So, what’s in line for today? You guessed it, the NBA All-70’s Team.
With the Celtics dynasty at an end, the gates opened for new challengers, and new superstars.
A new era began, with big shoes to fill. Did they live up to the expectations? Decide for yourself.
Here’s my starting five:
Point Guard: Walt Frazier, New York Knicks/Cleveland Cavaliers
Stats (70’s only): 20.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 5.8 APG, 6x NBA All-Star, 1972-‘73 NBA Champion
Believe it or not, before Walt Frazier started spitting corny lines as a broadcaster or being a spokesperson for Just for Men hair products, he was also a pretty good basketball player.
Frazier picked up the nickname “Clyde” because he wore a hat a lot like that of Warren Beatty who played Clyde Barrow in the famous Bonnie and Clyde. He also endorsed the Clyde athletic shoe made by Puma.
When he left the Knicks, Frazier held franchise records for most games played (759), minutes played (28,995), field goals attempted (11,669), field goals made (5,736), free throws attempted (4,017), free throws made (3,145), points (14,617), and assists (4,791).
His number 10 was retired and hung from the rafters at Madison Square Garden, accordingly.
Shooting Guard: John Havlicek, Boston Celtics
Stats (70’s only): 21.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.7 APG, 8x NBA All-Star, 2x NBA Champion
John Havlicek is one of the greatest players to ever play for one of the greatest franchises in NBA history.
When you combine those two, you have a damn good player.
Havlicek was just that, becoming the first players in NBA history to score over 1,000 points in 16 consecutive seasons.
Havlicek remains the Celtics all-time leader in both points (26,395) and games played (1,270).
The most amazing thing about Havlicek’s legacy? He did all this from a sixth man role, a role which he revolutionized into relevancy.
Small Forward: Rick Barry, New York Nets/Golden State Warriors/Houston Rockets
Stats (70’s only): 23.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.4 APG, 8x NBA All-Star, 1974-’75 NBA Champion
Rick Barry is considered by many to be the greatest, pure small forward of all time.
His great shooting touch, court vision, and knack for getting loose rebounds helped him on his way to a great Hall of Fame career.
Barry had one of his best defensive years when his Golden State Warriors won the 1975 NBA Championship, leading the league in steals-per-game with an astounding 2.9.
Of course, Barry will always be remembered for his unorthodox two-handed underhand free throw shooting. For a good laugh, check out this videoof him and Red Auerbach talking about it.
Of course, it was just as effective as it was humorous; Barry shot over 90 percent from the stripe seven times during his career.
Power Forward: Elvin Hayes, Houston Rockets/Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets
Stats (70’s only): 22.8 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 10x NBA All-Star, 1977-’78 NBA Champion
Elvin Hayes wasted no time making his mark in the NBA.
As a rookie, Hayes led the league in scoring with 28.4 PPG, and is still the only rookie to ever do so. He also averaged 17.1 RPG that year.
In his second year? He did not disappoint. This time, he led the league in rebounding, a stat that had not been led by anyone besides Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain since 1957. No, that’s not a typo. It took 12 years for anyone to best Russell and Chamberlain in that category.
Also often overlooked, Hayes was one of the most durable players ever. Over his 16 seasons, he never played less than 80 games in a year. Now that’s impressive.
Center: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks/L.A. Lakers
Stats (70’s only): 28.2 PPG, 14.4 RPG, 4.5 APG, 9x NBA All-Star, 6x NBA MVP, 2x NBA Champion
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be remembered for many reasons. His unprecedented six MVP awards, his crazy goggles, and his patented sky hook are just a few.
In 1975, Abdul-Jabbar was acquired by the Lakers in what is viewed by many as the most lop-sided trade of all time, in which the Lakers sent Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Meyers, and Junior Bridgeman to the Bucks for Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley.
If you look at the players the Lakers gave up and asked “WHO?!” you wouldn't be the only one.
Abdul-Jabbar split his MVP awards between the two teams, and dominated the decade from the center position, continuing the tradition of outstanding Laker big men.
And on that note, part three of the series comes to a close. Tomorrow, we take a look at the ‘80’s… Now that should be fun.
Feel free to start the ‘60’s vs. ‘80’s debates, they’re inevitable.