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  • Mamadou Tall

My Top 10 All-Time

Scroll through NBA Twitter and all you see are arguments over who is the greatest, the constant comparisons never stop and they never will. With there being no basketball to watch and after watching "The Last Dance" docuseries I thought I would give you guys my top 10 list. I repeat this is my top 10, but if you want to argue I have nothing but time.

10. Bill Russell

(Photo Credit: NBA)

Career Averages: 15.1 Points, 22.5 Rebounds, 4.3 Assists, 44% FG%

Bill Russell made this list solely for the fact that he won 11 championships in 13 seasons. It doesn't matter if his competition wasn't up to par like many people say, 11 championships in 13 seasons is insane. On top of being the ultimate champion, Russell collected 5 MVP awards and was an 11x All-NBA player. Russell's dominance really didn't come on the offensive end, he was the epitome of the phrase "defense wins championships." His anchoring the paint played a huge role in all of those 11 championships. His career averages of 15 points and 22 rebounds don't do his career justice. In an era where defensive statistics weren't recorded Bill Russell's impact on the game will forever be overlooked by a majority of people. Hate it or like it, Bill Russell is a top 10 player all-time, 11 championships will never be done anyone.

9. Larry Bird

Career Averages: 24.3 Points, 10 Rebounds, 6.3 Assists, 49.6% FG%, 1.7 Steals

Coming in at nine is the legend Larry Bird. I know to put him at is a bit wild but that goes to show the level of talent on this list. Larry Bird is a:

12-time All-Star

10-time All-NBA

3-time NBA champion

2-Time Olympic Gold Medalist

2-time MVP

2-time Finals MVP

Larry Legend was a bucket, to say the least. He helped define the 80s and raise the profile of the NBA in a time where the popularity was lacking. Larry Bird's career averages of 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.3 assists show what a complete player he was. The bird came in and continued the Boston Celtic legacy that Bill Russell started. One of the most important people in the NBA's history, Larry Bird easily cracks the top 10.

Larry Legend was a bucket, to say the least. He helped define the 80s and raise the profile of the NBA in a time where the popularity was lacking. Larry Bird's career averages of 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.3 assists show what a complete player he was. Larry Bird came in and continued the Boston Celtic legacy that Bill Russell started. One of the most important people in the NBA's history, Larry Bird easily cracks the top 10.

8. Magic Johnson

Career Averages: 19.5 Points, 7.2 Rebounds, 11.2 Assists, 52% FG%, 1.9 Steals

Whenever Larry Bird is mentioned the next person that comes to mind is always Magic Johnson. Magic is the greatest point guard of all-time bar none and just like Larry Bird he helped define an era of basketball with his play. I never got to watch Magic play live but his stats and highlights are all I need to see for him to be on this list. Magic Johnson broke the mold for what a point guard was supposed to be. At 6'9, Magic had the size of a forward but had the speed, agility, and vision of a point guard. He helped pave the way for the big guards and point forwards that we see in the NBA today. Magic is a:

12-time All-Star

10-time All-NBA

5-time NBA champion,

3-time MVP

3-time Finals MVP

2-time Olympic Gold Medalist

Magic Johnson established himself as one of the best showmen when passing the ball and proved he is one of the greatest team players in NBA history. His averages of 19.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 11assists showed how versatile he was at the point guard position. A top 10 talent without a doubt.

7. Shaquille O'Neal

Career Averages: 23.7 Points, 10.9 Rebounds, 2.5 Assists, 58% FG%, 2.5 Blocks

Shaq, Diesel, The Big Aristotle, Superman, Shaq Fu, whatever you call him you know any top 10 list isn't complete without Shaq on it. Shaq was the most dominant player in the NBA in his heyday and will go down as the most dominant player in NBA history. His large stature matched his large personality on and off the court which makes him one of my favorite players ever. I was around to catch glimpses of Shaq's dominance and it wasn't like anything I have seen before. His accomplishments in the NBA slightly undersell what an immense talent he was because honestly, he could have been even better than he was.

Shaq ended his career as a:

15-time All-Star

14-time All-NBA

4-time NBA champion

2-time scoring champ

3-time All-Defensive

3-time All-star MVP

3-time Finals MVP

1-time MVP

There will never be another Shaq again especially with the league continuing to stray away from the paint. Shaq is currently eighth on the all-time scoring list with 28,596 points and eighth on the all-time blocks list with 2,732 blocks. Shaq is a once-in-a-lifetime type of player and his dominance in the league wasn't his maximum potential which is scary.

