When I’m bored at work I often turn to ESPN polls and Sports Nation Rank Em to see how in-tuned the rest of the world is with me when it comes to sports.
It’s not the other way around. One of my favorite personal tag lines is I’m not the man, but I’m definitely one of them.
The last few weeks every media outlet and barber shop in America has debated if the 2012 Olympic Team could beat the Dream Team after Kobe Bryant’s brash statement saying his team could. I think it’s safe to say the 1992 team has won hands down. I’ve only heard one man, my brother in-law, say LeBron James and company would beat Michael Jordan and company. Honestly, I think he is crazy and his lifetime stay in Milwaukee has ruined him as a sports fan.
When I was on ESPN earlier this week, I noticed a ranking game which consisted of ranking 24 players from both this year’s Olympic team and the 1992 Dream Team. This sparked my interest and kept my attention for quite some time.
After I completed my rankings — about an hour after I started — I analyzed the averages of votes done by the rest of the country, or in this case Sports Nation. I’m not surprised to find out how crazy the basketball/sports world is.
Here are my findings:
These are the players ESPN offered to rank: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, David Robinson, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, Chris Mullin, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Tyson Chandler, Andre Iguodala, James Harden and Christian Laettner.
I was not surprised Jordan was voted as the No. 1 player out of this group because he is the greatest player of all-time, hands down. I was surprised on how many first place votes he received though, 55,365. LeBron, at No. 2 on the list and in first place votes, only had 3,320. This is quite the landslide.
James will probably be the second player on this list when his career is officially over and he is in the Hall of Fame; he will be. However, I had a rough time picking him over some of the game’s best players to ever play. With this said, James didn’t make my list until the five spot.
Yes, I realize this is a Heat blog and James is the man right now. This is one of the things I tried to stay away from, the “Now” factor. A lot of times we get stuck in what is happening now or what we saw last instead of what happened 20 years ago that we’ll never see again.
Magic cracked my list at two, Kobe at three and for everyone’s surprise Barkley at four.
Barkley was a beast in his prime during the 92 Olympics as he lead the team in scoring with 18 points per game. He was a great defensive low post player and one of the greatest rebounders the league had ever seen until Dennis Rodman began to put up legendary numbers. Also, he took a Phoenix Suns team with hardly any real players — excusing Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle — to the NBA Finals.
SN followed James with Kobe, Magic and Bird to round out the top five. I had Bird at seven underneath Malone, who was a mountain of a man and the second leading scorer of all-time in the NBA.
Here is where I got confused until I remembered the “Now” factor. SN put Durant at six, which have him above Barkley, Malone, Pippen, and Stockton. Again, he could very well crack the top five when it’s all said and done. But, he is only 23-years-old and hasn’t really done anything except score a lot of points. Each one of the four guys listed above him where three to five tool players, not just scorers.
How do you put the man who is the all-time leader in steals and assists –Stockton — outside of the top 10. I had him at No. 9 behind Malone at six, Bird at seven and Pippen at eight.
The middle of the list is all up to the individual. I didn’t have a single player after Durant more than two spots different than the SN list. I put D-Will at 14, SN had him at 16. Any of the mid-level Olympians are interchanged.
The only issue I had at all was Melo receiving 213 first place votes. If he wasn’t a Knick, he wouldn’t have received one. Who in their right mind would take Anthony over anyone in the top 10, whether my list or the SN list.
The top 19 players of this list I mixed up from the real rankings to make you guess until you actually get that point of the post. On the other hand, I left the last five guys on the SN’s list the same. Let’s face it, Laettner will never rate above Westbrook, let alone one of his individually nominated Hall of Fame inducted Dream Team teammates.
I also had Griffin, Chandler, Iggy, Harden and Laettner in the bottom five, just not in the same order.
You Tube and highlight reels have confused the entire world of what makes a great basketball player. Griffin is a dunker; probably one of the best, besides Vince Carter. However, he is not a great basketball player. He does not have a jump shot, plays little defense and is not a good rebounder for his size. His pure athletic ability does have him above Laettner, Chandler and Harden but Iggy is by far a better player.
Iguodala can throw down a monster jam. He can hit a three-ball. The Philadelphia 76ers’ is an elite perimeter defender, who can take the ball coast to coast after a steal and can either create his own basket or make a pretty pass to an open shooter. Griffin can’t do all of that.
I’d take Chandler over the other four if I needed size or defense, but Laettner could score better than him, let alone the rest of this group.
Sports Nation LaChance
- Michael Jordan 1. Jordan
- LeBron James 2. Magic
- Kobe Bryant 3. Kobe
- Magic Johnson 4. Barkley
- Larry Bird 5. James
- Kevin Durant 6. Malone
- Charles Barkley 7. Bird
- Karl Malone 8. Pippen
- Scottie Pippen 9. Stockton
- David Robinson 10. Durant
- Patrick Ewing 11. Ewing
- John Stockton 12. Robinson
- Chris Parul 13. Paul
- Clyde Drexler 14. Williams
- Carmelo Anthony 15. Anthony
- Deron Williams 16. Drexler
- Russell Westbrook 17. Westbrook
- Chris Mullin 18. Love
- Kevin Love 19. Mullin
- Blake Griffin 20. Iguodala
- Tyson Chandler 21. Griffin
- Andre Iguodala 22. Harden
- James Harden 23. Chandler
- Christian Laettner 24. Laettner
Tags: 1992 Dream Team 2012 USA Olympic Basketball Team Andre Iguodala Blake Griffin Carmelo Anthony Charles Barkley Chris Mullin Chris Paul Christian Laettner Clyde Drexler David Robinson Deron Williams ESPN James Harden John Stockton Karl Malone Kevin Durant Kevin Love Kobe Bryant Larry Bird Lebron James Magic Johnson Michael Jordan Russell Westbrook Scottie Pippen Sports Nation Tyson Chandler