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Ole Dirty Klondike

The Last Dance....Also, Who's The Greatest?

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Anybody watching The Last Dance on ESPN/Netflix?  What are your thoughts? Any surprises?

Also, as far as the "greatest" conversation, there is no comparison. It's Jordan hands down and in all honesty, I wasn't the biggest Jordan fan. . Jordan didn't really have anyone to model his game after. He was an original. There were high flyers but he took it to another level with his his scoring ability and desire to not just win but crush you. Kobe modeled everything he did after Jordan so I just don't see any comparison whatsoever. LeBron is kind of in his own lane but he definitely does not have the killer instinct that Michael and Kobe had and bouncing around to form superteams doesn't help his case imo. 

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Jordan’s the best.  1991 Finals is the first one that I pretty much watched on TV straight through (in real time).  I actually didn’t think his “famous” hand-switch layup in that Finals was that impressive.  Don’t think that was the original camera angle.  Magic hit a better shot in that Finals that I liked more in real-time.  He’s falling down sideways, gets fouled and hits the long jumper for the continuation.  

Dream Team: The Best!!!  Chuck, Pippen and Mailman might have actually been better than MJ in that. 

Jordan/Pippen/Rodman: best trio in real time.  Iconic. Dominant. Perfect fit.  This documentary brings back the hype and sets the mood.  It’s got the “feel”.

Next: if Jordan is “the best”, Magic might be the GREATEST.  Dream Team Magic and 1992 ASG was an all timer.  Saw him with the Lakers in an exhibition game in 1992 at the Pyramid.  All offense.  Something else!

Side note: Larry Bird literally went out on top as a member of the Dream Team.  Nobody brings this up.

Where was Shaq?  Probably would have busted every rim and back board in Barcelona.  

LeBron: second best/second greatest.  Was super-hyped in 2003 for him in HS. Had a feeling he would be great.  In the past 30 years it has been HS LeBron, Jordan NBA as the ultimate in their domains.  College Zion might be the best/most hyped college dude in that time.  

Shaq probably doesn’t get enough hype.  I mean he’s the guy everyone wanted to be on the Dream Team.  Blue Chips (with Penny) was magic.  Prime/Peak Shaq was nuts.  I haven’t seen a big man even as good as Shaq in his rookie year. Just a complete monster which makes 1992–1993 an all-time great NBA year.  It was basically a video game and awesome to watch in real time.

Wilt/Russell/Kareem are “old school bigs”. Can’t argue with Kareem!  6 NBA titles and ran the table in college too.  Offense, defense and the iconic sky hook.

Ok, that’s it. With all due respect to Kobe (met him — briefly — in person), Bird, Hakeem (epic peak), Wilt (the legend) and Bill Russell (ultimate winner), my all time Top Five is Jordan in First Place, then Magic, LeBron, Shaq and Kareem.  LeBron is the second “best” although Magic won more and had more flair.  

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I don't believe you can outright say someone was the greatest.

Jordan (as well as all the modern players) played in an era where they got favorable treatment because the NBA had figured out that if you make superstars out of these guys, the league makes more money.

How do you argue against Wilt?  The man had a season where he averaged 50 pts and 25 rebounds.

How do you argue against Bill Russell?  That man led his team to 11 titles in 13 years.

Oh yeah, when Russell and Chamberlain came into the league, I would guess they got less than favorable treatment from the refs because of the color of their skin.

So, while Jordan was getting preferential treatment from the refs and getting rules bent in his favor, the old time players like Wilt were having new rules created to prevent them from dominating.

Most people say Jordan was the greatest as if it's a foregone conclusion.  Well that's because sports news outlets like ESPN have been saying it for years.  But just because the news says something over and over again, that doesn't make it true.

No doubt Jordan was great.  But so were Magic, Bird, Kareem, Kobe etc.

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Jordan was the BEST N.B.A player I have seen

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25 minutes ago, ALT GRIND said:

Same here.  

 

 .Michael Jordan was GREAT and that when teams could knock the ----- out of you have L James who is Great but no one can touch him with out fouling out

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I am thankful for the fact that my dad was a die hard Bulls fan when I was growing up (pre-Grizz). I used to root against Jordan because "he was so good it wasn't fair".

