Basketball Golden Hall Reveals Seventh Team – Overtime Heroism
Fan votes have been collected and combined with those of Overtime Heroics writers to reveal the first edition of Basketball Golden Hall. As previously reported, fans and writers will come together once a decade to take stock of the greatest athletes to grace the field. We will unveil the first edition in eleven parts followed by a summary article.
Previous articles covered the eighth team, ninth team, tenth team, and the Golden Hall Bench (those 50 players, regardless of position, who were named to bring the total membership to 100).
This article reveals the five players who make up the seventh best possible starting lineup in basketball history. The next six articles will feature the remaining five best of all time, with each team consisting of a point guard, shooter, small forward, power forward and center.
Without further ado and in order of votes received, Basketball Golden Hall’s seventh team (be sure to comment on who you think we missed):
162.6WS, 22.9 PAR, 27.0 PPG, 6.7 APG, 5.8 RPG, 26 SPG, 0.7 BPG
It’s interesting to think what the three-point career ranking would look like if the innovation had been introduced earlier in professional basketball. Where would the all-time greats rank? Would previous generations have pioneered parts of the revolution the game is currently experiencing? It’s hard to say, but it’s likely that Jerry West would have played a key role in any renovations on the pitch.
The beginnings of the Logo generated an obsession that created a real Golden Haller. After losing his brother in the Korean War when he was just a young boy, West became reclusive. One of his few outlets to deal with his trauma and his new weakness was basketball. Practicing for hours, West perfected the angles and likely hit his 10,000 hours of skill development at an early age.
The West Virginian brought this perfected shooting style to the NBA during a 14-year career. In ten of those campaigns, West was named to the All-NBA First Team. Despite lacking the aforementioned three-point shot, he still ranks sixth all-time in points per game. He led the association twice in player efficiency and true shot percentage. West really turned on his game in the playoffs, leading the NBA in points per game four times and three assists. His dominance was so dramatic that West was named Finals Most Valuable Player in 1969 despite losing his Lakers in the series.
116.3WS, 21.4PPG, 5.3RPG, 2.6APG, 1.2SPG, 1.0BPG
Iceman has got to be one of the coolest nicknames in basketball history. Short, sweet and says so much with so few letters, George Gervin more than deserved it. The guard just didn’t sweat on the field; he always kept his cool. The Michigander has led four times in points per game in the regular season and finished in the top ten in each of its 14 seasons. He also led the PPG six times in the playoffs and received MVP votes in seven different campaigns.
117.5WS, 21.6 PAR, 24.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Son of a military father, Dominique Wilkins moved often in his young life. It is perhaps this first experience of frequent mobility that led him to claim a job when he was drafted by the Utah Jazz in the NBA team close to his University of Georgia: the Atlanta Hawks. With the Hawks, Wilkins became one of the league’s true stars just as the NBA was growing in popularity. He led the NBA in scoring in 1986 and averaged 20 or more points per game for eleven consecutive seasons. Wilkins is perhaps most famous for his physics-defying dunks, winning two slam dunk competitions.
Although Wilkins performed well in the playoffs, his Hawks were unable to secure an NBA ring. The French-born striker, however, played one season with the Greens of Panathinaikos. He led the club to a EuroLeague title and was named Final Four MVP.
113.0WS, 20.0 PAR, 17.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.7 BPG, 0.4 SPG
The Boston Celtics are perhaps the iconic NBA franchise. At several times, Boston has won titles (17 overall), trailing only the Lakers (18). With each iteration, a few stars rose to prominence. In the 1980s, Kevin McHale was one of those stars. The tough-playing Minnesotan honed several offensive moves, creating what he dubbed “the torture chamber” to confuse defensive opponents. He led the NBA in field goal percentage in consecutive seasons and helped the Celtics win three Finals titles and two other appearances.
179.1WS, 22.0 PAR, 20.3 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.3 BPG, 0.8 SPG
A workhorse, Moses Malone led the NBA in minutes per game twice in the early 1980s. While battling for the boards, he led the league in rebounds per game six times in the regular season and three times in the playoffs. The Virginian has played in both the U.S. basketball and national basketball associations, and he played a Finals MVP role in securing the Philadelphia 76ers title in 1983. To this day, Malone stands ranks ninth in points scored, third in rebounds, first in offensive rebounds, fifth in defensive rebounds, second in free throws, and eighth in two games played and minutes.
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