Hello there, basketball fans!
My name is CJ Vick and I actually write for the fabulous boxing section of this website. However, I have been getting a lot of Facebook/e-mail messages about my recent piece on the true landscape of boxing.
Generally, my fans have been asking me why I don’t weigh in on the game of basketball, seeing as it is my profession. To appease my friends and fans, I will give you the top ten players in the game of basketball.
Let’s make one thing clear—this is my craft. I love boxing but I play basketball. In putting these rankings together, I have looked at it from a basketball players prospective. I am going to imagine who right now would present huge problems should I have to scheme a half-court defense.
However, I also am going to place high emphasis on the defensive end of the floor. I am telling you first-hand that the most annoying guy to compete against is the guy that does it at both ends.
I will try to refrain from heavy verbal abuse, seeing as I am now an employee of the other league. I proudly introduce the best the game has to offer:
1. LeBron James Pos: Everything Age: 23
Two things were abundantly clear in wake of America’s rampant destruction of the world in the Olympic tournament:
- America has now refuted all claims that anyone is even in comparable with the USA in terms of just who is the best basketball country on the planet.
- LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world.
Kobe pushers have been put on notice by King James and his electrifying Olympic Games. He was hitting the three-point jumpers—the shorter FIBA line helps, I know—which in turn cut the rest of his awesome talent loose.
He took shots off the backboard on defense with two hands, 12 feet in the air—not rebounding, but blocking someone’s shot. 6'8", 250 pounds, 40-inch vert, breathtaking speed, handle, touch, vision—'nuff said.
2. Kobe Bryant Pos: Shooting Guard Age: 30
I am going to get killed by all of my boys for putting the Black Mamba at number two. However, we have to keep it real.
Kobe—as legendary as he is—had a sub-par Olympics.
The beauty of the China games is I could compare the players down to a tee. Kobe struggled to score while some of the other players thrived.
I know first-hand that FIBA basketball is hard to adjust to. The refs are very liberal, there is no goaltending, traveling rules are different, and so forth—but it is what it is.
Kobe has a magical skill set that is beyond comprehension. If it weren’t for LeBron, he would be number one by a mile. I hope now, with Andrew Bynum in tow, he can get the very heavy, smelly, annoying, never-ending, Shaq monkey off his back.
Good luck, Kobe.
3. Dwayne Wade Pos: Shooting Guard Age: 26
For about a year there, I was very worried that this great player with his tremendous talent would never again duplicate his performance in the NBA finals two seasons ago. He—not the others—was VERY Jordanesque in his climb to the top of the league.
When he got worn down by his run in the playoffs and the following competition in the world championships, it led to his injury and temporary decline. But after watching the games in China there is no doubt that “Flash” is BACK.
He lef the team in scoring coming off the bench. He had by far the best games on paper. He was slashing, showing great touch from three. And the competitive mettle he displayed energized the entire squad through the duration of the games.
Watch out—this guy is coming to wreck this season.
4. Chris Paul Pos: Point Guard Age: 23
The super-brilliant and very young point guard is well on his way to the Hall of Fame. Right now, I would take him over any point guard in the world.
He is a floor general with a disdain for selfishness. He has supplanted long-time heroes Jason Kidd and Steve Nash as the best point guard in basketball.
What impresses me so much about this guy is his vision. He sees the world faster then everyone else. His basketball intuition is on par with Kobe’s, and his good guy image will light up this league for years to come.
5. Paul Pierce Pos: Shooting Guard Age: 30
The current world champion need to chill with all this "I am the best player in the world" talk. Outside of that, his game and merit are currently at marvelous heights.
I lived in Boston when the Celtics won their newest family jewel, and I can tell you he truly is an assassin of the highest order. He is skillful enough to play the two, but his strength and ability to draw fouls make him a colossal problem in the half-court defense.
What really has put The Truth in my top five is his newfound commitment to the defensive end of the floor. They need a trade to compensate for Posey, but his team should again be champions of the world—and this guy will be the hero who delivers it.
6. Kevin Garnett Pos: Everything Age: 32
My idol checks in at number six. Three years ago he would been my number two—maybe even my number one. But playing with two other superstars, his dominant 25-point, 24-rebound nights are over—not because he is incapable, but because he is the Ultimate team player.
Never disgracing himself or the league, and playing defense in a way that has old-school players like my dad raving, this man is basketball personified. He was the defensive player of the year and was a main catalyst in the one of the biggest single season turnarounds in sports history—in any league or any decadem, ever.
KG is now a legend.
7. Tim Duncan Pos: Power Forward Age: 32
Again, we have a league icon who a couple a years ago would never check in this low. While watching the playoffs, I could tell that Mr. Timmy is entering the home stretch of his career. He is not done—I won't say that—but his explosion and ability to finish seemed have to fallen off a little bit.
Don’t get me wrong. He still commands a double team, and is a headache for any opposing head coach. He has great touch out to 18 feet and has the best footwork in the history of basketball.
He is a top ten player no doubt—but he is NOT the Tim Duncan of 2003. I hope he can win another one as he closes up shop.
8. Tracy McGrady Pos: Shooting Guard Age: 29
When I played in college, I used to watch tapes of this guy before my home games. He is the new generation of basketball player. His talent is immense, on par with a Paul or Bryant—however, he can not seem to translate it into playoff wins.
I know it is not right to blame one guy. But just like a Peyton Manning or John Elway, the American Media will hang a black cloud over everything you do until you win in May and June.
It stinks—but that is the system and way of thinking that we as a people have cultivated.
I hate it and I love T-Mac, but he needs to take that next step to move up this ladder.
9. Steve Nash Pos: Point Guard Age:34
The annual stat-sheet stuffer is finding a way to play at a higher level every single year. On paper, he actually played better last year than he did when he won the MVP. I know you fans will double check that, but the stats I am talking about will most likely escape you at first.
Nash is amazing to watch. He is dangerous at all times from all points of the floor. He can deliver any pass and finish any opportunity. Now with the Big Aristotle in tow, I hope he can win a 'ship before it’s too late and his chance flies by the boards.
10. Joe Johnson Pos: Shooting Guard Age:27
When Joey left an up-and-coming Suns team to play for the dreadful Atlanta Hawks, I could not believe what I was seeing. Why would you leave such a great team for a team going nowhere?
This past April, Joe provided a big time answer. He woke up the sleeping basketball hotbed of Atlanta, and gave the mighty Celtics a BIG TIME run for their money.
He is dangerous out to 22.9 feet. He is a pure shooter. He has truly one of the nicest releases in the game. When the rock rotates off his fingers, you can literally read the writing on the ball.
He is at the center of a basketball revolution in that city, and his evolving skill set will help to underwrite the Hawks' claim to legitimacy in the Eastern conference.
Whew! I left some guys out—and for very good reason, I assure you. I don’t really have enough space to type all of the guys that should be on this list, but feel free to weigh in and I may reply.
But understand that this is my life’s work and I know this game better then I know anything. These rankings are based on me imagining who would drive me nuts if I and my team had to stop them for 48 minutes. That’s it in a nutshell folks.
I also want to take this chance to say that Skip Bayless of "First and Ten" does not know basketball. I checked into his basketball past, and there is nothing to suggest that he has the right or the knowledge to slam some of the greatest players of this game.
I would also like to suggest that Josh Howard hire a life coach. Someone to teach him social grace and to remind him of his standing and influence in this society.
I am actually prepping for the NBDL draft right now, so I won’t be writing about basketball until next year—but I want to thank you fans for giving me this chance. I also want to thank the thousands of people that have written me about my writing.
Good luck and God Bless.