Not too surprising, but our Top 10 NBA players of all-time list once again got people’s blood boiling. Rarely is there full agreement on this thing, as this list has become one of the best sports arguments out there. Everyone has “their guy.” If you missed it, here is the Top 10:
1. Michael Jordan
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2. Bill Russell
3. LeBron James
4. Magic Johnson
5. Larry Bird
6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
7. Tim Duncan
8. Wilt Chamberlain
9. Jerry West
10. Hakeem Olajuwon
Predictably, most people had beef with Wilt Chamberlain being so low. This year there were also a lot of cries about why Kobe and Shaq were left off the list.
We respond to your responses here.
@ZMoneyBC: Disrespectful list. Many picks I disagree with but not including Kobe Bryant is a nefarious travesty … And you really leaving Kobe off your list like that? Really Bruhhh? Bill Russell #2?! Kareem that low!? Where is the reasoning for leaving both Kobe and Shaq off? How in the world could one even argue Duncan or West is better?
Burke: I always go back to this argument with Kobe. His Lakers finished with a record of 34-48 in 2004-05 and they missed the playoffs altogether. Kobe was IN HIS PRIME. No other player on this list missed the playoffs in their prime.
As for Shaq, the difference between him and Duncan is that Duncan had sustained excellence. Shaq’s peak was higher than Duncan’s, just like Bird’s peak was higher than Magic’s. But both Duncan and Magic always had their respective teams in the mix for a title – year-in and year-out.
Hey Matt, I’m griping about Dr. J from Philadelphia not being on that Top 10 greatest NBA list in the Metro. R U Kidding?! – Donna Jones
Burke: Dr. J is close, but no cigar. A lot of his prime was spent in the ABA against inferior competition, and he won just one NBA title. If you replaced Jerry West (who also has just one title) with Doc on your list I wouldn’t gripe too much. But to put Julius higher than No. 9 or so is a tall ask.
Wilt at No. 8?! - @toney_stacks
You Wilt people are relentless. He was a man amongst boys, right? Russell ate his lunch in every NBA Finals … and Shaq was a man amongst boys, too. Shaq didn’t make my list. I’m doing you a favor.
5. Michael Jordan
6. Jerry West
8. Elgin Baylor
9. Bob Pettit
10. Julius Erving
– Chip Rawls
Burke: I’m guessing Chip hasn’t downloaded that new Childish Gambino song yet, as six out of his top 10 players retired before LeBron James was even alive. Michael Jordan at No. 5 is a first, too.
Stephen Bowman: Hey Matt,I’m not going to berate you about your list because these lists are supposed to be objective,although Lebron moving ahead of Magic and Bird is about as plausible as how far ahead his hairline has moved.But the main criticism-no Shaq or Kobe?Now I know,as a Celtics fan,the Lakers are normally despised but as a basketball fan,these were 2 of the best players of their generation. And for a time,both played for the Lakers at the same time!So if championsips are the tiebreaker,both won more than Lebron. With or without eacher.Either way,love the debate the list sparks!And,I enjoy the column. Below is my list.
1. A.C.Earl-(joking)Michael Jordan
2. Bill Russel
3. Magic Johnson
4. Kareem Abdul Jabbar
5. Larry Bird
6. Kobe Bryant
7. Wilt Chamberlain
10. Lebron James
Burke: Fair enough. Thanks for reading, Stephen.
More Metro reader feedback:
Matt, love your articles. My picks:
1. Russell: Except for Cousy, Russell made all his other team mates hall of famers
2. Oscar: If he played with Baylor and Chamberlain he would have won at least a couple of more championships. As it was, he won one when he was overweight and past his prime with a young Lew Alcinder.
9. Petit: (The most underrated GREAT ball player of all time.)
Toughest to leave out of the top ten: West
In today’s Metro, you said that Russell ate Wilt’s lunch every NBA Finals.
They didn’t face each other in the finals—they were in the same conference.
Wilt head to head against Russell in the playoffs averages:
Wilt: 25.7 points 28 rebounds 4.1 assists
Russell: 14.9 points 24.7 rebounds 4.9 assists
Ate his lunch? Not so much.
Kobe not on the list but Magic is? Kobe's the greatest Laker of all-time. - @WEIRDO_LEEK