Michael Jordan will NEVER be the GOAT. Top 10 NBA Players All Time.
LeBron James was recently in the news for saying he felt he was the greatest player of all time after he and the Cavilers won the 2016 NBA championship against the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. Which led to everyone battling on twitter to argue who the actual greatest of all time is. Which got us at 12BY6 to put together our list of the top ten NBA players of all time. Now before you see this list, our criteria may be different than how most see the game. It's not all about rings! Although championships are taken into consideration we took into consideration impact to the game as well as individual accolades i.e. MVPs, First Team NBA appearances, etc.
10. Larry Bird
Larry Legend is a three time NBA champion and Three Time Regular season MVP. The Indiana native also made 9 All NBA 1st teams. The NBA finals was literally on tape delay before Larry entered the NBA. Bird along with Magic Johnson were the ones to help usher the game into live broadcasting. The NBA wouldn’t be as popular at it is today if not for the influence of Larry Bird.
9. Bill Russell
The finals MVP award is called the Bill Russell award, that should tell you all you need to know. 11 championships so for the people who love to scream MJ was 6 for 6 go look at Russell's trophy case. Russell also had 5 regular season MVPs.
8. Kobe Bryant
Stop me if you've heard this before, kid crumbles a piece of paper and shoots the paper into a garbage can immediately after the paper leaves their hand it's always followed by a KOBE!! The 5 time NBA champion left a major impact on the game. Every player today wants to have that Mamba Mentality. 11 time All NBA 1st team but showed his versatility by being a 9 time All NBA first team defense selection.
7. Wilt Chamberlain
The only man to ever score 100 points in one game. If you are ever bored go look at the numbers Wilt the Stilt use to put up, he averaged 50 and 25 one year. His numbers are 2K like. Some will argue his competition wasn’t great but the numbers are undeniable.
6. Tim Duncan
The big fundamental was the centerpiece of the Spurs dynasty. Five-time NBA Champ, two MVPs, ten All NBA first teams. Just like Timmy's career not a lot to say here just the greatest power forward of all time who was quiet and went to work
5. Shaquille O'Neal
At Shaq's peak there may have not been a more dominant and unstoppable player ever to play the game of basketball. The Big Aristotle as he called himself went on to win 4 NBA championship and 8 All NBA 1st Team selections in a time when big men ruled the NBA.
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The all-time leader in points scored. Formally known as Lew Alcindor, Kareem was one of the most talented and hyped players coming out of high school of all time. He did not disappoint, after a great career at UCLA the owner of the patented sky hook went on to win 6 MVPs and 6 NBA championships.
3. Earvin “Magic” Johnson
As stated before Magic and Bird changed the NBA, they took the game to another atmosphere and grew it’s popularity. Magic changed the game, no one had ever seen a 6'9 point guard before. The former Michigan Spartan led the way in creating the show time Lakers. A flashy Up and Down pace of basketball that led to 5 NBA championships.
2. Michael Jordan
His Airness' accolades are well known. Six for Six in finals, five regular season MVPs and fourth all time in scoring. Perhaps Jordan's biggest impact was off the court, the North Carolina Tarheel took the NBA to a global level. MJ became a household name in every country on every continent.
1. LeBron James
1. Lebron James
Ok, let's get all the “how can LeBron be the GOAT” remarks out now. Yes he's not undefeated in the finals. Yes his finals record is 3-6 but it is not all about championships. Look at the impact the King has made. The first championship hoisted by the city of Cleveland in over 50 years was led by a Lebron James team down 3-1 against the winningest regular season team ever. Four time MVP and three time Champion. Lebron has been in the forefront of the player mobility movement. Lebron has made it ok for a player to dictate their own future and career and not be at the mercy of an NBA owner. Why is James faulted for making Championships appearances. His first finals appearance came at the age of 22 when in Michael's early 20s he was getting bounced out the playoffs in Round 1 and 2 by Bad Boy Pistons and Birds almost every year. We don't hold it against Michael. So what your saying is in Jordan's early years, if he made it out the east and lost to Lakers in the finals, you would look at him less because he made it to championship and lost as opposed to losing in the first round. That logic of thinking just seems odd. People love to bring up the finals loses. Let's really take a look. In 2015 the Cleveland Cavilers trotted out a starting line up of Matthew Dellavdova, JR Smith, LeBron James, Tristan Thompson, and Timofey Mozgov. This is because Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love both suffered season ending injures. Lets take a look at what Lebron's 2015 starting line up is producing this year: Mozgov: Hasnt played one minute JR Smith: Currently seeking employment but has a cool Supreme logo tattoo. Dellavdova: Averaging 5 points a game Side note: LeBron averaged 35-13-8 in 2015 finals. The other times Lebron has lost it's only been against the Spurs dynasty and when Kevin Durant, the second best player in NBA decided to team with the 73-win Golden State Warriors. Oh and the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. You got us there, no excuse on that one. Bad loss. Now let's really look at the impact LeBron has had. James makes his players better. We have never seen a superstar do more with less. When LeBron left the Cavilers in 2011 they went on to win 19 games that following year. It was the same team that just one season prior with LeBron won 61 games. The year before MJ decided to retire, his team won 57 games. In the season immediately following Jordan's retirement, the Chicago Bulls won 55 games and were a few plays away from Eastern Conference finals. Do not get caught up in the six for six illusion. MJ won 6 championships in 15 years. We can't just forget about the years he didnt make championship and romanticize the 6 championships that he won.
Lebron James is all ready 5th all time in scoring and top 11 in assists (less than 100 assists away from top ten). The Akron native doesn't have to play a minute of basketball ever again and is already the GOAT, but LeBron is on a path that will make it difficult for anyone to ever challenge him. In year 16, he is still the best player in NBA averaging 27 Pts, 8 Ast, and 7 Reb, while shooting over 50 percent from the field. When it is all said and done, people will laugh that this was ever even a conversation.