The Power Forwards
Candidates: Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki
There's no need for any more candidates.
Elton Brand and Chris Bosh have been successful in their careers as well, but neither are close to the caliber of the three power forwards in this decade. All of them are three of the greatest power forwards to have ever played, with Duncan possibly being the best.
It speaks volume of their dominance, considering the power forward position has been deep in this decade. I haven't mentioned Amar'e Stoudemire, or Jermaine O'Neal, both of whom were consistent All-NBA Team members every season.
The only one who comes close enough to make an argument is Chris Webber, who was one of the most well-rounded power forwards in the league and the catalyst of the biggest threat the Los Angeles three-peat Lakers faced. He's notorious for coming up short in big game situations, similar to Dirk Nowitzki. But unlike Nowitzki, Webber falls short in terms of longevity and lacks the MVP award Dirk has.
When it's all said and done, there'd be a legit argument that the 2000s power forward position was stronger than any other decade in the history of the game. Don't forget Karl Malone was still a very good player in the early 2000's as well, but he was past his prime and not on the level of those three.
Why we love pick-up hoops -
it's a rare chance, in modern society, to behave immoderately:
Everyone arrives in a mood to insult and prepared to defend against insults, basketball-related or otherwise. I like it; I think it's part of my addiction. It's not like I play ball to fight, but I crave the intensity. And my game is respected for that reason above all others. For a long time now, that has been my thing -- to be intense, to play hard, to exhibit a certain smug satisfaction at hitting shots, to want to win, to relish nifty passes, to clap and congratulate my teammates, to be loud, to be in your face, to stir the pot so that the people I'm playing against feel annoyed and insulted, so they try harder.
Afterward, everyone seems to feel the game has been better for it.
I've learned all this from years and years of being taunted and abused on various public street-basketball courts in various cities and locales. Inside the fence, you're all alone in a kind of free-trade zone of aggression and hostility and whatever else you wanted to trade in. Buckets, for example, or pride. You feel as if anything could happen. All that hostility, in the context of such a devotional love of the game, is a good way to make friends, even if you don't know their real names.
21 reasons to get NBA league pass -
8. Michael Jordan cameos — For the MJ followers who jizz in their pants whenever the G.O.A.T. is mentioned, if you watch Bobcats games on the regular, you can have a couple handfuls of Jonas Brothers moments throughout the season.
12. Derrick Rose & Tyrus Thomas — You know what D-Rose can do. But Tyrus manages to consistently do amazing things on the court, even if that one Highlight of the Year is the only mark he makes on the game.
My one reason not to get it: I would fail out of law school.
MJ "shrine" in the HOF -
Speaking of MJ
Richard Sandomir has an excellent piece in today’s New York Times about the commercialization and marketing whoring involved with the Michael Jordan’s pending induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Instead of the exhibit being a shrine to Jordan, it’s really just a living commercial to MJ and the Jordan Brand. Even the championship rings on display are replicas of Jordan’s.
***** UPDATE ***** (missed this link earlier!)
Is "72" untoucha-Bull? -
The number 72 conjures up just one memory in the NBA: the marvelous Chicago Bulls of 1995-96, who racked up an unbelievable 72-10 record. No team has ever reached 70 wins, let alone 72. Not Russell's Celtics, not Magic's Lakers -- no one. Heck, even the Bulls couldn't match their own standard in the two title seasons that followed '96.
The depths to which the Bulls dominated the competition in the record-breaking season was astounding. After Shaquille O'Neal, Penny Hardaway and former Bull Horace Grant showed the Bulls the door in a six-game conference semifinal season in 1994-95 -- the season in which Michael Jordan unretired with two months left -- Chicago went out and grabbed the vitamin boost it needed: Dennis Rodman.
Rodman, who the Bulls nabbed from the Spurs while only giving up Will Perdue, not only squelched Grant in the Magic-Bulls matchups of '96. Rodman, along with a nearly perfect season from MJ and divine campaigns for Scottie Pippen and Toni Kukoc, helped take the Bulls to levels never thought imaginable. The Jordan-era Bulls under Phil Jackson had always been stellar on defense, but the '96 version was just suffocating.
(Props to me for that clever phrase in the link to the article)