Updated: Mar 17, 2021
Welcome to part two of this two part series. If you didn't read part one, I would highly recommend you do so before reading any further. Now, without further ado, let's begin
5. Magic Johnson
The leader of the most prolific basketball dynasty of all time: The Showtime Lakers. Magic has a case as the best passer of all time, had court vision that’s second to none, and was extremely versatile. In his rookie year, Magic was able to help his team get to the NBA finals as the starting point guard. In-game five of this finals series Kareem Abdul Jabar twisted his ankle and was out for game 6. Instead of giving up, Magic played the best game of his young career, filling in at center instead of his normal position of point guard. This historic performance of 40 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists helped to propel the Lakers to their first of 5 championships in the ’80s and Magic’s first of three finals MVPs. This historic performance was only the beginning for Johnson as throughout his career, he would rack up 12 all-star appearances, 10 all NBA selections, 3 MVP’s, and the title of co-best player in the world for the better part of a decade. When the dust settled and his career was over, Johnson has gone down as one of the best to ever do it and a concrete top 10 player of all time.
4. Larry Bird
Larry Bird is tied for the most legendary trash talker in NBA history, and the thing with Larry Bird is that he could back up his talk. One time in 1985, just two weeks after his teammate Kevin McHale broke the Celtics’ all-time single-game scoring record, Bird came into a regular-season game with the Hawks. In this game, Larry Bird would call almost every shot he would take and make before doing them. Sometimes he would call off the glass, other times he would call from the wing, and then in the later stages of the game Larry Bird called from the Hawks trainers lap and the next time down the floor caught the ball in the corner, shot it, got bumped by Antoine Carr, and falls into the trainer’s lap. Did he fall into the trainer’s lap on purpose? Maybe. But you can tell by the Hawks players’ reaction that he called this play, because why else would you go crazy like that for an opposing player’s shot. You add crazy stories like this to the fact he has 3 championships, 2 finals MVPs, 3 regular season MVPs, 10 all NBA selections, and 12 all-star appearances, a well as holding the co-best player in the world title for the better part of a decade with Magic, and you get the 4th best NBA player to ever walk this earth, and one of the most underrated NBA legends.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem was dominant throughout the ’70s and ’80s, you could not stop him. He could bully you in the post or use one of the tools in his bag to finesse his way to the basket. He could give you fits on the offensive end and then do the same on the defensive end. There was no doubt for over a decade who the best player in the world was. Kareem was so good during his 20-year career that he won his first finals MVP 15 years before his last. Kareem is the only player besides LeBron to claim that he was at or near the top of his game for 15+ years. You add that insane longevity to the fact he created the most unstoppable shot in NBA history, has 19 all-star appearances, 15 all NBA selections, 6 championships, 2 finals MVPs, 6 regular season MVP, and is the record holder for most points scored by a single player, and you get the 3rd best player to ever play the game of basketball.
2. LeBron James
Now before the Nick Writes and Shannon Sharps of the world come to rip my head off with all of these advanced stats and accolades that LeBron James has accumulated over his career, let me explain. In my opinion, LeBron is pretty clearly at least the second-best player of all time. I don’t think you will find many people who have LeBron lower than number 2 and most of those people are either ex NBA players with a bias to their era or old heads who can’t move on from the past. The question now is whether or not LeBron is number 1, and in my opinion, it is too close to call. So why do I have LeBron 2 and Jordan 1? LeBron’s career is still going. We do not have LeBron’s complete resume. There are still so many questions he has yet to answer. These questions make it nearly impossible to be even remotely impartial while judging LeBron’s greatness, so I must estimate low. However, just as with Kobe, LeBron’s greatness will be appreciated soon after he retires, and when that happens, we can estimate where he truly ranks amongst the greats. One thing is clear, though, LeBron is a freak of nature and has been the undisputed best player in the world for a decade, on route to winning 4 championships, 4 finals MVPs, 4 regular season MVPs, 16 all NBA selections, and 16 all-star selections, making him at the very least the second-best player of all time.
1. Michael Jordan
The man who could fly. The man Larry Bird called a god in disguise. His Airness is not only the best to ever lace up, but also the most iconic. Michael Jordan did not only make the NBA an international brand, he propelled Nike to the powerhouse it is today. Every kid in the ’90s wanted to be like Mike. He was one of the most famous people on planet earth. His game was poetry in motion. You add the evidence above to the fact he has 14 all-star appearances, 11 all NBA selections, 6 championships, 6 finals MVPs, and 5 regular-season MVPs to his name, and you get the best to ever step foot on a basketball court.
Whether you agree with everything I said in this list or none of it, I thank you for getting to the end, and if you want to talk about this list with me, feel free to contact me through the contact section of this website. There is no right answer to this question, but I gave it my best shot.
Until next time, PD Smash singing off