Top 10 NBA Players Of All-Time

lebron finals

Upon Lebron James’ arrival to his 7th consecutive NBA Finals, I began brainstorming. If Lebron won the Finals (which no one in their right mind thought he would), where would he rank on the all-time list?? Lebron lost, however, his career accomplishments still rank amongst the greatest to ever play the game. Naturally, this leaves us with only 1 thing to do. Make a list of the top 10 NBA Players of All-Time. This list will consider everything these players have accomplished until present day. Since Lebron is still active, you must read this list as if the NBA were to cease to exist tomorrow. Do not take into account the potential for the rest of Lebron’s career, as that would create a bias. He’s not done climbing the list Lebron fans..relax.

Since the association became the NBA (National Basketball Association) in 1949, there have been a host of amazing players to grace the hardwood. However, a small group of living legends stand out from the rest. Why do they stand out?? What makes them the best?? It is a combination of their physical skills, ability to win, and intangibles (heart/leadership/will to win). I will take all of these factors into account. I will be looking at the complete makeup of each player and what made/makes them great.

Any list must start with honorable mentions. We must pay homage to the men just outside the top 10, for their contributions also brought the game to new levels.

Honorable Mentions

  • Oscar Robertson
  • Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Karl Malone
  • Elgin Baylor
  • Julius Erving
  • Jerry West

Oscar Robertson not making the list was the toughest decision I made today. The “Big O”‘s numbers speak for themselves, as he is the all-time leader in triple-doubles (181). Hakeem is next on my tough decision list. There are only 10 spots!! It’s not my fault!! Hakeem “The Dream” had the smoothest skillset we’ve ever seen from the center position. Combine that with amazing shot-blocking ability, and you’re looking at a top 5 center of all-time. Elgin Baylor and Karl Malone fall into the same category, no championship..no list. Sorry. The “Mailman” is 2nd on the all-time scoring list thanks to his scoring ability and longevity (19 seasons), however he had the unfortunate pleasure of playing at the same time as Michael Jordan. Baylor was one of the most talented players you never saw play, however was also unfortunate to play against the likes of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Baylor made 8 NBA Finals appearances and came away empty handed. Julius Erving (“Dr. J”) could have made the list had he not played 5 seasons in the ABA. He was an innovator and should not be overlooked when discussing the history of the NBA. Jerry West IS the NBA logo. Enough said.

Now, without further a due, I present the top 10 NBA Players of All-Time:

shaq

 

10.) Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq, The Diesel, Shaq Fu, Shaq Daddy, Superman)
19 NBA Seasons – 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 58.2 FG%, 52.7 FT%

The Diesel. Enough said?? This nickname speaks for itself. Shaq was the most physically dominant force the NBA has ever seen. He was an unstoppable wrecking ball that could only be slowed (or fouled) but couldn’t be stopped. Watching Shaq, in his prime, was something special. For a man of his stature, he showed an amazing amount of offensive skills. He won a few games along the way too. He won 4 Championships, 1 MVP, and 3 Finals’ MVPs. It is no surprise he won Rookie of the Year in 1993. And who doesn’t want a strategy named after them (?)….’Hack A Shaq’.

history_summary_russell

9.) Bill Russell (Russ)

13 NBA Seasons – 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 44 FG%, 56.1 FT%

Bill Russell will always be the ultimate winner. He led the Boston Celtics teams of the 1950’s and 60’s to 11 Championships in 13 years. While he played with some great teammates over the years, he is regarded as the best defensive center of all-time (Wilt may have something to say about that). He is also one of the best rebounders ever. It was Russell’s intangibles though, such as leadership, that put him head and shoulders above the rest. During Russell’s era, they didn’t keep track of Finals’ MVPs, however, I can safely say he would have won 4 of them (I did my research..don’t worry). In a time where Wilt Chamberlain dominated the NBA statistically, it shows how impressive Bill Russell’s Championship tenure was.

tim duncan

8.) Tim Duncan (Timmy, The Big Fundamental)

19 NBA Seasons – 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 50.6 FG%, 69.6 FT%

Tim Duncan had (shhhh..very quietly) one of the most impressive careers in NBA history. He is without question the best power forward ever (sorry Karl). By they way, his nickname should be “The Bank”. Have you ever seen anyone shoot a better, more effective jump-shot off the backboard than Tim Duncan?? Without dominating the game physically, or landing on highlight reels, Tim Duncan did 1 thing better than most; win. He won 5 Championships, 2 MVPs, and 3 Finals’ MVPs. He also won the Rookie of the Year in 1998. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, “Timmy” was also one of the best defensive power forwards ever.

kobe

7.) Kobe Bryant (Black Mamba)

20 NBA Seasons – 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 44.7 FG%, 83.7 FT%

While there will only be one Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant came pretty close. Kobe emulated Jordan in as many ways as possible. That’s not a knock on Kobe, that’s just plain smart. Kobe was as talented a scorer as you’ll ever see, and was also one of the best on-ball defenders ever. Don’t forget, he jumped straight from high school to the NBA. The only other person on this list to do that is Lebron. Kobe was an assassin. His desire to win and cutthroat attitude was seemingly unparalleled. He liked to win, and did plenty of it. The “Black Mamba” won 5 Championships, 1 MVP (he deserved more), and 2 Finals’ MVPs.

larry-bird

6.) Larry Bird (Larry Legend, The Hick From French Lick)

13 NBA Seasons – 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 49.6 FG%, 88.6 FT%

Magic and Bird. The best rivalry in NBA history, and my personal favorite NBA era. Larry Bird is regarded as one the best shooters the NBA has ever seen (until Steph Curry that is, haha). Bird didn’t just shoot. He possessed a special all around skillset. He is the only player in NBA history to hold career averages of more than 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. He was also an extremely underrated defender, as his anticipation on the court was unmatched. Just like Magic, his career was cut short. Bird dealt with chronic back problems late in his career (he still averaged over 20 points per game in the last season of his career). His heart and competitive spirit willed his team to victory time and time again. Bird won 3 Championships, 3 MVPs, and 2 Finals’ MVPs. He also won Rookie of the Year in 1980.

