Edson: LeBron Tops My 5-Player All-Time NBA Team

I started watching the NBA in 1961 on our small black & white TV.

There was only one game a week and it usually featured the Boston Celtics (Bill Russell) or the Philadelphia 76ers (Wilt Chamberlain).

That wasn’t enough for me. I bought every monthly issue of Sport Magazine and got my parents to subscribe to Sports Illustrated. In addition, I bought the weekly issue of The Sporting News whenever I could.

So my love for the NBA goes back a long ways. Some of it has to do with the fact my dad was a basketball coach and I was a gym rat for as long as I can remember.

The other day some friends and I were having a discussion about our all-time NBA team. Everyone’s team was a bit different, of course. But that’s the beauty of interesting sports discussions.

Here is my top five All-NBA team.

GUARD – Oscar Robertson. “The Big O” was the most complete player of the 1960s, despite all you’ve read about Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Oscar was 6-foot-5 and was the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double (points, rebounds, assists) over an entire season. He did that in 1962 when he averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists. He played for the Cincinnati Royals and later the Milwaukee Bucks. Oscar was a 12-time NBA all-star and the most complete player of the 1960s.

GUARD – Michael Jordan. Depending on your point of view, either Jordan or LeBron James is the greatest player in NBA history. The 6-foot-6 Jordan won six NBA titles and holds the career scoring record of 30.1 points per game. He’s a 10-time All-NBA player and five-time MVP. He was the most competitive player I’ve ever seen.

CENTER – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Many basketball experts in the 1960s say Wilt Chamberlain was the greatest scoring machine and Bill Russell was the greatest winner. Well, Kareem was the best mixture of those two. He won six NBA titles, was a six-time MVP and the 7-foot-2 center still ranks as the all-time leading scoring with 38,387 points. His sky hook was simply unstoppable.

FORWARD – Julius Erving. This is another pick that will start an argument, but the 6-foot-7 Dr. J was the best player of the 1970s. He won three championships, three scoring titles and four MVP awards. He wound up with more than 30,000 career points and revolutionized the game of basketball with his high-flying antics.

FORWARD – LeBron James.  The most complete NBA player I’ve ever seen. He’s led teams to three NBA titles, won four MVP awards and is a 14-time NBA all-star. At 6-foot-8, LeBron can play any position on the floor. There is no way this year’s Cleveland Cavaliers should be in the Eastern Conference finals. But they are – all because of LeBron.

So there you have it. My top five.

You could make a solid case for another dozen players to be on an All-NBA list.

But this is mine… and I’m sticking with it.

Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

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