For the NBA’s 75th anniversary team, 75 players weren’t enough.
The league needed 76 instead.
The top 75 players in NBA history – and one more because of a tie in the voting – have been revealed, a group that has combined to win 158 NBA championships, earn 730 NBA All-Star selections and score more than 1.5 million points.
The players were not ranked in order, and were announced over a three-day span randomly. And the league didn’t say which players wound up in that tie to determine the final spot.
All 50 of the Top 50 players – chosen 25 years ago, during the NBA’s 50th anniversary celebration – made the Top 75 list as well, a clear indicator that the voters for this team respected the intentions of the selectors a quarter-century ago.
Of the new names on the list, nine were announced during the first two rounds of unveilings Tuesday and Wednesday: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett, James Harden, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Paul.
The other newcomers were all announced Thursday, with a few obvious picks coming along with a few surprises. Dominique Wilkins was a notable omission from the 50th anniversary team but made the 75th anniversary team.
”It took me a while to get over it,” Wilkins said of the snub a quarter-century ago.
He doesn’t have to worry about it anymore.
Nor does Bob McAdoo, another player who didn’t make the Top 50 list 25 years ago but got enough votes to make the Top 75.
”A legend on and off the court,” read a statement from the Miami Heat, commemorating McAdoo’s selection.
The other newcomers to the list, all announced Thursday: Dennis Rodman, Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade, Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton, Paul Pierce, Stephen Curry, Reggie Miller, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.
”I just got chills. I don’t want to be cool and act like this doesn’t mean anything. … It’s surreal,” Wade said on the Turner Sports telecast of Thursday’s announcement. ”It doesn’t even feel real to look at yourself and say `I’m one of the best 75 players ever to play this game.”’
Kidd had a similar reaction, after being told in a pregame interview before the team he now coaches – the Dallas Mavericks – opened their season against the Atlanta Hawks.
”One, I’m surprised,” Kidd said. ”Two, it’s a surreal moment, right? Seventy-five years, to be mentioned with that list, there’s a lot of great names. I’m just happy they found a way to put my name on that list.”
The NBA’s 75th anniversary team, in alphabetical order:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Ray Allen; Giannis Antetokounmpo; Carmelo Anthony; Nate Archibald; Paul Arizin; Charles Barkley; Rick Barry; Elgin Baylor; Dave Bing; Larry Bird; Kobe Bryant; Wilt Chamberlain; Bob Cousy; Dave Cowens; Billy Cunningham; Stephen Curry; Anthony Davis; Dave DeBusschere; Clyde Drexler; Tim Duncan; Kevin Durant; Julius Erving; Patrick Ewing; Walt Frazier.
Kevin Garnett; George Gervin; Hal Greer; James Harden; John Havlicek; Elvin Hayes; Allen Iverson; LeBron James; Magic Johnson; Sam Jones; Michael Jordan; Jason Kidd; Kawhi Leonard; Damian Lillard; Jerry Lucas; Karl Malone; Moses Malone; Pete Maravich; Bob McAdoo; Kevin McHale; George Mikan; Reggie Miller; Earl Monroe; Steve Nash; Dirk Nowitzki.
Hakeem Olajuwon; Shaquille O’Neal; Robert Parish; Chris Paul; Gary Payton; Bob Pettit; Paul Pierce; Scottie Pippen; Willis Reed; Oscar Robertson; David Robinson; Dennis Rodman; Bill Russell; Dolph Schayes; Bill Sharman; John Stockton; Isiah Thomas; Nate Thurmond; Wes Unseld; Dwyane Wade; Bill Walton; Jerry West; Russell Westbrook; Lenny Wilkens; Dominique Wilkins; James Worthy.
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