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Hall of Fame NBA player Wilt Chamberlain is one of the greatest scorers in the leagues history. He scored 100 points in a game March 2nd 1962 against the New York Knicks and averaged 50.4 points per game during that 1961-62 season - ( Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper photo by Ed Palumbo photo)

 

 

Julius Erving aka Dr. J was a game breaker and a crowd thrill chiller with his slashing drives and tomahawk dunks - (Jim Accordino photo)

 

Karl Malone and Elgin Baylor are the only players on our All-time NBA's greatest players list that were never a member of an NBA title winning team. - (Steve Lipofsky Basketbalphoto.com)

 

 

 

SPORTS NOTES - THE NBA'S ALL TIME GREATEST PLAYERS - Part 3

James Loving/National Radio Text Service

 

 

 

While young ignorant pundits of today put together their all time beast NBA players list many of the greatest are missing sine the pundits never saw them play. We include several players from the early NBA era that had the talent to play in any period and their talents may never be surpassed. We have no Kobe's, Jabbar's or O'Neal's thus the question remains who did we select as our best of all time?

 

 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A BLEND OF NBA ERAS

It must be noted that during the early stages (1947-1967) of the NBA black players were subject to verbal and physical abuse during a time when racism rife and explosive. It was during a time before Martin Luther King had his dream of standing on a mountain top and seeing that all men were created equal. The point being that at that time black players that had superior skills were targets to have their knees taken out as was former Lakers great Elgin Baylor.

Its not to say that was the intention in Baylor's injury but racism was so evident that there were very few black players in the league until the Boston Celtics and its coach Red Auerbach broke the mold and hired players based on their skill and not the color of their skin. The Celtics1964-65 NBA title winning squad was the first NBA team to have a majority of black players on their squad. The six black players on their 11 man roster included K.C. Jones, Bill Russell, Sam Jones, Willie Naulls, John Thompson who went on to become the coach of Georgetown University, and Tom Saunders. Their only non title winning season of the 60's decade was 1967 when the Philadelphia 76ers won it with Wilt Chamberlain leading the way.

The NBA went through a growth period during the 60's when the Boston Celtics with Bill Russell was dominating the league with his superior play and the team won all but one title during the decade. Russell endured racism but stood tall and overcame it all.

The already hostile atmosphere between Russell and Boston hit its apex when vandals broke into his house, covered the walls with racist graffiti, damaged his trophies and defecated in the beds. In response, Russell described Boston as a "flea market of racism". In King Of The Court by Aram Goudsouzian, he was quoted saying, "From my very first year I thought of myself as playing for the Celtics, not for Boston. The fans could do or think whatever they wanted." After his retirement, he described the Boston press as corrupt and racist.

The black players of that almost all white NBA 50's and early 60's era paved the way for future black stars such as Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan to be recognized as being the best of all time. But... there was one white player that could keep up the pace and become the new NBA generations great white hope to also qualify as one of the leagues all time best.

Ironically two of the leagues all time best players during that period Russell and Chamberlain were black, played the same center position and competed against each other numerous times during the season as the league for the most part had less than 10 teams until 1967, compared to today's 30. For anyone with basketball knowledge and had the experience of seeing Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell compete must admit that they are the best to eve play that position.

During Chamberlain's rookie 1959-60 season when there was only eight teams in the league they faced each other 19 times including playoff games. Chamberlain is one of the the greatest scorers in the leagues history. He scored 100 points in a game March 2nd 1962 against the New York Knicks and averaged 50.4 points per game during that 1961-62 season. He holds numerous league records including most career rebounds 23,924 and rebound average per game 22.9.

When we chose our NBA All-time 1st team we chose Russell as being on the 1st team and placed Chamberlain on the 2nd team due to Russell being a member of 11 NBA title winning teams to Chamberlain's 2. Russell also was the player coach of the Celtics 1968 and 1969 title winning teams.

As new pundits select their all time NBA greats centers such as Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Shaquile O'Neal have been mentioned. Believe me they couldn't' hold a candle to Chamberlain and Russell as those two were physically and mentally tougher. Both aspects of their personalities were hardened from the racist period that they played in and what abuse they were subject to. Their lives were more than just about playing a game but having to be pioneers to be the first major black stars in the league that didn't want niggers. The words are harsh but their treatment was worse. It's simply about telling it like it was.

Oscar Robertson was another black player that rose to prominence during that period. Standing 6'5" (1.96 m) he was the leagues first tall guard. At that time players of his size were playing the forward position. He dominated the league with the most triple doubles of 10 or more points, assists and rebounds in a game.

Robertson played the shooting guard/point guard position, and was a twelve-time All-Star, eleven-time member of the All-NBA Team, and one-time winner of the MVP award in fourteen professional seasons. He is the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. Nicknamed "The Big O", he played for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks. He was a key player on the team which brought the Milwaukee Bucks their only NBA title in the 1970-71 NBA season. His playing career, especially during high school and college, was plagued by racism.

Robertson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980, and was voted one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. He was the greatest guard of his time and would be on our 1st team except we chose Magic Johnson because he was the first 6'9" guard in the league and was on 5 NBA title winning Lakers teams. The other determining factor was Johnson's ability to play all five positions on the court as he did in the 1980 NBA final game against the Philadelphia 76ers when due to an injury the team was without the services of their Hall of Fame center Jabbar.

Magic put on one of the greatest performances of all time as he scored 42 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, dished out 7 assists, and made 3 steals in a 123-107 win, while playing guard, forward, and center at different times during the game. From that point on Johnson became acknowledged as a force to be reckoned with.

A trivia notation is that Jabbar was also on the title winning Bucks team with Robertson. Another trivia note is our choice for small forward Julius Erving aka Dr. J was on the Sixers losing team. Erving was best known for his overpowering slashing drives to the basket and his tomahawk dunks. He was a game breaker and the go to guy when the Sixers need that extra lift for a victory.

Our power forward is Karl Malone. Malone was snake bitten as he is the only member of our squad never to have been on an NBA title team. The Mailman as he was known is the most physically strongest player that we have ever seen play the position. His teamwork with guard John Stockton was seamless. Over the years he improved his shooting that he was dangerous from 15' out and had strong moves to the basket. Malone twice won the National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player award. He is generally considered one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history, and has scored the second most points (36,928) in NBA history, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

At point guard we chose LeBron James. In time James could become the best players of all time but he had yet to put in the time and reap the results of Magic Johnson who is our staring point guard. They have similar skills but Johnson is a much better ball handler and decision maker. James is a better shooter and much stronger physically . He has the strength equal only to Karl Malone. His quickness is another major aspect of his talent.

Yes these are our picks for the 1st and 2nd All time NBA greatest teams but there are two players that we include as the 11th and 12th men. One will be shocking to all of you as he was a white player that played during the racist NBA era. He was, as they say, a tough white boy.

The other is a center that we believe is the only center since the Chamberlain, Russell domination who could compete on equal terms with them. He is one of the most unique centers of all time. Who are these players? Tune in for out next edition and find out.

Part 3 Next - The NBA's BEST of All-Time Reserves

NBA's ALL-TIME BEST - Part 1

NBA's ALL TIME 1st TEAM - Part 2

THE NBA's GREATEST of ALL TIME
1st Team
Position
2nd Team
Larry Bird
PF
Karl Malone
Elgin Baylor
SF
Julius Erving
Bill Russell
C
Wilt Chamberlain
Michael Jordan
SG
Oscar Robertson
Magic Johnson
PG
LeBron James
11th & 12th MAN SUBSTITUTES
G
next column
C/F
next column

 


THIS DAY IN THE NBA


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