lebron dunk

5.) Lebron James (King James)

14 NBA Seasons (Active) –  27.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 50.1 FG%, 74.0 FT%

Lebron James entered the NBA straight out of high school. The level of expectations put on his shoulders as a teenager was unparalleled. To say Lebron has simply exceeded expectations would be the understatement of the century. He is one of the most complete players..ever. He can do it all. If he wanted to lead the league in assists, he would. Rebounds, he would. Points, well I think you get the point. He just became the 1st player in NBA history to average a triple-double in the Finals. I don’t have enough paper real estate to list all of his accomplishments, so let’s understand his work in this league is far from done. Lebron has won 3 Championships, 4 MVPs, and 3 Finals’ MVPs. He also has the 2004 Rookie of the Year Award floating around somewhere. Stay tuned….

wilt-chamberlain

4.) Wilt Chamberlain (Wilt The Stilt)

14 NBA Seasons – 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 54.0 FG%, 51.1 FT%

The best center of all-time?? Kareem or Wilt?? It is nearly impossible to definitively answer this question. Wilt Chamberlain was the most dominant force in NBA history. He famously holds the record for most points scored in one game (100), a record I doubt will EVER be broken. Another record that will NEVER be broken: Chamberlain averaged over 50 points in a season (and didn’t even win the NBA MVP – yeah the NBA knows what it’s doing). Oh yeah, Wilt didn’t like being told he couldn’t do something. When the buzz around the league was Wilt was a ball hog, he led the league in assists the following season. It’s a shame in Wilt’s era MVP’s were given to a player on the championship team, because no one knows how many MVP’s Wilt could have won. Even with that obstacle, he still managed to win 4 MVP awards, 2 NBA Championships, and 1 Finals MVP. Wilt was also one of those players who burst right on to the scene, winning the Rookie of the Year in 1960. Wilt was a transcendent talent. If you dropped him in the NBA right now, I’d bet good money he’d still be the best center in the league.

Abdul-Jabbar takes sky hook

3.) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Cap)

20 NBA Seasons – 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.6 blocks, 55.9 FG%, 72.1 FT%

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the centerpiece of the Lakers Championships of the 1980’s.  He was part of their 5 Championships in the 80’s. He also won a Championship with the Milwaukee Bucks prior to playing with the Lakers. He was a true innovator. He perfected an unstoppable move, the sky hook, which helped him become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Kareem was a star from the second he entered the league and was named Rookie of the Year in 1970 (averaging 28.8 points and 14.4 rebounds). Of the long list of Kareem’s accolades, I find a center shooting over 72% from the free-throw line highly impressive. He was an outstanding all around player, showcasing offensive and defensive skills throughout his 20-year career. Kareem won 6 Championships, was MVP a record breaking 6 times, and won 2 Finals’ MVPs.

magic-johnson-lakers-fast-break

2.) Earvin Johnson (Magic)

12 NBA Seasons – 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 52 FG%, 84.8 FT %

As the leader of the “Showtime” Lakers, Magic Johnson reinvented the fast break. He revolutionized the point guard position.  Standing 6’9” tall, Magic was a nightmare match-up for anyone who tried to guard him. Well, they didn’t guard him they only slowed him down, sometimes. Larry Bird was his most formidable opponent, but the Lakers got the better of that rivalry. He brought power forward size and strength to the point guard position (and even played center in the 1980 NBA Finals). He is second all-time (to Oscar Robertson) in career triple-doubles (138). It is a tragedy Magic’s career was cut short due to his battle with HIV. Magic won 5 championships, 3 MVPs, and 3 Finals’ MVPs. Just like Michael Jordan, one can only imagine the potential accomplishments if he played another 4 or 5 seasons.

Michael-jordan

1.) Michael Jordan (MJ, Air Jordan)

15 NBA Seasons – 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 49.7 FG %, and 83.5 FT%

What can be said about Michael Jordan that hasn’t been said already?? Michael Jordan is hands down the greatest basketball player to ever walk the face of the planet. He was a one-time Defensive Player of the Year and regarded as the best defender at his position in NBA history. One of his most impressive feats is his perfect 6 for 6 record in the Finals. In each of those finals, he NEVER allowed a series to reach a decisive 7th game. If that is not the epitome of greatness, I don’t know what is. What you also have to remember is Jordan retired TWICE, in his prime, which caused him to miss nearly five full seasons. Imagine if he never retired and played straight through the age of 40 (where he averaged over 20 points)?! I think it’s fair to say he would have won at least 2 more MVPs and 2 more Championships. He won 6 NBA Championships, 5 MVP’s, and 6 Finals’ MVPs. Jordan won Rookie of the Year in 1985. All others can strive to Be Like Mike, but there will always be 1 Michael Jordan.

 

What do you think of my list?? Like it, love it, or hate it?? Either way, get your feelings off your chest in the comment section below. I’ll also be looking for your list, so make sure to post it in the comments as well.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

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Durant Wins 1st (of many) NBA Title

durant nba title

There are 9 words in the English language we should all get used to hearing..again..and again..and again: “The Golden State Warriors are NBA Champions once again!” With Kevin Durant as the new sheriff in town, this may become a common theme in the NBA. And as impressive as the Warriors were this season (I will give them their deserved praise), they are not helping the NBA’s cause. Many thought the NBA had become a 2-team league. Correction. It has become a 1-team league. Think about it. What is the question Cavaliers ownership and management are asking themselves right now?? Exactly! Who can we add to this roster in order to compete with the Warriors?? You laugh but it’s true. In the not so distant future, I picture the entire All-Star starting lineups donning Cavaliers and Warriors’ jerseys. We’ll get back to the mess that is the NBA, but for now, let us give the Warriors the standing ovation they deserve.

Kevin Durant did what he set out to do. He captured his 1st NBA title after jumping ship in Oklahoma City and joining forces with Stephen Curry and company. There’s only one way to put this, Durant straight up balled out. After missing 20 games due to injury this season, Durant returned and peaked at the perfect moment. He averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in the finals, making him the unanimous Finals MVP. He unquestionably deserved the Finals MVP, however, he completely overshadowed the spectacular series Stephen Curry had. Curry averaged 26.8 points, 9.4 assists, and 8.0 rebounds in the Finals. Those are video game numbers, normally MVP worthy, however, Curry was the 3rd best player in the series. Again highlighting the state of the NBA.

