By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
On Thursday, the NBA revealed its entire 75th Anniversary team – the 75 greatest players in the league’s history. Of course, right away, NBA fans, players and media members began debating the merits of the list. Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson was outright angry, posting on his Instagram: “Woke up this AM, still pissed about this stupid ass list. Ga damn I can’t wait to hoop again. Sick of the disrespect. Winning isn’t everything to some people like it is to me I guess.”
(Ease up, Klay. You’re a tremendous shooter and solid defender, but Top 75 worthy? Uh-uh. Not yet. Maybe not ever.)
Here is the full list. The graphic is courtesy of ESPN Honolulu’s Chanel Tsutsuse:
In my view – I’ve been following the NBA since the mid-1970s – the selection committee did a pretty extensive job coming up the 75 players. But, like everybody else, I have a few quibbles. Here are three players I would have included on this team:
- JOE DUMARS. The Hall of Famer was a key member of the Detroit Pistons’ back-to-back NBA championship teams and the 1989 NBA Finals MVP. He was a 6x All-Star and 4x All-Defensive First Team selection. No one could stop Michael Jordan, but Dumars came closest. (MJ himself said that Dumars was the best defender he ever faced.) If it were up to me, Dumars would take Damian Lillard’s spot on this 75th Anniversary Team. Lillard is great, but he doesn’t yet have the résumé to match Dumars’ accomplishments.
2. DAVID THOMPSON. Yeah, I get the reasoning why the “Skywalker” didn’t make the cut. His NBA career flamed out after five seasons, the result of cocaine addiction. But when he was at his best, he was favorably compared to Julius Erving and George Gervin as unstoppable scorers and spectacular showmen. This is a guy who once scored 73 points in a league game, and this was before the advent of the three-point shot. I’d give Thompson Carmelo Anthony’s spot on the Anniversary Team. I’ve always regarded Carmelo as overrated – a great scorer, but not much else. Sort of like Alex English.
3. VINCE CARTER. In his prime, there was no one quite like “Vin-Sanity.” He was, for that time, the league’s premier showman and hottest name. He produced on the court, too. The 8x All-Star is one of only six players to record 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,000 steals and 1,000 3-point field goals in his NBA career. To make room for Carter, I’d bump Paul Pierce from the team.