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Who is the greatest basketball player of all-time?

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  • Who is the greatest basketball player of all-time?

    There's a good debate going in The Last Dance thread but I figure we could just go ahead and settle it here in its own thread with its own poll. Vote for who you think is the GOAT and explain why.

    Also, is there anyone currently playing who you think could unseat the GOAT and if so what is it they need to accomplish to earn that title?
    26
    Michael Jordan
    61.54%
    16
    LeBron James
    11.54%
    3
    Magic Johnson
    0%
    0
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    3.85%
    1
    Shaquille O'Neal
    0%
    0
    Wilt Chamberlain
    7.69%
    2
    Bill Russell
    7.69%
    2
    Larry Bird
    0%
    0
    Tim Duncan
    3.85%
    1
    Other
    3.85%
    1
    Last edited by Apollo; Sun May 24th, 2020, 08:36 AM.

  • #2
    MJ, his will to win was off the charts. Look at all the teams and hall of fame players he beat for his 6 titles.
    Twitter @WJ_FINDLAY

    Comment


    • #3
      voted other, and pretty disgusted it wasn't an option.



      but it is jordan.

      edit add: after everyone who remembers watching jordan is dead, people will be convinced someone else is better than him.

      i remember watching jordan, and the preconceived idea was he took every shot, but a lot of his regular season greatness was like 6 points a quarter on 3 or 4 shots. ends up with 24 "easy" points. and then some days goes off. effortless greatness in his old career.
      Last edited by Miekenstien; Sun May 24th, 2020, 08:55 AM.

      Comment


      • #4


        I think Magic today would be as good as LeBron. Maybe better.

        Comment


        • #5
          Apollo wrote: View Post


          I think Magic today would be as good as LeBron. Maybe better.
          best point guard ever. i think a lot is progress in workouts, diet etc. the new commercial with dougie talking about carbing up demonstrates this i think. i never saw bill russel play. i thought magic johnson was better than bird. i think shaq is the most unstoppable ever. pictures of 7 foot forever wilt with 9 short 510 white kids makes me suspect if his actual dominance would translate into a more competitive environment.

          i think after jordan the debate is much more malleable.

          who is #2? for me it is either lebron or magic. rookie magic stepping in as a center is pretty epic.

          Comment


          • #6
            No debate Jordan.

            The Alphabet has a slim chance of reaching that level. He's only 25 and could have started his string of championships this year; Lebron finally gets old but takes a toll on injury prone Kawhi/George before bowing out. The reason why he won't (so far) is his refusal to super-team-it-up. Arguably, 10 of the last 12 NBA Championship teams have been loaded with more than one superstar. I didn't count Toronto or Dallas on that list.

            Jordan is like Gretzky. The only debate should be for who is number 2 but no one will likely ever catch him. And no, Ovie won't, even for goals.

            Comment


            • #7
              G__Deane wrote: View Post
              No debate Jordan.

              The Alphabet has a slim chance of reaching that level. He's only 25 and could have started his string of championships this year; Lebron finally gets old but takes a toll on injury prone Kawhi/George before bowing out. The reason why he won't (so far) is his refusal to super-team-it-up. Arguably, 10 of the last 12 NBA Championship teams have been loaded with more than one superstar. I didn't count Toronto or Dallas on that list.

              Jordan is like Gretzky. The only debate should be for who is number 2 but no one will likely ever catch him. And no, Ovie won't, even for goals.
              My guy McJesus has a chance. When I watch McJesus play it's like watching the greatest hockey player ever. The guy creates scoring chances basically every time he's on the ice. There's nobody like him.
              Mamba Mentality

              Comment


              • #8
                Never heard of that Larry Byrd fella. Was he good?

                MJ is the answer. But I want to add some thoughts as to why I picked him over the others (sorry for the long post)...


                First, I never saw Bill, Wilt or Kareem play (in his prime). Tried to research as much as I can about each player though to form my opinion. But my opinion is biased because of that.


                With Bill Russell.. you really can't look at 11 rings and just brush that aside. So he's in the mount rushmore. Without him and the Celtics dominating, perhaps the NBA wouldn't have been able to merge with the ABA in the 70's. He put the NBA on the map literally. But he played in an era with predominantly white athletes. I don't want to ruffle any feathers.. but we learned through the years how dominant black athletes have been in most sport for the most part. They are physically gifted from their genes. And in the 60's racism was rampant. So most teams chose to not play black players even if they might have been better.


