One of the hardest and most fiercely contended subjects that come up happens to be that of the greatest basketball players of all time. It is hard to measure the players and the criteria will often vary from person to person, and from league to league. Various magazines and publications put forth lists often, and after debate and input these lists will change. While these lists change there is often a core of players that are recognized for their contributions to the game, and for their promotion of the game that they provide even after retirement.
The name that frequently is at the front of lists from magazines to websites worldwide is Michael Jordan. The contributions that he made to the game aren’t limited to just his statistics, which to this day are regarded as some of the best ever put up by an individual player over a career. Michael Jordan provided the game with much needed publicity. He made basketball seem cool, he made it worth watching with the dazzling moves he made not only while playing offense, but the great moves he also made playing defence. Basketball is occasionally painted with a brush in the media and by people as being boring and Michael Jordan erased preconceptions about basketball and rewrote the whole game and how it was viewed in the public eye.
Another name that is frequently at the top of those lists is Kareem Abdul Jabbar. He led the league in almost every statistical category, and gave the people something to watch every single time he set foot on the court. He was an ambassador on and off the court for the game of basketball and was one of those players that people will always remember when they are thinking of basketball.
Wilt Chamberlain is another name that goes hand in hand with basketball. People will frequently mention and suggest that he is one of if not the greatest NBA player of all time. His speed that he showed on the court was unmatched and only rivalled by his love for the game. He was one of the leading rebounders of the NBA, and one of its most heralded players of all time.
One other name that frequently enters discussions when you are talking about top players of all time is Kobe Bryant. While his career isn’t over yet, he has dazzled and entertained fans for many years, and has set records and won many championships. He continues to this day being a positive force and ambassador for the basketball world despite his off the court troubles. While some people exclude him from lists simply because he is still playing, he is included here because his contributions to the game align with some of the greatest players mentioned above.
While you could continue on in great debate about the greatest players of all time, simply it comes down to the lasting impact that the players have had on the fans, and the league itself. Putting up great statistics is one thing, leaving a lasting positive image of the sport in which they played, is a whole other often forgotten criterion.
Who are your greatest players of all time? Tell me!
Picture credit: Freddy The Boy • Creative Commons Attribution