America’s basketball players are indisputably some of the best in the world. You can almost see the terror on the oppositions faces when the Dream Team walk on to court at the Olympics. While the sport has seen so many skillful players throughout the years, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at five of the most famous NBA players of all time. Disclaimer: I know there is much heated debate out there about the NBA’s all time crème de la crème; this is my own selection.
Michael Jordon (1984–2003)
For 17 years, Jordon wowed us, purely and simply. He also delighted us with his charismatic personality as evidenced by his impact on popular culture. In 1992, Gatorade launched an advertising campaign featuring the tagline “Everyone Wants to Be like Mike”; and it stuck.
Known for his aerial acrobatics, Jordon’s legacy includes six NBA titles, five MVPs (Most Valuable Player awards) and 10 scoring titles. He is arguably, one of the best basketball players of all time. Of course I am not biased at all; you won’t see me walking around the house during a Lakers game in my team sportswear !
Magic Johnson (1979-96)
If Johnson did not share the 1980s with fierce rival Larry Bird, it’s most likely he would have won more than three NBA Championships and five MPVs. But there’s the catch. Had it not been the intense rivalry and excitement of watching these two superstars go head to head, American basketball may not have recovered as well as it did from its 1970s slump.
Bill Russell (1956-69)
Russell is undeniably the best defender in the league’s history. While Russell’s offensive stats were nothing to write home about, his defensive skills took the Boston Celtics to a record 11 NBA Championships. This is even more impressive given these Championships were won in just 13 seasons, an unparalleled sporting achievement in American history.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1969-89)
His career spans a staggering 20 years. During that time, his lethal and signature shot, the ‘sky hook’, earned him 38,387 points and an NBA record. In the 1970s he won five of his six MPV awards on the Milwaukee Bucks. He repeated this performance in his second decade while playing for Michael Jordan’s formidable Los Angeles Lakers.
Larry Bird (1979–1992)
Larry Bird is hands down the best sure shooter the NBA has ever seen. Consider these stats: 29.9 points for a season, 52.7% of shots from the field (including 91.6% from the line), three straight MPVs and three NBA Championships. Need I say anymore?
So there you have it folks, my top five NBA players of all time. Pardon the pun, but you can shoot me down all you like, this is my list and I’m sticking to it!
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