Let's be clear: This is not a ranking of how well players have done in the Olympics. If we were ranking the best Team USA players, it would be Carmelo Anthony and everyone else. Olympic performance factors into this list, but it's far from the only facet. We considered a player's peak, longevity, career accomplishments, All-Star appearances, Hall of Fame status and much more on top of their Olympic play. Consider this is a ranking of the best NBA players who happened to play for Team USA in the Olympics, going back to and including the Dream Team in 1992. It's also a look at the worst players to take part in USA Basketball, but we'll get to that. One caveat before we get started -- ranking young, active players is a difficult task. For guys like Kevin Durant, Paul George and many more, we have to project a little bit, sure, but these are by no means final predictions of where those guys will end up once they're done. Your mileage may vary.
Harrison Barnes (2016)
Sorry, Harry B, but someone had to come in last. Barnes is a solid player, averaging 10.1 points and 4.6 rebounds for his career so far. That's more a product of his place on the Warriors than anything, though.
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Emeka Okafor (2004)
Full disclosure: While researching this ranking, I realized I had no recollection of Okafor playing on the Olympic team that failed to win gold in 2004. So ... that's not great. Okafor averaged 12.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 590 career regular-season games.
Allan Houston (2000)
Houston is a huge part of New York lore, and he made two All-Star Games and took part in some titanic playoff matchups. For the rest of us, he's another "Oh yeah, I remember him!"-type player from the '90s. Houston made the All-Star Game in 2000 and 2001, but his scoring average peaked in 2003 at 22.5 points per game.
NBAE/Getty ImagesFernando Medina
Christian Laettner (1992)
Laettner is the go-to example for guys who rode the pine in the Olympics, which is fine. He was a college kid on the very first Dream Team, after all, and he put together a pretty solid NBA career. He even made the All-Star Game in 1997.
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Vin Baker (2000)
Before he fell on hard times off the court, Baker was a force in the NBA. Four straight All-Star appearances in his first five years in the league seemed like a fantastic start. Then it all fell apart. We won't linger on that unfortunate bit of history; instead, let's take solace in the relatively recent news that Baker is back on the right track.
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DeMar DeRozan (2016)
Need a long two? DeRozan's your guy! He's a 20 points-a-night scorer who shoots under 30 percent on 3s. Need basically anything else? You'll need to look elsewhere. To be fair, though, his defense has been impressive at times in these Olympics. We'll see if it carries over to next season.
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Michael Redd (2008)
Redd was a man before his time. In the modern game, his 3-point shooting would be the centerpiece of an offense, rather than the novelty it was often treated as during his career. He averaged 19 points per game while shooting 38 percent from deep.
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Antonio McDyess (2000)
This list is littered with players who had spectacular careers cut short by injury. Unfortunately, McDyess is one of those guys. He was a versatile forward who lost most of his fantastic athleticism to a patellar tendon rupture. He re-made himself in the second half of his career, but it wasn't the same.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim (2000)
Abdur-Rahim is often overlooked since he never became a real star, which is too bad. The big man was a solid player for most of a decade. When you're the No. 3 overall pick in a draft that featured Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant behind you, though, you're going to get some criticism if you're not transcendent.
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Penny Hardaway (1996)
Because his climb to stardom ended so abruptly, I can't put Penny any higher than this -- not in good conscience. However, his peak was so spectacular that I'm not putting him any lower. The year before Shaq left Orlando for the Lakers, Penny scored 21.7 points, dished 7.1 assists and grabbed 4.3 rebounds per game.
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Kyle Lowry (2016)
Will Lowry have a better career than some of the players ahead of him? Probably, sure. On the other hand, he wouldn't have made the team if Steph Curry, John Wall or Damian Lillard were healthy.
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Deron Williams (2008, 2012)
Williams is a rather unpleasant reminder of why you have to be careful projecting young players. At one point, we earnestly debated whether Williams or Chris Paul was the better point guard. Oops.
