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Who would you say was the greatest NBA players of each decade for the past 40 years?

1950s:

Bob Pettit – George Mikan, Bob Cousy runner ups

Yeah I’m going with Pettit over Mikan and Cousy. The reasoning being: Mikan had no competition for his time and it was pre shot clock, pre goaltending era, he was playing in a baby version of the NBA basically. Cousy was a great player but he was overshadowed by his teammate Bill Russell.

Pettit – one of the most underrated players of all time – I feel that he is the best player of the 50s, he won 2 MVPs in the decade and was the only player to beat Russell’s Celtics in the Finals. He also would have *dominated* Mikan if he was playing at the same time. And was an alpha dog on the team unlike Cousy. He never averaged below 20 pts a game and he holds the third highest rebounding average all time. It’s definitely him.

1960s:

Bill Russell – Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West runner ups

The only other choice is Wilt Chamberlain here. Now I love Wilt but if I’m looking at the achievements only by this decade, Russell has to take it. He won every single ring of the decade except for one year. He led the league in defensive win shares almost every single year. You might say that Russell had a better team than Wilt most of the time – which was true – but Russell had intangibles that Wilt didn’t have. Wilt had all the tangibles – all the stats, athleticism etc – but there is the fact that Russell is 10–0 in Game 7s. It’s not like his team was that dominant that he demolished Wilt or West’s teams every year, there were many many times where Russell’s Celtics came close to elimination – and Russell pulled through almost every time – he was 17–2 in elimination games. Russell was the Jordan of centers. He had that killer instinct that no one else had. He was the leader of the most dominant dynasty in all of pro sports. I have to put him here.

1970s:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Julius Erving, Artis Gilmore runner ups

Kareem won 5 MVPs, 1 Ring, 1 Finals MVP in the decade and starred in Game of Death with Bruce Lee. How can you beat that resume? Really the 70s is generally the hardest decade to rank because of how divided the league was and how much parity it had. There was no clear superstar of the decade like there was for the 80s and 90s. That said – although Kareem had a tendency to get outrebounded and outworked on the glass by guys like Dave Cowens and Moses Malone and Bill Walton and old Wilt Chamberlain – he still outscored them all and was still a stellar defensive player no less. I’m taking Kareem.

1980s:

Magic Johnson – Larry Bird, Moses Malone runner ups

I’m taking Magic over Bird. He had 8 Finals appearances in the decade – that’s literally every year except for 1981 and 1986 – and won 5 of them. He beat Bird’s Celtics 2–1 in the Finals that decade. He also has 1 more Finals MVP than Bird. So yeah I’m going with probably my favorite player of all time – Magic.

1990s

Michael Jordan – Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone runner ups

Do I really need to explain this one? 6 Finals, 6 rings, 6 Finals MVPs during this decade. Nuff said.

2000s:

Kobe Bryant – Tim Duncan, Shaq runner ups

Really Tong? I thought you hated Kobe, so why is he on here instead of Duncan? Let me explain. Yes I do think Kobe is overrated by the vast majority of fans but we’re talking about just the 2000s decade alone? Duncan’s dominance was spread out through 3 decades – which is incredible – while Kobe’s dominance was mostly focused in the 2000s. That’s the basic reason why I am picking Kobe here. If this was about who was the all time greater player – I’m taking Duncan – but here we’re talking strictly about the 2000s then I’m taking Kobe by a slim margin. Duncan was 3–0 in the Finals in the 2000s, had 2 MVPs and 2 Finals MVPs, but Kobe was 4–2 in the Finals in the 2000s, had 1 MVP and 1 Finals MVP. He had more Finals appearances and rings than Duncan, but less MVPs and Finals MVPs. It’s a very tough decision, but I gotta go with Kobe because having twice as many Finals appearances as Duncan in the same decade is not something to throw away – I value Finals appearances whether they end up winning or losing, which I will take into account for my next player here.

2010s:

Lebron James – Kevin Durant, Steph Curry runner ups

What else can I say here, this guy went to every single Finals of the decade except for 2010 and 2019. Unlike Magic, he did this with 2 different teams which is actually more impressive since usually it takes time to gel and build chemistry with a team, but Lebron is just amazing, he takes two completely different rosters and takes them to the Finals every single year. I don’t think there’s any other reasonable pick for this decade. I like Durant and Curry but they aren’t Lebron James.

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Sports

Who was the best NBA center of all time and why?

I think the main contenders for this spot is either Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

First off, out of these 3 I rank Russell the lowest because even though he was the best defender of the three, the greatest winner and arguably the best team player, he lacked the 2 way dominance the other two had. In terms of intangibles Russell might be #1, but I place him below Wilt/Kareem.

Now for Wilt vs Kareem it really depends on whether you value prime output or longevity. This is a big debate among fans and there’s no right answer. For example, would you take Robert Parish 21 years of above average play or Bill Walton 2 years of transcendental play? Would you take Bernard King a SF with an incredible unstoppable prime, or Paul Pierce an above average SF with a long career but a not so dominant prime?

Wilt has the most incredible prime out of any player in NBA history, MJ included. He averaged 50 points a game one season, scored 100 points in one time, grabbed 55 rebounds in one game, led the league in assists etc it goes on and on. However he only played 13 seasons.

Kareem along with Duncan, Malone, Stockton, Kobe, Lebron etc has one of the longest careers of exceptional play out of any NBA player but his prime doesn’t quite match Wilt’s. He played 7 more seasons than Wilt did, yet I believe that Wilt would have exceeded almost all of Kareem’s records (except for rings maybe) if he played just as long as Kareem did.

So for me I’m picking Wilt over Kareem because I believe that Wilt was the more talented player, post knee-injury Wilt was able to block prime Kareem’s skyhook and match him one on one and I do believe that if Wilt was in his prime, he would dominate Kareem. But it’s a close choice and I really don’t fault anyone for picking Kareem over Wilt as well as I understand the reasons behind it.

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Sports

Who are the greatest rebounders in NBA history?

  1. Wilt Chamberlain – 23 rebounds/game average, all time leading rebounder, 11 rebounding titles
  2. Bill Russell – 22.5 rebounds/game average, 4 rebounding titles second all time rebounder
  3. Dennis Rodman – 13 rebounds/game average, 7 rebounding titles, was only 6′7
  4. Bob Pettit – 16 rebounds/game average, probably the best white guy rebounder along with Jerry Lucas and Dave Cowens
  5. Moses Malone – 12 rebounds/game average, 6 rebounding titles, all time leader in offensive rebounds
  6. Jerry Lucas – 15.6 rebounds/game average
  7. Nate Thurmond – 15 rebounds/game average
  8. Wes Unseld – 14 rebounds/game average, 1 rebounding title, was only 6′7
  9. Dave Cowens – 13.6 rebounds/game average
  10. Dwight Howard – 12.7 rebounds/game average, 5 rebounding titles
  11. Mel Daniels
  12. Charles Barkley
  13. Elgin Baylor
  14. Kevin Garnett
  15. Artis Gilmore
  16. Larry Bird
  17. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  18. Ben Wallace
  19. Dikembe Mutombo
  20. Tim Duncan