Who is the Greatest Player Ever?

As Lebron James continued to dominate the post-season, well respected hall of famer Scottie Pippen had some words about James.

“Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play in the game, but I may go as far to say LeBron James is probably the greatest player to ever play the game.” Scottie Pippen said those words on a radio show.

Do I agree? No. Scottie may be getting ahead of himself here, but putting Lebron James an 8 year veteran with no ring ahead of Michael Jordan seems a bit farfetched even for Pippen.

Kareem Abdul Jabaar said that Scottie doesn’t have the right to determine who is the greatest ever. He played in one era of basketball. He is forgetting the 11 championships of all time great Bill Russell, he is forgetting the dominance of #33 Larry Bird, he is forgetting the all time leading scorer in Kareem and the sheer talent of sir Wilt Chamberlain.

Isiah Thomas said that maybe when it’s all said and done Lebron could be as good as Michael but no better.

All this quarrel over the greatest ever begs the question. Who is the greatest basketball player ever?

It’s one of the hardest questions i’ve ever been asked. How can you compare Wilt Chamberlain who played in the 60’s to Michael who played in the 90’s to Lebron who is playing in the 21st century. The shot clock has been added, the hand check rule has been added, players agility and strength has changed. The definition of the greatest ever has even changed.

Is the greatest player ever defined by his all around statistics, by their championships, by their MVP’s, or by their leadership?

If I had to name the top player ever to play the game well it’d be hard. I’d have to compare so many different players. I won’t bore you with 3000 words but instead i’ll leave you with my brief thoughts and let my readers figure the rest out. I certainly won’t be comparing players because that is impossible, but I will make a case for every player I believe should be in the discussion for the greatest player ever. href=”https://nbathroughmyveins.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/wilt.jpg”>

Wilt Chamberlain is not the greatest player of all time if that’s what Kareem was getting at. He was selfish and most to all of his teammates called him one of the most selfish, self centered people they’ve ever met. Can the greatest player of all time be a player who wasn’t respected by peers and coaches? Coaches even said he was one of the most un-coachable players ever. During games he took 35-45 shots and cared more about his stats then actually winning a ring. He set a goal to lead the league in scoring and he did with 50.3 points a game. Then when he was being dubbed selfish by every NBA fan, he set a goal to lead the league in assists the next year. His legacy was all about individual achievements and that’s why he finished his career with only two championships. Despite his sheer dominance in all aspects of the game, he was a selfish and arrogant player. In my opinion, he isn’t the greatest player ever but i’ll leave the vote for all of you.

Kareem Abdul Jabar is not the greatest player of all time but is definitely in the conversation. He was a wonderful team player, he was a pure scorer and possessed the most unstoppable shot the world has ever seen. His signature sky hook was absolutely unguardable. He held the ball so high that nobody could even contest the shot. It was shot after shot after shot and Kareem went down as the all time leading scorer in history. When you look at Kareem’s game you see that he was a dominant scorer and an invaluable defensive presence. He protected that paint like it were his new born babies. He played tough and confident basketball and led his Lakers to 6 championships the same amount as Michael. He was an aggressive and persistent rebounder but his game was solely in the post. He had a very limited offensive game, of course the shot he took constantly was unstoppable so he made up for it but can the greatest player EVER really be a player who scored all of his points from a sky hook. I guess it could, it shows how dominant he was and how unstoppable he was as a player.
I guess he is in the conversation.

Bill Russell the classic citizen, teammate and competitor. He stayed on one team and led them with courage and independence. He never looked back, he was always focusing on the game ahead, the quarter he was in. The spotlight was not something that he demanded like other super talented players. He was fine making a humungous impact behind the scenes. His offensive game was certainly limited. He had no jump shot, his free throws weren’t consistent and his array of low post moves were nothing to brag about. It wasn’t his offense that made him great, it was his leadership, defense and rebounding. His career averages consist of 22.5 rebounds a game, 15 points and 4 assists. Blocks weren’t recorded back then but we all know what a presence Bill had inside. All his friendly, cheerful personality off the court vanished when he was defending the paint. It was his territory and his house and he let nobody into his house. Then there was his leadership. His teams were never extremely talented, they had no Larry Bird or Michael Jordan. But Bill Russell believed in the heart of a champion and it was that heart that brought him 11 championships. Think about how amazing that is. Think about how dedicated you have to be to lead your team to 11 championships. When you think about that, then definitely consider Bill Russell in the conversation for greatest player ever.