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Tayshaun Prince (2008)
Prince was just good enough as a 3-point shooter (36.7 percent for his career) to make defenses respect his ability to stretch the floor. On the other end, opponents feared his defense.
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Richard Jefferson (2004)
It's easy to laugh at Jefferson now. He's the Cavs Snapchat ambassador and one of the veterans who keeps the locker room in good spirits. There's a reason he's still in the league, though. Jefferson made an immediate impact as a defensive stopper, slasher and solid outside shooter -- the same skills he continues to flash with Cleveland.
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Steve Smith (2000)
Smith's journeyman status (and nondescript name, probably) overshadowed what was a long and successful career on the wing, including a role as a lightly used reserve when the Spurs won the title in 2003. He was never your favorite player, but there's something to be said for staying in your lane and sticking around.
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Carlos Boozer (2004, 2008)
GIVE ME THAT! AND-ONE! HOLDAT! ... sorry. It's just whenever Boozer comes up, all I can think about is the various things he would yell any time there was a rebound to grab, a shot to block, or a bucket to get. Boozer scored 16.2 points and hauled in 9.5 rebounds per night in 861 regular-season games.
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Lamar Odom (2004)
We know all about Odom's recent history. As a basketball player, however, he was without peer -- a big man who was at home on the wing and an active passer out of the high post. Without Odom's versatility, Kobe Bryant would have two fewer championships.
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Kevin Love (2012)
Love has had to sacrifice some of his individual accolades with the Cavs -- he went from 26 points per game with the Wolves in 2012 to 16 per game with the Cavs -- and that's fine. He has a ring to show for it now; if he really wants to prove that he's a star in his own right, he can take command of his own team once LeBron is past his prime -- assuming the King declines at some point, anyway.
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Jimmy Butler (2016)
If Butler were just a slightly better 3-point shooter (32.8 percent for his career), he'd be one of the truly elite players in the NBA. As it is, he's an amazing two-way player who should be the centerpiece for the Bulls next year, regardless of the presence of Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo.
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DeAndre Jordan (2016)
We probably overrate DeAndre Jordan's defense because he blocks so many shots (2.4 per 36 minutes), but he's getting better every year. Add his ability to finish at the rim, and Jordan is one of the most valuable players in the league.
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Stephon Marbury (2004)
Marbury came into the NBA as a sensation, but personality conflict caused a falling out in Minnesota. He became an All-Star in New Jersey and Phoenix -- and a star in New York -- before injuries and those same demons cost him an early exit from the league after averaging 18.4 points and 7.3 assists per game. He has since rekindled his basketball career in China, where he's a legend.
Andre Iguodala (2016)
These days, we know Iguodala as the cranky veteran on the Warriors who holds the team together and does everything well. In his prime, he was the same all-around player turned up to 11. He could have scored 25 points a game; instead, he never averaged 20, peaking in 2007-08 at 19.9.
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Kyrie Irving (2016)
Myth trumps numbers. For any statistical flaws in Irving's game, he kickstarted his legend when he came up clutch in Game 7 against the Warriors in this year's Finals. Here's hoping his dip in 3-point shooting last year (a career-worst 32.1 percent) is a fluke, though.
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Draymond Green (2016)
Green has been awful for Team USA this summer, and he might be the odd man out at times next year when Kevin Durant officially joins the Warriors on the court. That shouldn't overshadow how fantastic of a basketball player Green is, however. Positions and stats don't matter when all you do is help your team win games.
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Klay Thompson (2016)
Thompson is overshadowed by his fellow Splash Brother, and he might take a back seat to Kevin Durant next year as well. Or maybe not. He's already made it clear that he doesn't plan on sacrificing anything next year.
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Anthony Davis (2012)
Davis kind of fell off the face of the earth in 2015-16, since his team was an absolute disaster. Although he was less efficient with zero healthy teammates, Davis still averaged 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.0 blocks per game last season -- an absurd line that was only slightly worse than the year before. If the Pelicans have any semblance of health in 2016-17, Davis should show how great he is.
