This year marks the 75th anniversary of the NBA as a league. As
such, the NBA has, over the course of the week, revealed a list of
its 75 — really 76 due to a tie in voting (???) — greatest players
of all time.
These legends represent every era of the league. You'll see
names your parents might not have been alive for. Paul Arizin, for
example, averaged 23-9-2 and made the All-Star team in each of his
10 seasons spanning from 1951 to 1962. He missed two full seasons —
1952-53 and 1953-54 — due to his service in the US Military.
The next decade or so gave us more familiar legends: Bill
Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, to name
just a few.
On and on, more names pop up. Walt "Clyde" Frazier and Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar, the artist formerly known as Lew Alcindor in the
1970s — though Kareem spanned a couple of decades. Magic Johnson
and Larry Bird in the 1980s. Michael Jordan in the 1990s. Kobe
Bryant, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal and others represent the
There are current players, too. LeBron James, Kevin Durant and
Steph Curry represent the older new school, if you will. Newcomers,
headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo, have earned their legendary
76 names, all representing different parts of the league's rich
history. 76 names with varying levels of impact, ranging from
consistent All-Stars to the pantheon guys like MJ, Kareem, LeBron
Somehow, 76 names made a list of 75, and Dwight freakin' Howard
still wasn't one of them.
I do not want to outright disrespect anyone that made the list.
I certainly don't want to undersell how difficult it must've been for a
voting panel to wittle down thousands of NBA players — nearly
200 Hall-of-Famers — to a list of 75. Well, 76. Whatever.
But how in the name of God do you come up with 76 names — 11 of
which are still in the league — and not have Howard?
It can't be a numbers case. Howard has career averages of 16.2
points, 12.1 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks over his 18-year career. He
holds these averages despite not being a full-time starter in four
years. If you look at his starter stretch (14 seasons), those
numbers rise to 17.4 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.0
You don't even have to make an argument for Howard to replace
someone from the 1950s. His numbers are better than Robert Parish's
(16 & 10 from 1977-1994), and that's a lot more modern.
To be clear, Parish should absolutely be on the list as well;
his blend of productivity and longevity — and his role scalability
depending on what the Boston Celtics needed from him, across
multiple title teams — is why he's a worthy Hall-of-Famer. I'm just
saying the production is there for both.
It certainly can't be an accolades case. Howard's resume
- 8x All-Star
- 8x All-NBA (5x 1st, 1x 2nd, 2x 3rd)
- 5x All-Defense (4x 1st, 1x 2nd)
- 3x Defensive Player of the Year
- 1x Olympic Gold Medal (2008)
- 1x NBA Champion (2020)
You're telling me that doesn't get him in the top 75? Heck, for
comparison, here's the resume of Anthony Davis — one of the 11
current players to make the list:
- 8x All-Star
- 4x All-NBA (4x 1st)
- 4x All-Defense (2x 1st, 2x 2nd)
- 1x Olympic Gold Medal (2012)
- 1x NBA Champion (2020)
I love The Brow. He's definitely one of the 75 most talented
players to lace them up. If we're projecting forward, he's going to
easily have one of the heftiest resumes among big men in NBA
history. That said, he has not accomplished more than Howard has at
this stage, and it's wild to me that AD got the nod over him.
The individual numbers are one thing. The individual
accomplishments are another thing. Are we also forgetting that
Howard led a team to the NBA Finals during his
peak? Compare that to Brow, who won a singular playoff
round as the best player on a team (New Orleans Pelicans
before being traded to the Lakers.)
That's not to say he was a failure in New Orleans or anything of
the sort. He was freaking phenomenal in the postseason once he
finally made it there. But, like... Howard averaged 20 points and
15 rebounds to go with nearly three blocks per contest during a
Finals run — including a 26/13 stretch against the LeBron-led
Cavaliers before that to advance to the 2008-09 Finals.
Aside from Howard, there are 33 players to make at least eight
All-NBA teams. Every single one of them made the list. This is when
I point out that there are a few players that may be near and dear
to your heart — hi Patrick Ewing (7), Steve Nash (7), Paul Pierce
(4) and Reggie Miller (3) — that made the list with
Among those four examples — because there are more, buddy —
Ewing is the only one that affected both ends of the floor like
peak Howard did.
Howard was, for nearly a decade, the league's most dangerous lob
threat and interior defender at the same time. For all the cracks
about his limited post game, he had a four-year stretch (2008-2011)
where he ranked in the 63rd, 64th, 64th and 71st percentile as a
post scorer via Synergy.
I just... come on, y'all. If Howard is annoying or childish to
you, who am I to disagree with that? If his exit from Orlando (or
Washington, or Atlanta, or Charlotte) rubbed you the wrong way, I
absolutely get that.
He can be annoying while also being one of the 60 or so greatest
players to lace them up. The numbers back that up. The accolades
back that up. His peak years — 19.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.1
steals, 2.4 blocks from 2008-2014 — put him up there.
We have to stop disrespecting Dwight, the basketball player, at