Let’s rewind to the 2014 offseason. The Warriors roster was constructed with only 1 thing in mind; winning multiple championships. 2 down, at least 1 to go. Assuming this roster remains intact (only Andre Iguodala is a free agent this coming offseason), this Warriors team will remain a dynasty in the NBA. Which begs the question, where does this Warriors team rank amongst the all-time great teams?? We only ask the tough questions here at DaveTalksSports!! Here is a list of the NBA’s all-time great teams:

  1. The “Showtime” Lakers
  2. The 80’s Celtics
  3. The “Bad Boy” Pistons
  4. The Bill Russell Celtics
  5. The Shaq and Kobe Lakers
  6. The Spurs’ Dynasty
  7. And last, but certainly not least, the Jordan-Era Bulls

When we say teams, we really mean an era or dynasty that won multiple championships. Many teams flashed greatness for 1 year, but how many franchises ran off streaks of multiple championships??

The Warriors have now been to 3 straight NBA Finals (winning 2 of 3). In the 2015-2016 season, the Warriors broke the record for most wins in the regular season (73), previously held by the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls (72). The Warriors made a historic run through the postseason this year, dropping just 1 game. Their 16-1 record is the highest winning percentage (.941) of any championship team in NBA history, and they also became 1 of only 3 1-loss teams to win a championship.

The question, when comparing teams from different eras, isn’t who would win (as fun as it would be to watch Jordan and the Bulls play Durant and the Warriors), rather who has a more impressive resume. The Warriors still have room for improvement (which is scary), but right now I’d rank them 7th all-time, behind everyone on the above list besides The “Bad Boy” Pistons. Every other team on that list won at least 3 championships and had at least 4 Finals’ appearances. Unless the Cavaliers add another piece to their championship puzzle, the Warriors should repeat next year (yes I already decided next year’s champion) and climb the all-time ranks.

For now, we close the book on the 2016-2017 NBA season. And we open a new book to a clean page to start the debate. Where do the Warriors rank amongst the all-time great teams?? Post your ranking in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

 

The Sports World’s Amazing Weekend

crosby

When it’s 95 degrees outside, you can either go to the beach or do what I did. Yup. I sat in an air conditioned living room and watched sports all weekend. As my Boston people would say, “That was wicked smart.” It was a good weekend to reacquaint yourself with the special a** groove in your couch, because the sports world was busy. Let’s start with the most important (but probably least watched) sporting event of the weekend:

STANLEY CUP FINALS

Following a bad loss in Game 5, the Nashville Predators were happy to head home. Prior to Game 6, the Predators stood an impressive 9-1 in their home arena in the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Predators, the Pittsburgh Penguins handed them their 2nd home loss. The Penguins broke a scoreless tie 58 minutes and 35 seconds into the game, scoring what would be the game winning goal. They would add an empty-net goal 1 minute and 21 seconds later, securing a 2-0 victory. And just like that, the Pittsburgh Penguins became the first team in 20 years to win back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships. Sidney Crosby (duh) won the Conn Smythe Trophy (MVP of the Playoffs) for the 2nd straight year. I don’t normally talk about shoulda, woulda, couldas..but ah..what the hell. The Predators actually scored in this game. Just 1 minute and 7 seconds into the 2nd period, Colton Sissons had a goal erased by a quick whistle. The goal shoulda counted, but we can’t go back in time. Also, Sissons and fellow Predator, Filip Forsberg, both hit the post in the 3rd period. That sucks! I feel for the Predators, as their run through the playoffs was fun to watch. Better luck next year!

NBA FINALS

No sweep. No history. Well, history was still made, just not by the Golden State Warriors. The Cleveland Cavaliers finally won a game (137-116), and they did it in historic fashion. When so many changes are made to the record books, a list is necessary:

  1. The Cavaliers scored 49 points in the 1st quarter
  2. The Cavaliers scored 86 points in the 1st half
  3. The Cavaliers made 24 3-pointers
  4. Lebron James recorded his 9th triple-double in the Finals (breaking Magic Johnson’s record)
  5. Dahntay Jones became the 1st player to get a technical foul from the bench in the NBA Finals (I don’t actually know if this is true – but I think it’s really funny)
  6. Lebron James passed Michael Jordan for 3rd all-time in points scored in the NBA Finals (trailing only Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)

Heading into Game 4, the Golden State Warriors were looking to become the 1st team in NBA history to sweep through the playoffs at 16-0. If they win Game 5 they will still be in rarified air. They will join the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers and the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers as the only 1-loss teams to win a championship.

All you Lebron fanatics can pump the brakes. Don’t expect the Cavaliers to hit 24 3-pointers and score 137 points again. You can also expect Lebron, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love not to combine for 94 points again. The Cavaliers are David Wells. They are capable of throwing a Perfect Game, but they aren’t bringing home a Cy Young Award anytime soon. Expect the Warriors to roll in Game 5. 124-111. Warriors win another title. Book it.

U.S.A. VS. MEXICO

Soccer?! Yes. We are going to talk about soccer. Have you ever seen anyone happier to end in a draw before?? That is the question to ask following a draw between U.S.A. and Mexico on Sunday night. You’d think U.S.A. had just won the World Cup. The two nations squared off in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match. The match was played in front of 87,000 screaming fans in Estadio Azteca, the famed stadium in the heart of Mexico City. Michael Bradley of U.S.A. scored a shocking goal (from about 40 yards out) just 6 minutes into the match. But, thanks to incredibly poor defense by U.S.A, Mexico tied the match in the 23rd minute when Carlos Vela ran untouched for what seemed like 8 miles before putting home a left-footed strike from just outside the box. The match would end in a 1-1 draw. Maybe there is reason to celebrate, as the U.S.A earned just their 3rd win or draw in 22 tries playing in Mexico City. Pop the champagne……?

