Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wade's place in NBA history

Here's the question: how many NBA players have won NBA championships within their first three years AS THE BEST PLAYER ON THEIR TEAMS?

It's a short list.

Bill Russell won in his 1st and 3rd year.
Magic Johnson won in his 1st and 3rd year (Kareem was MVP Magic's rookie year, but Magic was Finals MVP, so for the sake of argument, let's consider Magic the team's best player for these two titles).
Larry Bird won in his 2nd year.
Tim Duncan won in his 2nd year.
Dwayne Wade won in his 3rd year.

So Wade is definitely already an all-timer.

However, let's look closer at these players before making assumptions about the meaning of this in all-time greatness.

Russell joined a Celtic team that featured Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman, both voted in '96 to be among the 50 greatest NBA players ever.

Magic joined a team that featured Kareem Abdul-Jabar, who is a legitimate contender for GREATEST PLAYER EVER status.

Larry Legend won his first title in '81 playing alongside three members of the '96 50 Greatest: Robert Parrish, Kevin McHale, and Tiny Archibald.

Tim Duncan joined an aging but still effective David Robinson.

And Wade was on a team that added an aging but still effective Shaquille O'Neal in his second year.

Certainly this is an impressive list of players. But each joined a team that was already loaded with some talent that could compliment them.

(one other comment on Wilt as the greatest athlete ever: I looked at the back of a card and learned that in the 1961-62 season, Wilt played all but 8 possible minutes of the NBA season. Yet you're not going to hear him mentioned with Cal Ripken, Lance Armstrong, or Brett Favre [who actually doesn't even have the record for most consecutive games played, though he gets all sorts of credit--Jim Marshall had the record until a pointless punter broke it. We don't recognize punters here at Pacifist Viking--all hail Jim Marshall] as the paragons of durability and stamina in American sports lore. He should be).


  1. weird, did you notice that your players make a nice starting 5? True PG Magic, 2 guard Wade, Center Russel, SF Bird and PF Duncan (debatable)

  2. Anonymous10:13 AM

    olajuwon was drafted in 84 and won championship in 86, and he is certainly one of the all-time great centers. amongst those i have seen in their prime, he is top 5 with oneal, robinson, ewing, and mourning.

  3. Olajuwon got his team to the Finals in '86, but lost to the Celtics. I rank him ahead of Shaq all-time--unstoppable at his peak.

  4. oh yeah, they lost. sorry