Tag Archives: Lakers

NBA’s All-Time Mount Rushmore

This past summer in an interview with Sports Illustrated, 3-time and reigning NBA Champion LeBron James acknowledged Michael Jordan is his motivation. He said “My motivation…is this ghost I’m chasing. The ghost played in Chicago.” James went on to say being considered one of the greats is cool, but implied he’d like to be considered one day THE best. While those who are witnessing LBJ, that didn’t see MJ and other greats in their prime, already say he’s the G.O.A.T. But his buddy, and former teammate Dwayne Wade recently told ESPN “It’s impossible” for him to catch MJ, and “the only thing he can do is tie it.” While I agree with D-Wade, I have to say LeBron has already moved into the upper echelon of NBA all-time greats. I even consider him on the League’s all-time Mount Rushmore, and these are the others that join him.

MJ is the most influential, and skilled NBA player of all-time. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Without a doubt, Michael Jordan. His “Airness” was 6-0 in NBA Finals winning the Most Valuable Player award each time, but that’s just the beginning of the resume.

5-times he was NBA MVP (1988,1991, 1992, 1996, 1998), 10-times he made first team All-NBA, 9-times he was selected All-NBA defensive 1st-team, and in 1988 he won the Defensive Player of the Year award. The 1985 Rookie of the year is a 10-time scoring champion, he’s the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer, and when he retired in 2003, his 32,292 points was second all-time. His per game average of 30.1 is still first all-time. 3-times he led the league in steals (1988, 1990, 1993), and his 2,514 steals is third in League history. 14-times he was selected to the NBA All-Star team where he won the game’s MVP award 3-times, and twice won the slam dunk contest. He is a member of the NBA’s 50th anniversary team.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the most under-appreciated and overlooked great EVER! He can make a case that he’s the greatest player to play the game on every level.

Abdul-Jabbar’s “Skyhook” is the most unguardable move in history. Photo Credit: Getty Images

“Cap” won 3 New York City Catholic high school championships at Power Memorial high while leading them to a 71 game winning streak, 3 NCAA titles at UCLA which included a record of 88-2, and 6 NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. In addition to his championship rings, he won NBA Finals MVP twice (1971, 1985). In his twenty seasons, Abdul-Jabbar won League MVP 6-times (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980), 10-times he was selected 1st-team All-NBA, 5-times selected 2nd-team All-NBA, 5-times All-Defensive 1st-team, 6-times All-Defensive 2nd-team and he led the NBA in block shots 4 seasons (1975, 1976, 1979, 1980). The NBA’s all-time leading scorer (38, 387) led the League in scoring twice and was a 19-time All-Star. He’s also the third leading rebounder in NBA history (17,440). In twenty seasons, his teams made the playoffs 18 times, got out the first round 14 times, and made the Finals 10 times. In 1997 he was selected to the NBA’s 50th anniversary team. This is just his NBA resume. His entire basketball career back to high school would be this entire post.

Magic Johnson along with Larry Bird are credited with saving the NBA from the doldrums of tape delay and decreasing popularity linked to ramped drug use among players and on court fighting.

Magic led to Lakers to 8 NBA Finals appearances during the 1980’s. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Magic won 5 titles in 8 NBA finals appearances, including his rookie season in 1980, when he also won his first of 3 Finals MVP awards (1982, 1987). 3-times he won League MVP (1987, 1989, 1990), 9-times he was selected 1st-team All-NBA, once 2nd-team (1982). Four times he led the NBA in assists and is the NBA’s All-time playoff assists leader (2,346). When he retired the first time in 1991, he was the NBA’s all-time leading assists man, he’s now fifth (10,141). Twice he was the NBA’s steals leader (1981,1982) and is currently 20th all-time, but was in the top 5 when he retired. Johnson is a 12-time NBA All-Star and twice won the game’s MVP (1990, 1992). He is a member of the NBA’s 50th greatest players team.

Lastly, LeBron James. If I did this list  two seasons ago when LBJ was still in South Beach, I would’ve had Larry Bird in this spot. But, James has solidified himself as the greatest small forward in history.

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LeBron James has lifted himself into the upper tier of NBA greats. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Since he’s still on the course, and the other guys on this list are in the clubhouse sipping on Arnold Palmers and smoking cigars, I won’t go through his entire resume like I did with the others. But, I must state just how impressive it is that James has led his teams to 6 consecutive NBA Finals appearances (Miami 4, Cleveland 2). And since everyone wants to compare 23’s, not even MJ did that! Even LBJ’s biggest haters can’t deny his overall impact. Both the Cavaliers and Heat missed the playoffs the season after he left via free agency, even though they boasted the same rosters minus him. His current career averages of 27.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assist per game are only matched by the names of Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Jerry West and Larry Bird. Enough said, he’s one of the top four greats to ever play this game.