#33 Larry Bird. The small town boy out of Indiana. The guy who never gave up, the man who loved to win. People will always remember Larry Bird. They will remember him for his defense. They will remember his amazing passing abilities for a guy of his height. They will remember his sweet three point shot. They will remember his rivalry with the great Magic Johnson. Larry Bird had something about him. He had a way of walking into a building and lighting it up. Was it his wavy hair or his warm smile, or his unfathomable brilliance on the court. It seemed so easy for him, everything he did on the court was a breeze. Whether it was scoring, passing, stealing the ball, rebounding the ball. Whatever it was, Larry made it look easy. His career stats show it all. 24 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists his whole career. With Parish and Mchale by his side he led the Boston Celtics to 3 championships. Back spasms and injuries held him back late in his career but we will still remember the greatness.

Earvin ” Magic ” Johnson. The man with the plan. The passing skills of a magician, the height of a power forward the athleticism of a point guard, the scoring ability of a god and the personality of a superstar. Magic was one of a kind. When will we ever see a 6’9 point guard who can pass like a magician, score like an all-star and rebound like a power forward. He was like no other player. How can you guard him. He could post up smaller guards. If a forward guarded him then his team had a mismatch in their favour. This guy had class and stardom written all over him which is what led his teams to 5 NBA championships. This guy gets underrated when in the conversation of best players ever, I think maybe because he didn’t score like the other players did. But I believe he should be in the conversation.

Lebron James is the one who is still establishing himself into this group of elites. With his all around dominance and his build of 6’8, 270lbs he is unstoppable even in the most athletic NBA era ever. His numbers speak for themselves, his 26 point 7 rebounds and 7 assists are numbers we have never seen before. He is a selfless passer who always gets his teammates involved. He is a determined defender who prides himself on the boards and on shutting down opponents. Then there is his aggressive scoring ability. He is a scary guy, he is the best player in transition I have seen in a long time. But if he were the best player in history you think he would have won at least one championship in 7 years in Cleveland. The best player ever is a very prestigious name, I don’t think going ringless in your first seven years is a good start to the resumé.

Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba has a certain pride and swagger about him. I guess living in Hollywood for 13 years has really rubbed off. As soon as he steps onto the court you can tell he wants to win. Out of all the players that have come and gone I think it’s safe to say Kobe is the most like Jordan. They both are the most unstoppable scorers of their era. Kobe’s turnaround jumper and his three in transition have become a routine that he makes every game. His combination of speed, strength and offensive I.Q makes him unbelievable to watch. That’s what has led his team to 5 championships. It still amazes me that in 13 years he has only won one MVP award. He and Derrick Rose have the same amount. That makes no sense at all. He deserves at least three more. I hope we see more of Kobe in the future and some more rings on his fingers.

Michael Jordan. The player all players want to be. That should be the answer to the question right there. He is the player that everyone is compared to. He was the most unstoppable scorer in history. He could actually score whenever he wants to. Whenever. If he wanted 70 one game he could get it. If he wanted 5 he could get it. There was no way of stopping him. Nothing could stop him. He could shoot a three. He could shoot a turnaround jumper. He could take you off the dribble. He could dunk over a whole defense if he wanted to. And oh boy did he want to. Then he realized being a sole scorer wouldn’t win him any rings so he focused more on defense and became the best perimeter defender ever to play the game. So now he was the best scorer ever and the best perimeter defender ever and he had 6 rings, what more do you want. This guy was unstoppable in every aspect of the game. His leadership, his passing abilities, his sheer scoring ability, and his rigorous defense has made him the most talked about athlete ever.

In conclusion I believe Jordan is the best. I realize I may have left out the Big O, Hakeem and Jerry West but I don’t think they can be considered the best to ever play. If you have thoughts, or comments please write. I’m looking for an answer and I need the reader’s thoughts.

Help!

13 seconds were left on the clock. The crowd was silent, anxiously awaiting the shot that was supposed to take the Bulls a step closer to the championship. They waited 8 more seconds, until the ball was put in the hands of their saviour. Derrick Rose. He dribbled to the left wing. He bent his knees, and released. The Chicago fans opened their eyes to see the ball being blocked by Lebron James, the enemy in their minds. The buzzer rang, and that was it. The end for Chicago.

A shame, losing this series was a real disappointment to Chicago. They thought this was their year. Coach Thibodeau won Coach of the Year. Derrick Rose won MVP. They were the #1 seed in the NBA. Even Michael Jordan said they were going to win the championship.

Every team has to go up the mountain before their at the top.That’s the step the Bulls are currently taking.

It was clear to me in the last 5 minutes of game 5 that Derrick Rose needed help. Defense can win you as many games as you like but when your team is in crunch time, with the ball in your hands, it’s offense you need.

Derrick Rose did everything he could possibly do in the last 5 minutes. He drove in and tried to get the call. He passed to the open man on the pick and roll. He passed it to Kyle Korver for one of his invaluable threes. Nothing would break the Heat’s defense. D-Rose is amazing, he is a wonderful young talent, but no player can go one on 5 in crunch time and win a game. He tried but unfortunately failed.

