My list of top NBA players
So I’m backstage with comedian Barry Brewer Jr. at LOL@UIC, who is from Chicago and currently lives in Los Angeles, and we started talking about sports — specifically basketball. We were talking about how he just got back from watching Kobe play KD and Westbrook, of which I am EXTREMELY jealous. I later found out that he was a LeBron fan, which ultimately almost ruined the vibe — lol. As we were walking back from the forum, we started talking about the GOATs of the NBA, something that ESPN has been talking about a lot lately. ESPN has been making insane comments the top-tier list of NBA players, such as Steph Curry (as great as he is), naming him one of the greatest players of all time in the span of seven years. I love Steph, but in the words of the great Cris Carter, “C’mon man”. ESPN and Barry Brewer led me to create a list of my Top 10 players of all time.
- No. 10 Isiah Thomas: Isiah Thomas is INCREDIBLY underrated for some reason. On any given night, this small point guard could lead the team in points, assists or steals. The clutch factor that this man possesses is insane — ask MJ how he felt after playing Isiah and the Bad Boys of Detroit.
- No. 9 Oscar Robertson: Given that this is way before my time, I can hear my grandfather asking me what I know about this. Much to his surprise, I know a lot about the triple-double machine. For six seasons, he averaged 30+ point and seven seasons he led the league in assist. Oh yeah, let’s not forget in his second season in the NBA, he only averaged a triple-double with 30.0 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 11.4 APG. I ask you, who else can do that?
- No. 8: Wilt Chamberlin: Two championships, four MVPs, thirteen-time all-star, and 100 points in a single game. On any given night you were at the danger of being completely annihilated by Wilt. The rules of the league were CHANGED just to make other teams feel better about themselves when playing Wilt.
- No. 7: LeBron James: This one is for Barry Brewer Jr. I think LeBron has a lot of time to move up this list, but for right now, here he is. LeBron possesses strength, quickness, acceleration and vision, literally everything. If you ever watched Dragon Ball Z you know about the androids that were unstoppable robots — I envision LeBron to be the same way. He can do it all, except have a consistent outside jumper. Whenever I see LeBron drive down the lane I think of Denzel Washington’s movie “Unstoppable.” Remember that time Kirk Hinrich took a charge against LeBron? Yeah, he hasn’t been the same player since.
- No. 6 Kobe Bryant: The Legend, the myth, the Black Mamba. I can’t say enough words about this guy. How many times has Kobe done something in a game that left you wondering if you were playing 2K or not? Five rings, third all-time in scoring, MVP, 18 consecutive all-star selections are just a couple of achievements for the Mamba.
- No. 5 Larry Bird: Until Steph, I don’t think anyone had a more automatic jump shot than Larry Bird. This man put on classics any given night. Larry has won three MVPs, Coach of the Year, and Exec of the Year.
- No. 4 Magic Johnson: At 6 feet 9 inches, this man played every position you could think of. He helped reinvent the game, he defined the position “stretch four,” he created the showtime, he made us get our popcorn ready before T.O even put on his training pads. Magic threw dimes before it was popular to make it rain.
- No. 3 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: I feel like my generation doesn’t give this man enough credit, and I have no idea why. At his retirement, Kareem was the NBA’s all-time leader in points scored (38,387), games played (1,560), minutes played (57,446), field goals made (15,837), field goal attempts (28,307), blocked shots (3,189), and defensive rebounds (9,394).
- No. 2 Bill Russell: I don’t think anyone on Earth is as smooth as Mr. Russell. All this guy does is win! He has more championship rings than fingers — 11 overall, 8 in a row. Bill is one of those rare players that has won championships in college, in the league (as a player and a head coach), and in the Olympics.
- No. 1 Michael Jordan: I don’t even know where to start. This man defined what basketball is, reshaped it, remolded it and everything in between. I don’t understand why anyone would want to even stand in between MJ and the rim. MJ is the only person who can win, retire, change sports, change his mind, win again, retire, come back and win some more and not lose a beat.
Christian Gray is a senior majoring in marketing with a focus in promotion and communications and a minor in economics. He is president of the Student Activities Board. When he’s not planning events or doing schoolwork, you’ll catch him watching something sports related (#KOBE) or vibing out to music. His career goal growing up was to be Batman. He won’t tell you if he was successful on that mission, but let’s be real – have you ever seen him and Batman in the same place before?