AARON JUDGE FOR MVP

Before you laugh, check out the numbers. If the MLB season ended today, Aaron Judge would be the Rookie of the Year and MVP. That hasn’t been done since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001. Aaron Judge is hitting .344 with 21 home runs and 47 r.bi.’s. Yup, that would give Judge the lead in the Triple Crown. Plus, Judge’s Yankees are in 1st place in the American League East with a record of 37-23. PLUS, Aaron Judge hits baseballs really, really FAR. Yes, that baseball really travelled 496 feet. That would be the longest home run since ESPN began tracking distance in 2009. The Yankees are now riding a 5-game winning streak. In their last 5 games, the Yankees have scored a total of 57 runs. That is insane!! This offensive outburst is still being done without future 1st baseman Greg Bird. As good as the offense has been, it is the pitching that has the Yankees in 1st place on June 12th. C.C. Sabathia’s resurgence has been the untold storyline of the Yankees’ season. Let’s hope it continues.

RAFAEL NADAL

And last but not least….words you’ve heard many times before. 10 times now to be exact. Yes. Rafael Nadal won his 10th French Open title. What words could I possibly find to explain the greatness that is Rafael Nadal?? I don’t know, but I’ll try. He is the best clay-court tennis player ever. We have never seen a player this dominant at anything..ever. Not Wayne Gretzky on ice. Not Bill Russell on the hardwood. And no, not Tom Brady on the gridiron. Rafael Nadal dominates clay like nothing we’ve ever seen. Think about this. Nadal just won the French Open without dropping a set in the ENTIRE TOURNAMENT!! The finals was about as anti-climatic as they come. He defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. At age 31, Nadal is finally healthy again, and that means only one thing..the sky is the limit.

With all these fantastic sporting events on TV this weekend, what did you watch?? Tell me what was on your TV in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

 

I Waited All Year For That?!?!

durant

Every once in a while there is a highly anticipated movie coming out. The trailer looks great. Everyone gets really excited. You wait months and months until it finally reaches theaters. So you pile into the car with your friends and you head to the movies. You get your ticket, you buy your jumbo popcorn and soda, and you make your way to that perfect seat right in the middle of the theater. Then, Waterworld comes on, and you realize you just waited 6 months to watch Kevin Costner drink his own pee. Yeah, that’s what we’re talking about.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals was about as big of a flop as Waterworld (thank God no one drank their own pee last night). This series was billed as ‘The Trilogy’ or ‘Part III’: the 2 super teams meet again! And I know it’s only been 1 game, but so far, this doesn’t look like it’s going to be a competitive series. I know I know, all the Lebron defenders will kill me for this. They’ll say I shouldn’t overreact to 1 game. Lebron will bounce back and if they win Game 2, they will have stolen home court advantage. I get all that. But, I also understand that Draymond Green and Klay Thompson just went a combined 6 for 28 from the field last night, and they still won by 22 (113-91). I also understand that unless Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love combine for 90 points in Game 2, this series isn’t going to last as long as I expected.

Game 1 flirted with the record books in a few different ways. Kevin Durant dropped 38 points without committing a single turnover. It’s been nearly 17 years since that happened (Shaq scored 41 points without committing a turnover in the 2000 NBA Finals). Durant’s 38 points brought his streak to 6 games of 25+ points in an NBA Finals’ game, tying Michael Jordan, Rick Barry, and Shaquille O’Neal for the longest streaks in Finals history. The Golden State Warriors combined for only 4 turnovers, tying the record for fewest turnovers in an NBA Finals game.

For my own sake and the sake of NBA fans around the world, I sincerely hope Game 2 is more competitive than Game 1. We’ve seen enough blowouts in this year’s playoffs to last a lifetime. What do you say we get rewarded with a buzzer beater in Game 2?? Pretty please with a cherry on top?? I still have faith in Lebron’s ability to make adjustments after a spanking like that, so I predict a much closer game in Game 2. Unfortunately for LeBron, I think he’ll be on the losing end of Game 2 as well.

Game 2 is on Sunday by the way. Each of these teams just rested 6 (Cavaliers) and 9 (Warriors) days!! WHY THE HELL DO THEY NEED 2 FULL DAYS OF REST, WITHOUT TRAVELLING, NOW?!?! Oh right: it’s all about the $$$$$$$$.

Tune into Game 2 on ABC on Sunday at 8:00 P.M. EST.

Will Lebron and the Cavs bounce back in Game 2? Or will we witness another blowout? Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

 

BREAKING NEWS: LEBRON JAMES IS HUMAN!!

avery bradley

I did not see that coming. Neither did the Cleveland Cavaliers. Neither did anyone else in the world (besides the delusional Celtics fan). But, it’s like they say, there is a reason they play the game. If everything went the way it was supposed to, what would be the point of playing each game? With that being said, Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals was one of the most shocking developments we’ve ever seen. It is the reason we LOVE sports.

Let me set the scene:

The Boston Celtics didn’t just lose Games 1 and 2, they got demoralized. They got run out of the building, chased down the street, and forced up a tree to hide their shame. They lost both games on their home court (so much for home court advantage), including a 44-point shellacking in Game 2. As if that wasn’t enough, they lost their best player, Isaiah Thomas, to a torn hip labrum in Game 2. With everyone, myself included, looking past the Celtics to the seemingly inevitable NBA Finals rematch, they peaked their head around the corner and said, hey woah woah woah..we’re still here!!

Game 3 started just as games 1 and 2 did. It’s actually a miracle I didn’t turn the television off. The Cavaliers jumped out to an early lead, behind Kevin Love’s FIVE 1st quarter 3-pointers (1 shy of tying the NBA record for 3-pointers in a quarter). If you can guess who holds that record I’ll be very impressed….How’d you know?! It is none other than Antoine Walker. The Cavaliers were up by 11 after the 1st quarter, 16 at the half, and led by as many as 21. But the Celtics never gave up. They scratched and clawed their way back into the game, only trailing by 5 heading to the 4th quarter.

