Is it just me or does this question just get on your nerves. There is no correct answer, but still people love to sit around and argue their point. Honestly, that’s not what bothers me though. I will never turn down a nice basketball debate over any topic, as long as it is a proper debate, with both sides presenting evidence and/or meaningful grounds to support their argument. What bothers me is the basketball knowledge that these “debaters” have. Just the other day a guy at work asked me if I consider Michael Jordan the best NBA player of all times.
“No”, I said calmly “I’m going to have to go with Wilt.” I already know what’s coming next. He’s going to say “Are you crazy, nobody is better than Jordan!” or something to that effect, everyone does. Then he totally cathces me totally off guard,
“Who?” He asked puzzled as if this is the first time he’s ever heard that name in his life.
“Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain!” I replied. “You know that guy that once scored 100 points in a game. The guy that averaged 50 points in an entire season.”
“Nope, never heard of him” he said “but I guarantee he wasn’t as good as Jordan.”
What!? I’m really confused now. How can you have an opinion of someone that you’ve never heard of? I, of course, think that MJ was an exceptional player and definately in the top 2 or 3 in history but I can’t put him above Wilt Chamberlain. I’ve never seen Wilt play but his stats are mind boggling to me. The guy averaged 37 point and 27 rebounds as a rookie! The stats that I have linked here do not mention blocks but I am willing to bet he averaged more than 5 per game. OK, so, Dwight Howard is presently averaging 22 points, 14.5 rebounds and 4 blocks. Have you watched him play yet this year? He is everywhere, doing everything. He appears to totally dominate, he’s involved in almost every play offensively and defesively. Now imagine that Wilt did roughly twice as much as Howard. Impressive.
I also believe that Oscar Robertson can be thrown into the conversation. Robertson was a point guard that averaged more than 30 points and 11 assists five times in his professional career. In the 1961-62 season he averaged a tripple-double, and I’m not talking about one of those Jason Kidd barely tripple-doubles, I’m talking 30 points, 11.4 assist and 12.5 rebounds. In addition to that, 4 years he was either 1 rebound or 1 assist shy of averaging a trip-dub. Lets put that into perspective, shall we. This time I’m going to use His Majesty King James to validate my point. Lebron is, in my opinion, clearly the best player in the NBA right now (Kobe is my favorite but I knew that this day would come sooner or later). Lebron is presently averaging 27points, 6,8 rebounds and 6,3 assist and when you watch the game he sticks out like a sore thumb. He is by far the Alpha Male on the court. In fact, right now at this moment, there is no one in the NBA averaging over 30 points. D.Wade is first with 29.5 points a game, but he is only averaging 5 rebounds and 7.5 assists.
Now, I’m not in any way, shape or form trying to discredit the many outstanding accomplishments of Mr.Jordan, I’m just stating that it’s not clear, to me, that he is the G.O.A.T. He very well may be, but since the NBA was already 30 years old when I was born, and then it took me another 15 years to understand all the different dynamics of the game, I don’t consider myself qualified to answer that question. I will continue to have my favorite players and you will continue to have your favorite players and we can debate forever about who’s the G.O.A.T. But, once again, there is no right answer, so don’t take it personal when I say “I’m going to have to go with Wilt”.