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Cats have 9 lives...always.
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I wouldn't put MJ at my #1 at all...Maybe the best player of the 90's, but I don't think he was close to being as good as some of the others, let alone the GOAT... MJ had a lot of help too from Pippen and later Rodman, those Bulls teams always had decent benches. I'd take LeBron over him, as the all around player, and same for Kobe. As much as I liked Kobe, I never thought Kobe was the all around great player that LeBron is. The difference being leadership; LeBron truly has matured the past few years and plays to get everyone involved. Kobe used to drive me insane trying to take every single last shot.
Kobe wouldn't have any of those first 3 championships without Shaq...The biggest mystery in recent sports is that we have no idea how many championships Kobe and Shaq could've won together. I was happy that last year, Kobe FINALLY realized how important Shaq was to him and made that comment that he wished he would have appreciated him more back in the day. Those two had no business hating each other for years. They should've been a duo, cause they were so perfect together in their primes.Quote
Karl Malone was damn good too but like Marino no Championships. That is how many greats there have been as that is why I have LeBron at 10.
Shaq begged Karl Malone (and Gary Payton) to join the Lakers in 2003, and they did. I always felt sorry for Malone cause I think that was his last season; they got to the Finals and were stomped by the Pistons. Neither Malone or Payton ever won a ring in their careers but they made the Hall of Fame.
Worth noting too - the NBA has changed a lot since a lot of these guys played.
In Wilt's day, there was no 3 point line at all. it's amazing how much he dominated with no 3 pointers.
The rule change in 2002 to allow zone defense has probably changed the game more than ever....A lot of people say the NBA is "soft" now and too easy, but I don't get where they come up with this. Zone defense has completely changed the game inside and out and rendered a lot of older offensive styles completely useless. It has made the game far more difficult for the super star players, and has pretty much led to the shooting game for teams like Golden State.
Jordan himself was against the change of rules, saying that he wouldn't have had the career he had if he had to play with zone defenses back in his prime.
A lot of the players really hate zone defense too. This is a great video if you wanted to see a thorough break down of how zone defense has changed the NBA inside and out. This is a really great video that shows the differences in defense, and it has a lot of stuff from players talking about how much they hate it.
I think LeBron is a Beast and todays best but after watching Jordan, Magic, and Bird growing up I don't see him doing anything that those guys didn't/couldn't do and those guys stayed with the franchises that drafted them their whole career in their primes and won Championships. LeBron in a lot of peoples eyes is a Top 5 player of all-time and many have him ahead of Bird. There are some that rank him as the best ever but I just don't see it. The media today blows a lot of stuff out of proportion as soon as a player wins a Championship or 2, they want to label them the best ever. I watched Magic Johnson growing up and LeBron isn't better than him, Magic may be the best leader in sports history. He won the Championship in his Rookie season and won MVP of the Finals with Kareem injured. He dominated a whole decade when he had the Bird's Celtics to deal with, Doc's Sixers to deal with, Hakeem's Rockets to deal with, then the Bad Boy Pistons rolled around in the late 80's. Magic could beat you without even scoring by getting 15-20 Assists just setting up everyone. I just don't like how the media dismisses what players have done in the past on the spur of the moment because they want to hype up todays best. They do it with Curry too, Curry isn't even a Top 20 player of all-time but he won unanimous MVP last season. The media was ready to put Cam Newton in the Hall of Fame after last season and he stinks this year for example. Andrew Luck has been way better than him this season. When I look at LeBron and Bird, LeBron is the better athlete but doesn't have near the killer instinct Bird had and wasn't near the Shooter or Rebounder Bird was either. Bird was nasty too, he would take a person out if they drove they lane LOL.