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DeMarcus Cousins (2016)
Like Davis, Cousins doesn't get the attention he deserves because he's mired in mediocrity. Unlike The Brow, some of that is on Boogie. Put aside his personal foibles, on the other hand, and you have the most dominant offensive big man in the game.
Mitch Richmond (1996)
Richmond is an incredibly underrated player who was named one of the NBA's 50 best for the league's 50th anniversary in 1996. A career 38.8 percent 3-point shooter who averaged 21.0 points, Richmond made six consecutive All-Star teams from 1993 to 1998.
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Tim Hardaway (2000)
The master of the "UTEP two-step" would love today's liberal ballhandling rules. Hardaway made a name for himself with the Warriors out of college, making the All-Star Game in his second season (and the next two). After a trade to the Heat, he made two more before bouncing around the league and retiring after the 2003 season. Hardaway averaged 17.7 points and 8.2 assists across 867 career regular-season games.
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Tyson Chandler (2012)
Our lack of appreciation for Chandler says a lot about how little we understand about defense. Without the former Mavs big man, Dirk Nowitzki wouldn't have an NBA championship. His numbers don't catch your eye, but that title ring does.
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Paul George (2016)
If this feels low for George, believe me, I get it. I want to put him much higher, but my instinct is to temper that projection for now. George is well on his way to being one of the best wings in the post-Michael Jordan era, though. Fingers crossed.
James Harden (2012)
Harden takes a lot of grief for his defense, as he should, but it's hard to overstate how important his offense is. He's ruthlessly efficient, constantly hunting the highest-value shots. It's effective basketball -- that's an absolute nightmare to watch, if we're being honest.
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Russell Westbrook (2012)
Westbrook is the polar opposite of his former bearded teammate. The Thunder point guard doesn't always make the most efficient choices, which he makes up for by being a thermonuclear weapon wrapped in skin. Will Westbrook average a triple-double next year as the fuel of KD's betrayal courses through his veins? Probably not; it's an insane goal. I wouldn't say that to his face, though.
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Amar'e Stoudemire (2004)
In four different seasons, Stoudemire averaged at least 20 points per game and shot at least 55 percent from the field. Naturally, all four years came in Phoenix, where STAT partenered with Steve Nash to form the most devastating pick-and-roll tandem since Stockton-to-Malone. Stoudemire was stellar for a season in New York as well, until his body betrayed him. He retired from the NBA this offseason; next, he'll play for the Hapoel Jerusalem team he co-owns.
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Shawn Marion (2004)
The Mike D'Antoni-era Suns weren't as bad defensively as you remember (they weren't good, mind you, but they were league-average in their best seasons), and they can thank Shawn Marion for that. Matrix did everything Phoenix needed. Eventually, he felt like he wasn't properly recognized for his efforts, and he went elsewhere. Because Marion was such a jack of all trades, he's right. He still doesn't get the credit he deserves. When he's excluded from the Hall of Fame, it'll be a mistake.
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Chris Bosh (2008)
Bosh is the modern example of sacrificing personal glory for the greater good. His willingness to play third fiddle in Miami helped the Heat win two rings. It's pointless to quote his stats; either you appreciate Bosh's greatness, or you don't.
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Dwight Howard (2008)
Would we realize how awesome Howard was -- and is -- had he never gone to the Lakers? His time on such a big stage with the Black Mamba breathing down his neck shined a harsh light on Howard's flaws, yet he's one of the best defensive big men in history (no, seriously). A back injury robbed him of his explosiveness in the post, and he never adapted, which we absolutely should hold against him. Don't let that fool you into thinking Howard was anything but great, however.
