Kobe Bryant picks his top five of all time.
Posted by: SPQR on Jun 23, 2013 - 11:46 AM
A few days ago, Kobe picked his all time top five team. He took Magic, Jordan, Bird, Russell and Jabbar.
A pretty good list but as we all know, there is always room for debate simply because there have been so many transcendent basketball gods over the years. He didn't really say whether he was picking by position, but the team seems to be by position except for Russell, who perhaps he moved to power forward? Or maybe that is just his all time team regardless of position.
One remark that caught my attention was him saying Bird is kind of forgotten.
I agree with Kobe completely that players from the past are forgotten. It is sad but true. Soon they old is relegated to stories and film clips and the new guys playing are considered the next best of all time. Also, fans and writers who saw the older greats die off with their memories. Soon the older guys are just stories, and how does a story complete with a guy playing on TV every night and whose highlights are on ESPN every evening?
An example of this is Lebron. Already the talk seems to be that he is competing for Jordan as the GOAT. Well, Jordan being the GOAT is another subject I could get into, but to keep this topic on hand, why is Lebron suddenly past Magic, Kareem, Russell, Wilt, Kobe, the Big O and so many others? Its because he is at his peak right now, we are watching him dominate the league and win titles. Those other guys, except for Kobe, are all musty old stories in newspapers.
I saw Magic play from his first game as a 19 year old to his last. I can tell you that he influenced a game and did more things than Lebron does. This is nothing against Lebron, but it is true. Kareem is the all time leading scorer in NBA HISTORY, has six rings and is a six time MVP of the league. Russell has 11 rings in um...13 years. Yeah, think about that. Wilt averaged 50 points in a season and 25 boards. That means if he had 25 points in a game, pretty good for say Lebron, or Jordan or Kobe or Durant, he had to get 75 the next night to even out his average!! Think about that a little. Imagine Wilt averaging 50 and 25 today, every night, on TV then later on ESPN highlights then with all the media talking heads discussing each of those games, night after night. Do you think the media talking heads would be saying, "This guy is the best ever!! Nobody can do what he does." You suspect so.
In this sports media saturated age, every great accomplishment is magnified to the nth degree. Like it was with Jordan and now Lebron. Imagine if Oscar averaged triple double for the SEASON now, as he did back then, with today's media fawning and coverage. I'm not talking about a 15 pt a game triple double. I'm talking about 30 points a game to go with over 10 assists and then somehow this guard, also found the time in his busy to day to get 10 rebounds!! How do you do that? And he just missed out on replicating that season several more times by just a rebound or so a game for the season. How do you average 30 points and over ten assists a game? Then throw in the rebounds, for a guard? If he were 24 today and did that with today's media coverage, would people be calling him the GOAT?
Imagine Magic coming into the league at 19, winning the finals in his first year, having what was the greatest finals game of all time at 20 to help LA overcome Kareems absence in game six in Phillly, against the legendary Dr. J's Sixers today. As a ROOKIE of 20 years old. With this media attention. Then imagine him winning two titles in his first three years, taking the finals MVP both times, at ages 20 and 22!! Think about that. Do you think in today media saturated world, they would not be saying, "Man a freak six foot nine point guard winning two finals and finals MVPs at the ages of 20 and 22!! This guy is the GOAT!!" And he goes on to win 3 more rings, taking his team to 9 finals in 12 years. Would he be the GOAT if he played now?
Think about how people dwell today on MJ's six rings (what about Kareems six, which never seem to put him into MJ discussions, why?) or Magic or Kobes five. Or now even Lebrons two. What about Russell? Imagine a player coming into the league now, winning a title his rookie year, like he did, then winning 10 more in twelve years!! And he won his last title as an old man- the player coach-yeah he was also the coach-leading the ancient Celts past younger teams and upsetting the super team of West, Wilt and Baylor in the finals. Think about that for a little while. Do you think he may be GOAT by total acclamation in todays sports world like Jordan is? I do. It would be a given, wouldn't it?
I was reading an article in Sports Illustrated a few weeks ago about the rivalry between Lebron and Durant. In it, the writer talked about the evolutions of their games and compared them to Bird and Magic. He finally made this statement, "Now Lebron passes like Magic and Durant passes like Bird."
Well, I saw Magic and Bird and I see Durant and Lebron. Durant and Lebron are great players who do their own things at a very high level. But I can tell you, Durant can pass, but he passes NOTHING like Bird did. Lebron can pass, but he passes NOTHING like Magic could. I mean neither is even close in the passing department to Magic or Bird. And any of you who saw Magic and Bird play back then knows exactly why I say it.
So why did that writer say it? Either he didn't see Magic and Bird pass, or he did but has forgotten over time just how they could pass, not only as individual players, but also in comparison to Lebron and Durant. Or...he has an agenda, to push the new players over the old. But either way, he was literally rewriting history for those who didn't see Bird or Magic, out right lying, making the reader think Lebron and Durant could match them, respectively, at that skill, which they sure as hell could not.
And so it goes. Those guys didn't play under the mass media watch that exists today. They are now just stories, a tale to be told from musty, dusty history as we watch Lebron and Durant and others today. Kobe is right. People forget how great Bird was. And people forget or havent seen how great Magic, Russell, the Big O, Jabbar and Wilt and many others were.
Its always out with the old and in with the new. And in today's media saturated sports filled with never ending talking heads, the new is all that exists or ever did exist.