Sunday , Dec , 07 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Why Bob Cousy, Pete Maravich, Bernard King, Magic Johnson, and Julius Erving belong in today’s NBA

Fans love the ‘what-if’ game. It’s the ultimate hypothetical; a way for ‘Joe-Average’ to compare players and teams from different eras. Here is a popular example: what if a mid-nineties Michael Jordan un-retired and his Chicago Bulls played Kobe Bryant and the 2008-09 Los Angeles Lakers? Who wins? You get the idea. You and a co-worker or friend probably threw around your own set of improbable scenarios last week. After all, the ‘what-if’ game provides employees and/or husbands with a necessary escape from their busy lives …


Why Bob Cousy, Pete Maravich, Bernard King, Magic Johnson, and Julius Erving belong in today's NBAFans love the ‘what-if’ game. It’s the ultimate hypothetical; a way for ‘Joe-Average’ to compare players and teams from different eras.

Here is a popular example: what if a mid-nineties Michael Jordan un-retired and his Chicago Bulls played Kobe Bryant and the 2008-09 Los Angeles Lakers? Who wins?

You get the idea. You and a co-worker or friend probably threw around your own set of improbable scenarios last week. After all, the ‘what-if’ game provides employees and/or husbands with a necessary escape from their busy lives.

Yesterday, I had my ‘what-if’ moment. What if I had the power to place five past legends in today’s NBA? Who would I pick?

Of course, there is no perfect answer. Everybody has a list of all-time greats. And past players, no matter what they accomplished, would struggle with bigger, faster, and stronger players.

#5) Bob Cousy …

Why: Sure, he looked like your accountant, but Cousy won six NBA Titles with Boston and owned the assist crown. Years before, John Stockton and Steve Nash, there was ‘The Houdini of The Hardwood’.

#4) Pete Maravich …

Why: A showman and a player. When healthy, ‘The Pistol’ could entertain and play fundamental basketball. Unfortunately, alcohol, injuries, and an early death robbed us of really appreciating Maravich on and off-court.

#3) Bernard King …

Why: This small forward could score. Before Michael Jordan owned the NBA, King was a go-to guy and even averaged 32.9 points per game for the New York Knicks. Sadly, severe knee injuries interrupted his legendary career.

#2) Magic Johnson …

Why: We may never see another 6-9 point guard, who plays every position and wins five NBA Titles during one of the league’s most competitive era. Not surprisingly, Johnson has been an off-court success, too, building a billion dollar business.

#1) Julius Erving …

Why: He was elegant and graceful. The swash-buckling small forward possessed the aerial antics to be relevant in any era. Some even argue Dr. ‘J’ was the seventies version of Michael Jordan.

What past greats would you pick for today’s NBA? Cousy? Maravich? King? Magic? Dr. J? Or somebody else? Get at us in the comment box with thoughts and return to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA Tidbits. Photo courtesy of wallyg.