So do you want the good or the bad first?? Alright, I’ll start with the bad. It’s more like ugly, but I’ve been trying to be nice lately. Lebron James was AWFUL last night (Awful baby, with a capital A!!). His performance was reminiscent of James Harden’s stinker in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. If you need a refresher of that stellar bag of poop, click here. Come to think of it, it’s eerily similar to the Rockets’ loss to the Spurs, as the Spurs won without their best player too. Anyway, Lebron James finished with just 11 points on 4 of 13 shooting. He had just as many turnovers as he did assists (6), and he dropped as many points as I did in the 4th quarter….

He looked like he was allergic to the basketball in the 4th quarter.

And now, the good. The entire Celtics team contributed to their comeback win last night. 11 Celtics saw game action, with 6 landing in double figures. They were led by Marcus Smart’s playoff career-high 27 points. The entire Celtics roster showed their fortitude. Down 2 games to none, down 21-points with 6:39 left in the 3rd quarter, they could have curled up in the fetal position, but they didn’t. Instead, they drank some of ‘Michael’s Secret Stuff’, and they turned things around. Classic movie! The Celtics took the lead with 4:20 left in the game, and then it became a seesaw affair. With 10 seconds to play, the Celtics, with possession, had a chance to shock the world. The game was tied at 108, and Marcus Smart brought up the ball. He fed it to Avery Bradley curling off a screen just beyond the 3-point line, and Bradley let it fly. The ball hit every single inch of the rim, as the final seconds ticked, before dropping through the basket. And the Celtics did it!! They stormed back against all odds. 111-108 shined on the scoreboard as the Celtics celebrated on King James’ court.

Unfortunately, this fantastic effort was all for naught. The Cavaliers will win this series (most likely in 5 games now). Lebron James will return to superhuman form. And the sports world will get their super team matchup in the NBA Finals. God, I hope it’s better than Batman vs. Superman!! Expect Lebron to bounce back in a big way in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Check it out by tuning into TNT on Tuesday night @ 8:30 P.M. EST.

Will the Celtics win another game in this series? Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

 

Serena Williams Redefines Dominance

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We may never see dominance like this ever again. Over the last 22 years, we have seen Serena Williams transition from a 14-year old Phenom to the Greatest Female Tennis Player of All-Time. Serena won her first Grand Slam Title at the 1999 U.S. Open, at the ripe old age of 17!! Believe it or not, she is not the youngest woman to win a Grand Slam (making it about the only record she doesn’t hold). That distinction belongs to Martina Hingis, who won the 1997 Australian Open at the age of 16. Serena beat Hingis (then Number 1 in the world) in the finals of the 1999 U.S. Open. The list of Serena’s accomplishments would take days (possibly weeks) to write, so if you’d like to learn more about Serena’s career, please click here. Today, I am going to highlight why Serena Williams is the Greatest Female Tennis Player of All-Time and the 2nd most dominant athlete in the history of sports. Who’s the most dominant athlete of all-time?? Oh, you’ll have to keep reading to find out….

Serena Williams has landed in news headlines this past week. Mostly for amazing reasons, however, she unfortunately had to defend herself from the blatantly racist comments made by Ilie Nastase (a former tennis professional from Romania). Serena, as always, remained Serena: “This or anything else will not stop me from pouring love, light and positivity into everything that I do. I will continue to take a lead and stand up for what’s right.”

On the lighter side of things, this past week Serena shared her utmost joy with the world. Serena is pregnant!! This is a beautiful moment, and I want to wish her and her family health and happiness in the next chapter of their lives. This isn’t just an ordinary pregnancy (not that any pregnancy is ever ordinary), but Serena accomplished something I don’t think any other pregnant woman ever has before. Serena won the 2017 Australian Open while she was approximately 8 weeks pregnant. Let us all take a second to let that sink in………………………………………………………okay, still not wrapping your brain around that one? Yeah me neither. Allow me to put into perspective just how impressive her 2017 Australian Grand Slam Title was:

  1. She won her 7th Australian Open (An Open-Era Record)
  2. She became the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam Singles Title, breaking her own record (Age 35)
  3. She passed Steffi Graf for most Grand Slam Singles Titles in the Open-Era (23)
  4. She beat her own sister in the Australian Open Final (marking the 28th time they’ve played against each other – Serena holds a 17-11 advantage)
  5. She regained the World Number 1 Ranking
  6. And oh yeah she was anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks pregnant throughout the tournament

Serena Williams is beyond a shadow of a doubt the Greatest Female Tennis Player of All-Time. She is also the 2nd most dominant athlete of all-time. The most dominant athlete of all-time is Wayne Gretzky. Yes, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Babe Ruth were/are amazing athletes. But the separation from these athletes and the 2nd best athletes in their respective sports doesn’t compare to that of The Great One.

Don’t worry sports fans, Serena will be back. In a letter she penned to her unborn child she wrote, “I can’t wait for you to join the players box next year”. Serena, congratulations, best of luck, and we look forward to seeing you on the court again soon.

Who do you think is the Greatest Female Tennis Player of All-Time? Who do you think is the most dominant athlete of all-time? Let me know in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

One Liner Friday’s

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Hello, and welcome to another edition of One Liner Friday’s. This is my 2nd post of the day so make sure you scroll down to read my review of Thursday night’s NBA Draft.

So if the Yankees can score some runs that would be cool.

You know those silly movies like Home Alone where they put down 5 marbles and the bad guys all slip and fall?

Yeah, that’s Wimbledon.

Aaron Hernandez took a lottery ticket and used it as Charmin Ultra Soft.

As I predicted last Friday, Hernandez was charged with murder, and I hope he spends the rest of his life in prison regretting his miserable existence.

In all seriousness though I feel really bad for his baby girl.

Not so seriously though, how can the best basketball player that ever lived be such a bad judge of talent?

Michael Jordan is a worse NBA Executive than he was a baseball player.

Doc Rivers is goin goin back back to Cali.

In other NBA news, the Brooklyn Nets actually believe it is 2005 with the finalization of a trade for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

Most of these guys are way past their prime.

Some of them never had a prime.

This guys dead!

Major League, great movie.

