Michael Jordan has long been seen as the GOAT of the NBA you will be hard pressed to find anyone to tell you otherwise. If it is true and he will always be the legend that no one can surpass, what does the rest of the list look like. I mean if you took Jordan out of the equation then who is number 1. Jordan is Subject 0 and this is a list of the rest.
10. Tim Duncan
You could argue that Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs were the best team of the Duncan’s era. Yes over Kobe, Duncan is the team player ever franchise wants yet no one wants to give these players there credit. Duncan has 5 rings, 3 Finals MVP and 2 regular season MVPs. Duncan is one of the players that could have played in any era with any number of teammates. This quiet giant tends to let others take the lime light while he prepares for one more run.
9. Hakeem Olajuwon
The Dream is just the man for the job and considering the era in which he had to do it in. He gets credit for getting it done while MJ swung a bat. 2 NBA titles, 2 NBA Finals MVP and 1 regular season MVP. Could a more daunting task been given to a player that started to play the game at 15 all he had to do was face Ewing, Shaq, and Robinson makes everything he did even more impressive.
8. Oscar Robertson
Want to talk impressive imagine that a player could average a triple double for an entire season (30.8 points, 12.5 assists, 11.4 rebounds) then take into consideration the player not winning MVP. Robertson was the most prolific player with his abilities, but some would argue that he was not a team player. He did manage to get an MVP year in his career and a rookie of the year award, but he needed Kareem to bring home the real hardware 1 NBA title.
7. LeBron James
In 7 games this man could start moving up the charts and the fact that he still has time to play makes him the most dangerous on this list. He has benefited from playing in the era of free agency in the old days Wilt couldn’t just go ask Bill to let him play on the team with him. This is the only thing you can say that seems wrong with the LeBron legacy frankly does it matter if owner’s were making unstoppable teams or if it was the players making the teams at the end of the day there have always been super teams. LeBron has 2 titles and counting to go along with 2 MVP Finals and 4 regular season MVPs.
6. Kobe Bryant
The Black Mamba cost himself the greatest player ever title, by feuding with someone who did not make this list Shaq. The pair could have easily given the Celtics 9 titles a run in the 1960s, but there is a reason winning is a hard thing to do. Kobe is the most competitive player we have seen since Jordan, he also is the most prolific scorer period putting up a position high 81 points. Kobe has giving the NBA a for the 19 seasons he has played which netted him 5 NBA titles 2 Finals MVP and 1 regular season MVP. He was so close to being the greatest of all time, but he has always just focused on being himself and there is no fault in that.
5. Wilt Chamberlain
Whereas Kobe was the cause of his trials and tribulations Wilts were a product of a man called Russell. Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 pts in a single game and averaged 50 pts and 25 rebounds for an entire season and managed not to get the MVP that year. Wilt had a guy named Bill that seemed to always shut down the unstoppable force. Many will say it was because Bill Russell had better teams and I will argue Russell made them better and Wilt knew who to score (also off the court) and failed at team offense and defense. Why does Wilt not get the most prolific scorer title? Because he wasn’t dropping daggers from 20 feet away. This man dominated from inside the paint and if Russell could shut him down what would have been the case if he faced Shaq, Duncan, Ewing or Olajuwon on a night in night basis.
4. Magic Johnson
It was all about Showtime when Magic was a Laker. 5 NBA titles, 3 Finals MVPs, and 3 regular season MVPs and I think he just time delayed gave Seth Curry and assist. Magic was one of the players that made the 80s so fun to watch and he was then what LeBron is today unstoppable when he played his heart out. A 6’9″ point guard when he needed to be Magic could play all 5 positions and was one of the ultimate team players. His career cut short by HIV his legacy could have only grown if he had played more than the 13 season. Just think Jordan’s Finals record could have been 5 and 1 then again maybe not.
3. Larry Bird
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were the catalysts of the NBA in the 80s and Bird was also on the other side of the Lakers Celtics rivalry. With 3 NBA titles, 2 Finals MVP, 3 regular MVPs and if that is not enough he maybe the best shooter of all-time. Larry Bird career was cut a little short do to an ongoing back issue hanging it up after 13 seasons. There is also the Len Bias overdose that also may have changed the Jordan legacy but that did not happen. Still Larry Bird is the man in Boston and Indiana.
2. Kareem Abdul Jabber
Here is a spot that I would not have put Kareem if I had not looked at the numbers and the numbers say what you would think they would. That centers were much more important to NBA teams before the modern era. 6 NBA titles, 2 Finals MVPs, 6 regular season MVPs and he had the sky hook. That was the shot that no one could every block. Look if you want to argue that Magic or Bird should be in this spot fine. What I will say is that he was on the 11x All Defensive team which places him before all the score first guys in the league. He also had the grace of playing 20 seasons and that is a difficult thing to accomplish
1. Bill Russell
This is the man that could be the GOAT the chances of another player get 11 NBA titles is close to zero. He also managed to get 5 regular season MVPs and they did not record blocks and steal when Russell played but the estimate is that he averaged 4 to 5 blocks a game. He was the ultimate team player and his defensive lead to fast breaks. Russell played 13 seasons and racked up titles in all but 2 of those seasons. In the modern game Tim Duncan would be the player to compare Bill Russell. I believe that if Russell came into league today even without the 11 titles he would have been able to get MVPs and titles. Russell’s legacy is one of the greatest in the NBA and this silent giant was the greatest big man to play the game.