basketball – 1988 All-Star Sunday – A Game For the Ages

October 28, 2009

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1. Micheal Jordan

Jordan really didn’t have much weakness in his basketball game. He was a relentless defender as witnessed by his 9 All defensive 1st team selections and also winning a defensive player of the year award. He was also by far the most dominant offensive force of his generation, routinely having to battle double and triple teams every game yet still scoring at a career 30.1 PPG pace. Clutch shooting was also his forte as he hit so many game winning shots and his stats only improved in the playoffs when it really mattered. Micheal Jordan had 10 Scoring tiles, 5 season MVP awards, 6 Finals MVP awards and 6 championship titles.

2. Wilt Chamberlain

Statistically Wilt Chamberlain should be number one on this list. In a single game he once scored 100 pts by himself! In another game he scored 58 pts and pulled down 45 rebounds. His most amazing stat I think is that he never once fouled out of a NBA game in his entire career. He had absolutely off the chart career numbers 30.1 PPG, 22.9 RPG, .540 FGP %. Chamberlain was over 7 ft tall, could run and jump like a gazelle and was one of the strongest men on two feet. On the downside Wilt only won one NBA championship and was a notorious poor free throw shooter.

He may have won more championships if he didn’t have to face the great Celtics team of his era almost every year in the playoffs.

3. Bill Russell

You can not argue with winning and Bill Russell and his Celtics won 11 and I repeat 11 NBA Championships.

Not much more to say about Bill other then he was a fierce competitor, tenacious rebounder, consumate team player and a born winner.

4. Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Where to start, Most total points in the NBA ever at 38,387. Kareem won 6 NBA Championships with career averages of

24.6 PPG and 11.2 RPG. Jabbar was a basketball phenom and his famed “Sky-hook” was his unblockable signature shot that kept finding the twine for 1560 NBA games.

5. Larry Bird

Larry “legend” Bird was a renowned clutch shooter, equally adept at the 3 point line and the free throw. Bird won 3 NBA Championships and 3 season MVP awards finishing his career with averages of 24.3 ppg and 10 rpg. A great team player and leader who could back up any of his trash talk on the court.

6. Magic Johnson

Johnson put the show in “Showtime” in Los Angeles. His behind the back passes, amazing shots and flair for the dramatic were all part of his game. Magic was a towering PG who could play all 5 positions on the court.

5 NBA Championships and 3 Season MVP awards are just some of the numerous awards in Johnson’s great NBA career.

Magic Johnson could have easily been # 5 on this list but I could only choose one.

7. Jerry West

Jerry West also know as “Mr. Clutch” was an all star every year for 14 years he played in the NBA . West led his Lakers to the NBA finals 9 times in his career winning only 1 championship. 6 of those finals losses would come to the great Celtics team of his era. West was a perfectionist at his craft and was known to be a great defender and excellent shot. Only one player Micheal Jordan has a higher scoring average in the NBA playoffs then Jerry West. Career averages of 27 ppg, 6.7 Apg and 5.8 RPG reflect his basketball greatness.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s sky hook was unstoppable. Even at 41, as his extension and agility had faded away, Kareem still commanded a double team because of the devastation a team would face at the mercy of the unblockable sky hook.

Billy Cunningham, doing the color commenting, summed up the indelible legacy Abdul-Jabbar left on the game when he said “I played in All-Star games with him, I coached All-Star games against him and now I am broadcasting a game he’s playing in”.

No player’s domination would ever span generations the way Kareem’s did and in this All-Star game, one of his last, Kareem would fittingly become the All-Star games leading scorer. Out of 39 All-Star games played at that point, Kareem appeared in nearly 20 of them. A man who’s antisocial nature and uncharismatic approach with the media left his accomplishments often forgotten or unmentioned by today’s NBA scholars. This game, however, is a testament to the undeniable impact he left on the sport.

The NBA’s greatest winner, Bill Russell (then the coach of the Kings) looked on from the audience at the champions of the 70’s and 80’s such as Kareem, Magic, Bird, Mo Cheeks and Moses Malone were flanked by emerging champions of the 90’s such as Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas and Hakeem Olajuwan.

In a form of poetic justice, just three years removed from the East All-Stars “Freeze-Out”on Jordan, Larry Bird looked for Michael on every play routing for his Air-ness to win the MVP in his home town.

There was one man who was most missed on this All-Star Sunday. The man who created the most exciting highlight reels in the history of the game. Julius Erving, the Ambassador of NBA basketball, retired before the 1988 season started and, for the first time in his life, looked on from the stands with pride as Bird and Magic seemed to be holding the torch he passed just fine.

In an era when the Eastern Conference dominated the NBA, it was fitting that they ended up winning that game. Jordan scored 40 point and It was a pretty decisive win by the Eastern All-Stars but that didn’t deter the Western squad from competing to the very end.

No professional athlete can boast such a claim.

I consider myself to be a somewhat astute NBA historian and yet I had to research all of Jordan’s accolades online as to not forget any.

Above all of his personal and team achievements, perhaps Jordans most admirable contributions to professional sports was his ability to face defeat, adversity, world fame, and tremendous success with grace, maturity, sportsmanlike conduct, and humility

Resource Author Francisco Rodriguez Higueras
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