NBA.com is running a ‘Best Ever
’ video series all this week. Give us one player that you never had a chance to see play but wish you had. Why?
I haven't seen that many NBA games in person, so this list could go on and on. But I mean, it's no contest: I never watched Michael Jordan in person, and who in their right mind wouldn't have wanted to see that live? He's had so many historic games that, even going back in time to a random date between 1984 and 1998, the odds of you catching one of his huge performances are better than that of any player. Runner-ups: Magic, Dr. J, Nique, Pistol Pete, Shawn Kemp and Bird.
I started following the NBA in the early 90s, so everything that happened before I had to watch on Youtube and elsewhere. I obviously would have liked to see Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain or Oscar Robertson, but the one guy I barely missed and feel the worst about is Bill Walton. His career was derailed by injury, but whenever he did play he contributed in ways that many guys don’t even understand today. He was the ultimate team player, he was unselfish and just knew how to play the game the right way. If, despite all the injuries, Larry Bird wants you on your team, you must be a special player.
It would be great if I could see, just for one game (yes I guess you have a clue of the game I 'm thinking), Wilt Chamberlain: the player that changed the rules of the game. Literally. The NBA had to change the rules in order to help the other teams stop him. It's the Stilt.
The logo, Jerry West. He was as clutch as it gets and a terrific shooter. No less than a person named Michael Jordan said of West (in his book, For The Love Of The Game), “I would have liked to test myself against him at his best… He was a great scorer, but he also played good defense... Could I have stopped him? I don’t know. But it would have been a great matchup.” That testimonial by Jordan for West does it for me.
John Stockton. As a kid, I was amazed by John Stockton. I was too young to come to the US and see him play. If we try to link his body to his career numbers, you can barely explain it. The only thing you can say is “OK, the next John Stockton will be born in next century." My mind can still replay the hundreds of his absolutely unbelievable assists.