Tip-Off Timer: The 50 Greatest Players ... Time to Make Some Substitutions
Back in 1996, the NBA asked a group of basketball experts to come up with a list of the 50 greatest players in the history of the league. It was the 50th anniversary of the NBA, after all.
It was an impressive list, of course, with the likes of Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Rick Barry, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan, etc. The full list can be seen here.
A hundred years from now, those players likely will still be on any list of top-50 players in league history. But what about some other players on that list, the ones toward the back end of 50 ... Paul Arizin, Dave Bing, Sam Jones, Hal Greer, Dave DeBusschere, Bill Walton, Robert Parish and a few others?
Who knows when the NBA will come up with their next list? Maybe there will be a Top 75 list in 2021. All we're saying is that if the NBA decided to redo that list today, they would have to replace three former players with three current ones: Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.
And it would only be a matter of time before LeBron James would elbow his way into the Top 50. Heck, the only real question is whether or not he deserves to be there right now.
Other players would merit consideration also, such as Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and perhaps Allen Iverson. And let's not forget Bob McAdoo, who very well could have been on the original list.
It's been almost 15 years since the NBA announced its list of the 50 Greatest Players of All Time. In other words, it's time to make a few substitutions. Here goes, checking in ...
Tim Duncan for Bill Walton: Duncan may very well go down as the greatest power forward in NBA history. He has to be on this list. Has to be. So, as tough as it is, we're removing Walton. You might suggest Walton should stay and Parish should go. We're keeping Parish on the list because of his durability, particularly when compared with Walton.
Kobe Bryant for Hal Greer or Dave Bing: Again, who is going to keep Bryant off this list? You can't do it. But somebody's got to come off. You make the call: Greer, Bing or someone else?
Kevin Garnett for Dave DeBusschere: There is no doubt that DeBusschere was a fierce rebounder, rugged defender and an important part of the Knicks' 1970 championship season. But is there anyone out there who would really take DeBusschere over K.G.? Didn't think so.
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