There have been many discussions about who the top players are and who the best NBA players ever were. There is always the question of how does one compose a list, do you list them by emotion, stats, position, championships, impact or all of the categories. I am going to list my Starting 5. This list  should put the Top All-Time Players in perspective. (In their prime, all things being equal and with a minimum of  10 years in the league)

My Starting Five

Center-

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Wilt Chamberlain  7’1″ 280 lbs

I know people would like to go with Bill Russell, or Shaq here, but honestly Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain was the original “Freak of Nature”.  Yes he scored 100 points in a game, but Wilt, the player, forced the NBA to change so many rules its absurd and he also caused the NBA to widen the lane. Aside from his numerous records and awards he is the only player in NBA history to average more than 40 and 50 points in a season. In case you didn’t know Wilt Chamberlain played for the Harlem Globetrotters and he was the 1st athlete of note to bring volleyball out of the gymnasiums and onto the sand. He may not get the credit, but it was Wilt who gave birth to beach volleyball, it was he who made it popular. He also led the NBA in rebounds for 11 seasons and average of 23 rebounds per game and had 227 consecutive double-doubles.

Power Forward-

Dennis Rodman 6’7″  230 Lbs

I know, most people would have selected Tim Duncan, or Charles Barkley. Rodman at 6’7″ with a wingspan of 7’7″  led the league in rebounds for 7 straight years, including 19 rebounds per game during the 1991-1992 season. What he may lack in height he more than makes up for in pure tenacity. Rodman was  known as a rebounding machine, but even more so for his defensive toughness. Unpredictable, hardworking and unselfish that is what a great teammates are made of . Rodman’s defensive play was the stuff of legend. He made Scottie Pippen cry during the playoff no less. He took his counterparts completely out of the game, he did the dirty work, something that is beneath a lot of players these days. 1989-90, 1990-91 Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Small Forward-

Elgin Baylor 6’6″  225 Lbs

Most of the time I see Larry Bird in this spot, which is mostly due to the 80’s Celtics/Lakers champions games. Elgin was every bit a pure shooter as Bird was, but the key here is that Baylor could actually defend. You don’t get a career average of 28 points and 14 rebounds for nothing. Baylor a gifted shooter, strong rebounder, known for his acrobatic maneuvers on the court. The No. 1 draft pick in 1958, NBA Rookie of the Year in 1959, and an 11-time NBA All-Star.

Shooting Guard

Michael Jordan 6’6″ 220 Lbs.

Often referred to as the best NBA player that has ever lived, but that distinction goes to Wilt Chamberlain. Also known as MJ, or just Jordan. He has five MVP awards, ten All-NBA First Team selections, nine All-Defensive First Team selections, fourteen NBA All-Star game appearances, three All-Star Game MVP awards, ten scoring titles, three steal titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award to top it all off. Jordan holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN. His tenacity on both end of the court was unmatched, his selection is a no brainer.

Point Guard

Magic Johnson 6’9″  250 Lbs

At 6′ 9″ the man redefined the point guard position. Magic earned twelve All-Star appearances, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA’s all-time leader in assists per game, with an average of 11.2. He is a member of the 700 club,  assists, rebounds, and points in the same season. Three NBA, MVP Awards, nine time NBA Finals appearances.  Johnson was a member of the “Dream Ream”, which is a nickname for the U.S. basketball team that won the Olympic gold in 1992.

 

Bench (13 man  playoff roster)

 

Allen Iverson 6′ 0″ 170 Lbs  (Guard)

Kareem Abdul Jabbar 7′ 1″  250 Lbs. (Center)

 

Kobe Bryant 6′ 7″  210 Lbs. (Shooting Guard)

Tim Duncan 6′ 11″ 260 Lbs (Power Forward)

Shaquille O’Neal 7′ 2″ 325 Lbs. (Center)

Ray Allen 6′ 6″  210 Lbs. (Shooting Guard)

Larry Bird 6′ 9″  220 Lbs. (Small Forward)

 

Oscar Robinson 6′ 5″  220 Lbs (Point Guard)

 

Can your Starting 5 take mine?   

There have been some in the media and even in the blogs who have had Lebron James’ name of the tip of their fingers ever since the season started. They are even those who feel that Lebron might be the first could be the NBA’s first unanimous pick for MVP.  Aside from Lebron James there has been almost no mention of another other candidate for MVP  that could possibly win the award this year.  The fans don’t get to vote, well the NBA has come up with this gimmick, presented by Kia, which allows fans to vote, with the combined fans’ choice counting for one vote on the official ballot, when Shaquille O’Neal received 1207 votes in 2000, that one vote that the millions of fans cast really doesn’t amount to much. Will Lebron James win the award for a second time, or will someone else steal his thunder?

The results are in…

Lebron James: The Cleveland Cavaliers have the most wins. He is having a dominating season. He is a living breathing highlight. He has been dominate and he captivates every single night.

Knock:  For all of his dominance Lebron is not making his teammates better especially All-Star veterans like Antonie Jamison, and Shaq.  He is doing himself a disservice by the nightly high fly highlights.  It will just make it that much easier to notice when he has lost a step.