6. Tim Duncan

Career Averages: 19 Points, 10.8 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 50.6% FG%, 2.2 Blocks

If you are looking for the consummate professional look no further than Tim Duncan. The Big Fundamental has been one of the most consistent and steady players I have ever watched. His introverted demeanor made it that his game did all of the talking. For someone who picked up basketball as a sophomore in high school, Duncan has solidified himself as an all-time great and is a top 10 player in my eyes.

Tim Duncan has played 19 seasons in the NBA and in those 19 years he has not missed the playoffs not once. In 19 seasons Duncan was a:

15-time All-Star

15-time All-NBA

15-time All-Defensive

5-time NBA champion

3-time Finals MVP

2-time MVP

Tim Duncan was someone who I grew up watching. I saw him defeat teams that I loved and I saw how he carried himself throughout his career. Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward in NBA history no questions asked and I'm glad I got to experience parts of his career. Honestly speaking I think he's one of the most intriguing players I've got to watch.

5. Hakeem Olajuwon

Career Averages: 21.8 Points, 11.1 Rebounds, 2.5 Assists, 51% FG%, 3.1 Blocks,

1.7 Steals

Hakeem Olajuwon is one of those players that I wished I was around to watch. He is one of the most underrated players in NBA history and I'm baffled as to why. My litmus test for the talent of a player is seeing what other players say about them and Olajuwon has always garnered praise from his peers. Olajuwon is one of the most complete players ever. He got it done on both ends of the floor and never took any plays off whatsoever. Watch footage of him playing back in the 90s and his skill on the offensive end jumps out at you. His footwork and moves in the post were second to none. His anticipation on defense made him one of the best defenders in the history of the game. To see a 7-footer move with so much finesse and agility is amazing to me. I see why they call him Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon, the name is fitting.

Olajuwon has one of the most impressive statics and accolades of any player I have seen. The Dream ended his career as a:

12-time All-Star

12-time All-NBA

9-time All-Defensive

2-time NBA champion

2-time Finals MVP

2-time Defensive Player of the Year

1- time MVP

Aside from those accolades, Olajuwon is the all-time leader in blocks with 3,830 blocks, ninth on the all-time steals list as a center with 2,162 steals. He is also 11th on the all-time scoring list with 26,946 points and won a championship without a single all-star on his team besides himself. Hakeem Olajuwon deserves more respect than he gets. This man was a problem.

4. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar

Career Averages: 24.6 Points, 11.2 Rebounds, 3.6 Assists, 56% FG%, 2.6 Blocks,

1 Steal

New York City's very own (Harlem specifically). Kareem Abdul Jabbar could easily make his own case for being the greatest player of all time and it would be a legit case. His impact and dominance from the beginning of his career to the end of his career demonstrated his longevity. He was the creator and owner of the skyhook, which has yet to be duplicated. Kareem was the ultimate winner and pioneer in the NBA and the game of basketball as a whole.

From his dominance in the New York City high school basketball circuit to his dominance on the college level at UCLA. Kareem personified winning and excellence. His spot as the number one scorer all-time with 38,387 points may never get touched unless LeBron got something to say about it. Kareem ended his hall of fame playing career as a:

19-time All-star

15-time All-NBA

11-time All-Defensive

6-time NBA Champion

2-time Finals MVP

6-time MVP

2-time scoring champ

4-time block champ

Aside from his legacy on the court as a basketball player, he left a lasting impact on the civil rights movement. Kareem using his voice to speak out against the injustices of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s helped set the table for the likes of athletes today. Kareem's activism is being carried on by the likes of LeBron James, and Chris Paul. Kareem's impact is still evident today as he speaks out against the injustices that black and brown people are facing today. Kareem is a true icon on and off-court.

3. Kobe Bryant

Rest In Power Bean (Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Career Average: 25 Points, 5.2 Rebounds, 4.7 Assists, 1.4 Steals, 44% FG%, 0.5 Blocks

Where do I start when talking about Kobe Bryant. The name Kobe Bryant carries a different type of weight to it. Kobe's legacy on the court was that of a hard worker. Even though he was blessed with the athleticism and size to be successful he put in the necessary work to get the upper hand on all his opponents.

