Hello Retrojunkies far and wide, allow me for a brief moment to divert your attention to the following article.
With the NBA Playoffs off to an exciting start. I thought I would entertain my fellow readers on this site.
I've been an NBA fan as far as I can remember and label it my second favorite sport behind football of course.
While debates continue to grow and grow over who the greatest NBA players of all time are. I thought I would reveal to you my opinion of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time. Starting off with number 50.
50. Kevin Durant
We begin with a player who could very well skyrocket into the top 10 before his career is over. Kevin Durant, small forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder is simply the greatest shooting forward of all time. At 6'9, Durant possesses abilities that other forwards could only dream of. With his tall slender frame combined with scary speed, Durant can shoot over any small guard defending him or blow by any big forward guarding him. Already in his young career, Durant's shot is as smooth as they come. With 4 NBA Scoring Titles to his name and an almost unstoppable 3 point shooting touch, Durant is nearly impossible to guard. If it wasn't for a certain monarch, Durant would without question be regarded as the best player in the NBA today, and he's not even hit his prime. Durant has all the makings of a future multiple time champion and will no doubt win his first NBA MVP Award for the 2013-14 NBA season.
Accomplishments: 5x NBA All Star, 2008 NBA Rookie of the Year, 4x NBA Scoring Champion, 4x All NBA First Team, and 2013-14 NBA MVP.
49. Dwayne Wade
Most fans would probably rank Wade higher given his accomplishments, but in my opinion Wade is only the 49th greatest player ever. Without question, one of the greatest shooting guards of all time and the greatest Miami Heat of all time. Wade's shooting prowess and lightning speed was almost unmatched in his prime. Wade also possesses the almost uncanny ability to just throw up any garbage shot and make it land through the net, call it luck, call it skill, I call it Wade. Now entering into the twilight of his career, Wade has stepped back from being Flash to kingmaker as the perennial heart and soul of the 2 time defending champion Heat. Wade's performance in the 2006 NBA Finals will be forever remembered as perhaps the greatest Finals performance of all time as he physically, mentally, and emotionally willed his team back from an 0-2 deficit against the Dallas Mavericks. Even with the spotlight stolen from him, Wade will still simply go down as one of the top 5 greatest shooting guards of all time.
Accomplishments: 3x NBA Champion, 1x NBA Finals MVP (06), 10x NBA All Star, and 2009 NBA Scoring Champion.
48. Pete Maravich
A basketball never felt more at home than in the hands of this man. Pete Maravich was the very definition of "what could have been". As the leading scorer in NCAA College Basketball history, Maravich had the potential to become the greatest point guard in NBA history, but unfortunately injuries robbed the fans and him the opportunity. In many fans' eyes there will never be a more creative ball handler than the Pistol. I understand that this will be another unpopular opinion having Maravich this low, but I only rank him 48 because of his relatively short NBA career and as I wrote earlier Maravich could have been the greatest point guard of all time.
Accomplishments: 5x NBA All Star, 1977 NBA Scoring Champion, and Leading Scorer in NCAA College Basketball.
47. Steve Nash
There was no better point guard in the NBA from 2004 to 2008. Nash was the epitome of perfect passer and master pick and roller. Nash also gained reputation as by far the toughest NBA player of the modern era, having his nose broken multiple times only to re-set it and continue playing the game. Nash was not only an amazing passer but was also a nightmare from the 3 point and free throw line. One of the greatest 3 point shooters of all time with a career average of 41 percent from beyond the arc and an absurd free throw percentage of 90 percent. I also think 47 suits Nash because it matches his age...kidding!
Accomplishments: 2x NBA MVP (05, 06), 8x NBA All Star, and 5x NBA Assists Leader.
46. Paul Pierce
One of the most irritating, brash, cocky, and annoying players of all time describes Pierce to a tee, but clutch, cold hearted, and legit can also describe one of the most beloved Boston Celtics of all time. Paul Pierce has firmly etched himself into the Book of Clutch forever, especially after his remarkable and criticized performance in the 2008 NBA Finals. Whether he's faking an injury or knocking down clutch shot after clutch shot and scream how great he is afterwards, there's no doubt that Paul Pierce will forever be one of the 50 greatest players of all time, and that's the TRUTH!
