NBA Rankings: The 50 Greatest Players and 50 Biggest Cities

Ike MontalboCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2010

The 2010 Census is over and the bureau has released new numbers which tabulate the population of the largest cities in the U.S. 

These are the 50 largest cities in the US and their NBA counterparts, and why each player fits the city he ranks with:  Hey, at least this is original! Get an education kids:

2010-11 Biggest cities and greatest player ever up to 2010-11

#50 - Wichita Kansas - 383,475 people - Jerry Lucas - they are both all American  and yet hardly anyone knows about either.

#49 - Arlington Texas - 390,718 people - Mark Aguirre - a growing city and a player that grew on fans when he won a couple of titles.

#48 - Minneapolis Minnesota - 391,879 people - Gary Payton - Payton would leave your offense out in the cold, and Minneapolis is always cold.

#47 - Tulsa Oklahoma - 394,658 people - Robert Parish - a quiet city that is big. Parish was a big 7' quiet man.

#46 - Colorado Springs Colorado - 399,903 people - Bernard King - up there in elevation, and BK was up there in scoring. Way up there.

#45 - Oakland California - 420,937 people - Kevin McHale - Oak town gets down and dirty and so did McHale in the post.

#44 - New Orleans Louisiana - 421,587 people - Bobby Jones - Jones helped his teams build into champions and New Orleans is now basically rebuilt. 

#43 - Cleveland Ohio - 424,670 people - Billy Cunningham - Cleveland used to have 850,000 people and Cunningham was champ, and then Wilt left. Sound familiar?

#42 - Raleigh North Carolina - 432,118 people - Pete Maravich - Raleigh is growing rapidly and Pete did everything rapidly, on the court.

#41 - Virginia Beach Virginia - 432,573 people - Steve Nash - A safe city, and Nash is safely one of the best point guards ever.

#40 - Miami Florida - 441,610 people - Spencer Haywood - Miami seems bigger because of it's suburbs and Haywood seemed bigger than 6'10".

#39 - Long Beach California - 465,283 people - Dave Cowens - LB is in the middle of it all, and Cowens was the man in the middle on two title teams. Can you guess which two?

#38 - Omaha Nebraska - 467,010 people - Bob Cousy - People do not know Omaha is this large, and no one knew what Cousy would do next on the court. He's the Houdini of the hardwood.

#37 - Mesa Arizona - 473,821 people - Alex English - AE scored more total points than any player in the 80's and Mesa gained more people than almost any city in the last 10 years. 

#36 - Sacramento California - 477,592 people - Bill Walton - Sacramento is bigger than just itself and Walton was bigger with good teammates. Alone, he kinda sucked, but not as bad as Luke.

#35 - Kansas City Kansas - 488,768 people - Paul Westphal - KC is a blue collar town...sorta...and Westphal was one of the scrappiest players of all time.

#34 - Fresno California - 494,167 people - Patrick Ewing - Fresno is big but everyone makes fun of it..and Ewing...well, you get it right?

#33 - Albuquerque New Mexico - 541,276 people - Scottie Pippen - Just a few years back, Albuquerque was small, and in his first few years, Pippen played small. Thanks MJ.

#32 - Tucson Arizona - 551,068 people - Allen Iverson - Tucson gets really, really hot and so did Iverson.

#31 - Atlanta Georgia - 562,275 people - Nate Archibald - Atlanta seems bigger than this, but it is not and Nate was also Tiny.

#30 - Louisville Kentucky - 570,374 people - George Gervin - There are thousands of smooth talkers in Louisville and George was as smooth as they come. 

#29 - Oklahoma City Oklahoma - 574,756 people - Rick Barry - OKC is not flashy, but it is a hard working town. Barry was hard working, and a little flashy, except for the granny free throws. 

#28 - Las Vegas Nevada - 575,390 people - Clyde Drexler - The Blazers took a gamble on Drexler and it paid off, the Rockets saw his worth too.

#27 - Milwaukee Wisconsin - 607,370 people - Kevin Garnett - Milwaukee is bigger yet less famous than Green Bay, and KG is bigger yet less productive than Allen and Pierce, at least now.

#26 - Washington DC - 612,905 people - Dwyane Wade - DC is the center of it all and Wade is the center of it all for the Heat.

#25 - Nashville Tennessee - 618,443 people - Bob McAdoo - Big but no NBA team, and big man McAdoo had no title until he got to the Lakers.

#24 - Baltimore Maryland - 634,686 people - Elvin Hayes - Old school town and old school legend.

#23 - Seattle Washington - 640,607 people - LeBron James - The Sonics left Seattle and LeBron left...uh..forget it.