For those who will ask where is Boston Celtics great Bill Russell? My reply is “He’s my Halle Berry of the NBA.” What do I mean? When people ask me who are my top five celebrity crushes, I never say Halle Berry, because she has her own list. You want early 90’s Halle? You know from “Strictly Business”, “Boomerang” or “Flintstones”? How about “Swordfish”, “X-men” or “Die Another Day” Halle? Then there’s this 50-year old version that makes most 30-year old’s look like they’re aging in dog years. You get my point? That’s the way I feel about Mr. Russell. He has his own Mount Rushmore. You can have the rookie version that led the Celtics to a Championship in 1956-57 while averaging 14.7 ppg and 19.6 rpg, or the won that led them to 8 consecutive titles while winning 5 League MVP’s, or the won that led them to a title as player/coach in his final professional season. Take your pick. Hands down Mister Russell is the greatest winner in NBA history, so he gets his own mountain. Matter of fact, he should be the logo, he won more championships (11) than the current logo man Jerry West lost (8).

The following four men are on my honorable mentions: Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan

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Dwight’s Dilemma: Where Should He Sign?

Where should he go? Courtesy: CBS Sports/Ryan Hurst

UPDATE (7/5/13): USA Today reports Dwight Howard agrees to sign with the Houston Rockets.

Today the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers will make their pitch to Dwight Howard. If the seven time NBA All Star called me up and asked for advice (He won’t, but should), I’d tell him the best place for him to revive his image and advance his career are in Houston, Texas.

Update: Howard met with the Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

It’s clear Dwight Howard doesn’t want to play for Mike D’antoni and with Kobe Bryant. I don’t see the Lakers brass firing D’Antoni and bringing in a new coach when Mike Brown is still on the payroll, even though he’s coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Courtesy: Reds Army.com

Even though he will start the season on the injured list, Black Mamba isn’t going anywhere for at least three years, that’s more than half the length of the contract Dwight would be signing (5 years/$118 Million). Add to that, Dwight doesn’t seem to be able to handle the pressure of being the man for Southern California’s number one draw. For what it is worth, Orlando was always the best place for Howard’s personality and game (Disclaimer: I’m a die hard Orlando Magic fan, but I will be objective.). The bright lights of Tinseltown or even his other previously desired destination in Brooklyn is too much for him. Being a big fish in a small pond is what he needs. He’s often been compared to Shaquille O’Neal; yes he has the fun goofy persona as Shaq, yes he is the most dominant big man in the league like Shaq and appears to be indirectly or directly – depending on who you ask – following in Shaq’s size 22 shoes, but he doesn’t have that “it” Shaq has that allowed him to follow in the footsteps of other Laker greats in L.A. I think this past season in So Cal has proven that to Dwight and he now knows the grass isn’t greener in the bigger markets. That’s why Houston is the best place for him.

First let’s dive into the money issue. The Lakers can offer him the most money of any suitor. But let’s look at this closely. Everyone points to the $30 million dollars he stands to lose if he turns down the Lakers, $118 million versus $88 million from anyone else. It’s misleading. The only way Dwight loses the $30 million is if he gets injured and never is able to play again to sign another contract. Howard is 27 years old. If he signs with the Rockets for four years, he can sign an extension after the third year at 30 years old, thus potentially earning the $30 million he left on the preverbal table from Los Angeles. Because of his age, Dwight could potentially sign two more big contracts after this one. He won’t be hurting financially by passing on the Lakers deal. Also there are no state income taxes in Texas, just like in Florida. I’m not a math wiz, especially when it comes to taxes, but if you factor the California taxes plus cost of living, I don’t think Dwight will miss much cash flow.

Second James Harden. Dwight has never played with another perennial all-star. Harden in one season with the Rockets proved he’s that and could possible be more. This is more appealing then playing alongside aging superstars in Kobe Bryant – who will be 35 when he returns from a torn Achilles injury – and Dirk Nowitzki (35) of the Dallas Mavericks, another suitor for Howard.

Third cap flexibility. If the Rockets sign Howard and trade Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik as has been rumored, it will free up cap space to sign another big name free agent in the summer of 2014 and build their own younger Big three to grow and compete in an aging Western Conference.

Courtesy: Associated Press

The Houston Rockets with Dwight Howard could be similar to his 2009 Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic team, only with a top flight superstar sidekick he didn’t have to help carry to load in the Magic Kingdom. His two potential key sidekicks in James Harden and Chandler Parsons at ages 23 and 24 haven’t hit the prime of their career yet. This gives the Rockets room and time to grow into a powerhouse, effectively opening the championship window for close to a decade.