Little did I know I was witnessing greatness.

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1 hour ago, ALT GRIND said:

Ja/Dillon/Clarke/Jaren/Jonas reminds me of those old Bulls teams a bit.

lets win a title first then we can go there 

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Jordan might be in first place by himself in his own tier but you can probably say that about second tier LeBron.  And he actually has a chance to get to Jordan’s tier.  I think 2 more rings would put LeBron ahead of Jordan. 

I will rank my top 10 or so in terms of tiers.  Might have start with better than Tier 1.

Edit: OF COURSE I left out Kawhi Leonard.  Put him in ahead of Ice Man

Tier 0

Michael Jordan

Tier 0.5

LeBron

Tier 1

Kareem

Magic

Wilt

Tier 1.5

Russell

Bird

Kobe

Tier 2

Duncan

Hakeem

Tier 2.5

West

Oscar

Karl Malone

Moses Malone

Pippen

Stockton

Wade

Durant

Steph

KG

Tier 3

Dr. J

Mikan

Bob Petit

Isiah Thomas

David Robinson

Chris Paul

Elvin Hayes

Dirk

Harden

Giannis

Rick Barry

Westbrook

 Cousy

Willis Reed

Iverson

Walt Frazier

Havlicek

Dominique

Ewing

McHale

Rodman

Anthony Davis

Clyde Drexler

Tier 3.5

Kawhi

Nate Thurmond

Gervin

McAdoo

Walton

Ginobli!

Carmelo

Maravich

Ray Allen

Tiny Archibald

Mourning 

Gary Payton

Sam Jones

Joe Dumars

Dikembe Mutombo

Robert Parrish

Vince Carter

Grant Hill

Chris Webber

James Worthy

Earl Monroe

T Mac

Pau Gasol

Rasheed Wallace

Ben Wallace

Artis Gilmore

Bernard King

Mark Price

Shawn Kemp

David Thompson

Jerry Lucas

Larry Johnson

Ralph Sampson

Dwight Howard

Tony Parker

D Rose

Mitch Richmond

Klay Thompson

Penny

Blake Griffin

Embiid

Jokic

Maurice Cheeks

Marc Gasol

 

Did I leave anyone out?

 

 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, El Guapo said:

Barkley

Dang!  Somewhere in Tier 2.5

Ok, maybe Tier 3 behind Isiah and David Robinson (both have multiple rings) but ahead of CP3.

Barkley had some great runs but his hard ware falls a bit short: one MVP, one Finals, one All Star Game MVP and the top guy (arguably) on the Dream Team.  Ok, his second gold medal in 1996 helps a bit.  

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13 hours ago, ALT GRIND said:

Dang!  Somewhere in Tier 2.5

Ok, maybe Tier 3 behind Isiah and David Robinson (both have multiple rings) but ahead of CP3.

Barkley had some great runs but his hard ware falls a bit short: one MVP, one Finals, one All Star Game MVP and the top guy (arguably) on the Dream Team.  Ok, his second gold medal in 1996 helps a bit.  

Please point out who is arguing Barkley was the best player on the dream team

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1 hour ago, Grizzfan7979 said:

Please point out who is arguing Barkley was the best player on the dream team

On this board?  Me.  I guess just me but we don’t really discuss who the Dream Team MVP was.

MOST people who comment on the Dream Team think that Barkley was the best guy on the team. Pippen was great.  Mailman was good.  Jordan was good.  Sir Charles was on a mission though.  More people say that Chuck played the best on the team — I have no idea what his Dream Team stats were but from what I remember he was dominant.  I also thought that Magic played great.  Jordan was Jordan but I don’t remember him going for huge scoring totals although I bet he still averaged 20.  It was a team effort scoring wise and I wanna say that we dominated inside with Barkley, Mailman, Admiral, and Ewing being in their primes. I also wouldn’t be shocked if those 4 bigs “peaked” relatively close to the summer of 1992 as well.  

Barkley’s run from that summer until the 1993 Finals was one of the great one year runs of all time but his “prime” wasn’t mega long and his “peak” might be just below some of the other greats.  

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On 4/22/2020 at 8:31 PM, ALT GRIND said:

Did I leave anyone out?

