Watch Shaq’s reaction when Wilt shakes his hand as if like “Holy sh** this guy is strong!” Wilt is 56 or 57 years old when this happens and is still taller than Shaq. Patrick Ewing (listed at 7’0″, more like 6’10”) looks real small comparatively.
It was painful to even re-open this page to look at this list because of how wrong it is. Rather than spend all day ripping on this without having created my own yet to show them how it’s done, let’s hit on the top 5 most egregious points of this and simply move on.
- Pistol Pete is not in the top 25. If you don’t understand how this is a big deal, simply stop reading here and instead brush up on that. Steve Nash is more influential? Clearly the people who did this article know nothing. And I love Nash but he’s not going down in the history of basketball lore like Pistol.
- Dr. J at #8. Wow. As a cultural icon, he is the primary reason the NBA was forced to merge with the ABA. And the merger saved the league. He caused the Afro to go in style and was an ambassador off the court. I don’t know how in either area, on or off the court he could be outside the top 5.
- George Mikan #25. He is the reason people realized tall people could actually be good and dominant at basketball. It took 50 years for that to happen, so what is more game-changing than that?
- Wilt Chamberlain at #5. On the court, there is no one other than MAYBE Mikan or Dr. J that you could even argue was close to as influential. No single player caused so many rule changes in NBA history. People showed up just to see the man.
- On the court, I’m not sure how LeBron James really would be in the top five for on court influence. If you say he’s Wilt but as a forward, then Wilt needs to be above him. Teams may have changed their offseason strategy to be able to sign him so I see some off court influence. “The Decision” is your evidence? If Pat Riley is given credit for the superteam LeBron gets credit too?
Honorable mention: AI at #13. There is no player who had more kids wearing his jerseys at one time.
What’s the Ewing Theory? Where did it come from? The theory was created in the mid-’90s by Dave Cirilli, a friend of mine who was convinced that Patrick Ewing’s teams inexplicably played better when Ewing was either injured or missing.
I know that occasionally addition by subtraction does work, and these guys have a lot of examples of it, but we find out later is not always perfect.
I do owe them props for predicting Drew Bledsoe, even though they couldn’t have predicted 5 rings for Brady. And if you look at their other predictions they are all incorrect, unless you give half a point for Kobe winning a title 5 years after Shaq was gone.
This video brings in a lot of valuable components to the debate and there are more if the video were to be an hour long.
Honestly I thought other than Sabonis they could have been talking about Oscar Schmidt.
Thinking more about Portland, it seems unfathomable that they even blowing their chance at MJ, had 5 unbelievable center prospects in a 30 year period (Walton, Moses Malone [cut], Bowie, Sabonis, Oden) and only two of those worked out in any capacity for Rip City. Despite all those high picks in loaded drafts, they still have managed one of the highest winning percentages despite only one title. They surely have passed Philly for 7th all-time after that article was published. Their case for luckiest franchise of all time didn’t even mention that Sabonis had previously been selected by Atlanta but it was ruled illegal due to age requirement.
The call by former Columbia University college, All-American Chet Forte …
1:40: Hall of Famer Russell rejected by Wilt on a dunk.
2:05: Hall of Fame swingman John Havlicek shot challenged by Chamberlain and then Wilt gets the rebound himself.
3:06: Hall of Famer K.C. Jones decides against going for a lay up against Wilt so he passes to Havlicek yet somehow Wilt recovers to potentially block another shot if Hondo got it toward the basket.
6:05: What 31 year old center can explode to a loose ball and take it down court at that speed? Ok maybe Russell and Wilt does pass it off to Guokas for an easy jumper, but had he missed, Wilt would have easily gotten the rebound as Don Nelson (a power forward) just bounces off Chamberlain underneath without Wilt even using his arms/hands.
6:24: Is there anyone else with even a chance at a rebound close to the basket with Wilt in the area?
6:44 clutch shot by Russell to cut the lead to one after Guokas hit one. Odd that Wilt did not challenge the shot here, but I guess Russ deserved that respect.
7:18 Don Nelson is clutch and always has a soft touch. Foreshadowing to Russell’s last game in 1969 perhaps with Breda Kolff keeping Wilt on the bench?
A great view of a great team from the people who were there and it was all fresh.
Takeaway 1: Don’t hang on the basket if you are a member of the crowd storming the court. (17:45)
Takeaway 2: Even as an old player coach, Russell was pretty good at hoops, this being his only loss EVER in an elimination game, being 11-1 in his career averaging 30 rebounds per game.
Takeaway 3: This version of Wilt may be the most impressive season of a center in NBA history. He even hits clutch free throws underhand (22:30 mark). Then at the 23:02 mark, HOFer Nate Thurmond who is a massive guy 6’11, 250+ goes sprawling away from Wilt just on contact with Wilt’s chest, not even a push. Wilt had his arm on Thurmond’s back a few seconds prior but clearly has both hands up when Thurmond falls.
Takeaway 4: Rick Barry is really, really hard to stop. Unless you force him into help from Wilt Chamberlain (23:12) mark which Wilt switches (not a double team). What other center in NBA history is going to be able to stop a small forward 16 feet from the hoop? Maybe Hakeem only or a young David Robinson/ Patrick Ewing, but no other 31 year old 300+ pounder!
Takeaway 5: Hal Greer, Wali Jones, and Chet Walker can get incredibly hot at any give time, and are perhaps the original “microwave”. But what is Bill Russell going to do, leave Wilt alone under the basket?
This pretty much sums it up for the woeful Rutgers basketball program which dropped off a bit in the 80s, dropped to a team that was just plain competitive in the 90s, and dropped off the map completely after an NIT final loss to Michigan in 2004.
So much so, they didn’t even garner their own page on this website.
General manager Billy King settled into his chair at the head of a conference table in the media room at the Brooklyn Nets’ practice facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey to brief reporters on the new, scaled-down expectations for his team.
The key in this article is that they need to avoid the horrific seasons that crush your brand, “like the Knicks had last year.”
Much to follow on this team that is doing the opposite of what every other NBA team is doing.
If this doesn’t pump you up for the National Football League (the NFL Primetime theme) I don’t know what will. The roller coaster of emotion matches the game so well.
See where the major cities (3 teams or more) rank in their aesthetics of the attire.