Earlier this week, Micheal Jordan made waves for something that we have all been arguing and prognasticating about for years since his second retirement. The media, fans, non-fans, kids, friends, enemies and the like argued Grant Hill. They argued Vince Carter. They Argued Tracy McGrady. Dwyane Wade. Lebron James. On and on. But Micheal kept quiet on the comparisons, mostly because Micheal knows he's the best and doesn't need to, and because he is too competitive still to give anyone a chance to come close to his greatness. Yet, with his distance from who he was growing, a part of him felt that it was time to give HIS idea of his "Air" Apparent. And out it came. Kobe Bryant. Right there, it didn't end, but the consensus definitely was swayed and questions, ideas and doubts were quenched.
But, luckily for us fans and debaters, there is more than one NBA great to compare and contrast our current lot of players to until our faces turn blue.
Arguably, one is the greatest pure shooter, one is the greatest pure interior defender, one may be the greatest of all time, including Mike. But we'll leave that to debate of course.
I chose only players in the league Currently, that still start for their respective teams and/or are a major part of their teams scheme and ability to contend. To add to the fun, I broke it down into three categories:
Skills: A player that may not have the disposition or the numbers, but have the same talents and abilities as the great their compared to.
Stats: A player that has similar but not exact skill level and the numbers to boot.
Match:This player, may not be a perfect fit, but they match talent, ability, close on numbers and have a familar characteristic set to the NBA Great they are paired with.
Championships and MVP's are out, as those are more a product of the team than the individual.
With that said, lets get to the comparisons. And please when your done, reading, don't be afraid to disagree and comment harshly.
If their was ever a model of what an NBA center should look like, it was Bill Russell. Leaders? Bill Russell. Spirit-Breakers? Bill Russell. He was the best center in the league for more than half of his career and dominated the NBA lie no center prior. His ability to lock down the paint is rarely challenged by any since then and his tempered aggression and intense focus are legendary. Add his ability to absolutely clean the glass like his name was Windex and supreme basketball IQ and you have got yourself a bona fide Legend.
Tim Duncan could do it all. He could shoot it, pass it, run the floor and defend the toughest opponents. He owned the paint and made opposing slashers think twice about driving and opposing teams think twice about winning. He had the length, endurance, and defensive IQ to dominant the last decade. His imprint on the league is big and will definitely will be in the Hall with Bill when its all said and done.
A power forward? Really? Really. This isn't Dennis Rodman or Zach Randolph. This Kevin Garnett, one of the most fiercely intense players we will ever see. His DNA may have been drawn exclusively to couple Bill Russell and Bill Lambeer. But Garnett's focus to winning and to everything on the court, defensively, offensively and X O's may not be matched. He has always been the guy on his team's and his team's took on his personality to win games. He'll never give it to you easy, he never backs down and he never stops going. His will is to break your's and do it with pleasure. Even Russell had to give props to KG in this interview. The skills and numbers are there, and the mentality is burning hot.