Why 20 years? I’ve been a fan of the NBA for well over 20. And I can’t say, “of all time”, because, well I’m 34. Sounds disrespectful. As disrespectful as putting Jordan as the cop out G.O.A.T. Lazy ass list makers! These players have either changed the game, changed the culture, or changed the way I watched the game. Without further ado, let’s get to the point shall we…
To the List:
8. Penny Hardaway
The reincarnation of Magic Johnson is who this man was. The ultimate “could have been” story. 6 foot 7, with elite court vision, handles, and a shooting touch. A nightmare. Unfortunately injuries took there toll, and the youngsters will never know about the brief greatness that was. But they wear his foamposites everyday.
7. Vince Carter
The man who ruined the dunk contest—by setting the bar to high. Vinsanity himself. If the man would have developed his jump shot sooner in his career, he would be an all-time great. Vince also changed the way kids played the game, trail blazing a path for athletic kids who had no real skill set, but because of him; ended up with careers.
6. Gary Payton
Call him the greatest trash talker in NBA history, call him the glove, call him the greatest point guard to ever rep Oakland. Make sure you call Gary Payton a great. One of the best—yet underrated guards to ever lace’em up. Fearless, lockdown defender. They ask how would Steph Curry do playing in the 90’s era… Is G.P. is guarding him, he’d never score. You youngsters better go study film on the God. He flustered your false hero all through the ’96 Finals, while wearing fly kicks and talkin’ shit!
5. Ray Allen
Ray Muthaf**kin’ Allen. Best shooter to ever step foot on a basketball court, well, for the time being. First there was Tim, then there was Penny. Then Ray became my favorite player for years—making me realize I wanted to be a shooter. Well before he saved LeBrons’ legacy, before he became part of the modern day big three, he was showing off his acting chops—while dunking on people—and knocking down three’s.
4. Hakeem Olajuwon
The Dream. I remember what he did to David Robinson. Guess they should have given the man his rightful MVP trophy. Hakeem made everyone look silly as hell for attempting to guard him. Ask Shaq, ask Patrick Ewing. Arguably the best Center ever!
3. Tim Hardaway
There is a reason he’s my favorite Warrior of all-time, and my favorite childhood star. The sole reason I wanted to play point guard growing up. We’re talking about the king of the Killer Crossover. He didn’t invent it, but he perfected it. I’ve watched Tim cook opposing guards, big men, forwards, hell ya momma could have got her ankles broken too if she stepped on the floor. Once he perfected the shot off the dribble it was nothing you could do about it. Shit he was what Steph Curry would have had to become if he played in the 90’s. When Tim played in Miami I rooted for him too, and I root for his son to have an impactful career just like his pops.
2. Jason Kidd
Prototype Point guard. This man Changed the position forever, setting the tone for what a franchise wanted in a lead guard. Elite court vision, passing, handles, and rebounder. #2 All-Time in assist (12,091) 4th in career minutes played (50,111), and 5th All-Time in three-pointers made! Yes Jason Kidd! See the picture above to see the legends career resume.
1. Allen Iverson
The reason players today can express themselves in anyway they want. The reason most of these players sports tattoos and crazy hairstyles. Iverson was the changing of the guard in American sports culture. Also giving players with slighter frames and a lot of heart real hope. A.I. may be the greatest player without a ring in history. Respect the legend!
Not That Guy…
I wanted to add him, but in my opinion he did what he was supposed to do. If you’re the biggest person on the floor, then dominate like so.
The original LeBron!
Well thats my list. Tell me what you think. I have another list or two on the way… stay tuned
Writer for TheCouchSports.com, LiveFromWoodward.com, & PTA. Editor, and Co-Host of The Couch Sports Podcast, and a Certified Beardsman.