Friday, January 15, 2010

NBA's greatest athletes ever

Can a guy be a great NBA player without being a great athlete? Again, it's relative. Some of the best basketball players in history haven't been overtly, purely, classically athletic (notice the qualifiers) -- up to and including the aforementioned Barkley, Pete Maravich, Bill Walton, Bob Lanier, even Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Obviously, the opposite is possible; the waiver wires have been clogged with runners and jumpers who never quite grasped the subtleties of help defense or weak-side screens.

The purpose of this exercise -- and let's be honest, it was inspired by the magnificent presence and play of LeBron James, the Hummer Testarossa hybrid of NBA athletes -- is to look at some of the greatest athletes in NBA history who, er, just maybe, ranked among its great players, too.

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