Shaq?^^^

I don't think Olajuwon gets enough credit  Perhaps the greatest defensive big as the all-time career shot blocking leader and the only big man in the top ten in career steals..  Jordan, Magic, Bird, Wilt, Shaq, Kobe, and LeBron all had better players around them.  Who did Hakeem have in 1993?  Otis Thorpe was the second best scorer at 14ppg.  Meanwhile, Olajuwon is putting up 27.3pts, 11.9reb, 3.6ast, 1.6stl, 3.7blk per game.  He literally put that team on his back all the way to the championship.

The next season they did add Drexler's 21ppg, but in '93 Hakeem was it.  He makes my all-time team every time.

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MJ

Kareem / Kobe / Magic / Duncan / Shaq / Russel / Lebron

Bird  / Wilt / Curry / The Dream / Durant / Pippen ... AI / Barkley / Wade / Dirk / KG ...

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15 hours ago, smit-tay griz said:

Shaq?^^^

I don't think Olajuwon gets enough credit  Perhaps the greatest defensive big as the all-time career shot blocking leader and the only big man in the top ten in career steals..  Jordan, Magic, Bird, Wilt, Shaq, Kobe, and LeBron all had better players around them.  Who did Hakeem have in 1993?  Otis Thorpe was the second best scorer at 14ppg.  Meanwhile, Olajuwon is putting up 27.3pts, 11.9reb, 3.6ast, 1.6stl, 3.7blk per game.  He literally put that team on his back all the way to the championship.

The next season they did add Drexler's 21ppg, but in '93 Hakeem was it.  He makes my all-time team every time.

That back to back title run led by Hakeem was something else.  I didn't know he was THAT good.  ... I think his stats were great his whole career and he was an MVP candidate a year or two before (then he had an eye injury), but his '94 and '95 years put him up there with Peak Jordan, Peak Shaq, and Peak LeBron -- the top "peaks" I have witnessed.  ... I didn't religiously watching the NBA until the early 1990's with the 1991 Finals (Bulls smack down the Lakers) being the first one where I watched pretty much every game.

On other basketball threads (one about current HS phenom/hype job Emoni Bates) the discussion is that LeBron and Kareem were pretty much the TOP TWO basketball players coming out of high school EVER.

I would imagine Hakeem (Akeem in college) would have been way up there as a college guy.  Maybe one of the top collegiate-to-pros guy along with Michael, Magic, and Larry.

We don't get those college studs anymore.  And it might be awhile before we see the next "High School LeBron" again -- if ever.

... I think LeBron has an outside shot at passing Jordan on the "greatest rankings list" BUT I think he needs AT MINIMUM back to back titles AND the all-time scoring title (bonus points if he gets to 40,000 points.  But, he would almost need to get back by this summer to complete an Asterisk title run.  

On the other hand, losing out the rest of the year won't necessarily hurt LeBron.  He is (at worst) gonna be two or three in the MVP race and the narrative was that he was LEADING a top notch Lakers team AND that he was gaining on a faltering Harden AND a "peak" Giannis.  A lengthy suspended animation could HELP LeBron's career.  He can recharge -- mentally, physically, then whatever these guys get done in Germany.  It can be like MJ's minor league baseball mini-career/sabbatical.  IF the 2019-2020 season is indeed over then whoever wins the 2021 title is gonna be remembered for years especially if they can at least play 68 or 70 games.  The Lakers winning might be yet one more mini-restoration of the Lakers' mystique.  A 2022 repeat run would put them on the short-list of teams who have won back-to-back titles before.  It would also, stunningly, be the FIFTH back-to-back run in team history.  Kobe did it -- twice (including the 3 peat with Shaq), Magic did it with Kareem/Worthy, and Mikan had a 3 peat in Minny.  Or, did he have TWO repeat runs?

At some point, we are gonna basically have FOUR GUYS in league history who pretty much won everything -- or went to the Finals a ton (Bill Russell, Kareem, Jordan, and LeBron).  

Giannis' career legacy might hang in the balance.  Would anyone be SHOCKED if he only won one NBA title a al Dr. J?  Or, worse, become the next Elgin Baylor or Charles Barkley or Mailman/Stockton who won ZERO titles?  