He needs help. On offense, D-Rose needs help. Luol Deng will produce a solid 18-20 points per game, Joakim Noah gets a solid 10 but where is the offensive force that could help D-Rose when he really needs it. Which brings me to my point.

Last offseason, the free agency market was filled with all-stars. Joe Johnson, Amar’e Stoudemire, the Big 3, Ray Allen, Manu Ginobli and many strong role players

The Bulls were in need of a low post offensive presence to battle with the elite teams. Or so they said. I believed they didn’t need to invest their money in a low post threat when they have Taj Gibson developing into a low post force. When there are 6+ all stars on the market, and your team has apparently the best presentation of most teams with cap space. You don’t waste your money on Carlos Boozer. You just don’t. He may be a good post player, and may have been a 16 and 10 guy in Utah but you evidently need scoring at the shooting guard position. Why didn’t they fish for those types of players.

They may have went a bit wrong with their choice last offseason. That’s ok, it’s part of being a young organization. Carlos Boozer missed half of the season this year and only produced about 14 points and 8 rebounds when he was playing. He didn’t help Rose offensively, or beat players down low like he was supposed to. If you compared Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer this season you’ll see that they’re numbers are very similar. Maybe Taj will be the next Boozer, who knows.

For now, I think the Beatles said it best. ” Help, I need somebody, help!”

Portland’s Draft Woes

As I said in an earlier post, KD is doing what took MJ 5 years. That’s leading the league in scoring as well as his team to a conference final. A similarity between these two players is that on draft night the Portland Trail Blazers had a chance to pick both of these players. They could have been the ones with the Jordan legacy, they could have been home to the best basketball player in the history of the NBA. Instead they took Sam Bowie. They could have been the ones with the leagues leading scorer, and youngest superstar but instead they have an injured center on their hands. While Kevin Durant is flourishing in Oklahoma, Greg Oden is rotting on the bench.

Sam Bowie was a high school and college sensation, he was 7’1, 235lbs. He was supposed to take the Blazers to a finals appearance. Instead he averaged a small 10 points and 8 rebounds in his rookie season, as supposed to 28 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 and a half steals per game. Sam Bowie went on to play only 63 games in his next 4 seasons. He was then traded to the Nets with a first round pick. In New Jersey he had his best seasons, averaging 12 points and 9 rebounds. Then he was traded to the Lakers, and after two injury riddled seasons he retired. Michael Jordan’s career we all know was much different. He led the league in scoring 10 different seasons. He led the Bulls to 6 NBA championships, he was finals MVP 6 times, he was the NBA MVP 5 times, he led the league in steals 3 times, he was a 14 time NBA all star, he was 3 time NBA all star MVP, and most of all he went to the hall of fame as the best player to ever play the game. I think it’s safe to say that Portland really messed up with that draft pick.

Then we have the 2007 draft. Portland had the number one pick, Seattle had the number 2 pick. It was down to the 7’0 center, Greg Oden and the 6’10 small forward Kevin Durant. Who would take who? KD and Greg both made 1st team all American in their freshman years in college. Greg Oden for Ohio State and Kevin Durant with Texas. When draft night came around the Trail Blazers took Greg Oden, leaving Seattle with Kevin Durant. This is where they went wrong. Greg Oden has played only 63 games in 3 seasons in the NBA. He has scored 540 points, recorded 424 rebounds and blocked 69 shots in his NBA career. Portland has been disappointed by his injuries but have faith that he can develop into an all-star once he gets back. We all know where Kevin Durant has gone with his career. He won the rookie of the year in his first season. Averaging 20 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Since then he has led the league in scoring two years in a row, while leading his team to the conference finals this year. I think it’s safe to say that Portland really messed up with that draft pick as well.

Phil Jackson said that nobody can be compared to Michael Jordan, but Kevin Durant and Michael are not that different.

KD Doing What took MJ 5 years.

KD is 22 years old. MJ was 27. When they first reached the conference finals, that is.There is something these players have in common. They led the league in scoring many times. For KD, his super stardom has just begun but he has led the league in scoring two years in a row. Michael Jordan led the league in scoring 10 times in his whole career. Throughout Michael’s career, critics said that the leading scorer will never win a championship, or will never have a good chance of winning a ring. Michael first got to the conference finals in 88-89 where he led the league in scoring with 32.5 ppg. KD just reached the conference finals at 22 years of age. Leading the league in scoring with about 28 points. Michael Jordan received so much critique for not being able to lead his team to a championship. Kevin Durant hasn’t received any of that and is in the conference finals with a good chance of going further. We all know what Michael has achieved in his unbelievable career, than is it possible Kevin Durant could have a career like that. I know Michael Jordan is on another level of every other basketball player ever, but you have to wonder if KD could do what took MJ 5 years, what else is in store for Kevin Durant in his career.