Tip-Off Timer: Super 7 Comprise Game's Greatest Winners
OK, so Quinn Buckner doesn't excite too many. Other than that, this is one of the best basketball lists you'll ever find.
There are just seven men who have won an NBA title, an NCAA crown and an Olympic gold medal. Other than Buckner, they are Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Jerry Lucas, K.C. Jones and Clyde Lovellette.
Other than Buckner, all are Hall of Famers. Jordan, Johnson and Russell are on just about everybody's list when it comes to an all-time NBA starting lineup.
Now, Denver forward Carmelo Anthony and Utah forward Carlos Boozer have a chance to join this super seven. Both have NCAA titles and Olympic golds, and need an NBA championship ring.
"That is history in itself just to get all three,'' Anthony said. "That would just put the nail in the coffin (on Anthony's career if he could join the list).''
Anthony was on Syracuse's 2003 NCAA championship team and on gold-winning Team USA last year in Beijing. Boozer was Anthony's Olympic teammate, and played for Duke's 2001 titlists.
"I would love to (join the list),'' Boozer said. "That's our goal (to win an NBA title). You just think about so many of the good players who already have won at every level, although Kobe (Bryant), LeBron (James) and (Kevin) Garnett never went to college.''
No, they didn't. So even though Bryant and Garnett both have NBA rings and Olympic golds, they're never going to get a college crown unless the NCAA suddenly changes its rules.
At least rules bar players now from entering the NBA directly out of high school. So superstars, if they ever want to join this elite list, might want to do like Anthony, who led the Orangemen to the title as a freshman.
"I've done my research,'' said Anthony, who knew about the magnificent seven when asked. "I hope I can put myself in that category.''
Lovellette was the first to join the list, having won with Kansas in 1952, the Olympics in 1952 and claiming NBA crowns with Minneapolis in 1954 and with Boston in 1963 and 1964.
Before the 1950s were done, Russell and Jones joined him. They were teammates on San Francisco's 1955 and 1956 NCAA winners and on the 1956 Olympic team, and both won numerous titles with the Celtics. Russell claimed 11, starting in 1957, and Jones won eight, beginning in 1959.
Lucas got his trifecta started by winning with the Ohio State in 1960 and in the 1960 Olympics. He then has a 13-year wait before finally claiming his only NBA crown with New York in 1973.
Buckner was on Indiana's 1976 titlists and on the 1976 Olympic team. He won an NBA crown with Boston in 1984 while averaging a meager 3.3 points in 11.7 minutes during the playoffs.
But there was nothing cheap about Johnson and Jordan claiming the triple crown. Johnson won with Michigan State in 1979, took home five rings with the Los Angeles Lakers between 1980-88 and got Olympic gold in 1992.
Jordan claimed his NCAA crown with North Carolina in 1982, mined gold in 1984 and 1992 and won six titles with the Chicago Bulls between 1991-98. That's nine combined NCAA, NBA and Olympic wins, but still puts him third on the list behind the 14 Russell got and the 11 gathered by Jones.
Anthony and Boozer aren't being greedy. They're just looking for a third win, one courtesy of the NBA.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.