I guess Tim Tebow really is going to be the Patriots tight end.

Doesn’t that make you sick to your stomach?

Hey Yasiel Puig, there’s a wall there someone should, uh move it.

Matt Harvey is really good at baseball.

The Mets should pray that Zach Wheeler is even half as good, maybe then they’ll come close to .500.

Not likely though, I mean they are the Mets.

Brian Cashman dropping F bombs!!

Personally I love it, A-Rod needs to shut his trap.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

What is This Pillow Fight and Where Did the NBA Go??

If you haven’t seen it already, the Miami Heat and the Minnesota Timberwolves got into a little scuffle Monday night.  J.J. Barea and Ray Allen started getting physical early on in the 4th quarter.  Ray Allen had the ball and gave Barea a little incidental elbow out on the perimeter.  Then, as Allen drove toward the basket, J.J. Barea gave Allen a little bump that knocked him to the floor.  Allen hopped up immediately enraged over the foul.  Both teams quickly met face to face where the incident took place, but all players involved were separated without it escalating any further.  As a result of the play, J.J. Barea was given a Flagrant-2 foul and was ejected from the game.  You need to see the play with your own two eyes to understand just how ridiculous the flagrant foul and subsequent ejection was.  If you want to check out a video of the play then click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUtYCXPW9fM  First of all, J.J. Barea is about 5’8″ and 160 pounds soaking wet (I don’t want to hear anything about the 6’0″ and 175 pounds that he’s listed at).  On a little side-note, I saw Barea play live in a college game once back in ’04-’05.  He played at Northeastern, and they were visiting my school; Umass.  When the game was over I walked past him as he was on his way to the locker room, and trust me he is not 6’0″ tall (I was towering over him and I’m only 5’11”).  Same goes with Allen Iverson, I stood next to him at a Knicks game once and was eye to eye with him.  I digress.  The fact of the matter is that J.J. Barea couldn’t toss Ray Allen and get a deserving Flagrant-2 foul if his life depended on it.  Ray Allen should have gotten up, dusted himself off, and walked to the free throw line like a man.  That would have been the end of it, and at most he could have whispered something to Barea next time they found themselves next to each other on the free throw line (something like, “try that again, and I’ll step on you little guy”).  Instead he got all flustered and created something out of nothing.  And that is the problem I have with today’s NBA.  Today’s NBA is soft.  Back in the day guys got knocked down way harder than that little bump Barea gave Allen.  Just ask Michael Jordan how hard the Pistons used to hit him in the ’80’s and ’90’s.  NBA players used to be as scared to drive to the basket as a wide receiver is coming across the middle of the field.  Unfortunately, that type of NBA has come and gone.  I understand that in this era everyone is more involved in player safety, and I’m okay with that.  I don’t want players getting injured unnecessarily, but we need to stop babying these players.  Flagrant fouls should be reserved for clearly intentional fouls that endanger the safety of a player.  You can’t watch that Flagrant Foul from Monday night and tell me that Ray Allen’s body was ever in danger.  That’s all I’m saying!  If you have something to say about the issue of flagrant fouls in the NBA, please leave me a comment or question.  Thank you.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well.  Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

If you want to see what a real flagrant foul looks like then check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dabt_Kb2UmQ

Top 10 NBA Basketball Players of All Time

With all of the talk surrounding Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday, it has inspired me to construct a list of the top 10 NBA players of all time.  This list will consider everything these players have accomplished up until the present day.  Since some players on this list are still currently playing, you must read this list as if the NBA were to cease to exist tomorrow.  Do not take into account the potential for what current players may still accomplish, as that would create a bias.  Since the association officially became the NBA (National Basketball Association) in 1949, there have been a host of amazing players to grace the hardwood.  However, there are always a small group of living legends that stand out from the rest.  Why do they stand out?  What makes them the best?  It is a combination of their physical skills, their ability to win, and their intangibles (such as heart, leadership, and will to win).  I will take all of these factors in to account.  Essentially I will be looking at the complete makeup of each player and what made/makes them an all time great.  So, without further a due, here are the top 10 NBA players of all time in order.  Let the debate continue.

I must start this list with the honorable mentions.  These men showed signs of greatness throughout their entire career, however they simply were outplayed by the 10 legends who made this coveted list.  We must pay homage to the men just outside of the top 10, for the game is where it is thanks to their contributions as well.  Here they are:  Hakeem Olajuwon, Lebron James, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Julius Erving, Karl Malone, and John Stockton.  Hakeem is #11 on my list by the slightest of margins.  Hakeem “The Dream” had the smoothest game for a center the game has ever seen.  Combine that with tenacious defense and you have one of the greatest players of all time.  Lebron James is #12 on my list.  Lebron when it’s all said and done will be undoubtedly be in the top 5 of all time.  He is a unique talent and if he can continue to pile on Championships and MVP’s could find himself in the top 3 players to ever play in the NBA.  Elgin Baylor, Karl Malone, and John Stockton fall into the same category in my mind.  If you never won a Championship you can’t be on the list.  Sorry.  The Mailman is the 2nd leading scorer in NBA history and his longevity was unmatched, however he had the unfortunate pleasure of playing during the MJ era.  Elgin Baylor was one of the most talented players to ever play the game, however was also very unlucky to play in the time of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.  Baylor made 8 NBA Finals appearances and came away empty handed every time.  Stockton is the NBA’s all time assists leader (and 2nd place is not even close), however the combination of Stockton and Malone that was so much fun to watch never could get past that Michael Jordan guy.  Dr. J would have been on this list if he hadn’t played 5 seasons in the ABA.  He did win 3 Championships in the ABA, but this is an NBA only list.  He was another innovator to the game and should not be overlooked when discussing the greatest players to ever play.    Lastly, Jerry West played along side Elgin Baylor for quite some time, but was fortunate enough to finally win a Championship in 1972.  He certainly will never be forgotten, I mean he is the NBA’s logo.  Now, here are the top 10 NBA players of all time:

 

10.)Tim Duncan (Timmy)

Currently in his 16th NBA Season – 20.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 50.7 FG%, 69.1 FT%

This was by far the most difficult decision I had in putting together this list.  I found myself trying to decide between the careers of Tim Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Lebron James for the 10th and final spot on this list.  At the end of the day, the hardware speaks loudest.  Tim Duncan has very quietly had one of the most impressive careers in NBA history.  He is without question the best power forward to ever play the game (sorry Karl), and his nickname should probably be “The Bank”.  Have you ever seen anyone shoot a better more effective jump shot off the backboard than Tim Duncan?  Even if he didn’t dominate physically or find himself on highlight reels with flashy moves or dunks, Tim Duncan found a way to win consistently.  He won 4 NBA Championships, 2 MVP’s, and 3 NBA Final’s MVP, s.  He also won the Rookie of the Year, of course.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot yet another facet of his game that attributes to his greatness.  Timmy is one of the best defenders at his position in the history of the NBA.  He is the most soft spoken champion the game has ever seen.

