My All Time NBA Team

The recent announcement that Los Angeles Laker guard Kobe Bryant was going to retire at the end of the season got me thinking. As most of you know I love sports and consider myself quite a sports historian. There’s been a lot of talk about where Kobe ranks in the annals of NBA history. So I thought it would be fun to rank my all time NBA team much like I did the Mount Rushmore of Sports last year.
Kareem, Milwaukee, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
Of course, putting together my all time NBA team is very subjective and anyone is prone to biases for their favorites. That said, I am going to try to stay as objective as possible. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really like the NBA that much and never really have. However, I still follow it religiously because I’m a sports junkie and that’s what I do.
Julius Erving, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
As I said, I’ve decided to do my all time NBA team and there are multiple ways to do this. First I am going to break down my top 2 teams of all time, meaning a first team 1-5 (point guard to center) and then a second team. This will theoretically make a top 10 list of players. Then I’m going to list the top 10 players of any position as I see them.
Elgin Baylor, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
In the NBA, you can basically break down guards and forwards as often times they can be interchangeable. The center position is the hardest because there are basically 6 great centers and a bunch of other good ones throughout NBA history. That said, the arguments to the greatest will go on forever.
Jordan, Duncan, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
As far as I am concerned, in the first team there are only two locks that seem indisputable in my opinion: Michael Jordan as the 2 and Tim Duncan as the 4. There are several compelling arguments at each of the other 3 positions. So here we go-here’s my all time NBA team-well first team from 1-5 by standard position.
Magic Johnson, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
1. Point Guard – Magic Johnson
Magic was so versatile that he could play and did play every position on the court. At 6’9”, Magic could do it all and was the orchestrator the 1980’s Showtime Lakers and along with Larry Bird and later Jordan, helped save the NBA or at last bring it to global prominence. When he retired he had more assists than anyone else in history.
Michael Jordan, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
2. Shooting Guard – Michael Jordan
Jordan is unquestionably the greatest basketball player of all time. He was a great scorer, defender, leader and was the most tenacious competitor I’ve ever seen in any sport. Michael won 6 NBA titles and 6 Finals MVP’s. Had he not retired twice he would have won more. Jordan was and probably always will be the best ever in my eyes.
Larry Bird, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
3. Small Forward – Larry Bird
This was a hard one for me but for the time being I am keeping Larry Bird here although admittedly LeBron James is closing fast and will likely surpass Larry Legend at some point. But Bird was amazing. He got the most out of his ability than anyone I can ever think of. He was not a great athlete, couldn’t run, jump nor was he good looking. But man could he shoot, pass, compete and inspire his teammates to win. Bird was awesome and led the Celtics to 3 NBA titles and MVPs.
Tim Duncan, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
4. Power Forward – Tim Duncan
The Big Fundamental is without question the best power forward who ever lived. His 5 NBA titles, multiple MVP’s and long-term consistency are amazing but what’s more amazing about Duncan is how he just goes about his business so anonymously. He’s not as athletic as Barkley or as strong as Malone or as cagey as McHale and didn’t have the outside/inside game of Garnett but Duncan is a winner and in crunch time, he always comes though.
Kareem, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
5. Center – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
I think that Kareem is the single most unappreciated star in NBA history. Aside from being the leagues all time leading scorer, yes more than Jordan, Kobe or anyone else-he also won 6 NBA titles including one in Milwaukee that everyone forgets about. He also had the skyhook, which was unstoppable. People didn’t like him because of his personality. Whatever. The man was amazing and was as talented a center as there ever has been and there are some great centers but I put him ahead of Wilt, Russell, Shaq, Olajuwon and Moses-the six greatest centers ever.
Shaq, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
So I’m sure many of you are reading this thinking I’m an idiot or whatever. That’s fine, that’s why this stuff is fun to talk about because everyone has differing opinions. Now without further ado, here’s my all time NBA team-second team.
Oscar Robertson, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
1. Point Guard – Oscar Robertson
