alttab most epic basketball teams of all time

(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


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.

About the Author: Gus Caravalho is the editor of ALTTAB Radio, a blog and podcast about sports. Go Lakers/Chargers/Tar Heels. Boo dook/olives/Mario Chalmers. Get more from Gus on ALTTAB Radio and Google+.

This Should Be On Every TV Channel And Every Website Today: 50th Anniversary Of “I Have A Dream” Speech

August 28, 1963, in Washington, DC. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where, if you didn’t realize, there is now a plaque commemorating the speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the nation.

i have a dream

Its surreal, now that I live here in the District, to imagine that this famous event–what Gawker’s Max Reed understated as “likely the most famous speech of the 20th century“– took place just down 14th Street from where I am currently writing. Generations of American kids have now grown up with this speech, and have been especially drilled about its famous phrase “the content of their character.” But like all good works of political art, the speech is not all cuddly reconciliation and it is a right of passage among American students to revisit this speech in high school or college and see it again with new eyes. Right from the top, with the “one hundred years later” cadence– it gives me chills. The experience of being a millennial kid is that Martin Luther King is almost an establishment figure. He has his own day (third Monday in January; first recognized in 1986) just like the presidents. He seems, at least where I grew up in southern California, to be universally respected. And his politics, again at least where I grew up, won the day. But when you see these peoples’ clothes and the looks on their faces and those aerial shots of 1960s Washington and when you listen to what he is saying, even if its for the fifth or tenth or ninetieth time, you realize what an agent of change he was. There is a reason he now has a day– because he is on Washington and Lincoln’s level bringing leadership to a time of crisis.

This post isn’t about sports so much as it is about being an American, because we don’t get to have the sports we love without Martin Luther King and without all those brave people who bent the arc of the universe back toward justice.

ALTTAB Radio NFL Preview

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Are you tired of the endless NFL previews with all their at-camp reporters and their statistical analysis of the past season and their endless tweeting and retweeting? Oh the retweeting! Here at ALTTAB we have the an NFL preview the way it should be: two people discussing how odd it is that no one in the reason of the football world is subscribing to their clearly-correct world view.

Go Chargers.


ALTTAB Radio Podcast – August 25, 2013

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Do you love Burn Notice? Dano sure does. Stick around for the end of the podcast for an ode to the original programming of the USA Network.