Kobe Bryant: The Los Angeles Lakers have the most wins in the west and at times they have looked unbeatable and for those other times there is Number 24 saving the game yet again.

Knock: He can shoot his team into a game just as quickly as he can shoot them out of it. When he is not happy he tends not to pass to wide open teammates.

Dwight Howard: For the Orlando Magic he has been unstoppable in the paint, whether he is throwing down dunks or blocking shots.

Knock: Push him out past 6 or 7 feet and he’s just body count. Shot arsenal and block shot control are his kryptonite.

Kevin Durant: He is a scoring machine and has not been contained in a game yet. He has challenged Lebron all year for the scoring title and he does whatever the team needs to win even if that means not scoring 3o points a night.  He has all of the younger players following his lead.

Knock:  No edge. How will he respond to the pressure of the big stage?

Stephen Jackson: Not a joke, but because of the famous “Brawl”  he may never get an award, but the fact remains that he is equally solid on both ends of the court. In the half court he will guard the smallest guard to the tallest foward equally effectively.  He is the glue and the sole reason the Charlotte Bobcats are in the playoffs this year.

Knock:  Needs a better publicist.

All of these player deserve the award, but only one will win it. Now remember before you cast your vote, that the MVP award is awarded to the player who is the Most Valuable Player, not the most popular, not the home town favorite. It is awarded to the player that makes his teammates better.

Surprising Results:

Stephen Jackson wins with 43%

Kevin Durant 21%

Lebron James 14%

These results are very interesting indeed. Now I am glad I included Stephen Jackson in this poll.  He does deserve more credit than he has been given maybe this little poll might help.


We liked Michael Jordan, although he gambled, fought other players, cheated on his wife, and was at times classless. We liked Shaq, although at times the big fella was just too sensitive. And despite all of Magic’s faults we still like him. We like Lebron, even though he jilted Cleveland.  We Like Dwayne Wade and we like a whole lot of other players, but why don’t people like Kobe? Even though he takes the team on his back and saves the game, still a majority of  league players  say that they don’t want to play with him. The guy has six rings for goodness sake, but when your own teammates say that you should opt-out at the end of the season,  it’s time that we examine why people don’t like Kobe. This list is in no particular order.

1. He was very selfish when he came in the league and he still is.- go to the tape
2. When Magic suggested that he spend some time with his teammates his response was “For What?” – go to the tape
3. He slapped Samaki Walker in the back of the head on the team bus. Samaki got up and started to choke Kobe. When Kobe asked for assistance… His teammates kept looking out the window.- I just threw this in because it is mildly humorous.
4. He originally said that growing up he never paid Michael Jordan much attention.-That is the biggest lie I’ve ever heard!
5. He cussed out Tex Winter. -Tex is like 7,000 years old, I mean really.

6. He called Karl Malone old, and then told him “I don’t need yo pick”.
7. He also ruined the last year of The Mailman’s playing career. -This you can debate.
8. If there is a Man Code he became the top violator when he ratted out Shaq.- Some things you just don’t do.
9. In game seven of the crucial 2006 playoffs Vs. Phoenix, Kobe let it be known that he quit on the team, by standing 6 feet above the three point line watching and waving to his teammates for much of the second half. You saw him do it, you just didn’t know what he was doing, so Charles Barkley called him out on air by saying “Kobe quit that night, plain and simple”.- go to the tape.
10. He’s a whiner- go to the tape(s).


11. He forced L.A.’s mayor to get off the parade bus. That day Kobe could be heard saying “I’m being infringed upon”. – Personally I might have done the same thing, but the mayor was crucial in helping the Lakers have a Parade in the first place.
12. He is Defensively Overrated. Back in the day Shaq was frowning on everybody that got past Kobe… and they did get past him. Now he has three seven footer behind him.

13. He made Filmmaker Spike Lee stand at his private gated community for an hour and still didn’t buzz him in, or come out to talk with him. -I would say watch “Kobe Doing Work”, but do so at your own risk not because I suggested it.
14. His feud with Phil Jackson.- The Zen Master
15. His Trade *explicative* Bynum, or I’ll be in Chicago Talk.
16. One minute before Lebron James was the Cleveland Cavaliers Number One Overall draft pick. Kobe chose to announced that we was opting out of his Lakers’ contract, effectively stealing Lebron’s spotlight.

17. In 1999 he was the only NBA player that voted to continue The Strike!
18. Lebron is fast approaching, but Kobe is the most Ref-Aided NBA Player in the game. Traveling and charging are supposed to be illegal.
19. Kobe didn’t change his jersey from eight to twenty-four for money, as Adrian Wojnaroswki has suggested, he did so that everybody would forget that he was charged with bending a young girl over a chair in Denver.

20. Kobe has a noted penchant for being sensitive, rhat’s when he won’t pass to his teammates even when they are open. See trust issues.