                Wilt was as dominant as they come. To this day he still has 68 individual world records in the NBA. I don't know if the world has scene an athlete that skilled. This video pretty much demonstrates what he did and was capable of:



                But when you have to pick one GOAT you have to also look at flaws. Wilt was a dominant individual player for sure. But he was singular focused on trying to just break records. He picked the NBA because he was tall.. but he really should have been focusing on track and field or events where they really try to figure out who is the best individual talent. NBA and basketball is a team sport. His biggest foe in the game beat him 11-2. He played on stacked teams with West and Baylor so it wasn't like he was doing it on his own. His scoring numbers went down in the playoffs. He to me seemed like the original Russell Westbrook. And he also played in an era with a lot more white athletes.


                Kareem like I said above is a tough call. He was dominant in college with 3 chips there and 2 MVP's. He was dominant in the NBA with 6 MVPS, 6 chips, and 2 FMVP's. And he has the longevity stats as he played right until he was 41 (and played 74 games in his final season). The one flaw is that he was no longer the best player on his team when he called it quits. And perhaps that's not really a significant issue. MJ played in Washington in his 40's. Not really sure if he was the best. He scored more points than anyone else, but his team also sucked. The Lakers in Kareem's last season got to the finals, but got swept to the PIstons.

                You could easily convince me though that he is the GOAT. I just didn't see enough of him. I only saw him in his last couple of seasons, and I was really only paying attention in the last two seasons, where Magic had already taken the mantle as best Laker. But because of my bias I have to drop him down a peg. Still easily one of the greatest ever. Ahead of both Bill and Wilt for me.


                Magic/Bird were two of the smartest NBA players I had seen. Bird especially was as clutch as they came. He was an arrogant SOB, and was tough as nails. Magic made the game so beautiful to watch. His pinpoint passes. The ability to play any position (and as center as a rookie). But neither really compare to Lebron now. And I have Kareem ahead of both already. Magic wasn't a gifted shooter. Bird had injury issues his whole career.. especially in his later years. He played 13 seasons, but really only 9. Magic "retired" early so we didn't get to see his longevity stats bloom. He's easily the best PG to ever play the game. Bird was the GOAT SF until Lebron came around. They just drop out of the GOAT debate for me because we have a guy now that is playing better than those guys ever did which is a testament to how good Lebron really is.


                I have Hakeem ahead of Shaq so I can't see him as the GOAT. Shaq got to play with Kobe and Wade. He was an awful FT shooter and teams game planned around that flaw. He was pretty bad when he became older.. and essentially became a journeyman playing for the Suns, Celtics and Cavs.


                Duncan is easily the greatest PF to ever play the game. Smart. Elite defender. Humble. Very Kareem like in his ability to get to the job done without being flashy about it. But he only has 2 MVP's, and 3 FMVP's. Meaning in 2 of the 5 championship rounds, someone on his team was better than he was. That has to drop him down a peg when we're talking about the GOAT.


                Most of my thoughts with Lebron vs MJ were in the Last Dance thread.

                This guy lays it out pretty nicely and my thoughts had coincided with his even before I saw the video:




                Ultimately there were two reasons why I picked MJ over Lebron. First was winning. Being 6-0 in the finals with 6 FMVP's versus being 3-9 in the finals and 3 FMVP's. And the second was defense. MJ was an elite defender. Lebron had his moments but for the most part hid on defense.

                With regards to winning.. it's arguable to say MJ had an easier path. Lebron getting through the East was a cake walk. Half the teams in the East were tanking. The toughest team he beat convincingly was probably Bud's Hawks in 2015. Yet that team was hurt. Most of the teams were pretty easy. There was a long stretch where teams like the Celtics, Raptors, Philly's were all tanking/rebuilding. I'm not really discounting his 8 straight trips to the finals. That's amazing and why he's #2 on my list of GOAT's. But it wasn't that difficult either as compared to MJ's trips to the finals. The Warriors were as stacked as they come.. but KD was only there for 2 chips. Lebron was close to losing 2 of his 3 rings. Only the OKC win was a dominant win.

