By: Cam Kelly, Heath Montgomery, and Ryan Ridgway
So we all thought it would be a great idea to answer some of the great questions in NBA basketball history, you know the classic “barber shop” questions that you and your friends go back and forth on when you talk about. We thought it would be great to get to know our writers’ opinions on these great questions so let’s dive into them:
Who is the greatest NBA player of all time?
Cam Kelly: I guess the best basketball player today on June 16, 2017 would be Michael Jordan however I do feel like he gets too much love for being 6-0 in the finals. I mean 6-0 is absolutely incredible but you made it 6 times. Magic Johnson, a 6-9 PG was 5-4 in the finals which to me is so impressive he made it to the finals 9 times! Absolutely ridiculous! Call me crazy, but I will always stand for losing in the finals over losing anywhere else. I mean we don’t make fun of Michael Phelps for having silver and bronze medals do we? I also am a big Kareem fan; I think he was an alien for his time. Also Bill Russell has 11 championships and does not get enough love for that, of course he lost once in the championship which MJ fans will hold against him forever. However, all of those guys are retired and there is only one player I have watched play and who is currently playing who I think is a top three player of all time and yes that is LeBron James. LeBron James has no question the best first 14 years of a career than anyone in NBA history. 4x MVP, 3x NBA Champion, 3x Finals MVP, 11 straight All NBA First Team (which is humanly impossible), 8 Finals, 7 straight, and one historic comeback. Also he is the most durable superstar ever, he has played in every single playoff game and logged over 9,000 minutes, he is second behind Tim Duncan (also retired). He is the all-time playoff leader in points, third in assists, and 7th rebounds, he can guard all 5 positions, and oh yeah and he is 32 years old! When it is all said and done LeBron James might possibly be the GOAT.
Heath Montgomery: I used to think about this questions and go back and forth with it, Lebron or MJ; however, after watching the last two years I have to give it to Lebron. He stepped up his game to a different level and is taking the league by storm. He brought his team back from 3-1 to beat one of the most talented teams in NBA history in last years finals and forced them to go after a reigning MVP to ensure that they wouldn’t get taken over by LBJ again. Everyone brings up the fact that Lebron went to the NBA Finals eight but only won three of them but if you look at the teams that MJ faced in the Finals compared to the teams Lebron faced you will see that Lebron’s opponents were much more talented than Jordan’s. I think many people will still say Jordan is the better player but in my opinion: Jordan’s legacy is the best, but Lebron James is the most talented player ever. Lebron is 32 years old and might be playing his best basketball ever; I don’t know how long he can keep it up but I believe at the rate he is going by the end of his career there will be no doubt that he is the GOAT.
Ryan Ridgway: Michael Jordan– While this may not be the case much longer, it is hard to deny Jordan’s greatness. Basketball is different from other sports because there appears to be a clear concensus pick on who the greatest of all time is, and Michael Jordan will prove to be the greatest competitor of any generation of any sport that has ever been played.
All-time Starting 5
Cam: PG-Steph Curry
SF- LeBron James
PF- Kevin Durant (it could work)
C- 2010 Dwight Howard
Ok, so if you know me I love the current NBA and think it has the most talent this league has already seen and would cook anyone from past decades, however this was a joke and here is my actual all time starting 5.
PG- Magic Johnson
SG- Michael Jordan
SF- LeBron James
PF- Tim Duncan
Heath: PG- Magic Johnson- he’s 6’9 and can handle the ball as good as anyone. I think I’ll take that versatility
SG- Michael Jordan- I heard this guy is alright player, guess I’ll take him
SF- Lebron James- THE KING, best player of all-time should definitely be in my starting 5
PF- Tim Duncan- Mr. Fundamental has rode that bank shot all the way to the best PF of all-time
C- Wilt Chamberlain- HE SCORED 100 POINTS and not many people know that he was 7’0 with a 48″ vertical. He’s definitely the best Center ever.
Ryan: PG: Magic Johnson
SG: Michael Jordan
SF: Lebron James/Larry Bird
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
In my all-time starting 5, it is no question that I would have Magic running the point and being the main facilitator for my team. Michael would provide a high level of scoring and possibly the greatest amount of defensive effort that could be given from a guard. Things get interesting at the three spot, as Lebron and Larry would have to share minutes depending on the tempo of the game. While Lebron is obviously the superior athlete, Larry would provide scoring and could spread the floor for his teammates. The Big Fundamental would bring his consistent scoring and overall presence in the paint that would draw opposing offenses away from driving in the lane. Kareem would round out my team as the greatest center of all time because of his overall abilities. Kareem is the greatest scorer of all time, no questions asked. He would also provide an unmatched defensive presence that would terrify any opposing offense.