The Big O played before my time obviously but his records and numbers are staggering. Oscar once averaged a triple double for an entire season. That alone should have him on this list but from what I’ve seen on film and talking to older sports fans, there is no question as to his talent and he warrants being called the second best point guard of all time. Honorable mention goes to John Stockton, Bob Cousy, Isaiah Thomas, and a slew of others from Jason Kidd to Allen Iverson-yes Iverson!
Kobe Bryant, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
2. Shooting Guard – Kobe Bryant
Kobe is the second best scorer I’ve ever seen and the second best box office attraction I’ve ever seen in the NBA. Both come after Jordan. Kobe was incredible and I was lucky enough to be at several NBA Finals games where he killed it. He never got the accolades he deserved. He only won 1 MVP award and that’s a travesty. Steve Nash won 2 and Kobe easily could’ve won both and certainly should’ve had one of them. Shaq also overshadowed him in his early days but Kobe was so talented and so skilled that he was what put Shaq over the edge when the Lakers started winning titles in the early 2000’s. Kobe is a clear 2 to Jordan but that’s not a bad person to be a 2 to and I’d rank Jerry West at #3.
LeBron James, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
3. Small Forward – LeBron James
LBJ is simply awesome. He is a physical specimen like we’ve never seen before. The man is 6’8’ and listed at 260 but he’s probably closer to 285. He’s athletic and has skills unlike any other player I’ve ever seen. He will always be tarnished because he is 2-4 in NBA Finals and really played horribly in the 2011 Finals plus was swept in 2007. That said, you couldn’t argue how good this man is. He makes his teammates better much like Jordan and Magic did. LeBron is not a pure scorer like Jordan or Kobe but he can really score at will if he chooses to-he’s that good and unstoppable. As his career continues, I would imagine he’d move up to my first team ahead of Bird but for now he’s here with honorable mention to Julius Erving, Scottie Pippen and Elgin Baylor.
Kevin McHale, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
4. Power Forward – Kevin McHale
I really struggled with this selection, as there are a lot of very good power forwards but none that are top 10 all time players aside from Tim Duncan. I chose McHale over Kevin Garnett mainly because of McHale’s championships, his toughness and as Charles Barkley always says, McHale was the hardest person to guard that he ever played because he had so many moves in the paint and the longest arms ever seen on a man. Honorable mention to Garnett and Barkley and of course Karl Malone; who like Barkley gets penalized for never winning a title.
Wilt Chamberlain, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
5. Center – Wilt Chamberlain
As I said there are 6 all time great centers and Wilt is my second choice to Kareem. The man once averaged 50+ points in a season-that’s absurd. He was a monster of a man and athletic. Aside from scoring 100 points in a game, a record to never be broken, he also won 2 titles. I know Bill Russell won 11 in 13 years-believe me I know. I also know that Russell dominated Wilt head to head but as far as the greatest centers in terms of talent, I put Kareem 1 and Wilt 2 with Russell 3, Shaq 4, Olajuwon 5 and Moses Malone 6. The next flight of great centers would include guys like Patrick Ewing, Bill Walton and David Robinson.
Wilt, Bill Russell, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
So there are my first and second all time NBA teams. I think the biggest arguments I will get would be including Kevin McHale as my second 4 and maybe people will go nuts about LeBron versus Bird. Plus I know everyone has an opinion on Bill Russell but I argue he is the greatest champion in NBA history-that is undisputed, but I don’t think he’s the best center of all time.
Moses Malone, My All Time NBA Team, NBA
Now here are my top 10 players ever ranked regardless of position:

1. Michael Jordan
2. Magic Johnson
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
4. Wilt Chamberlain
5. Larry Bird
6. Tim Duncan
7. Bill Russell
8. LeBron James
9. Kobe Bryant
10. Shaquille O’Neal

So there you have it. My all time NBA team by first team, second team then top 10 of all time regardless of position. I’m sure you’ll all disagree but that’s’ why this is fun. Who would you pick?

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  1. Hey Lee,

    Always love your sports posts, you should do more.

    I have a tough time arguing any of your selections. Admittedly, I don’t know much before the Jordan years though.

  2. Cool list, in my starting 5 I would put Shaq on Center, agreed on the rest.

    My second 5: O. Robertson, Kobe, Lebron, Dirk, B. Russell.

    My top 10:
    1. MJ
    2. Shaq
    3. Magic
    4. Russell
    5. Duncan
    6. Kareem
    7. Wilt
    8. Bird
    9. Kobe
    10. Lebron

  3. Any all time NBA team missing Elgin Baylor and Jerry West for names like Shaq and Duncan is off to a pretty bad start.

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