In a league full of stars, only five guys can play at a time. So if you had to pick from all the stars to ever play, who would be the best starting five? Who was truly the best at their position? Who knows how to win? Who rises to the occasion? Who makes others around them better? I’ve got all the answers right here!
Coming soon, I’ll give you my formula for determining the GOAT, but to start things off, let me introduce my all-time starting five. Remember, I’m not saying these are the five greatest players of all time, though you could make a case for each of them, I’m saying based on true position, this is who I’d take for my starting five and why:
Point Guard: Magic Johnson (Lakers) – Magic was the heart and soul of the “Showtime” Lakers. 5x Champion, 3x Finals MVP, 3x League MVP. Unbelievable passer, great scorer and extremely unselfish teammate. Backup: John Stockton
Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan (Bulls) – Duh. This one was a no-brainer. 6x Champ, 6x Finals MVP, 5x League MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, etc. etc. No one comes close to His Airness. Distant Backups: Kobe Bryant, Oscar Robertson and Dywane Wade
Small Forward: Larry Bird (Celtics) – Nobody can stroke it like Larry Legend–not to mention his ability to board and pass. Dude averaged 10 reb/game and 6.3 ast/game for his career to go with 24.3 pts. 3x Champ, 2x Finals MVP, 3x League MVP. Backup: LeBron James, who will likely finish his career surpassing Bird on this list.
Power Forward: Tim Duncan (Spurs) – The Big Fundamental now has 5 Titles, 3 Finals MVPs, 2 league MVPs and 14 All-Star games. Duncan has been doing it for years and every time we write him off, he proves us wrong and does it again. Tough to beat that. Backup: Karl Malone
Center: Shaquille O’Neal (Lakers) – Shaq Diesel was one of the most dominant players in NBA history for several years with the Magic and the Lakers–where he won 3 Titles, taking home MVP honors in each of those three. He snagged one more Championship in Miami alongside D-Wade. 15-time All-Star, 1-time league MVP and the reason for several new NBA rules. In his hay-day, Shaq was truly unstoppable. Backups: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Hakeem Olajuwon and Bill Russell
Can you imagine a better starting five than this? Magic running the point with Jordan slashing to the hoop, Bird drilling from outside and Duncan and Shaq holding down the paint? C’mon! Unbeatable!