Who is the best NBA player of all time?

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Answered by: Andrew, An Expert in the About NBA Players Category
In sports the question of the best player is often brought up. This is because there is no 'best' stat to give a definitive answer. Michael Jordan is often regarded as the best NBA player to ever live.

There are a few stats that are used to measure the greatness of a player: Championship wins, points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. If you put up big numbers in these categories you are considered a great player. In these categories Jordan ranks 10th, 3rd, 65th, 36th, 2nd, and 95th respectively. These are very respectable rankings, but unfortunately they are very easy to argue against.

For instance, steals and blocks were not recorded until 1973 and there was no 3-point line in the NBA until 1979. This undoubtedly affected the point totals of all players before 1979. To really understand why Jordan is the greatest player of all time other factors must be taken into account. Jordan played during the golden age of NBA basketball. This era was from 1980-1998: It should be noted that those years coincide with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson entering the NBA and Jordan's first retirement.

The golden age is named so for two reasons; it is thought to be when the best basketball was played and it coincides with the meteoric rise in the NBA's popularity. It is debatable when the best basketball was played, but, in 1996, the NBA named its All-Time Team consisting of 50 players that supports the golden age claim. Of the 50 players named to the team, 20 played more than half of their career during Golden Age. With this background info we can begin to understand the argument for Jordan's claim as the best.

Jordan was, simply, the best player during the best era of basketball. Comparing his statistics with other players in his era strengthens the argument. Jordan led the league in points every year he played up until 1998. In that span the only time he failed to lead the league in points per game was his rookie year. His player efficiency rating, a stat that measures the efficiency of a player, never fell below fourth in the league. Again, these are just stats and stats can be very misleading. What really solidifies Jordan's greatness are his accolades.

In the 12 years he played in the Golden Age he won six championships and never lost in the finals. He amassed 5 MVP awards and 12 All-Star Game nods. He also won 10 NBA scoring titles and was named to the All-NBA First Team 10 times. The most surprising, and telling, accolade is that he was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team 9 times. This shows that during the best era of basketball Jordan dominated on both ends off the court. Along with the accolades and statistics Jordan also has the benefit of his peers calling him the best.

In any field, the opinions of a person's peers are very telling. Many players who played against Jordan, including Johnson, Isiah Thomas and Bird, have said that Jordan is the greatest to ever play in the NBA. All of these factors make the case for Michael Jordan being the best NBA player ever.

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