The NBA historical narrative might just skip LeBron and go straight from the old guard to the new guard (Brave New Guard?) of Zion/Luka/Ja/Trae, etc.

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Zion strikes me as a Blake Griffin Uber Athlete .. good hops and nice dunks...and that’s cool and all but how many teams has Blake led ... to anywhere? Zion has that freakish athleticism we see..bet what else? Follow Blake and we can kinda read the tea leaves

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15 minutes ago, 10SC-2-TOKYO said:

Zion strikes me as a Blake Griffin Uber Athlete .. good hops and nice dunks...and that’s cool and all but how many teams has Blake led ... to anywhere? Zion has that freakish athleticism we see..bet what else? Follow Blake and we can kinda read the tea leaves

I can see that.  So he will need help. Nothing wrong with that.  But he can really create his own stuff so I would put Zion below the Ja/Luka tier even if Zion’s skill/talent is on a (Future) MVP level.  

Other than Jordan and LeBron, 3 of the best NBA athletes I have seen (that also had power) were Dominique Wilkins, Shawn Kemp, and Shaq. Shaq was 7’1 though with a huge wingspan.  Zion’s not even as big as Shawn Kemp (similar game though) and built more like Nique if Nique were a tank.  For the Zion skill set I might want that in a 7 foot/270 lb. package.  Maybe even James Wiseman.

Zion probably wins LESS than he should.  I can see Ja and Luka winning MORE.  

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On 5/10/2020 at 10:39 AM, Ole Dirty Klondike said:

i think a LeBron fan made this:

59424508_347027235952970_318323060645665

These things are always subjective, but I would never put Shaq over Kareem, and I would put Bird and Magic on the same tier.  The tiers almost look like the shape of the overall pyramid was more important than any real sense of player rating.

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On 5/10/2020 at 5:39 PM, Ole Dirty Klondike said:

i think a LeBron fan made this:

59424508_347027235952970_318323060645665

Anyone that doesn't put Kareem in Tier 1 or 2 is an idiot or thinks basketball started in the 90s.

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19 hours ago, 10SC-2-TOKYO said:

Zion strikes me as a Blake Griffin Uber Athlete .. good hops and nice dunks...and that’s cool and all but how many teams has Blake led ... to anywhere? Zion has that freakish athleticism we see..bet what else? Follow Blake and we can kinda read the tea leaves

I've been saying this since I started following Zion. If he takes care of his body and acquires new skills that don't depend on athleticism sky's the limit. Otherwise he'll be headed for a rerun of Blake's career.

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19 hours ago, 10SC-2-TOKYO said:

Zion strikes me as a Blake Griffin Uber Athlete .. good hops and nice dunks...and that’s cool and all but how many teams has Blake led ... to anywhere? Zion has that freakish athleticism we see..bet what else? Follow Blake and we can kinda read the tea leaves

Yeah I think that's his best comparison. Those otherworldly hops only last 6-7 years. Griffin's first year he also averaged 22 points per game when no one knew how to defend him. He also kind of regressed a little bit until he figured out how to make 3s, then his scoring saw a little bit of an uptick. Zion will most likely be the same way until he develops other parts of his game. 

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As for the GOAT, it's a hard question to answer. Jordan and Wilt were the most dominant players ever, Jordan and Kobe had the winning drive more than any other players in history. Kareem and probably Jordan have the best resumé of anyone. Jordan is clearly the only person on all three of those lists for me, so he's the GOAT. But, the most talented player of all time is Lebron. When lebron is locked in, there is not a sole that can stop him, and he can score, assist, rebound, and defend better than anyone in the league at his best. There's no one that has had more hype coming into the league than lebron, and he's exceeded those expectations. That's almost impossible to do. The one knock on lebron though is him not being locked in, taking plays off, etc. particularly later in his career. 

The 90s lacked the perimeter defense that has existed since the early 2000s onward, just because the athletes are much bigger and more athletic than the 90s. Jordan was able to dominate clearly, and he would still dominate today, but sans pulling a harden, he probably wouldn't put up the same numbers he did (at least not upper 30s, probably still in the 30s). Hard to say since the style of play was so different, and he most likely would've taken more 3s now (but he also wasn't a great 3 point shooter). Overall, just can't really compare eras. 

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