If MJ Is The Greatest, Who Is The 2nd Best of All Time? Part Two
We initially broached this question in yesterday’s article and presented five players with credentials befitting the second best player in NBA history. Here are five more in no particular order;
Shaquille O’Neal– Career Averages: 23.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 2.5 apg
“The Diesel” is playing in his 19th (and final?) year and has been a 15 time all-star. The two time NBA scoring champion has won four NBA titles, three NBA Finals MVP awards, three All Star game MVP awards and the regular season MVP award in 2000. The Shaq we have seen this season is a far cry from the “Kazaam” era of dominance, but he has had a huge impact on culture as a whole in the vein of MJ or Wilt thanks to his off the court pursuits (music, movies, tv, etc) that was equally important.
Julius Erving– Career Averages: 24.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 4.2 apg, 2 spg
“Dr. J” was MJ before MJ. At 6-7, 210 lbs he introduced the NBA to a more athletic style of play that centered around his leaping ability. While everyone has seen the highlights of his free throw line dunk in the ABA dunk contest, or “rocking the baby” and dunking on Michael Cooper and similar athletic feats, Erving was about as well rounded as any player of his era. Between the NBA and ABA, Erving won three championships, four MVP awards and was a 16 time all-star in 16 professional seasons.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar– Career Averages: 24.6 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 3.6 apg, 2.6 bpg
The NBA’s all-time leading scorer led the league in scoring twice, rebounds once and blocks four times. The 19 time all-star won six NBA titles, was a six time MVP (the NBA record) and a two times Finals MVP. At the time of his retirement Abdul-Jabbar led the NBA in almost every significant category; points, games played, minutes played, field goals made, field goal attempts, blocked shots, defensive rebounds, and fouls. Jabbar was also the proprietor of the most devastating and unstoppable offensive move ever; the “Sky Hook.”
Magic Johnson– Career Averages: 19.5 ppg, 11.2 apg, 7.2 rpg, 1.9 spg
Magic Johnson took the standard that Oscar Robertson set as a big point guard and advanced it even further. At 6-9, it was absurd at the time to think he was running the point when at that height he could’ve played center or power forward for most NBA teams. Magic made it to the Finals nine times in 13 pro seasons, winning five NBA titles. A three time NBA Finals MVP, he was also a three time regular season MVP and 12 time all-star.
Larry Bird– Career Averages: 24.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 6.3 apg
The thing about “Larry Legend” compared to the other players on this list he never had a bad season even as he aged, averaging 20.2 ppg in his final season. In 13 pro seasons he only averaged under 20 ppg two times (19.3, 19.4). Bird was a three time NBA champion, two time NBA Finals MVP, the MVP of the All-Star game once and a 12 time all-star.
After yesterday’s article, most of the feedback I received leaned heavily on Wilt being the second best player of all time. Do any of the above players challenge Wilt’s status??