When you talk about the “Greatest of All-Time” (aka “GOAT”), Michael Jordan is generally in that discussion, along with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Ask some of the past greats, however, and you may be surprised to hear some of the players on their personal lists. Take the great Julius Erving, for example, from Eric Pincus of Los Angeles Times:
Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J.” Erving listed his picks as the top five NBA players of all time on Fox Sports Live on Tuesday, and he included three former Lakers.
“I decided on my five when I was about 15 years old — that was Wilt [Chamberlain], Bill [Russell], [Elgin] Baylor, [Jerry] West and Oscar Robertson,” Erving said. “That’s my five.”
Oddly, Erving didn’t include Lakers’ center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but in the same breath called him the “best who ever played in the NBA.”
Erving was joined in the interview by Gary Payton, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame over the weekend, and Charissa Thompson.
Payton’s top five included Russell, Chamberlain, Erving, Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson.
Erving grew up in a different era of basketball and understood a different kind of game. In that sense, you get an idea as to why he can only think of those that played in his time when mentioning the greatest of all-time – after all, he did make up his mind about it when he was just 15 years old. Still, it’s hard to fathom how he could possibly stick with that list and act as if Jerry West is really better than Jordan, even if West is the logo of the NBA.
As for Payton’s list, it’s ironic because he actually did play in the same era as Jordan, but chose to go with Erving anyway. Lets face it: as great as Irving was, he simply does not compare to what Jordan was able to do in the course of his career. Given that Payton recently said it was harder for him to guard John Stockton than Jordan, it’s clear that the soon-to-be Hall of Famer doesn’t have the same amount of respect for the former Chicago Bulls guard than most people.
Who’s on your list?
Onto other news from around the league:
- Toure’ Murry will try out for the New York Knicks, according to Marc Stein of ESPN: “Free-agent guard Toure’ Murry has accepted the New York Knicks’ invitation to training camp after a strong late push from the Miami Heat, according to sources close to the situation. Sources told ESPN.com that Murry, following his strong summer-league showing with the Knicks, ultimately decided to try to build on his July success in a New York uniform despite receiving an offer to go to camp instead with the two-time reigning champions, who have only 13 players under contract. Murry won raves in the Las Vegas summer league for his hard-nosed play and defensive presence at 6-foot-5, most notably from Knicks legendary broadcaster Walt Frazier. Sources say that Frazier’s high praise was among the factors that convinced him to try to make the Knicks’ roster even after the recent signing of free agent Beno Udrih as a third point. The Knicks do still have a roster spot open for the regular season with only 14 contracts on their books, one shy of the league maximum.”
- Beno Udrih has high expectations of the Knicks, from Marc Berman of New York Post: “I believe our team can go as far as going to the Finals,’’ Udrih told The Post at Ashe Stadium in his first remarks since signing. “We have to think like that from the first practice. We can be very good. It all depends how seriously we’re going to take it. “We all believe we can go really far. And our goal from the beginning has to be win it all because we know we’re going to be in the playoffs. Our mentality from the first practice has to be: we want to win a championship.’’… “I just want to be on a winning team,’’ Udrih said. “The last couple of years I was with teams rebuilding. I was trying to bring them a winning mentality and it didn’t happen. Now I’m actually on a team where I can play basketball and help a team win instead of teaching young guys how to win.’’
- The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Xavier Henry, according to Lakers.com: “The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent guard Xavier Henry, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released. Henry, a three-year NBA veteran, appeared in 50 games (2 starts) last season with the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) averaging 3.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.3 assists in 12.5 minutes. An early entry candidate for the 2010 NBA Draft following his freshman season at Kansas, the 6-6 guard was originally selected by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round (12th overall pick) of the 2010 NBA Draft before being traded to New Orleans in January of 2012. Henry has career averages of 4.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 133 games (18 starts).
- It appears power forward Nene will be ready to start the upcoming season fully healthy, according to J. Michael of CSN Washington: “After rehabilitating all summer, Nene is back and training with the Wizards a little less than a month before training camp begins. He is joined this week by the Wizards’ key free agent acquisition, Eric Maynor. Al Harrington, who signed in August as a free agent, has yet to report because he is dealing with a family matter. John Wall, Bradley Beal, Glen Rice and Martell Webster already have been training at Verizon Center. The Wizards begin training camp Sept. 28 on the campus of George Mason in nearby Fairfax, Va. Nene was limited to 27.2 minutes per game in 61 appearances, his lowest output in a full season since 2006-07 with the Denver Nuggets. His 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds also represented a dip in production. Coach Randy Wittman, however, said he expects Nene, who missed the start of last season with a foot injury and ended on the bench with sore knees, to be at full speed.”
- After undergoing surgery, David Lee is better than ever and has been tweaking some mechanics within his game, from Marcus Thompson of Contra Costa Times: “I feel no ill effects whatsoever,” Lee said after working out at the team’s downtown facility. “I actually feel a lot better moving around than I did even last year at this time.”… ”When they went in,” Lee said, “it was a situation where they were like, ‘Yes, you absolutely needed surgery.’ This wasn’t a gray area. The muscle was completely torn off the bone and frayed.”… ”This is the first time really in about five or six years that I’ve actually looked at the mechanics of some of the things I’ve been doing and fixed little things here and there,” Lee said. ”But the biggest thing is being in better shape. Having that extra endurance is going to help on the defensive end, being able to make extra-effort plays. It’s going to help me be more explosive, more athletic, which helps my overall game.”
- Andrew Bynum is working towards returning in time for the start of the upcoming season, but is taking “baby steps” to get there. Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer has details: “I moved here a week after the press conference, I’ve been here ever since — day in and day out just working,” he said, referring to the team’s practice facility. “I’m there, focused. I’m doing everything I can do to get back. That’s what all this is all about for me right now. I just want to play.”… Both sides entered the deal with their eyes wide open, but General Manager Chris Grant says Bynum has done everything the team’s doctors and athletic training staff asked. ”We’ve been very impressed with Andrew’s work ethic and diligence in this process,” Grant said. “He’s doing everything possible to get back on the court as quickly as he can.”… ”It’s a fluid process,” Bynum said. “I have no idea what the schedule’s going to be for me. But I’m doing everything I can to be ready. I think with the program that has been made up, we have a good chance. ”I’m optimistic I’m where I should be. Obviously, I want to be playing. But I’m taking baby steps, doing what the team and the doctors tell me. I’m doing my part. I come to work every day. I’m moving in the right direction.”
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