Since Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant decided to hang it up this year, I’ve been doing some serious thinking about who the best NBA players are from my generation. Meaning, that I’ve seen play over the course of the last 20 years, so players drafted from 1996 and on are eligible for this debate.
Here’s The Official LordTreeSap Top 5:
1. LeBron James – 2003 Draft (St. Vincent-St. Mary)
The best player I’ve ever seen play the game of basketball. This man does it all on the floor, his 2015 NBA Finals performances finally killed the haters, and that block on Iguodala is the best play in crunch time of a championship we will ever see. Perhaps the most amazing thing about LeBron, he lived up to the enormous hype he’s had since the age of 16. With his championship this past season, the pressure is off as the king delivered on his promise. Next order of business, can LeBron conquer the super-team out west?
2. Kobe Bryant – 1996 Draft (Lower Merion)
Truly a tossup right here between Tim and Kobe, I gave the slight edge to the Black Mamba. The 2nd best shooting guard ever leaves the game an 18x All-Star and 5x champion. A drive and desire that could not be stopped. Nobody was more intense on the court than the bean. This guy would do whatever it took to get the W. I will never forget that 60 point game to end his career, pure madness. The greatest Laker ever and closest thing to Jordan in my opinion.
3. Tim Duncan – 1997 Draft (Wake Forest)
The Big Fundamental, Timmy D just went about his business playing the game of basketball. The number one selection from the 1997 draft departs from the NBA as a 15x All-Star and 5x champion. Considered the best power forward of all-time, Duncan is the only player ever to make all-NBA and all-defensive teams in each of his first 13 seasons.
4. Dwyane Wade – 2003 Draft (Marquette)
I really believed Flash was going to retire a member of the Miami Heat. It’s going to be weird seeing him back home in a Bulls jersey. With that said, there’s no denying Wade’s greatness. A star was born after his epic 2006 NBA finals performances against the Mavericks. Still getting it done at the age of 34, Wade ranks not far behind MJ and Kobe as far as top shooting guards of all-time. The Chicago native’s stacked resume includes 12 straight All-Star games and 3 championships in 5 finals trips. He turned Miami into Wade County after all.
5. Allen Iverson – 1996 Draft (Georgetown)
The most polarizing athlete of our generation, and arguably the greatest pound for pound player ever. Everyone wanted to be like Iverson growing up, whether it was the tattoos, his fashion off the court and on it, we all loved The Answer. I remember wearing fake cornrows and an Iverson jersey one day to school to be like him, the adults just don’t get what he means to us. A.I. ranks as the 7th best scorer per game in NBA history. The numbers speak for themselves but it’s impossible to measure the impact he had on fans and the league itself.
Snatching Tyronn Lue’s soul during game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals.
“We Talkin About Practice Man.”