 

9.)Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq, The Diesel, Shaq Fu, Shaq Daddy, Superman)


19 NBA Seasons – 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 58.2 FG%, 52.7 FT%

The Diesel.  Enough said?  I think his nicknames speak for themselves.  Shaq was the most dominant basketball player the world had seen since Wilt Chamberlain.  Only Shaq was easily the most physically dominating force the NBA ever produced.  He was like an unstoppable wrecking ball that could only be slowed (or fouled), but couldn’t be stopped.  Watching Shaq play in his prime was something special.  He showed an amazing amount of offensive skills with a basketball for a man of his size.  He also won a few games along the way too.  He won 4 NBA Championships,  1 MVP, and 3 NBA Finals MVP’s.  It is also no surprise that he won Rookie of the Year as well.  I personally like Shaq more than Kobe, but Kobe gets the edge because he accomplished slightly more in his career than Shaq.

 

8.)Kobe Bryant (Black Mamba)

Currently in his 17th NBA Season – 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 45.3 FG%, 83.8 FT%

While there will only be one Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant has been the closest thing the NBA has seen since MJ retired.  Kobe Bryant is as talented a scorer as the NBA has ever seen, and he has been one of the best on ball defenders in the NBA since he stormed his way into the league.  And his desire to win and cutthroat attitude is unmatched.  He has always cared about one thing and one thing only; winning.  He has done plenty of that, winning 5 NBA Championships, 1 MVP, and 2 NBA Finals MVP’s.  Another one of the more difficult decisions on this list was deciding who had a more accomplished career, Shaq or Kobe.  They may hate each other and not want to sit next to each other in real life ever again, but they are forced to sit next to each other today, on this list.

 

7.)Oscar Robertson (The Big O)

14 NBA Seasons – 25.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists, 48.5 FG%, 83.8 FT%

When it comes to the legacy of Oscar Robertson, his numbers speak for themselves.  Oscar is the only player in NBA history to average a triple double for an entire season.  He is also the all time leader in triple doubles with 181.  That is a record that will probably never be broken.  Oscar Robertson, at only 6’5″ had the most well rounded offensive game the NBA has ever seen.  He is the most unfortunate soul in the history of the NBA though (him and Elgin Baylor), having played at the same time as Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.  If it wasn’t for them, Robertson surely would have added some more hardware to his trophy case.  He still managed to win 1 NBA Championship, 1 MVP, and the Rookie of the Year.

 

6.)Bill Russell (Bill)

13 NBA Seasons – 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 44 FG%, 56.1 FT%

Bill Russell will always be known as the ultimate winner.  He was part of the Boston Celtics teams of the 1950’s and 60’s that won 11 championships in a span of 13 seasons.  While he played with some great teammates over the years, he is regarded as the best defensive center of all time.  He is also one of the best rebounders in the history of the game.  It was mainly Russell’s intangibles, such as his leadership that made him stand out.  During Russell’s era they didn’t keep track of NBA Final’s MVP’s, however after the proper research I can safely say he would have won 4 NBA Final’s MVP’s.  In a time where Wilt Chamberlain dominated the NBA physically, it goes to show just how impressive Bill Russell’s Celtics reign as NBA Champions was.

 

5.)Larry Bird (The Hick From French Lick)

13 NBA Seasons – 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 49.6 FG%, 88.6 FT%

Larry Bird led the Boston Celtics to 3 NBA Championships in the 1980’s.  One of the most exciting times in the history of the NBA was the rivalry between Magic and Bird.  Larry Bird is regarded as one the best shooters and players in NBA history.  His heart and competitive spirit willed his team to victory over and over again.  Bird won 3 MVP’s, 2 Finals MVP’s, and Rookie of the Year during his career.  Bird had one of the most impressive all around games the NBA has ever seen.  He is the only player in NBA history to have career averages of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists.  He is also probably the most underrated defender the NBA has ever seen.  He possessed the unbelievable ability to shut down the opponents best offensive player, and his anticipation on the court was unmatched.  Just like Magic and MJ, it is a shame Bird dealt with chronic back problems late in his career (he averaged over 20 points a game in the last season of his career), for if he hadn’t he could have added to his already stellar accomplishments.

 

4.)Wilt Chamberlain (Wilt The Stilt)

14 NBA Seasons – 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 54 FG%, 51.1 FT%

One of the most difficult decisions I had to make on this list was Kareem vs. Wilt.  It is nearly impossible to definitively state who the best center in the history of the NBA was.  Wilt Chamberlain was one of the most dominant forces in NBA history.  He famously holds the record for most points scored in one game (100), a record I doubt will EVER be broken.  Chamberlain even averaged over 50 points for an entire season, another feat that will most likely never be accomplished (a season where he didn’t even win the NBA MVP).  It’s a shame that MVP’s were usually given to a player on the best team or a member of the championship team, because no one knows how many MVP’s Wilt could have won if the award was given appropriately.  Even with that obstacle, Wilt still managed 4 MVP awards, 2 NBA Championships, and 1 NBA Finals MVP.  Wilt was also one of those players who burst right on to the scene, winning the Rookie of the Year award.  It is difficult to place Wilt correctly on this list due to the difference of playing era and level of competition, however I guarantee if you put Wilt in the NBA today, he would still be the best center in the league (sorry Dwight).  Oh yeah, and as if all those statistics aren’t impressive enough, Wilt led the NBA in total assists for an entire season!!

