“I’m Ben Wallace dunk up in your basket” -Tyga
Didn’t start off as a great basketball era, Nets, Pacers, and Sixers all making the Finals, San Antonio being a giant in a small market, failed high school phenoms, the list of setbacks goes on. Since 07/08 the NBA has worked it’s way back to respectability and enjoyable games. This list includes 31 NBA Championships, 12 MVPs, 5 D.POY’s, maybe a hundred all star game appearances and countless other accolades amongst these elites. Here’s the b side to this tape tho. 20 through 11.
20. Rasheed Wallace: If you weren’t into the NBA in the first half of the decade you missed out on possibly the best post scorer who ironically rarely hit the blocks, didn’t rebound well for his size, and became the face of the technical foul. Even with those three hindrances Sheed was still able to get his while being one of the premier low post defenders of the era, and becoming somewhat of a leader later on in his career. The championship year in Detroit solidies him over the Chris Webber’s of the world on this list.
19. Vince Carter: Before the beard and foray of three pointers, Vince was our Dominque Wilkins. Dunker extraordinaire, with the ability to go out and get 25 a night. Vince’s downfall had to be the constant comparisons to MJ. We saw the hops, the baldy and success at a young age and crowned him the next Mike. When in reality he would be Nique at best. Vince locks this spot down almost for his performance in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest.
18. Ben Wallace: Big Ben, pioneer of the slave braids under the headband and long wristbands. Forget the fact that he couldn’t score on the SAT’s, Ben Wallace at 6’8″ was the best defender, big or small from the Bronze Era. Shut Shaq down when O’Neal was still relatively in his prime, won 4 D.POY awards. Won a bunch of rebounding titles and anchored the Pistons to one of the biggest upsets in NBA Finals history. Definitely deserving of this spot.
17. Tracy McGrady: “Styles is wavy, lazy eye, Tracy Mcgrady, deliver like a 80 pound baby” -Roc Marciano
One of the most electrifying yet disappointing stars of the era. TMac had all of the tools to be an all time great but he seemed to think that winning was as easy as he made scoring look. I can remember when he was the hood’s favorite player, even more than Kobe and AI, maybe it was the royal blue away jersey maybe it was his slashing and shooting but we all wanted to see Tracy be great. Sadly he never made it out of the first round. I can’t even count this season with the Spurs, Pop got him in the second row behind the players like a AAU coach.
16. Manu Ginobili: Maybe this is too high for Manu, maybe it’s not. But three rings, on top of being one of the best sixth men in NBA history gets you some kudos. In all honesty, Manu gets this spot for being the leader of the Argentinian Olympic Team that knocked off the USA back in 04, and eventually won the gold medal. Growing up, something like that seemed impossible but Manu, Scola and a bunch of other cats I don’t remember washed Marbury and AI up back then. Salute
15. Chauncey Billups: Mr Big Shot. Chauncey kinda came out of nowhere in the ’04 season when he lead the Pistons to the rings. Reminds me a little of Mike Conley this season in Memphis. Chauncey then went on to be arguably the best pg in the league for the next three seasons as they almost won another ring in 05, and he led Detroit to 5 straight ECF’s in the mid decade. Let’s not forget that he helped Melo out of the first round and into the WCF in ’09 as well.
14. Pau Gasol: Hate him or hate him, Pau has been one of the most consistent players since he came in the league in 2000. Basically good for 17-20 and 9-10 rebounds his whole career. The second best player on the Lakers repeat team in 09 and 2010. If they could have taken Boston down in 08 he may even be higher on this list. Never gonna get the credit he deserves until he’s retired that’s the wack part about playing with Kobe.
13. Ray Allen: Jesus Shuttlesworth. Greatest shooter ever? Probably so. The Ray Allen we see now is pretty much half of what he used to be. Always an elite shooter, but Walter Ray used to be just as good going to the basket, dunks and reverse layups galore. 10 ASG appearances, I may be amping that up slightly, but he definitely gets a nod for his all time greatness, consistency, winning a ring in 08 and of course the timeless classic He Got Game.
12. Tony Parker: I don’t know if there is a player more despised in the league than Parker. It’s like they know what he’s gonna do and how he’s gonna do it and you just can’t stop him. Here’s another foreigner who doesn’t get the credit he warrants, but that’s because he plays in San An and made this video with Fab. But with 3 rings and working on a possible 4th, this automatically puts him in NBA royalty anyway you want to look at it
11. Allen Iverson: Smh I almost forgot to include Allen on this list. Truthfully he should move down a couple of slots because everyone else on the list so far besides Ben and Sheed are active players. Pound for pound though, you have to rank Allen up there amongst the greats. Scoring titles at a listed 6’1″ 165 is absurd, and leading a team of nobodies to an NBA Finals berth in 01 was remarkable. Sadly for AI that was the apex of his career. We always thought he’d at least get back but it all seemed to go downhill from there. I don’t know or care if the rumors about him being broke are true or not, but I do think that if he humbled himself he could be the 8th man on a good NBA team.