(Ed. Here is Part 2.)
As I’ve been getting ready to say goodbye to August and the pleasant warmth of this mild summer this Labor Day weekend, I had some time to relax in the ALTTAB Dome and review what we’ve all been up to these past several months. Every year, the dog days of the sports calendar test the creativity of people who love to talk about sports and things got a little odd this time around. ESPN ranked every jersey across the four major North American sports. Deadspin “ranked and explained” 125 college football programs. Grantland gave us the “Battle for the Best Song of Millennium”. Without much else to talk about, with the exception of mid-season baseball, we often look backward and attempt to make sense of the world, to bring order to chaos, to settle longstanding points of debate so that we might move forward into the fall with a clean slate, ready for what’s next.
Of course, none of this ever works. But then Labor Day arrives and with it the end of summer and the beginning of the college football season. Before we know it, the NFL is back as well and its only a costume party or two until the NBA is bouncing along as well. We forget all our arguments about all-time and forever and the greatest because we have new scores, new plays, new injustices to argue about. That is, until Earth tilts on its axis again and makes it to the other side of its orbit around the sun, and the heat comes back and we all return to questions about the universe and Kyrie Irving’s place in it. So in the spirit of an especially insane summer, I present to you
ALTTAB’s MOST EPIC BASKETBALL TEAMS OF ALL TIME
The hypothetical works like this: there will be two, 12 man teams, each assembled from professional basketball players from any era, at the height of their powers. These teams should give some credence to ideas like team chemistry and cohesion. They will be picked in an A-B-A-B style draft by yours truly and my buddy Ed. The draft will be conducted over gchat, because this is ALTTAB and of course it will be over gchat. The winner will be determined via a detailed analysis of each teams’ strengths and weaknesses, conducted by Dano, our resident basketball decider.
The draft took place last week and Dano just handed in his analysis today. Below are both teams, with short descriptions of how the players earned their picks and pitches for each team. I’ll post the big decision later this weekend.
TEAM A (Gus’ Team)
LeBron James – man-child musclebeast; capable of dominating every single statistical way of measuring basketball performance; can be flexible to accommodate different teammates’ skill sets; talent multiplier
Michael Jordan – highest earning Carolina geography grad ever; like Kobe Bryant in being mentioned as the “next Michael Jordan”—except actually is Michael Jordan; sadness of post-basketball life only serves to highlight how amazing he was as a player; will be go-to guy for final shot; number two basketball silhouette
Karl Malone – short list of all-time greatest finishers; built like Lebron before LeBron; fantastic post defender; was able to be black and live in Utah for more than a decade (easy going dude)
Dirk Nowitzki – easily the best foreign NBA player ever; great length, capable of lights out shooting performances; the Nowitski knee up, fade away is among the most unguardable shots ever
Shaquille O’Neal – man-child musclebeast who makes LeBron and Malone look normal sized; incredible speed, strength, and agility; elite rim protector and finisher; number three basketball silhouette
John Stockton – all-time NBA leader in assists and steals (like a Steve Nash-Gary Peyton baby); talent multiplier; easy going dude
Reggie Miller – greatest shit talker in NBA history; game improves with game intensity; three point assassin with clutch rating off the charts
Allen Iverson – X factor; perhaps greatest pound for pound scorer in NBA history; black hole of basketball who could be situationally brilliant; was drunk during entire NBA career—was still unguardable
Kevin Garnett – defense-first, intensity monster; willing to subordinate offensive production in pursuit of wins
Kevin Love – inside-outside 20/20 threat; a stretch 4 who can grab rebounds
Julius Irving – greatest scorer of his era; athletic freak; made dunking cool; easy going dude
Steve Kerr – NBA all-time leader in three point percentage
This team can play any style of basketball, with post up threats from Shaq and Malone (and old Jordan, Dirk, Love, and KG) with shooting from Dirk, Miller, Love, and Kerr to keep the spacing; perhaps the two greatest talent multipliers ever in LeBron and Stockton; X factor Iverson is impossible game plan for; slashy scoring from Jordan, Irving, and LeBron; Jordan leads and LeBron leads by example—following Jordan; guys like Malone, Stockton, and Irving form core of easy going dudes who keep Iverson and Shaq from getting nuts and forcing a trade to the MonStars.
TEAM B (Ed’s Team)
Magic Johnson – Best leader ever; will distribute and set the table; manages everyone’s egos
Kobe Bryant – Closest thing to Jordan ever seen; knows how to play with talent; See Team USA where he was defensive stopper and closer
Larry Bird – Best three point shooter; spreads the floor for the post players, but rebounds and is a playmaker, can play a stretch 4
Tim Duncan – Great defense and low post presence; Ego won’t be a problem
Kareem Abdul Jabbar- Unstoppable sky hook; doesn’t need the whole lane to operate
Gary Payton – The Glove; Locks down any point guard that Magic can’t stay with
Jerry West – Hard nose Scorer; obsessed with winning
Dennis Rodman – Every team needs one head case; The Worm will get in Bron and Mailman’s heads; Rebounding and Defense
Bill Russel – Greatest winner; Focus on defense and Rebounding
Hakeem Olajuwon – Only center to ever outplay Shaq in his prime
Isiah Thomas – Speedy scoring point guard
Robert Horry – Inexplicable game winners
Team can play any style: uptempo, lock down D, Post up, or stretch 4; Good mesh of egos, while all greats are type A personalities the leaders will be Magic, Bird and Kobe. Everyone else would fall in line with the exception of maybe Isiah.