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Kolby KickingWoman
Indian Country Today

The NBA kicked off its 75th season earlier this week with a loaded double-header that featured the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks beating the Kyrie Irving-less Brooklyn Nets; and the Golden State Warriors knocking off the new-look Los Angeles Lakers.

Also this week, in commemoration of the milestone season for the league, the NBA released its top-75 players of all-time.

It’s a star-studded list, featuring the biggest names from the early days of the league to some of the biggest stars of the modern game.

As sports fans tend to do, debates have ensued about who got snubbed, who doesn’t deserve to be on the list and what is the best starting five lineup from the players on the list?

One thing the league and its panel of voters got right is that every player that was selected to the top-50 team 25 years ago, remained on the list for this iteration. It wouldn’t make sense to pull someone off that list.

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In terms of players who got left off the list, my mind drifted towards some international players. The NBA prides itself on being a global game, so it was a little surprising to me to see names like Yao Ming, Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol and Tony Parker left off.

Every individual has their own criteria when it comes to deciphering resumés, championships and individual awards should certainly carry more weight. Of those four, Ming was the only one not to win a championship but his impact on expanding the game of basketball to Asia can not be understated.

Of course, I am biased toward Gasol being included because he helped bring two championships to the Lakers at the tail end of the 2000s. Parker and Ginobili were instrumental to the Spurs championship runs as well.

However, just like the all-star teams every year, someone has to be left out and the rule has to be, if you want to put someone in, you have to take someone out.

Overall, I think the selection panel did a good job of not overloading the team with players currently playing. That’s not to say some of the guys they picked should be there.

After first glance of the list, I would not have included James Harden, Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard. These three are almost locks to be included on the NBA 100 team but I don’t think their respective resumés warrant their inclusion on the 75th anniversary team.

Heck, I might even be willing to remove Paul Pierce and Reggie Miller, although I’m more inclined to keep the latter if forced to keep one.

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That’s the beauty of these lists though, they can be debated until you are blue in the face.

Now, for my starting five using only players from the list. I don’t believe there is a wrong answer here and I’m going to go a little outside the box. Most people will go Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tim Duncan or Karl Malone and any number of centers

So I’m going to take a slightly different approach and not take any of those players, just to make it interesting.

At point guard, give me Allen Iverson, you know you’re going to get 100 percent from him every night and he’s instant offense. At shooting guard, who else would I select beside Kobe “Bean” Bryant? The closest thing the league has seen since MJ and my favorite player of all-time. I’ll go with “The Hick from French Lick,” Larry Bird at small forward. Bird was before my time but the stories from his career are awesome. I’ll cheat a little bit at the power forward and take Kevin Durant. When it’s all said and done, he might be the most potent offensive talent the league has ever seen. Manning the middle, I’ll go with one of the most dominant players of all-time, a man of many nicknames, Shaquille O’Neal.

So that’s — PG: Allen Iverson, SG: Kobe Bryant, SF: Larry Bird, PF: Kevin Durant and C: Shaq.

I like my squad. Who would you take? Better yet, Indian Country needs to inquire about the best ball players we’ve ever seen, you know every rez has its all-star.

Another 2-3 week going against the spread in the NFL last week but I am not discouraged! Here’s what I’m riding with this week (spreads as of Friday, Oct. 22 on Fanduel PA):

  • Carolina Panthers (-3) vs. New York Giants
  • Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tennessee Titans (+4.5)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (+3) vs. Las Vegas Raiders
  • New York Jets vs. New England Patriots (-7)
  • Indianapolis Colts (+4.5) vs. San Francisco 49ers

Until next time!

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