Kobe's work ethic is what earned him the respect and hearts of different types of people whether they watched sports or not. Aside from his mentality being out of this world, the things he did on the court was another thing in itself. Kobe was one of those players that came to ready to play every game. Win or lose if you were watching him play he gave it his all. His accolades are evidence of his dominance throughout his 20-year career. Kobe recently got inducted into the hall of fame adding to his career achievements such as:

18-time All-star

12-time All-Defensive

15-time All-NBA

5-time NBA Champion

2-time Finals MVP

2-time scoring champ

4-time All-star MVP

1-time MVP

2-time Olympic Gold Medalist

The Black Mamba will never be forgotten and his legacy lives on today in many of the players we see today. Kawhi Leonard, Devin Booker, and Jayson Tatum are players I look at and immediately think of Kobe. He had the intense defense that Kawhi showcases night in and night out. He had the postwork, midrange game, and showmanship of Michael Jordan, which justifies why many say he is the closest thing to Jordan. The name Kobe Bryant is synonymous with the sport of basketball. The name Kobe Bryant is synonymous with the work ethic and resilience needed to thrive. The name Kobe Bean Bryant is adjacent to the word legendary

RIP Kobe Bean Bryant. RIP Gianna Bryant.

2. Michael Jordan

Career Averages: 30.1 Points, 6.2 Rebounds, 5.3 Assists, 49% FG%, 2.3 Steals, 0.8 Blocks

This man needs no introduction. We all know the deal. Michael Jordan, a living icon and possibly still the most influential and globally known athlete of all time. He didn't get to this status through being mediocre on the court. From the moment he entered the league MJ made it clear that he was by far the best player in the world. His drive to win separated him from all of his peers. If you watched "The Last Dance," then you know-how MJ got down, the man used to make shit up just so he could have a "reason" to carve whoever he was playing that night.

In many cases, some players get the benefit of having the team around them to boost their accolades and resumè. Other players are cursed with having all the necessary talent but not having the team around them to boost their accolades and resumè. MJ was one of those players who was blessed with the talent and team that ultimately helped him reach the heights he's reached. Talent-wise there was no one on his level. The teams that he was surrounded with proved to be good which helped him capture all those titles. MJ retired with:

14-Time All-star

9-Time All-Defensive

11-Time All-NBA

10-Time Scoring Leader

6-Time NBA Champion

6-Time Finals MVP

5-Time MVP

3-Time Steals Leader

Defensive Player of Year

3-Time AS MVP

2-time Olympic Gold Medalist

He managed to do all that in a matter of 15 seasons with the last two being years he really shouldn't have played (just being real). To many MJ is the greatest of all time. It's hard to debate against that train of thought. He is the greatest winner to ever play in the league, the most polarizing, and possibly one of the most skilled players ever. Combine all that with his insane athleticism and you have one of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood.

1. LeBron James

Career Averages: 27 Points, 7.4 Rebounds, 7.4 Assists, 50% FG%, 1.6 Steals, 0.8 Blocks

All the old heads are about to kill me for this. First on my list is LeBron James. It's hard not to put him at the top of my list. I was born in 1999, a year after MJ captured his last championship, a year removed from his retirement (Washington Wizards years don't count to me). All this to say, I wasn't alive during MJ's run of dominance all I have to go by is old footage and stats. Similarly to Kobe, I witnessed LeBron's dominance and saw the character development playout through a decade-plus.

From the moment he stepped into the league expectations was high for LeBron. Being called the "The Chosen One" as a high schooler to being touted as the next Michael Jordan, it's safe to say he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders early. To see him live up to those expectations and some might even say exceed them, is amazing. His resume up until this point is insane.

16-time All-Star

6-time All-Defensive Team

16-time All-NBA

4-time MVP

4-time NBA Champion

4-time Finals MVP

1-time Assist Leader

1-time Scoring Leader

3-time AS MVP

2-time Olympic Gold Medalist

He's managed to rack up all these accolades before even retiring. His most recent feat happened this month when he captured his fourth NBA title and finals MVP at the age of 35. He is top 3 in scoring all-time (with 34,241 points) and top10 in assists all-time, and by the time he is finished playing, we will see him continue to rise up those lists. He also became the first player to win Finals MVP with three different Franchises (Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, LA Lakers).

What truly gives LeBron the slight edge over Jordan and Kobe for me is the longevity and the ability to do so many different things on the court at a high level. In his 17 year career, he has been to the finals 10 times. The amount of wear and tear that puts on someone is unimaginable yet he continues to do it. When it's all said and done LeBron might not be the greatest scorer, greatest passer, greatest rebounder, or the greatest defender. But when you look at his game he does all those things at extremely high levels and he is the only player we have ever seen do it all at this level. With his career not being over, it's possible we can see him add more accolades to his already Hall of Fame career.

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