Retired Legendary Players and How They Would Play Today

Stephen SakaiContributor ISeptember 6, 2010

Retired Legendary Players and How They Would Play Today

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    29 Apr 1998: Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls in action against Kerry Kittles #30 of the New Jersey Nets during the NBA Playoffs round 3 game at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Bulls defeated the Nets 116-101.
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    People often bring up how players played in a different era and wouldn't be able to dominate the way they did in today's era. This is my opinion on how they would fare in today's game.

    The following rankings had skill, talent, and were all legends in their one right. Some players I am going to include are magic johnson, larry bird, wilt chamberlain, bill russell, etc.

Michael Jordan

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    CHICAGO - JANUARY 24:  Chicago Bulls fans hold signs honoring Michael Jordan #23 of the Washington Wizards during Jordan's last appearance against his old team at the United Center on January 24, 2003 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls won 104-97.  NOTE TO
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    There isn’t a doubt in my mind that Michael Jordan is the best basketball player in NBA history. He was so good that he didn’t win MVP awards because of it. People got tired of voting for him so they started passing the award around to other NBA stars. In all, Jordan won six NBA Championships, six Finals MVPs, five NBA MVPs, and three All Star game MVPs. He was even selected to nine first team All-Defensive teams.

    He would still have his jumping ability, his huge hands, his work ethic, his imposing physique, his post moves. He would still dominate todays game without a doubt.

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird

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    DETROIT - APRIL 06:  Larry Bird (R) and Earvin 'Magic' Johnson walk on the court to be honored for the 30th anniversary of their match up in 1979 NCAA Championship Game between Indiana State and Michigan State prior to the Michigan State Spartans playing
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Magic was a 6′8 point guard who could run the break, drive to the hole, rebound and post-up. His excellence produced five NBA Championships and three MVPs. He accomplished all of that despite the fact that his career ended at 31 years of age. One can only imagine what he could have done with five-to-ten more years added to his career. He wasn't a great athlete, but he found a way to make his teammates play WAY above their heads. His passing, rebounding and leadership would allow him to dominate today's game.

    Larry Bird was probably one of the if not the smartest player ever. Non athletic, weird mechanics in his jumpshot, he was always the underdog.Three MVP's, three rings. His smarts, fundamentals, and shooting would allow him to still be a force.

Bob Cousy

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    WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 30:  'The Houdini of the Hardwood,' former Boston Celtics player Bob Cousy talks to the news media after attending legendary NBA coach Red Auerbach's viewing at Joseph Gawler's Sons Inc. funeral home October 30, 2006 in Washington, DC
    Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    Cousy played for six NBA Championship teams. He also won an MVP award and was selected to the All-NBA first team 10 times (second all-time). He was the first great point guard. However, his skills wouldn't translate into today's game. Very unathletic, to overcome that you have to have great skills. Well, he couldn't shoot and dribble with his left hand.

Wilt Chamberlain

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    7 Feb 1997:  Former Los Angeles Laker Wilt Chamberlain addresses the media at a press conference before the NBA All-Star Game at the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr  /Allsport
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    People think he couldn't play today since he wouldn't have the height advantage. Nothing could be further from the truth. Wilt “The Big Dipper” Chamberlain would have feasted on centers today, and would have dominated thoroughly almost all of the centers through the '80s and '90s.

    While many think of Wilt as simply a skinny version of Shaq, this is absolute nonsense. Shaq certainly has the bulk to seem like Superman, but while photos of Wilt give the impression he was some “beanpole” with not much real power, Chamberlain would have beaten O’Neal in any feat of strength without even trying hard.Many don’t know it, but Wilt used to lift weights with Arnold Schwarzenegger and got his bench press up to over 500 lbs. He has been credited by many as having been able to bench as much as 500 pounds even during his college days, but there are not very many credible sources for this. He was a world class track and field star during those days though, competing in the 440, shot put, broad jump, and high jump. People often think he just dunked on everyone. Far from it, he had the best post moves(including the fingerroll, fadeaway, dropstep, and spin that he invented, only after he used them did they become popular) I've seen besides Hakeem, and Kareem. He would of still been the best center today.

Bill Russell

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    LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 1:  NBA Hall of Famer and Boston Celtic legend Bill Russell watches the play from the USC Trojans sideline during the game against the UCLA Bruins on December 1, 2007 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.
    Jeff Golden/Getty Images

    I am a big fan of taking into consideration championships when analyzing a career. That’s not to say that a player who never won a championship can’t be better than a player who did win a championship. Nobody, in any sport, has won more championships than Bill Russell. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to ever play the game. He won 11 championships, 11! He would of won numerous finals MVP's too.

    He never had a great offensive game, but what he had was a highly underrated one. Today he would be the best post defender, best outlet passer, best teammate, and best winner in the NBA today. He might make few all star teams, but he would be the presence and locker room player everyone would want.

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