 

3.)Kareem Abdul Jabbar (Cap)

20 NBA Seasons – 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.6 blocks, 55.9 FG%, 72.1 FT%

Kareem Abdul Jabbar was the centerpiece that the Lakers championships of the 1980’s were built around.  He was part of their 5 championship titles in the 80’s.  He also won a title with the Milwaukee Bucks prior to playing with the Lakers.  Kareem was the league’s MVP a record breaking 6 times, he won 6 NBA Championships while being named Finals MVP twice.  He was a true innovator to the game of basketball.  During his career, he perfected an unstoppable move called the sky hook and it helped him become the NBA’s all time leading scorer.  Kareem was a star from the second he entered the league and was named the Rookie of the Year (averaging 28.8 points and 14.4 rebounds).  Out of the long list of Kareem’s accolades, I find a center shooting over 72% from the free throw line most impressive.  He was an outstanding all around player, showcasing his offensive and defensive skills throughout his entire 20 year career.

 

2.) Earvin Johnson (Magic)

12 NBA Seasons – 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 52 FG%, 84.8 FT %

As the leader of the “Showtime” Lakers, Magic Johnson reinvented the fast break.  He was an innovative player who revolutionized the point guard position.  At 6’9” tall, Magic was a nightmare match-up for anyone who tried to guard him.  Well, they didn’t guard him they only slowed him down, sometimes.  Larry Bird was his most formidable opponent , but as we all know the Lakers got the better of that rivalry.  He brought power forward size and strength to the point guard position (and he even played center in an NBA Finals when necessary), and he is second all time (to Oscar Robertson) in career games with a triple double (138).  It is a tragedy that Magic’s career was cut short due to his battle with HIV.  Magic won 5 championships, 3 MVP, s, and 3 Final’s MVP’s in just 12 short seasons.  Just like Jordan, one can only imagine what he would have accomplished if he played another 4 or 5 seasons.

 

1.) Michael Jordan (MJ, Air Jordan)

15 NBA Seasons – 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 49.7 FG %, and 83.5 FT%

What can be said about Michael Jordan that hasn’t been said already?  Michael Jordan is hands down the greatest basketball player to ever walk the face of the planet.  He won 6 NBA Championships, 5 MVP’s, and 6 NBA Finals MVP’s.  Jordan won the rookie of the year award, he was a one-time defensive player of the year, and regarded as the best defender at his position in the history of the NBA.  One of the most impressive feats Michael ever pulled off was he was a perfect 6 for 6 in Finals appearances, and he NEVER allowed an NBA Finals series to reach a decisive 7th game.  If that is not the epitome of greatness; I don’t know what is.  What you also have to remember is that Jordan retired TWICE in his prime, which caused him to miss nearly five full seasons.  Just imagine if he never retired and played straight through the age of 40 (where he averaged over 20 points).  I think it’s fair to say he would have won at least 2 more MVP’s and 2 more titles.  All others can strive to Be Like Mike, but there will always be only one Michael Jordan.

NBA All-Star Weekend(best by default)

The entire All-Star weekend can be summed up in one word, Blah.  It is the best All-Star festivities of all the major sports, but it’s the best by default.  The game itself is what it is, and I don’t expect that to change much in the future.  It is a fun way for the NBA’s best to showcase their skills.  The rest of the world had the pleasure of learning what some of us have known for about a year now, that Kyrie Irving is an exceptional talent.  In two or three years, we will all be talking about Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving as the top point guards in the NBA.  On a side note, everyone can stop talking about Lebron returning to Cleveland to team up with Kyrie, it’s not going to happen.  I watched most of the events this weekend, but I watched simply because it was the only thing on television.  I understand that All-Star weekend is meant for fun, but it needs to be revamped.  It needs to regain it’s oomph.  Yeah, I used the word oomph.  The event with the most room for improvement is definitely the Slam Dunk Contest.  I hope someone from the NBA catches wind of this article and takes the advice I’m about to give (for free).  I spoke to this issue in my preview of the All-Star weekend, but the Slam Dunk Contest needs to be changed drastically.  Literally the only part they’ve gotten right is that the players compete for a charity.  Other than that, the event is a disaster.  I think we can all agree we want to see the premier leapers and dunkers in the game in the contest.  Everyone knows who I’m talking about (cough, Lebron, cough).  The question is how do we get these Superstars to enter the dunk contest?  We all know that money isn’t the answer(lord knows Lebron makes enough of that).  Apparently it isn’t enough of an honor for them to do it willingly.  So, how do we get the best players in the NBA to compete in the lowly dunk contest?  The answer is to call them out; plain and simple.  All the commentators and former players who have transformed into media personnel can joke about how scared Lebron is to fail, but what eats away at a self conscience Superstar like “King” James more than anything else?  You need to tell him he can’t do it.  What inspires athletes to succeed more than adversity?  The answer to that would be nothing.  You must also convince him that it really matters.  You must convince him that it’s another notch that must be added to his belt of career achievements.  And who must implore him and the other great leapers of the world to compete?  None other than the man they all idolized as a kid, Michael “Air” Jordan.  You all saw how quickly Lebron reacted when MJ told everyone he’d take Kobe over him any day of the week.  I think it’s that simple.  All the fans want is a better show.  They want the guys they know can come up with new and innovative dunks to show off on the big stage.  With a new and improved approach to All-Star Weekend, the NBA’s superstars are the only ones who can revive this special event.  By the way, they really need to put a limit on the number of dunk attempts each contestant gets.  A minute and a half is way too long to watch some no name try the same dunk over and over and over again (and they don’t get penalized for missing 1, 789 attempts before finally throwing it down).  As the panel of Shaq, Charles, Kenny the Jet, and C Webb said, “We’ll call it the Birdman Rule.”  All we want to see is the dunk contest come back to it’s original form.  Will there be a savior or will it head toward extinction like the Pro Bowl?