In 1997, in celebration of its 50th anniversary, the NBA recognized what they believed to be its “50 Greatest Players in NBA History.”
Now, more than a decade later, SLAM is introducing the world to its own top 50 list – with a few new additions, of course. The list was definitely worthy of some tinkering. When the original was released during NBA All-Star Weekend in New York City, Tim Duncan had yet to play in an NBA game, Kobe Bryant was in just his second year as an NBA player and Kevin Garnett was still hearing all that chatter about whether or not he’d ever be able to get his Timberwolves beyond the first round of the playoffs.
A lot has obviously changed since then and who would or who wouldn’t make the list all these years later has helped make for some great water cooler talk. And while the NBA still has yet to give fans a new and updated list, SLAM is as credible a publication in the basketball world as there is.
As far as former and current Suns go, plenty have made their way into the elite group which includes legends such as Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Former Suns include Ring of Honor member Charles Barkley and All-Star playmaker Jason Kidd, while current Suns include two-time MVP Steve Nash and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.
Neither Kidd nor Nash were named to the 1997 list while for Barkley and O’Neal this marks yet another recognition in their illustrious careers.
Writes Khalid Salaam of the Big Cactus, “A true difference-maker if there ever was one… Shaquille O’Neal is a star amongst stars and has been one of the focal points of the League for his entire 17-year career… Arguably the best post scorer ever.”