NBA G.O.A.T Debate

Who is the NBA’s greatest player of all time? What qualifies a player to be in a discussion? Is there even an right answer to these questions? For years, NBA fans have argued about who is the greatest NBA player ever or the G.O.A.T. The most common debate is between LeBron James and Michael Jordan but there are plenty of other players who deserve to be involved in this discussion. Since the inception of the NBA in 1946 when it was known as the BAA, the league has seen its fair share of great players come and go making history and changing the scope of the league forever. Here I will present some players who deserve to be in the G.O.A.T discussion, their resume’s and why they deserve to be in the this discussion.

FULL DISCLOSURE: This is not the complete argument for why these players deserve to be the G.O.A.T and these are not the only players qualified to be in this debate. There will be multiple parts.

Michael Jordan (1984-1993, 1995-1998, 2001-2003) 1072 Games

Teams: Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards

Career Stats: 30.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Playoff Stats: 33.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.7 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.9 BPG

Awards: 6x NBA Champion, 6x NBA Finals MVP, 5x MVP, 3x All-Star MVP, 14x All-Star, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, 11x All-NBA team, 9x All-Defensive team, 10x Scoring Champion, 3x Steals Leader

G.O.A.T Credentials: Michael Jordan is the only player in NBA history to win every individual award in NBA history (Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, MVP, All-Star MVP, Finals MVP). He is the only player in NBA history to win at least six NBA championships and six Finals MVPs. He has the most scoring titles in NBA history. He has the highest scoring average in regular season and postseason history. He is the only player to win MVP, All-Star MVP and Finals MVP in the same season twice.

LeBron James (2003-)

Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers

Career Stats: 27.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 7.2 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Playoff Stats: 28.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 7.1 APG, 1.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Awards: 3x NBA Champion, 3x NBA Finals MVP, 4x NBA MVP, 15x All-Star, 3x All-Star MVP, Rookie of the Year, 15x All-NBA team, 6x All-Defensive team, 1x Scoring Champion

G.O.A.T Credentials: LeBron James is the only player in NBA history to average 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the regular season and the postseason for his career. He has the most All-NBA first team selections in NBA history (15). He is the only player not a part of the 60s Celtics teams to appear in eight straight NBA Finals. He has the most triple-doubles in NBA Finals history (10). He has the most total points in postseason history. He is the only player in the top 5 all-time in points and top 10 all-time in assists.

Kobe Bryant (1996-2016)

Team: Los Angeles Lakers

Career Stats: 25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.5 BPG

Playoff Stats: 25.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Awards: 5x NBA Champion, 2x NBA Finals MVP, 1x MVP, 18x NBA All-Star, 4x All-Star MVP, 15x All-NBA team, 12x All-Defensive team, 2x Scoring Champion

G.O.A.T Credentials: Kobe Bryant has the most All-Defensive selections of any guard in NBA history. He has the second most points in a single game in NBA history (81). He is the youngest player to score 30,000 and 32,000 points in NBA history. He is the youngest player to start an NBA game and an All-Star Game in NBA history. He is the oldest player in NBA history to score 60 points in a game.

Magic Johnson (1979-1991, 1995-1996)

Team: Los Angeles Lakers

Career Stats: 19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 11.2 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG

Playoff Stats: 19.5 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 12.3 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Awards: 5x NBA Champion, 3x NBA Finals MVP, 3x MVP, 12x All-Star, 2x All-Star MVP, 10x All-NBA team, 4x Assist Leader, 2x Steals Leader

G.O.A.T Credentials: Magic Johnson has the highest assist average in NBA history (11.2). He has the most triple doubles in postseason history (30). He is the only player in NBA history with 100 regular season triple doubles and 30 postseason triple doubles. He is the only player in NBA history to win NBA FInals MVP in his rookie season. He is the only player in NBA playoff history with 2000 career assists and has the highest career playoff assist average.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1969-1989)

Teams: Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers

Career Stats: 24.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.6 APG, 0.9 SPG, 2.6 BPG

Playoff Stats: 24.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.4 BPG

Awards: 6x NBA Champion, 2x NBA Finals MVP, 6x MVP, 19x All-Star, Rookie of the Year, 15x All-NBA team, 11x All-Defensive team, 2x Scoring Champion, 1x Rebound Leader, 4x Block Leader

G.O.A.T Credentials: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leader in career regular season points. He has the most NBA MVP awards and is the only player in NBA history with six MVP awards and six NBA championships. He is the only player in NBA history with 30,000 career points and 3,000 career blocks. He is the only player in NBA history to win three MVPs with two different teams.

Part 2 coming soon…

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