Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson Headline Latest Group of NBA's 75 Greatest Players

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 20, 2021

CHICAGO - JUNE 14:  Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls drives the ball up court against the Portland Trail blazers during game six of the NBA Finals played on June 14, 1992 at Chicago Stadium in Chicago, Illinois.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice:  Copyright 1992 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA continued rolling out the legends making up the 75th anniversary team as the 2021-22 regular season gets underway.

Arguably the greatest of all time joined the ranks as Michael Jordan took his place on the list along with former Chicago Bulls teammate Scottie Pippen. Magic Johnson also headlined a contingent of Los Angeles Lakers greats.

Here's a look at Wednesday's additions:

NBA Communications @NBAPR

Last night, TNT revealed 25 players on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. <br><br>ESPN continued the announcement today, revealing 25 more players who are listed below. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA75?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBA75</a> <a href="https://t.co/51zU1VOSTZ">https://t.co/51zU1VOSTZ</a> <a href="https://t.co/yiAvlhdybl">pic.twitter.com/yiAvlhdybl</a>

Johnson was a guest on ESPN's NBA Today to break down some of the honorees:


James Worthy, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West are selected to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA75?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBA75</a> <a href="https://t.co/vVmJgtHUe0">pic.twitter.com/vVmJgtHUe0</a>


Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Isiah Thomas, Clyde Drexler, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing are selected to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA75?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBA75</a> <a href="https://t.co/sSDOU8lUni">pic.twitter.com/sSDOU8lUni</a>

Jordan was the most obvious inclusion after winning six NBA titles, five MVPs and earning 14 All-Star nods in 15 seasons. The 58-year-old continues to set the standard by which others are measured.

Putting Johnson and Bird in the same group was fitting given how they have perhaps the most memorable individual rivalry in basketball history. They both entered the league in 1979 and combined to win eight of the next nine NBA Finals. Bird and Magic faced off in the Finals three times (1984, 1985 and 1987).

The NBA celebrated its 50 best players of all time for its 50th anniversary during the 1996-97 season. Allen Iverson, Chris Paul, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan all put together sterling resumes to get on the 75th anniversary team in the years following the last celebration.

The league revealed the first 25 members during TNT's coverage of opening night Tuesday. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and James Harden took their places among the game's immortals, as did former Dallas Mavericks teammates Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki.


Legendary.<br><br>The <a href="https://twitter.com/NBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nba</a> 75th Anniversary Team: Day 1 Reveal <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA75?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBA75</a> <a href="https://t.co/uaLHp5rtC3">pic.twitter.com/uaLHp5rtC3</a>

Fans can expect the likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal to be coming in the last batch. Still, a level of intrigue remains about which modern-day stars made the cut.

The final reveal will be Thursday at 6 p.m. ET on TNT ahead of the Mavericks' matchup with the Atlanta Hawks. That game will feature two players who may etch their name into the NBA's 100th anniversary team: Luka Doncic and Trae Young.


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