, it was hard for me to look away. He came up with some of the sickest passes ever and he will always be one of my faves.
27. Scott Williams, PF/C
This player was a hustler from his first day. He won a title in his first three seasons and I always liked when the Bulls put him on the floor. He was fun to watch and of course he wasn't the greatest player ever but I liked his attitude and spirit.
26. Shawn Bradley, C
One of the dorkiest players ever, and that's why I always like Bradley. He was 7'6" and a great shot-blocker who was dunked on often. I liked his game no matter what. Was he great? No. Was he one of my favorites anyway? Yes.
25. Blake Griffin, PF/SF
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
I knew he would be awesome since he played at Oklahoma. I only tune in for the Clippers because of Griffin. This guy has awesome hops and I love how he takes it up for a dunk. He may not even be rookie of the year against Wall, but he is still on my all-time favorites list already!
24. Kevin Durant, SF
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
This guy is so awesome. He can score in bunches and I love his nonchalant attitude. He moves like a snake and although he can't shoot nearly as well as George Gervin, I like him better than the Iceman anyway.
23. John Havlicek
The man of perpetual motion was Havlicek. His hustle is unmatched by any player I have ever seen play. He cared about every aspect of the game and won eight rings as a result. He is better than any player in the current NBA and I wish more players were like him.
22. John Bagley, PG
This old school gem was a player I always liked even though he was short and chubby. I liked how he ran the point for any team he was on, including the Cavs and the Celtics. He was a pass-first player who was confident running the show, and that is why he is one of my all-time faves.
21. Larry Nance, PF
He recorded more blocked shots by a forward than any NBA player ever. He was also a sick dunker, who won the first NBA dunk contest. He beat Dr. J. He was always my favorite Cavs player, and he still is.
20. Avery Johnson, PG
The Little Admiral led the Spurs to their first-ever title. I liked how he ran the point so professionally. He was always an integral part of his team's game, and he did it all at only 5'11".
19. Derek Harper, PG
Harper played with a smoothness and suave playing style. He was a great point guard. He was an amazing passer and I would always follow him up and down the court because he showed me how to play the point like a true professional. He set up his teammates perfectly, which is what I always hope to do on the court.
18. Detlef Schrempf, SF/PF
He was a hard-nosed German player who was truly a great player. He could shoot from anywhere and play defense, he could rebound and pass, just like any good European. Detlef was always one of my favorite players just because of who he was on the court.
17. Vern Fleming, PG
Vern was truly an awesome point guard who NBA fans today know nothing about. This guy played nice defense but his main thing was being a pure point guard who thought of his teammates and winning first and then scoring. He could score well enough, but the way he ran a team made him one of my all-time faves.
16. Kevin McHale, PF/C
Definitely one of the greatest players of all time and easily one of the top 5 power forwards ever. The guy looked like Frankenstein and played with little grace but that is what made him so amazing. In a league full of high jumpers and show-offs, McHale just played his game to perfection. He was a hustler was fun and exciting to watch and great in interviews.
15. Pistol Pete Maravich
He definitely earned his nickname at LSU by averaging over 40 ppg three straight seasons. He led the NBA in scoring once too. He was the most innovative passer and shooter of an entire generation.A true hero.
14. Daron Oshay
This guy was just a dope player. He had a feel for the game, especially the point position, that few people have ever had. He played defense like a madman and he was a pass first guy who shocked me with some sick passes. I miss Mookie!
13. John Stockton, PG
My vote for greatest point guard ever, even though I know Magic was better overall. Stockton is my role model when I play point guard in street ball games, which is often, as I am 5'9". I could only hope to be as good a player as he was on any given night. Stockton would have had 14 assists and 17 points. That's why I will always love his game.
12. Kenny Anderson, PG
I loved Anderson's game because he brought the streets to the NBA and he excelled at the pro level. I grew up playing street ball too, so this guy amazed me. He was the most exciting point guard in the NBA in my opinion. Anderson passed like crazy and he could score in the most exciting ways. You had to be there, and I'm glad I was. I watched the greatest era in NBA history pass right before my eyes.
