Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Our 'Player's Ball' feature takes a look at best players and teams. Today is the LA Lakers all-time best starting line-up.


Sorry Shaq, you may be the daddy but Wilt the stilt towers over you and everyone else to get this position 100% and this is not because of the still untouched, won't be for awhile 100 point game (sorry Kobe). It's not about the legend or the statistical averages he stacked higher than his number of partners. Nobody comes close to screwing with Chamberlain, not even Kareem and his all-time point leading sky-hooks can catch up (sorry 'cap). Bill Russell couldn't even stop him and Wilt could put the D on the Celtic ring bearer too. From Phila to killer Cali' and the Lakers Wilt was all killer and no filler as he took up the whole paint and changed the game to make it his lane. Even with three guys tripling him in the painted area Wilt had the key to it all. He owned it and everyone. Now who else could dominate this position?


A.C. almost made it, Gasol needs a few more years for retrospect and Karl Malone's really Utah's (but what a great year from one of the greatest), so our man at the four is going to have to be someone a little different. The only way to settle this Kareem versus Wilt debate is too just put them in the same dream team and just hope they get along. If these two pivots played together they'd create a twin tandem that would even scare legendary San Antonio duo David Robinson and Tim Duncan out their spur. This formidable frontline would be too much, for double, triple or even full teams coming on the floor to defend. Kareem's no Power Forward but he could draw defenders out the paint for Wilt with his signature, sky-hook shot (not that Wilt would need to rebound). Plus if Wilt's not dropping 100, who better to carry the scoring load then the NBA's all-time points leader? The way to solve this best centre debate is to stand them next to each other and see what they're really made of.


The greatest player in the league right now-palms on the ball down-need we point anyone else in this position (albeit his un-natural one due to the selection of Jerry West at the 2)? Like the game, it's his. Leading his Los Angeles Lakers to a second straight NBA Championship in 2010 Kobe Bryant once again cemented his status as best in the NBA, furthering his legend as one of the best ever to do it. Sure Kobe had a lot more help than usual but still number 24 looked more and more like number 23 in his dominance of the game. Kobe put on his fifth championship ring (one less than Jordan) but he couldn't even fit it on his swollen finger. Still today Kobe doesn't just carry his team he carries injury after injury as he plays through the pain en route to comfortable victories. Where else can you put the best but number one? Said and done!


There is nothing east of Jerry West. How was the logo of the NBA not going to make this team? Here he's even managed to push Kobe to the three like Shaq in the early millennium. Jerry West was the NBA and in many ways still is. Mr. Clutch could hit from anywhere, even his own court. The floor was Mr. Big Shot's, Mr. Lakers gave everything to the purple and gold franchise. Through all the years of Boston heartbreak to winning in the front office as a G.M. that was anything but general. From the skill to the savvy this serious player had a set of fundamentals that helped write the book on the modern day game of basketball (look out for the autobiography too coming next month). This year the logo was finally honored with a statue and this Laker legends place on this team will forever be set in stone.


Now how about some Magic? Who else to share this legendary backcourt with M.J. then M.J. A man who produced thrillers like pop's M.J. With Quincy Jones cool. Remember the time? Earvin 'Magic' Johnson was a pharoahe in this league, at the top of the Lakers pyramid. This no-look wizard won't pass up anything and will unselfishly even play centre if you ask him. Never fear Magic's here. With him your in safe, slight of hands. Without him there's nothing left to pull out your hat, no ace in the hole. There was no showtime without him and no greater competitor for Jordan to beat and truly take the torch off. The greatest player this league has seen not named M.J. with a Jeffrey. Without him Kareem, Bird and the NBA itself would never have been the same. The Basketball was an extension of him, not the other way round and so was the sport. His tricks of the trade changed the game. He's still making major moves in the business world today trying to bring the NFL to Los Angeles, and who else to quarterback this team the the man that brought the NBA to the world?


Portland realise, Philadelphia have been through it, Sacramento know all too well, hell the whole wide league, United States and world know, when it comes to coming off the bench and hitting franchise and championship plays nobody can touch this man. Even Kobe's best M.J. impression and Mr. Clutch have to give it up to Big Shot Bob when he's behind the arc. From giving other people problems in the Houston days to the X-Factor championship Laker days let history be the judge. Sure Shaq, Mikan and Goodrich are criminally left off the chilling list, 'Big Game James' is Worthy too and even Gasol and Odom could be here. Still until Derek Fisher out-shoots him nobody will embody the sixth man position more than the Hall of Fame bound legend that is Robert Horry. As the clock reads '0.0', there's no one else.TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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