Accomplishments: 1x NBA Champion, 1x NBA Finals MVP (08), and 10x NBA All Star.
45. Robert Parrish
We go from one Celtic to another. Strong, intimidating, durable, stoic, and silent best describes perhaps the second greatest big man in Celtic history. Parrish brought an intimidating and tough presence to the Blue Collar Celtic dynasty of the 80s. With an excellent combination of shot blocking and shooting touch along with his silent demeanor, Parrish became the definition of silent but deadly (snicker). Parrish also holds the NBA record for most games ever played. When it comes down to it, in the mid 80s we all hailed to the chief.
Accomplishments: 4x NBA Champion and 9x NBA All Star.
44. Alonzo Mourning
Do me a favor, go back to the NBA of the mid to late 90s. Are you there? good, now try and shoot a basketball through the hoop, better yet try and go for a layup, oh it didn't go down? where did it go you ask, why is it in the stands? Well 10 out of 10 times that shot or layup was blocked by Alonzo Mourning. Many NBA fans in the 90s and early 2000s will probably say they have a souvenir basketball thanks to it being swatted into stands by the hand of Mourning. One of if not THE most relentless and tenacious shot blocker of all time. Mourning absolutely denied the basketball from dropping through the net. Mourning was no slouch on offense either as he averaged 17.1 ppg in his career. Towards the beginning of the 2000s, Mourning suffered from a life threatening kidney disease that derailed his NBA career for the time being, but just like any forward or guard trying to score on him, the disease would be denied as well. In one of the most emotional and dramatic moments in NBA history, Mourning underwent a successful kidney transplant and made his NBA comeback capped off by an emotionally charged performance in the 2006 NBA Finals which saw him finally capture that elusive championship.
Accomplishments: 1x NBA Champion, 7x NBA All Star, 2x NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 2x NBA All Defensive First Team, and 2x NBA Blocks Champion.
43. Kevin Garnett
You will never find a more passionate, energetic, and ferocious player as The Big Ticket. Back in his prime, I guarantee players would lose sleep the night before they had to go up against Garnett. One of the greatest defensive power forwards of all time, Garnett would do anything he absolutely could to break his defensive and offensive assignment's will, whether it be legal or illegal. Highly regarded as one of the greatest and maybe dirtiest trash talkers to ever play the game. Whether he's wearing the other player's jersey or saying rude things about your mother or spouse, there is little to doubt the size of Garnett's heart and will along with his desire to prove that anything is possible.
Accomplishments: 1x NBA Champion, 1x NBA MVP (04), 1x NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 15x NBA All Star, and 9x NBA All Defensive First Team.
42. Kevin McHale
From one great Kevin to possibly THE greatest Kevin. McHale is perhaps the greatest shooting power forward of all time. Whether it would be with his low post scoring or spinning jump shot or relentless defense, almost every forward fell victim to the torture chamber. Along with Parrish and a certain legend, McHale embodied the tough nosed, hard edged blue collar Celtics of the 80s. McHale's passion and genius basketball IQ would not be left on the court after he retired as he now serves as head coach of the Houston Rockets.
Accomplishments: 3x NBA Champion, 7x NBA All Star, 3x NBA All Defensive First Team, and 2x NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
41. Jason Kidd
The premiere point guard of the early 2000s. Jason Kidd is firmly in the discussion as greatest pure point guard of all time. A calm and cooled floor general who regularly dished out dimes to his teammates. Not only could Kidd dish out, but he could also shoot the lights out as 3rd all time in 3 pointers made. If that wasn't enough, Kidd was also a defensive specialist as he is currently sitting at number 2 in all time steals. Did I also mention that he's second in all time assists. Kidd is currently the head coach for the Brooklyn Nets, if any former player that deserved to be head coach it's certainly the kidd.
Accomplishments: 1x NBA Champion, 10x NBA All Star, 4x NBA All Defensive First Team, 1995 NBA Co-Rookie of the Year, 5x NBA Assists Leader, 2nd All Time Assists Leader, 3rd All Time 3 Points Made Leader, and 2nd All Time Steals Leader.
That concludes this first part of the 50 Greatest NBA Players of All Time. Stay tuned for 40-31 in the next article and remember to keep shooting for the stars.