11. Bobby Jones, SF/PF
Jones is one of the greatest hustlers ever. He took pride in doing whatever he had to do for the team to win. He was a defensive mastermind, an underrated scorer and the prefect team player, and an NBA champion. I could only wish to do what he did on the court. If there were more guys like this legend in the NBA today I'd probably have more than four current players on my list.
10. Mark Eaton, C
This giant was 7'4" and 285 pounds of blocking mastery. Eaton has the highest blocks per game average in NBA history (well, since 1974, because they didn't keep the stat before then). I'm sure Russell and Chamberlain had a higher number—but this guy was always one of my favorites.
9. Ed Nealy, SF/PF
Ed Nealy was a big guy who couldn't really play well, but I liked him anyway. He helped protect whatever team he was on and MJ loved this guy. I always watched out for Ed Nealy on the court.
8. Shaquille O'Neal, C
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
The Big Leprechaun is one of my favorite players ever. He is so huge and so confident and so bad ass. When the Lakers won three straight I was down with Shaq. He is the most dominant big man I have ever seen. People could only hope to stop him when he got older. Shaq is entertaining and has a good personality. Unstoppable. Easily the best player of the 2000s.
7. Bill Laimbeer, C
Laimbeer is one of the most entertaining and fearless players ever. He would hit and fight anyone, and I like that. He also was a great shooter and he could even hit from three. His play was the epitome of the Bad Boy style and he was never friends with any of his old teammates when he saw them later on the court when they were with their new teams. He did always protect Isiah though, which is awesome, because he protected his PG.
6. Big Game James Worthy
Worthy is my favorite Laker of all-time. He could shoot like no one I have ever seen. Many fans, including Laker fans, do not give Worthy the props he deserves. In the 1991 Finals he shot the lights out and if he had better teammates they might have won more than one game. Worthy was unstoppable and he was a true pure scorer. Worthy, in my eyes, is the greatest Laker ever. On my all-time list though, Magic beats him.
5. Jason Kidd, PG/SG
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
I have been following Kidd since 1993, and he didn't disappoint. He was rookie of the year and I have always liked the way he runs a team. He passes first and now he can shoot pretty well, too. He had his issues, but so did all of these players. I like him only from what he does on the court.
4. Paul Westphal, SG/PG
Westphal laid it all out on the court, even if he wasn't the most physically gifted player. Westphal is known as a coach now, but he was a much better player. He hustled and played awesome defense and he could easily score 20 ppg. He is the true team player and an NBA champion. He also had a sick left-handed shot as seen above!
3. Dell Curry, SG/SF
Forget Ray Allen: Dell Curry has the smoothest shot of all time in my opinion. This guy could take a shot in less than a split second and he always hit the three. He has one of the best three-point shots ever and one of the best percentages ever. You had to see him play in the context of a game, but most of you probably haven't.
2. Bob Pettit, PF/SF/C
Pettit is THE most underrated player in NBA history and that is why he is my second favorite player ever. This scoring/rebounding/defense machine helped his team (St. Louis Hawks) best Bill Russell and the Celtics in the 1958 NBA Finals. Yes, Russell lost in the Finals, thanks to Pettit. I wish I was alive when he played because he is one of few players I would pay to see play.
1. Michael Jordan
In 1988 I was in middle school and our teacher showed us NBA play-offs clips. I was stunned by one mans playing ability. He wasn't an NBA champion yet but even if he had been I would not have known him. I never liked basketball as a kid. That is, until I saw the clips.
I could not believe what Jordan did. He is the only reason I liked basketball.
Jordan never, ever let me down as a fan. He is the greatest basketball players I have ever seen in my life. Proof for me to know he is the greatest is the fact that he never lost in the NBA Finals.
Magic did, Kareem did, Russell did, Wilt did, West did, Bird did, Shaq did, Kobe did but MJ NEVER lost in the Finals.
He did much more than that but he is also my favorite because he was the most entertaining player in any game, against any player or team.
Yes, my favorite player ever, happened to turn out to be the greatest player of all time, which is so awesome. I love this game—thanks to MJ.