21. In game 5 of 2010 Western Conference Final, Kobe ruined his, Jordan to Paxon, Jordan to Kerr, Jordan to Wennington moment. Against the Phoenix  Suns in the 4th quarter with the game tied and 8 seconds left on the game clock Kobe dribbled into the right corner, double teamed.  Kobe elevated and shot an air-ball, which Ron Artest quickly grabbed  and banked in for the win.  For those that don’t know if you are double teamed that means that one of your teammates is wide open.

22. He has to be reminded every single season that he has Teammates. He usually has to be called out by team players and media.

23. An hour after Kobe and Shaq agreed with Lakers management to stop all the media bad blood between each other. Kobe called sportscaster Jim Gray to hold a private interview where he proceeded to call Shaq fat, out of shape and milking his toe injury for extra time off. Bad form Kobe, bad form.

24.  Kobe (Mr. Clutch) makes a little less than one of every three shots when The Lakers are down two points, one point, tied, or on the final ball possession, this stats actually which makes him one of the worst performers among players with at least 30 attempts in those situations.

25. After making 300 Million dollars during his career, with the NBA lock out in full swing, Kobe feels neglected. He saw how the media fawned over Lebron and his “Decision”. He chaffed at the way the media followed Carmelo’ Drama so he floated the idea of playing in the Italian league with Virtus Bologna for $300,000 to $1,000,000 per game. Great way to show solidarity and maintain the players leverage. He knew the NBA owners not only profit from not paying the players during the lockout, but they also want the players to play overseas to help grow the brand for future European expansion. Just enjoy the time off, try going back to school.

26. While in church Kobe thought that a man was taking photos of he and his wife. Kobe grabbed the man’s wrist and took his cellphone. Kobe returned the man’s cellphone after going through it to make sure that no photos of his family were on it.

27. In 2011 and 2012, The saga with center Dwight Howard played out longer than it should have for the Orlando Magic and the rest of the League, why? Because when Howard called Kobe to see what his thoughts would be on the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe said “It would be great to have you in L.A. now I don’t have to worry about defense…” Dwight Howard didn’t being told he’d be forgotten on offense, or not passed to and he began waffling back and forth on whether to stay with the Magic. To facilitate this stalemate, the L.A. Lakers when out and signed soon to be NBA Hall of famer Steve Nash to take the ball and decision making out of Kobe’s hands. After the Steve Nash signing Howard was more agreeable and was traded to the Lakers in a deal that included often-maligned, often unreliable center Andrew Bynum. (This may, or should turn out to be a great thing for the

28. While in training camp for the 2012-2013 season Kobe made a disturbing media comment. When asked whose team it was by a reportes Kobes said, “I don’t want to get into the…well we share… No, it’s my team.”

29. “In 2005, I almost won an MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team! Smush Parker was is the worst. He shouldn’t have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on.”-  Kobe Bryant 10-11-2012 “You can’t knock the man’s legacy…What I don’t like about him is the man that he is. His personality. How he treats people. I don’t like that side of Kobe. Half way through the season I tried to talk to Kobe…He tells me I can’t talk to him. He tells me I need more accolades under my belt before I come talk to him. He was dead serious.”- Smush Parker

30. “In 2006, I was shooting 45 times a game. What am I supposed to do? Pass it to Chris Mihm or Kwame Brown?”-Kobe Bryant 10-11-2012 So much for trying around the Kobster.

31. New York Yankees benched Alex Rodriguez and were, down 3-0 to the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. Kobe had this to say about A-Rod, “I think that sometimes he forgets about how great he is, I don’t.” (mildly humorous)

32. In the famous 2011 Pau Gasol shooting slump, it was discovered that Gasol’s fiance broke up with him. This left Gasol an emotional wreck and rather useless in the playoff.  What does this have to do with Kobe? Apparently Kobe told his wife, Vanessa, about Gasol’s philandering.

Vanessa then became friends with Gasol’s finance, just so she could spill the beans to her. When Pau confronted Kobe about this an argument ensued and the two stopped speaking to each other. Gasol became the scapegoat for the team’s early playoff exit. –Kobe violates the man code again.

32.  His song K.O.B.E.

33. He gained the nickname Black Mamba not because he is deadly as a player. He gained his moniker because he refused to speak to his teammates on the court, instead he would make a hissing sound when he wanted the ball given to him. Naturally his teammates started called him the Black Mamba.

34. “I almost won an MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team,”

35. During his Kobe and the Kids time with the Lakers, Kobe on the court the Lakers were -13.2, and +7.1 with him on the bench.

36. His refusal to say when he will actually retire, which held up the already lengthy Laker rebuilding process. Kobe and the kids lingered on for years.

37. After a story int he newspaper reported that he had tanked a game to spite Shaq. Kobe went up to each teammate with newspaper in-hand and asked, “Did you say this Motherf&^%er?… Did you say this Motherf&^%er?”

38. He once tried to beat up Tyronne Lue for blocking his shot during practice.

I could continue to list things,  but after that K.O.B.E. song I really need to stop.

Reasons Why People Like Kobe
I made this list for those that don’t care, now remember that these are in no particular order:

1. He’s Got One Hell of a Game, and he’s had One Hell of a Career and for most that is all that matters.

The Black Mamba

MG Hardie