Bill Russell was the cornerstone of the Boston Celtics' dynasty of the 1960s, an uncanny shotblocker who revolutionized NBA defensive concepts. An 11-time NBA Champion, five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, and a 12-time All-Star, the angular center amassed 21,620 career rebounds, an average of 22.5 per game, and led the league in rebounding four times. He had 51 boards in one game, 49 in two others, and a dozen consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds. His many individual accolades were well deserved, but they were only products of Russell's philosophy of team play.
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"Wilt the Stilt" or "The Big Dipper" was basketball's unstoppable force, the most awesome offensive force the game has ever seen. Asked to name the greatest players ever to play basketball, most fans and aficionados would put Wilt Chamberlain at or near the top of the list.Dominating the game as few players in any sport ever have, Chamberlain seemed capable of scoring and rebounding at will, despite the double- and triple-teams and constant fouling tactics that opposing teams used to try to shut him down. As Oscar Robertson put it in the Philadelphia Daily News when asked whether Chamberlain was the best ever, "The books don't lie." The record books are indeed heavy with Chamberlain's accomplishments. He was the only NBA player to score 4,000 points in a season. He set NBA single-game records for most points (100), most consecutive field goals (18) and most rebounds (55). Perhaps his most mind-boggling stat was the 50.4 points per game he averaged during the 1961-62 season--and if not that, then perhaps the 48.5 minutes per game he averaged that same year.
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He was what Bob Cousy was to the 1950s, what Oscar Robertson was to the 1960s, what Julius Erving was to the 1970s. Still, Earvin Johnson was even more than a revolutionary player, who, at 6-foot-9, was the tallest point guard in league history. His sublime talent elicited wonder and admiration from even the most casual basketball fan. Whether it was a behind-the-back pass to a streaking James Worthy, a half-court swish at the buzzer or a smile that illuminated an arena, everyone who saw Johnson play took with them an indelible memory of what they had witnessed. From the moment he stepped onto the court, people pondered: How could a man so big do so many things with the ball and with his body? It was Magic.see more on Magic Johnson
Julius Erving, the great and wondrous "Dr. J," was the dominant player of his era, an innovator who changed the way the game was played. He was a wizard with the ball, performing feats never before seen: midair spins and whirls punctuated by powerful slam dunks. Erving was one of the first players to make extemporaneous individual expression an integral part of the game, setting the style of play that would prevail in the decades to follow. A gracious, dignified, and disciplined man, Erving was the epitome of class and an ideal ambassador for the game. see more on Julius Erving