I just wanted to get this one off my chest. Here is my 12-man all-time NBA team. Each player is considered at the peak of his career. I’ve listed a starter at each position, a back-up at each position, a sixth man (different from a back-up), and a key reserve player.
To play on my all-time team, you need to be a great player, obviously, but you also must be a team player first. That is why such obvious choices as Micheal Jordan, Larry Bird, and Julius Erving didn’t make my team – although they were all great players. You will also notice that there are very few modern players on my team – too many of the modern era players don’t understand putting team first. So they aren’t here.
Without further ado, here is my team:
Point Guard: Ervin “Magic” Johnson. From Lansing Everett High School, by way of Michigan State University – arguably the most impactful player in the history of the game – he can do it all. His court vision and willingness to do whatever it takes earned him the starting nod.
Shooting Guard: Joe Dumars. From McNeese State comes a prolific scorer who may just be the most underrated player in the history of the game. He has the ability to mold his game to fit with whoever is on the court with him. His defense is second to none (just ask Micheal Jordan) and he is the consummate leader, sportsman, and gentleman – which earns him the starting nod.
Center: Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlin. Out of Kansas comes the big man who redefined the game. They had to change the rules of the game in order to keep the league competitive in his presence. His accomplishments include the 100-point game and a single season scoring average of 50-points per game. He earns the starting nod for his ability to share the ball (he once led the league in assists), his speed (he was a track star at Kansas), and his incredible strength.
Power Forward: Wes Unseld. The Louisville Cardinal whose presence under the basket led the Baltimore Bullets to four NBA finals. While he may be playing slightly out of position on my team, his defense and rebounding skill put this human block of granite on my starting five.
Small Forward: Adrian Dantley. From the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (who I hate) comes one of the most prolific scorers ever. He holds the record (along with Chamberlin) for most free throws made in a regular season game (28). His .818 free throw percentage and 24.3 points per game average make him an unstoppable scoring machine and earn him the starting nod.
Sixth Man: Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson. Every team needs that player who can come off the bench and instantly heat things up with his scoring prowess. Vinnie Johnson, from Baylor, defines that aspect of the game. Nobody could light up a defense quicker, or score more reliably in traffic than “The Microwave.”
Backup Point Guard: Oscar Robertson. He averaged a triple-double. For his career. ‘Nuff said.
Backup Shooting Guard: Jerry West. West gets the nod over George “Iceman” Gervin by a slim margin. But come on, they used West for the NBA logo.
Backup Center: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Skyhook anyone?
Backup Power Forward: Dennis Rodman. Possibly the league’s best rebounder and defender. Also possibly the craziest man in league history (sorry Marvin “Bad News” Barnes – Rodman was crazier).
Backup Small Forward: Elgin Baylor. It was tough to pass over Rick Barry and Charles Barkley, but Baylor was the man.
Key Reserve: “Dollar” Bill Bradley. One of the classiest men ever to play the game, and maybe the smartest too. Bradley would do whatever it took to make his team a winner. That’s why he’s on my team. And being a U.S. Senator doesn’t hurt either.
O.K. now it is your turn to share your mistaken opinion in the comments. Remember we are talking about teams here – not individual players. Go ahead and name a team that could beat this 12-man squad.