Jay C. Brandriet
I blinked, and the NBA is back.
To celebrate their 75th season, the league is unveiling their 75 greatest players of all time.
Of course I have to give it a shot myself.
There are a handful of challenges that come with ranking performers like this.
Guys come from different eras, with ever-changing rules and styles of play.
I didn’t start watching the NBA until 1986. It’s easier to lean on what we have seen in real time.
I’m mixing retired and active players. I’m blending in a few of the old leagues.
Who decides what things are the priority when judging greatness?
I’ts vital to recognize the evolution of the athlete.
It’s more vital to respect those that paved the way.
75 is a difficult number to work with.
The line of offended people will be a long one.
My list is full of Boston Celtics, Think I feel good leaving out Sam Jones, Robert Parish and Dennis Johnson?
Who wouldn’t want to mention Earl Monroe, Walton, Ginobili, or Bernard King?
What about today’s stars?
Jokic, Embiid, and even Luka need to wait a minute.
I had Kyrie 81st.
Think of how pissed he’d be if I was the NBA.
This is my 75 greatest NBA players of all time.
#75- CARMELO ANTHONY Mid post game was butter.
#74- PAU GASOL Dude was never “soft.”
#73- DIKEMBE MUTOMBO Gave boring defense some personality.
#72- NATE THURMOND Hidden behind more famous trees.
#71- CHRIS BOSH Named All-Star 11 times.
#70- KLAY THOMPSON Spectacular three shooter who defends.
#69- DAMIAN LILLARD Accept it. It’s Dame Time.
#68- BOB LANIER Just over Unseld and Schayes.
#67- ALONZO MOURNING Gave me my best interview.
#66- WILLIS REED No NBA story without Reed.
#65- ALEX ENGLISH Led the 1980’s in scoring.
#64- JAMES WORTHY Those Lakers were a trio.
#63- REGGIE MILLER Big shot taker and maker.
#62- GRANT HILL We saw enough to know.
#61- VINCE CARTER Role player days were impressive.
#60- RAY ALLEN He really did have game.
#59- DENNIS RODMAN His energy affected crowds moods.
#58- CHRIS WEBBER Circus passer, had sweet hands.
#57- PETE MARAVICH Made the sport a show.
#56- ANTHONY DAVIS Better resume than you realize.
#55- ADRIAN DANTLEY Dropping paint buckets at 6’5″.
#54- DWIGHT HOWARD I don’t see the “disappointment?”
#53- PAUL PIERCE Paul would say top 25.
#52- TRACY MCGRADY Eastern conference version of Kobe.
#51– DAVE COWENS 19/14 in 89 playoff contests.
#50- GEORGE MIKAN Gets impact credit for life.
#49- DOMINIQUE WILKINS Look, he made a top 50.
#48- ARTIS GILMORE Shot 59.9% from the field.
#47- BOB MCADOO Averaged 34.5 points in 1975.
#46- RUSSELL WESTBROOK A model of consistent effort.
#45- KEVIN MCHALE Ask Barkley and Karl Malone.
#44- JASON KIDD Was a hard-nosed playmaker.
#43- WALT FRAZIER Style. All Defense 7 times.
#42- BOB COUSY The “Houdini of the Hardwood.”
#41- GEORGE GERVIN More than the finger roll.
#40- GARY PAYTON Was a mouthy bad ass.
#39- CLYDE DREXLER Dream Team dominating my list.
#38- STEVE NASH Went 50/40/90 over a decade.
#37- ALLEN IVERSON Relentless, consuming player to stop.
#36- RICK BARRY Retired, the best foul shooter.
#35- ELVIN HAYES Played 80 plus, 16 times.
#34- BOB PETTIT Sealed a title, with 50.
#33- PATRICK EWING Rugged big, with outside shot.
#32- JAMES HARDEN Tough climb up from here.
#31- CHRIS PAUL Six time NBA steals champion.
#30- GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO Became a legend, at 26.
#29- KAWHI LEONARD All about health going forward.
#28- JOHN HAVLICEK The face of court endurance.
#27- JOHN STOCKTON Tough, efficient, decision making master.
#26- DIRK NOWITZKI Shooting posture was so firm.
#25- SCOTTIE PIPPEN A five tool, point forward.
#24- ISIAH THOMAS Born for the big stage.
#23- CHARLES BARKLEY Unique abilities for his size.
#22- DWYANE WADE Trusted him from day one.
#21- DAVID ROBINSON Chiseled Center, was cat quick.
#20- KEVIN GARNETT Even hustled, after the whistle.
#19- KARL MALONE Get out of his way!
#18- ELGIN BAYLOR Most underrated, among the greatest.
#17- STEPHEN CURRY Steph Curry’s skills are transcendent.
#16- MOSES MALONE The offensive rebounding standard setter.
#15- OSCAR ROBERTSON The O.G. of big guards.
#14- JERRY WEST Leading scorer in Finals history.
#13- KEVIN DURANT- Been top 3 guy forever.
#12- JULIUS ERVING- Man who inspired my favorites.
#11- HAKEEM OLAJUWON- Dominated both ends of floor.
#10- TIM DUNCAN He made me recognize poise.
#9- SHAQUILLE O’ NEAL -Multiple seasons as the best.
#8- LARRY BIRD Would be even better today.
#7- KOBE BRYANT Best difficult shot maker ever.
#6- BILL RUSSELL Ultimate leader, defender, and winner.
#5- MAGIC JOHNSON Had teammates on a string.
#4- WILT CHAMBERLAIN A Babe Ruth type figure.
#3- KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR Most accomplished, overall basketball career.
#2- LEBRON JAMES Check back in 6 years.
#1- MICHAEL JORDAN Under any microscope, it’s obvious.
Jay C. Brandriet