As the new NBA season gets started, one of the biggest, most popular sports news websites is out with their own list of the top 50 players of all time. Most of the names you’ll probably recognize. Some came with black-and-white pictures, showing their (relative) age. Was our man Shaq on the list? Of course! Why write this post if he wasn’t? Where did the big man finish on the top 50? Stick around….
The story is a recent post to BleacherReport.com. Tip o’ the hat to that site for all the good info and rankings. Writer of the post point out that across the history of the NBA, there have been exactly 4,374 players have appeared in at least one NBA game… and that trying to narrow that number down to a short, all-time best list was – in their own words – an excruciating endeavor.
But.. no joke. Trying to narrow it down to the top 50 ALL TIME is a big, big challenge, not made any easier by changing styles of play, athletes physicality, etc. Sure, some of it was relatively easy number-crunching. What kind of numbers? Here’s what Bleacher Report had to say:
“Catch-all metrics like box plus/minus (available from the 1973-74 season on) and win shares per 48 minutes came into play. And you’ll see pace- and playing-time-adjusted numbers (in the form of “per 75 possessions”). But intangibles have to be factored into these conversations, as well.”
We don’t have time or space for all the Top 50 here on this post. If you’d like to check it out (and we very much suggest you do just that), go here: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2854727-bleacher-reports-all-time-player-rankings-nbas-top-50-revealed#slide0
Here’s the biggest no surprise, no-duh Number One: Micheal Jordan. I know, right?!? But now, the real fun begins… the rest of the all-time, big-time, G.O.A.T. list. Some highlights:
Number 2: Lebron James. Yup, King James is right there… and he’s still got some playing time left to improve that standing. Current list of honors: 15 All-Star selections, 15 All-NBA selections, six All-Defensive selections, four MVPs, three Finals MVPs, three championships and one scoring title.
Numbers 3, 4 and 5 (in order). One word is all you need for all three: Kareem, Magic, Bird.
Number 6: Our man Shaq. Bleacher Report put it this way: “For the majority of the ’90s and 2000s, O’Neal was the most imposing player in the game. And the only players who may have been more physically dominant compared to their eras were Chamberlain and LeBron James.” Notice the use of the word “may.” What a fantasy match-up that would have been… King James against O’Neal.
Bleacher Report notes that during his time with the Lakers, Shaq’s regular-season numbers were “ridiculous.” But here’s the thing: Those stats only got better as Shaq and the Lakers got deeper and deeper into the playoffs. Way to show up (pardon the pun) BIG.
Rounding out the top 10 of the all-time top 50: Tim Duncan at #7, Bill Russel at #8, Wilt Chamberlain at #9 and Steph Curry at #10. Just to complete the picture, Shaq’s Laker championship partner Kobe Bryant came in at #14 on the Bleacher Report list. Read the full list yourself, and let the arguments begin.