Header Ban

The king of giants: Who is the best center in NBA history?

The does not rest. There is still a hangover from the Denver Nuggets win and the Summer League takes its first steps. There are spotlights on the first step of the big man - in every sense of the word - who is coming: Victor Wembanyama.

He wants to steal the throne from the other big man who holds it: Nikola Jokic. The Serbian already has a ring that builds and opens a debate. He is a legitimate candidate to, in the future, be the best center of all time. Style and dominance.

Jokic comes from breaking the traditional rules. He was a point guard of more than six feet and 100 kilos. Winning games by generating points with a prodigious game vision and an IQ on the court typical of historical talents. Added to that, he was extremely efficient. His 30.2 points, 14 rebounds and 7.2 assists on average in the final against the Miami Heat are frightening.

The traditional center

The traditional big man was identified with rules that Joker broke. More intimidating under the boards than anything else. The first legend was Bill Russell with 11 championship rings with the Boston Celtics. Defined by his quickness and discovery of the stopper.

"He was a student of the game and his identity as a player depended on his mastery," says his autobiography published by the New York Times. Russell was also other things. A voice against injustice and racism, a voice for change in the NBA. More than an athlete.

That continued with Wilt Chamberlain, who many consider the most dominant of all time. He has basketball's magnum opus, his 100-point game against the New York Knicks in 1962. And another, with a double triple-double of 53+32+14+14+24 blocks and 11 steals. The NBA changed the rules, on offense, because of his wingspan, coordination and versatility.

Although he has some grey areas. One is the fact that he only has two championship rings. Another, the seriousness with which he took the game. "If I had dedicated myself only to basketball I would have scored 142 points," he confessed in the 100th game.

Then there's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, probably the best. With 38,387 points, he was the highest scorer until LeBron James beat his record at the start of 2023. Also the player who started in basketball at the age of nine. His life will forever be linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he scored 22.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.8 blocks per game.

Shaq, the indomitable

Kareem did not have a center to match him until almost half a century later. Immense players such as Moses Malone, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone or the Twin Towers of the Spurs, Tim Duncan (power forward) and David Robinson. But nothing until Shaquille O'Neal's rise to fame.

A 6-foot-2, 147-pound beast, dominating from 1992 to 2007. Four rings, three MVP's, MVP of the season.... Shaq used his body, breezed past rivals and together with Kobe Bryant reached competitive perfection.

"I make people happy, that's what matters to me," was his life motto. And he dominated like no one else did... Or maybe Jokic, without brutality but with finesse, has taken his baton. Time will tell.

Adblock test (Why?)

No comments

Powered by Blogger.