#22 - Denver Colorado - 641,901 people - Isiah Thomas - The mile high city is as elevated as Isiah made the Pistons in the late 1980's.

#21 - El Paso Texas - 658,510 - Elgin Baylor - El Paso is a huge city that never gets the recognition it deserves and Baylor was a huge talent but never won a title. So much like El Paso. Hot temperatures but not appreciated, and left out in the cold, like when Elgin retired early in the 1972 season, right before the Lakers would have brought him his first title.

#20 - Boston Massachusetts - 667,590 people - Karl Malone - Bostonians are hard nosed and who was harder than K. Malone?

#19 - Memphis Tennessee - 673,876 people - Oscar Robertson - The Big O did everything for his and Memphis does alot for the TV show 'The first 48.' Ha Ha. O Rob was scary and so is Memphis.

#18 - Charlotte North Carolina - 739,154 - Charles Barkley - Charlotte is continually growing and Barkley is too...

#17 - Fort Worth Texas - 774,721 people - Julius Erving - Ft. Woth is the epitome of Texas culture, and Erving is the epitome of great basketball.

#16 - Columbus Ohio - 787,964 people - Moses Malone - Cleveland gets all they hype but Columbus is bigger - Dr. J got all the hype but without Malone he would have zero titles.

#15 - Indianapolis Indiana - 818,557 people - David Robinson - He didn't play as big as he was, until the end, and Indianapolis never seemed as big as it is either.

#14 - Jacksonville Florida - 818,557 - John Stockton - Easily and by far the biggest city in Florida, but overshadowed by Miami. Stockton was the best player in Utah but was often overshadowed by K. Malone. 

#13 - Austin Texas - 823,652 people - John Havlicek - Hondo is still overlooked even though he is an 8 time NBA champion, and Austin is overlooked as one of the biggest and fastest growing cities in the nation.

#12 - San Francisco California - 831,531 people - Jerry West - SF is legendary and has alot of money; same with West.

#11 - Detroit Michigan - 904,608 people - Kobe Bryant - Detroit is a huge and empty city now and KB's name is bigger than his bite.

#10 - San Jose California - 998,046 people - Bob Pettit - Closest city to a million without being there just yet. Pettit is closer to the GOAT than you all think and I truly would pick him over KB if I had to choose one for my team in their prime season. Like San Jose, Pettit is WAY under-recognized. You just don't know how great he was. The only player to interrupt the Celtics dynasty.

 #9 - San Diego California - 1,314,976 people- Bill Russell - A huge city with no NBA team; the biggest US city without an NBA team. Likewise, NO TEAM could beat the Celtics for a long time, except the Hawks and Pettit.

#8 - Dallas Texas - 1,332,712 people - Tim Duncan - With talent as big as Texas, Dallas would be the prefect retirement spot for Duncan, so he could stretch out those long arms with some space.

#7 - San Antonio Texas -1,423,638 people - Shaquille O'Neal - San Antonio is big and overlooked on the biggest city list, and Shaq is overlooked on the all-time great list because he is 38 now. Yes, I know..he went to HS in SA.

#6 - Philadelphia Pennsylvania - 1,564,563 people - Hakeem Olajuwon - This player had limitless talent and capitalized on it. Philadelphia was the capital too, way back in the day.

#5 - Phoenix Arizona - 1,648,887 people - Larry Bird - Talk about hot, Larry and Phoenix are always on fire.

#4 - Houston Texas - 2,309,280 people - Magic Johnson - Houston is straight up HUGE and Magic was one of the HUGEST talent players the world has ever seen. Overlooked by the hype, Houston is related to Magic in that he is now overlooked on all-time great lists by unknowing children.

#3 - Chicago Illinois - 2,891,501 people - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - The Sears Tower is representative of Kareem's career. Huge and now overlooked because everyone thinks they can just put up a taller building as if that would make those buildings better. Nothing is more classic than the Sears Tower. OK, maybe the Empire State Building.      

#2 - Los Angeles California - 3,935,078 people - Wilt Chamberlain - LA is exciting, huge, expansive and full of talent. Wilt was full of talent, and full of himself, just like LA. Also, LA has less than half the population of the #1 largest city in US, and Wilt has less than half the rings of the #1 player of all-time...

#1 - New York City New York - 8,435,508 - Man, this city is so huge it is almost unfathomable, unless you've been there. Jordan was unfathomable and yet if you saw the dude play there would be no doubt in your mind he was the greatest player ever. I saw him play and he is like NYC, head and shoulders above every city in the US. NYC also has attitude, just Like MJ, who knows he is the best too and is not afraid to tell you. Like a NYC citizen, he is kind of annoying, but it is still undeniable. NYC had it figured out a long time ago. So did MJ.

See you next time kids.................... 


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