Story of the Week


    The NBA permits 12 active roster spots. I couldn’t exclude anyone on this list, so I made it 13. Active NBA players were not up for consideration in this feature. I won’t get into the list of players who were considered but didn’t quite get there, but there were several. The players are listed alphabetically, and not by my ranking of them. Here goes! (I'll now sit back and wait for all the e-mails.)

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bucks, Lakers. Center. Monument to longevity with 20 NBA seasons. 38,387 career points makes him all-time career NBA leader. He retired as leader in nine career statistical categories, and is the owner of six NBA team titles, and six league MVP honors.

    Elgin Baylor. Lakers. Forward. The first "skywalker" in the NBA. Described as "the man with a thousand moves." Career scoring average of 27.4, and highest single season average of 38.3. He was All-NBA First Team Player 10 times. At 6-5, one of the leading rebounders in NBA history.

    Larry Bird. Celtics. Forward. The perfect prototype of the shooting forward. He is noted for his great consistency, deadly shooting accuracy, and clutch pressure performances. He was NBA Rookie of the Year, three-time NBA MVP, and NBA Finals MVP twice.

    Wilt Chamberlain. Warriors, 76’rs, Lakers. Center. Most dominating offensive force the game has ever seen, and the rule changes because of him speak to that. Over 30,000 career points, and almost as many girlfriends, and I cleaned that up. Single season scoring average of 50.4. Once scored 100 points in a single game. Once led the NBA in scoring in seven consecutive seasons. Great rebounder.

    Julius Erving. Squires, Nets, 76’rs. Forward. Baylor’s successor as the "king of hang time." The greatest slam-dunker of all-time. Scored 30,026 career points. Won three ABA MVP’s, three ABA scoring titles, and one NBA MVP. 16 seasons in ABA and NBA.

    Elvin Hayes. Rockets, Bullets. Classic power-forward. 12-time NBA All-Star. Upon his retirement from the NBA in 1984, third all-time scorer, third all-time rebounder, third all-time in blocked shots, third all-time in games played, first all-time in minutes played.

    Earvin Johnson. Lakers. Guard. He spoiled me forever; there'll never be another Magic Johnson. Point-guard supreme at 6-9, Magic had great versatility; could play every position, and did. Second all-time NBA career assists. Three-time NBA MVP, and leader of five NBA championship teams. First rookie ever named MVP finalist.

    Michael Jordan. Bulls. Guard. The most celebrated and commercially-promoted American athlete ever. He is the NBA career record-holder for per-game scoring average (31.7), and individual scoring championships (10). Jordan is the choice of many experts as the greatest player of all time.

    Bob Pettit. Hawks. Center-Forward. First NBA player to reach 20,000 career points. The hardest on-court worker basketball has ever known. Was NBA Rookie of the Year, and NBA All-Star for all 11 seasons of his career. Retired in 1965 as highest career scorer and second-highest rebounder.

    Oscar Robertson. Royals, Bucks. Guard. Only player ever to average a triple-double for an NBA season. Like Magic, great versatility. Redefined point-guard position; court general, passer and scorer. Cumulative totals during first five NBA seasons actually stood above triple-double standards.

    Bill Russell. Celtics. Center. Only player ever to dominate with defensive performance alone. The greatest defensive center and shot-blocker in NBA history. NBA’s leading winner of team championships (11). Second only to Wilt for career rebounding average.

    Isiah Thomas. Pistons. Guard. At just 6-1, great scorer and passer, and attacked the basket. All-NBA-Rookie Team. All NBA First-Team or Second Team five years. 1984 All-Star Game MVP. Averaged 19.3 p.p.g. Fourth all-time in assists, ninth all-time in steals.

    Jerry West. Lakers. Guard. Known as "Mr. Clutch." Best pure shooter in NBA history. Fourth-highest career NBA scoring average (27.0), and 10th.-highest point total (25,192), achieved without benefit of three-point shot. Appeared in 14 NBA All-Star games. 29.7 average in 153 playoff games.

    My Coach: The duet of Lenny Wilkens and Phil Jackson. Not Red Auerbach; nothing wrong with ego, but his is unwarranted, and there isn’t a hat made anywhere big enough to fit it.

Last Week’s Trivia

    Earlier this year, the Florida Marlins failed to record an out in the first inning of their 25-8 loss to the Boston Red Sox until they brought in their third pitcher. In 1973, the Kansas City Royals failed to retire any Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning until they brought in their third pitcher. What’s so ironic here? Jack McKeon, Florida’s manager this year, managed KC in 1973, 30 years ago. Ironic is an understatement.

Trivia Question of the Week

    Who is the only black player ever elected to the Hockey Hall-of-Fame? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.