For this slideshow I wanted to express who I felt truly is the best of the best when it comes to basketball. Though many of you have your opinions (which you can share in the comments), I feel that this is a good representation of who has been the best when it comes to the NBA.
This article was not really meant to be that controversial due to the fact that all of the great players have built a successful argument to make them great players so without further adieu, here we go!
LeBron James - Although I believe he will get the rings some day, it is not today. Thus I can't put him on this list for it is for winners and not super-athletes that want to rest for their career and give their work to another super-athlete in Dwyane Wade. Maybe if he wins a ton of rings people will forget about his mishaps and forgive him. It's a possibility but I don't think so. In the words of Chuck "I may be wrong, but I doubt it."
Jerry West - This man is on the freaking logo of the NBA. Unfortunately, there are better players.
George Mikan - You don't get a name like "Mr. Basketball" for nothing. Mikan won the championship seven times out of the only nine seasons that he played. Simply amazing even though two of those were for the NBL, it's still a championship regardless in my book. It's even more amazing that the only time he lost when with the Lakers was when he fractured his leg. Nine seasons doesn't cut it though and it's more of a "what if" question now.
Larry Bird - 12-time All-Star, three-time NBA Finals Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, three-time NBA MVP, and NBA Rookie of the Year. Nuff Said.
That's about it for now, though there's more I could put in to please everybody, these I feel are the most important to put in.
Kareem played 20 seasons in the NBA and the second most games in NBA history with 1,560. Second to only Robert Parish who played 1,611 games. This should not tarnish his reputation that bad because he still managed to average 24.6 PPG and 11.2 RPG for his career and is the NBA's all-time scoring leader. He also does make a nice documentary (On the Shoulders of Giants) you should check it out sometime.
Is it wrong that I put a Celtic in front of a Laker? I don't think so because I have to give credit where credit is due, and boy oh boy is it due. The most prized possession in all of basketball is the NBA Championship. It just so happens that this guy has the most of them.
Jordan won six, this guy won 11. He would need to grow an extra finger just to put all of them on an individual finger each. Averaging 15.1 points per game for his career you might wonder why he's up here but when you look at the monstrous 22.5 rebounds per game, that makes it pretty obvious.
In the playoffs, those numbers rose even more to 16.2 points per game and 24.9 rebounds per game. The Finals MVP award is even named after him. Just a side note, when Red Auerbach retired, this guy took the role of head coach for the Celtics. The first ever African American coach in NBA history.
Did I forget to mention he was coaching while leading them to a 60-21 record in his first season as a player-coach and leading them to the Eastern Conference Finals? Did I also forget to mention that Russell won two championships for the next two seasons as a player-coach? When I say player-coach some people might assume what I consider is a loose definition for the term. People think of a player-coach as a player who stopped playing then became a coach. When I say player-coach I mean this guy played on his team and was the head coach as well. As people now so often say, this guy has mad swagger.
When people barely remember your first name and always remember your nickname you know that's something special. When you can play all five positions in one game and can be a starting point guard at 6'9" you know that's something special. Magic Johnson was truly something special. If I had to pick one player to build my team around it would be Magic Johnson without hesitation.
This dude was clutch, versatile, a leader, unselfish, and a great ball handler. I would put up a photo but that does not do justice to how good this guy truly is and how well he could pass it. Some of his passes I swear I just see the ball disappear and then reappear into another teammates hands, as if by magic.
It's easy to see why I put this guy on the list after viewing the video and looking over his accomplishments: five-time NBA Champion, three-time NBA MVP, three-time Finals MVP, 12-time All-Star and he only played 13 seasons due to his HIV illness preventing him from playing more.
Yes I am well aware that he looks like a UFC fighter in this photo, however, Bleacher Report didn't have a lot of photos on Wilt and I wanted to use a photo they provided to avoid any copyright issues. With that being said, Wilt Chamberlain was the best regular season player ever. If only he could have attributed that success to the post-season he might have actually been better than the No. 1 player in this article.
However, he only managed two NBA championships but still his stat line for the regular season makes up for a lot. When I think of basketball records, the only one that comes to mind is Wilt's 100. 100 points in a single game. The closest anyone has ever come to that is 81 (done by Kobe Bryant). That's 19 points (a great player's average point per game most likely) shy of his record. Not to mention his career averages of 30.1 PPG (tied for first with MJ) and 22.9 RPG (the most in NBA history).
If this is his average then on a good night he could easily match Kevin Love's game of his career this season when he got 30 and 30 and then some. If you look down the official list of NBA records for the regular season all you will find is Wilt Chamberlain lined down the pages. This guy is a beast end of story.
With Kobe Bryant's number and playing for the great city of Toronto, how can't this guy be No. 1? Look at his arm sleeve and seriousness up there in that picture. Amazing focus on the court. In all seriousness though, Weems has a better chance of being a long lost cousin of MJ's than topping him in this article.
How many players do you know have been retired for almost 10 years now and still are on the covers of video games? How many players do you know have a very successful clothing and shoe company? How many players, sorry not even players, how many people do you know that can still show up on TV rocking a Hitler mustache and can get away with it? Only one.
Michael Jordan. His airness is an icon in pop culture and is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All TIme). Six championships and repeated classic games not to mention revolutionizing the game itself. Some people think Jordan was too good and ruined the game. The argument for that was that he was so good and took shot after shot that people wanted to be like him and so now the NBA is filled with selfish players. I don't know if I would believe in that argument but what I do believe in is that this guy should be No. 1 in every list, period.