Cowherd’s Criterion: Who has had the most significant impact on the development and culture of their teams, sport and league?
Kobe, LeBron Enter Colin’s Top 10 Most Important NBA Players Ever
Colin Cowherd can’t tell you who are the best NBA players of all time, but he can tell you who are the most influential. Watch him lay out why the likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry make up 3 of the top 10 players who are most important to the league’s growth and cultural impact fight today.
Several names may come to mind, but here’s Cowherd’s list of the most important NBA players ever, in chronological order.
Bill Russell, Boston Celtics
Key stats: A 12-time all-star, Russell averaged 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists with 44% from the field and 56.1% from the free throw. He played 13 seasons with the Celtics and won 11 NBA titles.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “He’s not only won 11 NBA championships, but he’s also the most winning player in NBA history. He was a coach, he was a broadcaster when I was a kid. He was defines what it is. It’s not about blocking shots, it’s about blocking a teammate’s shot.”
Jerry West, Los Angeles Lakers
Key stats: West averaged 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game while shooting from distance 47.4% and from free throws 81.4%. He won a championship in 1972 and his silhouette is iconic to the NBA.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “Jerry was not only a great player, but he played 14 seasons in the NBA and was an annual All-Star. Then he became the architect for arguably the most famous team. in league history, the Showtime Lakers. He built that.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee BucksLos Angeles Lakers
Key stats: Abdul-Jabbar played 20 NBA seasons, six with the Milwaukee Bucks and 14 with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the all-time 19 star of those seasons and was a two-time MVP in the Finals. Over those two full decades, he averaged 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, while shooting from 55.9% and 72.1% from the free throw. .
Cowherd’s thoughts: “After publicly requesting a trade from Milwaukee, he became the league’s all-time leading scorer, the only player in league history with six championships and six MVPs. . He’s the greatest goalscorer ever, the most unstoppable shot ever.”
Julius Irving, Virginia Squires (ABA), Philadelphia 76ers, New York Nets
Key stats: In 16 professional seasons, 5 in the ABA and 11 in the NBA, Irving averaged 24.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game, while also shooting 50.6% and 77. 7% from the free throw. Irving won 3 ABA MVPs, an NBA MVP, and a title with the Sixers in 1983.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “The term has been endorsed, he added flares to the league. He also legitimized the ABA, still one of the greatest sports stories of all time. He’s a brilliant player. best player in that league, to the NBA, and arguably the best player in that league. He also had one of the earliest shoe deals with Converse.”
Larry Bird, Boston Celtics
Key stats: Legendary Larry played 13 seasons, all with Boston, and was the all-star 12 times. He averaged 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game on 49.6% shots, 37.6% from threes and 88.6% from the free throw. Bird won three MVPs, two MVPs in the final, and three titles with the Celtics.
Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
Key stats: During his 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson has averaged 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 11.2 assists, while shooting from distance is 52.0% and from free throws is 84.8%. . Johnson won five titles, twice as MVP and three times as MVP in the finals.
Thoughts of Cowherd (Johnson and Bird): “They briefly competed in college, but then became friends. But it was the Celtics. It was the Lakers. It was the tough Larry Bird and the Showtime Magic. Very worthwhile, extremely valuable. value for domestic products.”
Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
Key stats: In 15 NBA seasons, Jordan was a 14-time global star with an average of 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. He shoots from distance 49.7%, takes 3 shots 32.7% and directs free throws 83.5%. Jordan has been to six NBA Finals and won all six, as well as five MVPs of the tournament.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “Jordan’s brand is now worth $10 billion. Ten-time LeBron. Ten-time champion goalscorer and I would argue the most dynamic and memorable player in league history.”
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Key stats: Bryant averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists on 44.7% shots, 32.9% from threes and 83.7% from free throws over 20 seasons, all with Lakers. He made 18 All-Stars, winning five championships, one MVP and two MVPs in the Finals.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “Kobe’s shoes have been worn by 90 players this year. It’s the most worn shoe in the league. All-time top scorer in the most notable series in the league. A star. 18 times, and the closest thing we’ve seen to Michael, to the same degree of artistry. “
Key stats: Over 19 seasons, James has averaged 27.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game with 50.5% of shots from long range, 34.6% of triples and 73.4% from the lane. free throw. James has four titles, four MVPs and four MVPs in the Finals.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “He’s won championships in Miami, Cleveland and Los Angeles. He’s remained a top five player in the league for two decades.”
Key stats: Curry is a 13-year veteran who played every season with the Warriors. He averaged 24.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game while shooting from range 47.3%, hitting triples 42.8% and directing 90.8% free throws. Curry is an eight-time all-star, two-time MVP, and four-time champion.
Cowherd’s thoughts: “He literally changed the game. It looks different at the high school, AAU, college and professional levels. From G-League to international, you play basketball differently, analytically. , for Steph Curry.”
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