Greatest Team in NBA History
Cam: Well of course the 95-96 Bulls I mean they have Michael Jordan who could ever beat him? He never missed a shot or lost a game ever it is a proven fact. Did you know he was 6-0 in the finals? Okay for real I totally believe the 2017 Golden State Warriors are the best team in NBA History. The pace they play and the ball movement they have and how well they shoot threes is so tough to beat. I also think they don’t get enough credit for how good of defense they play. Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant can flat out guard anybody 1 on 1 and while Steph isn’t a good 1 on 1 defender he is very good at anticipating and having acting hands and getting a lot of steals. I just don’t see anyone in history being able to guard Kevin Durant and yes that means I do not believe MJ or Scottie Pippen could guard KD, I mean he is a legit a 7-foot sniper who can beat you off the dribble too, absolutely unheard of in the 90s. Klay Thompson can guard MJ too, I know the difference with the hand check rule but let’s put it this way. Michael Jordan was about 6-6 and Gary Payton who was 6-3 held MJ to a 11-35 shooting night, Klay Thompson is 6-7 and a lot stronger than Gary Payton. I also mentioned how well the Warriors shoot the three. The 91 Bulls won their first championship shooting 5-21 FOR THE SERIES from three, the Warriors would laugh at that. The Warriors would hit 5 threes in the first quarter easy, not to mention the 3-point line was closer in 1991. The only team that I think could possibly give this Warriors team matchup problems is the 01 Lakers just because they have Shaq and he would be tough to guard.
Heath: This years Golden State Warriors team is the best team ever, plain and simple. They have more fire-power from 3-point range than any other team in the history of the NBA. Everyone on the floor is a danger to splash home a three or put on the deck and go at the rim. Add their unselfish style of play and it is almost impossible to stop them from getting an open look. They also have a crazy good defense with fantastic individual defenders in Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant. I am still not convinced with Steph Curry’s one-on-one defending but thrives in the Warriors team defense strategy and is able to come up with many ball pokes and blindsided steals throughout the game. Now I do believe their are teams out there in history that would play this team better than Cleveland did in the Finals this year, but it is almost impossible to imagine a team that went 16-1 in the playoffs this year to lose a seven game series to any team in NBA history. And come on, who is going to stop Zaza when he is in the post?
Ryan: 95-96 Chicago Bulls- Before I begin this, I would have to significantly consider the 16-17 Warriors just because of how insane they were this past season. However, the Chicago Bulls were nearly equally as dominant and successful. I can not safely say that I would pick the Warriors of MJ’s squad, so my pick would be the Chicago Bulls in this discussion.
Who would win in an all-time 1v1 NBA Tournament?
Cam: Kevin Freakin’ Durant. Like I said earlier a 7-foot sniper who can beat you off the dribble and has proved himself to be a great defender this year. That does not mean he is the best player of all time because 1 on 1 only measures scoring and defense, it does not measure rebounding and passing with a lot of other statistics. Don’t you dare think to yourself either oh well Kobe and MJ were just the ultimate competitors and had that killer instinct putting them above anyone (although they are at the top) there is still a lot of talent that comes with it.
Heath: I’m taking KD. He is the ultimate 1v1 player! His shot is virtually unguardable because he is so tall and long that know one is quick enough and tall enough to reach the peak of his shot to block it. He has the skills to beat smaller defenders, the post ability to compete with bigger guys, and has the defense to be able to guard any type of player. People may argue that a guy like Shaq would easily be able to back him down but if we’re talking 1v1, Shaq can only makes two-pointers while Durant can step back and take the lead by shooting threes.
Ryan: Michael Jordan– In this tournament, MJ would have to work extremely hard to be able to face off against the new wave of NBA athletes who are much stronger and more massive than Michael could have ever dreamed of being. With the training and conditioning that is available today, I see no reason why the greatest player of all time would win.
Who is the Greatest athlete in NBA History?
Cam: LeBron James, do I even need to explain? Have you turned on a TV recently? Honorable mentions however are Kevin Durant and The Greek Freak.
Heath: If you paid attention earlier I hinted in this player in my all-time starting 5, yes it’s Wilt Chamberlain! I had no idea until a few weeks ago that he had THE highest vertical in NBA history, AND he is 7 feet tall. There are accounts of people seeing him touch the top of the backboard. Like what?!?!?! Those type of players don’t come around very often, actually Wilt is the only one to even be close to that much of a freak. GREATEST ATHLETE EVER. Done.
Ryan: Lebron James- If you stuck Lebron in any sport, he would be an all time-great just because of his athletic abilities alone. There is nothing this man cannot do, and I am afraid he still has more to prove to us all.