By Melva N. Lloyd (Basketball) and Ronald Clark (Football)
In light of yet another decade coming to a close, it seems as though every major publication is producing its own “Best of…” lists. Well, StatusMediaGlobal is no different. Sure, Rolling Stone and Complex Magazine, among others, have released what they consider the best albums/movies/fashion trends/songs of the past decade, but the sports contributors at SMG have decided to shed some light on who we think have been the cream-of-the-crop in the basketball and football worlds.
Each list will consist of All Decade teams; one offense and one defense. Each team will have a starting five; made up of the top players from 2000-2009 and a bench of seven players.
Now let’s remember, this isn’t like the All-Star game, players didn’t make this list because we have their pictures plastered on our walls, or we think they’re cute. Career statistics were taken into consideration and that alone is what qualified them.
Kobe Bryant (Guard, Los Angeles Lakers) – This is pretty self explanatory. Who else would you want on your team to potentially sink the game-winning shot (as he’s done so many times in his career) or provide veteran leadership both on and off the court? It’s no secret that Kobe Bean Bryant is the greatest in the league today; you can be an avid Kobe fan or hate his guts but his raw talent is undeniable. His numbers speak for themselves: 4x NBA champion, league MVP, finals MVP, 11x All-Star, 2x scoring champion, 7x All-NBA First team…the list goes on and on. He entered the league straight out of high school back in 1996 and 13 years later he’s averaging 28.9 ppg, and recently he’s practically playing with one hand and still putting up 30 points each game. Kobe Bryant for president.
Steve Nash (Point Guard, Phoenix Suns) – What happens when a former soccer player makes a name for himself in the NBA? You get Steve Nash, one of the fastest and most poised point guards in the league. He may not have any championship rings but the 2x NBA MVP doesn’t let that cloud his stat sheet. At first glance, Nash doesn’t look much like a basketball star, but his near perfect vision allows him to make seemingly impossible, circus-like passes. Having teammates that can finish a play is probably why he averages just over eleven assists per game.
Tim Duncan (Power Forward, San Antonio Spurs) – Tim Duncan may not be one of the most exciting basketball players to watch, but he’s arguably one of the best of our time. Tim Duncan is a student of the game, a textbook example of how basketball should be played. He is one of the few big men in the league who has an outside shot but is a force to be reckoned with in the paint. NBA championships? He’s got four of those. MVP awards? Count two for the Wake Forest alum. All-Star appearances? Well, let’s just say you need more than one hand to count that. And to think, he almost became a professional swimmer.
LeBron James (Small Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers) – He’s built like a football player, because he used to be one, but has all the talent every aspiring basketball professional hopes for. At 6’8” LeBron James does it all, and after just six seasons in the league, he’s made an impact on the NBA that some players only dream of. In 2007, he led his Cavs to their first Eastern Conference appearance in 15 years, playing one of the best games in his career against the Detroit Pistons, eventually eliminating the former champs, and making history once again. He picked up his first league MVP award in 2009 and in his young career he’s broken more records than most veterans. Averaging 28.9 ppg, and eight apg easily makes him anyone’s first pick on the playground. I’ll take the Chosen One please.
Shaquille O’Neal (Center, Cleveland Cavaliers) – Let me make this simple: Shaquille O’Neal changed the game of basketball. Almost 20 years in the league and teams still run the “Hack-a-Shaq” on the most prominent center in the NBA. His presence in the paint can almost turn a player away for fear that one hit from the Shaq Diesel could send them to the locker room. Four championship rings later, the thirty-seven year old is making a name for himself in Cleveland where he’s vowed to “win a ring for the King.” Sure his numbers may have gone down over the years but when you’re a 2x scoring champ and 3x finals MVP, what else do you have to prove?
Honorable Mentions (In no particular order):
- Jason Kidd
- Tony Parker
- Dwyane Wade
- Kevin Garnett
- Allen Iverson
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Yao Ming