The NBA at 75: The best players of the past 25 years
With the NBA exiting an awkward (but ultimately pretty entertaining) All-Star Weekend amid a pandemic, many hoops fans are looking forward to getting vaccinated and returning to arenas in the near future.
We can also look ahead to the league celebrating its 75th anniversary with typical fanfare next season.
It’s been 25 years since the NBA unveiled its list of 50 Greatest Players. The season to follow was a celebration of the milestone, with everybody from Bill Russell to Michael Jordan appearing at that year’s midseason showcase in the greatest assembly of hoops talent the world has ever seen.
One can only assume that we’ll soon get a new list of the 75 Greatest Players in NBA History.
While you could probably write a book about who the next 25 might be, I thought it might be fun (and more efficient) to compile an All-Star team for the past quarter-century.
There are some caveats. For instance, a number of the original 50 Greatest were still playing in 1996. To ensure this team truly represents the last 25 years without favoring past achievements, I’ve removed those names from consideration (except for one). That includes all members of the 1992 Dream Team.
Also, the goal is not to just look at stats or All-Star selections, but to identify players who defined the NBA over a 25-year span. Arguments can be boosted by accolades or team accomplishments – sure – but a player’s impact on and off the court should be considered.
With that said, let’s start the list, and the subsequent debate.
A Starting Five of Snubs
Two guys I’m confident I’ll be writing about if I do this again 25 years from now…
Sean Sylver can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Talk hoops with him on Twitter @TheSylverFox.