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Top 10 Basketball Players of All Time May 11, 2018

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The fabulous SLAM Magazine have recently published another great collectors magazine citinTop100-Cover-IGg the #100 greatest players of all time. It is a major undertaking and one that will never receive unanimous agreement.

The challenges to any list like this are memory, type of stats we look to and the make up of the league at any one time.  Stats only tell a partial story, the league has had regular expansion which changes the challenge for titles and our memories usually gravitate to the players we remember best. The current players in our league are exceptional and in a couple of years time, the top 10 may well change.

My Top 10 of all time are:

#1 – Michael Jordan and Lebron James (Tied) – These players are stand out and clearly ahead of the field but I do not believe they can be split at this stage. There are so many ‘Ifs’ with Jordan but in a list like this, he took 3 years out and that damages what may have been. Lebron may well sneak ahead after a couple of more seasons but at present these guys are the top of the pile.

#3 – Bill Russell – Words cannot do justice to all that Russell achieved and the way he played the game. He found ways to win and with an unblemished finals record of 11-0 and was a great team player.

#4 – Magic Johnson and Larry Bird (Tied) – Without each other, neither would have reached their heights, the challenge to beat one another rescued the league, brought rivalry to a new level and once again brought the ‘team game’ to basketball. It is more than stats, the aura they brought to the floor, the expectation of winning challenged any competitor before the first tip. As individuals, Magic rises ahead, with the team ethic, Larry marches on – overall – impossible to split.

#6 – Kobe Bryant – The Black Mamba was exceptional and achieved at times when he should not have done. His mentality and drive changed peoples perception of the game and he consistently delivered.

#7 – Wilt Chamberlain – A champion who came second. His failing was being in the same era as Bill Russell but he may have matched his counterpart if he played better team ball. He controlled the rock and dominated so much…but was just a step away from that top 5.

#8 – Hakeem Olajuwon – A powerhouse of a centre who may have won more finger jewellery if it was not for a certain Bulls legend. He brought fear to the opposition and won games with both offensive and defensive intensity, even getting that elusive quadruple double.

#9 – Tim Duncan – Mr Consistency who delivered without the support that other teams had. He led when necessary and took a back seat when necessary – he had it all and the rings to demonstrate it. One of those players who was technically brilliant – with a little more flexibility and support, he may have been in that top 5.

#10 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – He should have been #1 and perhaps could have been. However, that mid career blip that needed Magic to re-invigorate him denied him that stand out brilliance. You can never doubt the talent, the brilliance but the lack of career long intensity denies him so much.

In future, will Kevin Durant or Steph Curry be in the mix? What about Shaq or Dave Cowens?  No list is perfect and all are arguable but we can all be grateful that these discussions are a lot of fun. What about you? Who would make your top 10?

Phil Jackson leadership quotes June 9, 2015

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 “The more I tried to exert power directly, the less powerful I became. I learned to dial back my ego and distribute power as widely as possible without surrendering final authority. Paradoxically, this approach strengthened my effectiveness because it freed me to focus on my job as keeper of the team’s vision.”

“Some coaches insist on having the last word, but I always tried to foster an environment in which everyone played a leadership role, from the most unschooled rookie to the veteran superstar. If your primary objective is to bring the team into a state of harmony and oneness, it doesn’t make sense for you to rigidly impose your authority.” 

What Matters Most….? February 13, 2014

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As a fan of the Boston Celtics, it is with a grin that I quote from Coach Phil Jackson……however, he does have a winning pedigree and some wise words, these are some of them;
We all hate losing. And yet as coach, I know that being fixated on winning (or more likely, not losing) is counterproductive, especially when it causes you to lose control of your emotions. What’s more, obsessing about winning is a loser’s game: The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome.” 

What matters most is playing the game the right way and having the courage to grow, as human beings as well as basketball players. When you do that, the ring takes care of itself.”

Phil Jackson Quotes October 9, 2013

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“If you place too many restrictions on players, they’ll spend an inordinate amount of time trying to buck the system. Like all of us, they need a certain degree of structure in their lives, but they also require enough latitude to express themselves creatively.”

“Most coaches get tied up in knots worrying about tactics, but I preferred to focus my attention on whether the players were moving together in a spirited way.”

“I know that being fixated on winning (or more likely, not losing) is counterproductive, especially when it causes you to lose control of your emotions. What’s more, obsessing about winning is a loser’s game: The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome.”

“What matters most is playing the game the right way and having the courage to grow, as human beings as well as basketball players. When you do that, the ring takes care of itself.”

red october September 25, 2008

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I am not a big baseball fan…..until October comes.  Followers of the blog know that I adore the Boston Celtics and rejoiced in their June parade, but October is more for baseball and it has been fun too these last few years as the Red Sox have marched into October…..and even won a couple of titles.  Watching Redsox Nation in the playoffs is great fun.  Fans take things very serious (just ask Len) and we shall see whether they win the World Series again, although it will be a tough month.  For the next few weeks Boston will bleed red, however, come the end of October we will be back to basketball and start to bleed green again!