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One of my all-time favorite players. For all the kids out their whom are fans of Chris Paul and Shawn Kemp, they really need to take a look at the duo that started it all. Likely the greatest Alley-Oop combo in the history of basketball, Gary Payton & Shawn Kemp.
 
 
These are necessarily the best players of all-time, but rather the guys that I seemed to be the biggest fans of. Whether I identified with their attitude, parts of their game, or was fond of a quirk of their's, each person is on this list for their own reason. I will keep adding to this list as time goes on.

Michael Jordan - This needs no explanationLarry Bird - 2nd only to MJ in a list of greatest trash talkers. Gary Payton and Reggie Miller round out the top 4 
Charles Barkley - Greatest personality in sports

The Seattle Sonics of the 90s - George Karl's teams always broke my heart, but they were my team
Gary Payton - As good a defender as their has ever been, and maybe a better trash talker
Shawn Kemp - During his years in Seattle, he cemented himself as one of the great dunkers of all-time

The New York Knicks of the mid-late 90s - I loved their defense. It embodied where their city
John Starks - My favorite of those Knick teams, oddly enough, defense wasn't his strong suitAnthony Mason - Coolest haircuts ever

Nick Van Exel - Such a unique style. How could you not be a fan?
Allen Iverson - Maybe the toughest player Ive ever witnessedSteve Nash - A 3x MVP in my opinion. Looked like he was playing soccer out on the court
Jerome Williams - Nicknamed "The Junkyard Dog" because he loved rebounding so much
Ray Allen - And when I teach kids how to shoot, Ray Allen is the example given 10 out of 10 times
Carmelo Anthony - A storybook single college season at Syracuse
Nate Robinson - See blog post #14


The Detroit Pistons led by Chauncey Billups - Imagine had they taken Carmelo instead of Darko?
Chauncey Billups - When I teach kids how to play defense, I always say, "Do it like Chauncey does"
 
 
Owner - Jerry Bus
GM - Red Auerbach
Head Coach - Phil Jackson

PG - Magic Johnson
SG - Michael Jordan
SF - Larry Bird
PF - Dennis Rodman
C - Hakeem Olajuwon

Bench

G - Gary Payton
G - Oscar Robertson 
F - Charles Barkley
F - Kevin McHale
F - Tim Duncan
C - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

If you can come up with a better 12 players than that, lets hear it. I dont think there is another combination of 12 that could beat these guys. Worthy canidates would be the '92 Dream Team. I think you'd be hard pressed to find another group with this sort of combination of talent & basketball IQ. These 12 players are the ultimate balanced combination of scoring, rebounding, and defense.
 
 
I was going to do a blog post about nutrition, but then Nate Robinson, one of my favorite players, had himself a GREAT dunk on the entire Blazers team so I had to post about it. I don't know how or why this guy has been on so many teams. He's a locker room favorite & loved even more by the fans. Clutch shooter, good hustle, high energy. Everyone needs a "Nate Robinson" on their team.

I'll try to get to my post about nutrition next week. But then again, I may find myself talking about the Miami Heat and their historic run of 25 (and counting) straight wins... and just for good measure, I added a second Nate Robinson highlight from earlier in the year. Enjoy. 
 
 
After the "dunk heard 'round the world" that happened Sunday (RIP Brandon Knight 1991-2013), I decided I would compile my list of the Greatest Dunks of All-Time. I dont know if DeAndre's measures up against the greats of history, and when you see what its compared too you will understand why, because context is everything. Context aside, it's easily the best dunk of the 2013 year. Have a look at the video below, and then compare it to the dunks I feel were the greatest ever. 
The younger kids aren't going to remember these plays much less who these players are, but let me tell you young bucks something... back when these dunks occurred, they actually meant something. In this dunk by Kemp, it was in retaliation for a bench clearing brawl that had occurred earlier in the season. Golden State and Seattle were rivals trying to claim their spot in the Western Conference's elite. This dunk by Kemp pretty much ended the battle and Golden State is still trying to recover 2 decades later...
In my opinion, Hakeem Olajuwon is easily the greatest center of all-time. I remember watching his Houston team take on the defending Western Conference Champ Suns in the playoffs in 1994. Two elite teams by any era's standards but largely forgotten in time due to the fact that MJ pretty much overshadowed anything less than perfect in the 90s. One event he couldnt overshadow was the highlight of Kevin Johnson's illustrious career...
If you are sensing a theme running here, it's that these weren't just average dunks against average opponents. These were great players making great plays against other great players. In all of these highlights, these teams hated one another and maybe no feud ran deeper than that between Jordan's Bulls & Spike Lee's Knicks. This dunk has it all. Its the Playoffs in the most famous arena in the world, Madison Square Garden, against the greatest player to ever play the game...
...and just to show you how much these two teams hated one another, take a look at this clip where Scottie Pippen downright abuses the legendary Patrick Ewing and then tell's Spike Lee, "It aint the shoes".
And last but far from least... would a dunk show be worthy without the one that started it all?
...And lastly, before we completelty bury Brandon Knight, we should give him credit for attempting to even block the shot. If you look at all the great dunks Ive posted above, Brandon joins some pretty legendary company in the likes of Hakeem or Ewing. For every great dunk, there was a great defender that had the guts to attempt to block the shot in the first place. All of the greats, Dikembe, Alonzo, Shaq, etc were all dunked on at one point or another. That is part of the price of being great.