                MJ had the drive. He had the athletic abilities. One of the greatest in game dunkers ever. He was an elite shooter (not from 3 but he rarely took shots from there). He was an elite defender. He regularly played over 80 games a season + playoffs. He was dominant in college. He made the game so fun to watch. There is reason why his shoes sell more than any other player in the game and why he was treated like Michael Jackson or the Beatles where ever he played.

                I don't think Lebron will ever catch up to him. The 6 losses in the finals (and counting) is akin to Wilt losing to Bill. There was usually always someone better in Lebron's era (Dirk, Curry, Kawhi, Giannis). And nobody was better than Michael in his era.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The Great One wrote: View Post

                  My guy McJesus has a chance. When I watch McJesus play it's like watching the greatest hockey player ever. The guy creates scoring chances basically every time he's on the ice. There's nobody like him.
                  And he's doing it without as good of a supporting cast so far. Gretzky had Kuri, Messier, Anderson and Coffey etc, pretty "decent" offensive players in their own right. Gretzky had 4 - 200+ point seasons, that's 8 good seaons today lol. I don't think we'll ever see another 200 pointer, even in this watered down era. And he was healthy.

                  Talent, teammates, era, health. Wicked combination.

                  Sydney Crosby, after playing his whole career with Malkin, isn't even in the top 25 yet....
                  Last edited by G__Deane; Sun May 24th, 2020, 01:38 PM.

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                  • #10
                    This is a good list, I loved 80's NBA but I have MJ, Lebron, Kareem, Wilt, and Bill as the top half of this list. I'd take MJ but I can see the arguments for Kareem and Bill. Think Lebron needs to finish his career, but his Finals record is going to make it hard to put him ahead of those other guys.
                    "We're playing in a building." -- Kawhi Leonard

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The correct answer is Jordan. The better question is, who's the second greatest player of all time? to me it's either LeBron or Bird. I'd like to make a case for Bird.

                      Larry Bird is the last player to win three straight NBA MVP awards. His peak was as good as anyone whoever played the sport. He was the best player in the league that had Dr. J, Magic, Isiah, Kareem, Nique, Moses and young MJ.

                      The Celtics won 61 games in Bird's rookie year. The previous year? they only won 29 games. He completely transformed the Celtics franchise.

                      Lastly, if you want to be in the GOAT convo, you have to be "the man" in ALL of your championship teams. And Bird(like all the players that I listed below) was the man in all of his championship teams.

                      1. Jordan
                      2. Bird/LeBron
                      3. LeBron/Bird
                      4. Magic
                      5. Duncan
                      Mamba Mentality

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wilt. Averaged over 45 minutes a game for his ENTIRE CAREER? Are you kidding me? That didn't happen just because he was tall.

                        22 rebounds a game for his Entire Career.

                        Why are we even talking about this?
                        Last edited by Puffer; Mon May 25th, 2020, 08:02 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Puffer wrote: View Post
                          Wilt. Averaged over 45 minutes a game for his ENTIRE CAREER? Are you kidding me? That didn't happen just because he was tall.

                          22 rebounds a game for his Entire Career.

                          Why are we even talking about this?
                          Because he was playing against hobbits.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Apollo wrote: View Post

                            Because he was playing against hobbits.
                            He was probably the strongest player in every game he played in his prime, probably jumped the highest and was probably the fastest.

                            A lot of this comes down to what is meant by GOAT? A player can not win championships if he doesn't have good teammates, if he doesn't play for a good coach or if injuries curtail his career etc. Having a strong will to win is meaningless if you don't have the ability or skill set. If you played in a era with less capable training, player development and facilities your performance will suffer in comparison.

                            To me this kind of a comparison must try to level out all of the societal and infrastructural differences. Everything else being equal, who would be the most dominant? To me, there has never been a physical specimen to equal Wilt. As has been already stated, his name is all over the NBa record books. Wilt born in this period would have been recruited out of high school and been given access to the highest level coaches from the time he was 8 or 9 years old. He would have been groomed for greatness. He might have blocked over half of Jordan or LeBron's shots.

                            Just my opinion.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I always think of this Seinfeld skit when it comes to Wilt.




                              Meanwhile Shaq dominated everyone his size and smaller. By the late 90's there were many big, strong, skilled big men and he bulldozed everyone.

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