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Alonzo Mourning (2000)
I'm a sucker for an athletic big man who destroys his opponents at the rim, so maybe I'm overrating Mourning a little bit. Or maybe you're underrating him, hypothetical strawman-reader! Mourning averaged 21.0 points, 3.5 blocks and 10.3 rebounds in 1993 -- as a rookie. Injuries and illness cost him career longevity, but at his peak 'Zo was a force.
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Grant Hill (1996)
You can look at Hill's career from a glass half-full or a glass half-empty perspective. On the one hand, he was an outstanding collegiate player who won national titles before entering the NBA as a rookie sensation, earning five All-Star nods in his first six seasons and reinventing himself as a veteran after injuries stole his prime. On the other, there's that whole "stolen prime" thing. Hill was supposed to be the next Michael Jordan. The universe had other plans.
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Chris Mullin (1992)
Mullin is remembered as a long-range specialist -- an accurate description for the second half of his career, at least. In his first 10 seasons, Mullin only twice attempted more than 150 3s. Yet he was still one of the most feared scorers in the game, averaging 25 or more points for five consecutive years beginning in 1988-89. Moving in the 3-point line helped Mullin in the mid-90s, but he still manged to shoot over 40 percent from deep once the NBA moved the arc back in 1997.
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Allen Iverson (2004)
Iverson defined a generation of basketball. He famously never won a title, and that's somehow fitting. Taking Game 1 against the Goliath Lakers in the 2001 Finals was the perfect peak for the Answer.
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Vince Carter (2000, 2004)
Five years ago, it felt like Carter's career was coming to an end. The most electrifying dunker in NBA history didn't have any spring left. Instead, Carter slid gracefully into the role of perimeter specialist and locker room leader. Few players have embraced the rise to and fall from stardom as well as Vinsanity.
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Clyde Drexler (1992)
A legendary scorer and finisher at the rim, Drexler also had an all-around game that deserves some recognition. He finished his career with averages of 20.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.0 steals -- a line most players would be happy to post in just one season.
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Chris Paul (2008, 2012)
In the eyes of many, Paul's greatness depends entirely on his ability to make at least one conference finals, let alone the NBA Finals. That's ridiculous, though. While team success for CP3 would be fantastic, he's third all-time in assists per game and one of the best point guards ever. Has he come up short in big situations? Absolutely. Most players do at some point. He also spent the first half of his career on an underdog Hornets team that no one expected to make a conference finals series. Now, he'll face KD's Warriors. Can we really hold that against him?
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Gary Payton (1996, 2000)
Payton's career offensive numbers are pedestrian -- 16.3 points and 6.7 assists per game for his career -- but his peak was astonishing. He combined a lethal scoring knack with pinpoint passing and some of the most absurd on-ball defense played in the NBA's most punishing defensive era.
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Jason Kidd (2000, 2008)
Kidd is third all-time in career triple-doubles (107, behind Magic Johnson's 138 and Oscar Robertson's 181) and second on the all-time assist leaderboard. Those milestones coupled with his championship ring put him just ahead of Payton in my book.
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Patrick Ewing (1992)
A legend in his time, no one ruled the entire paint on offense quite like Ewing. He'd drop-step you from the block, crush your soul with a hook shot, or fire away with a surprisingly soft jumper. Ewing averaged 21.0 points and 9.8 rebounds during his time with the Knicks. I won't mention the other two seasons.
Ray Allen (2000)
The NBA's all-time leader in 3s transitioned from all-around dynamic scorer early in his career to second option in Boston and finally to the ultimate safety valve for an offense in Miami. It's hard to dismiss reports that he's considering a comeback; as long as he can make 3s and run up and down the court, he'll be an option for some team.
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Reggie Miller (1996)
Miller has just the right combination of stats and legend. He's second all-time in made 3s behind Allen, and his battles against the Knicks were television gold. The only thing missing from his resume is an elusive title.
NBAE/Getty ImagesKent Horner
Carmelo Anthony (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016)
Melo gets the biggest Olympic bump. If this were a list of the best Olympians, in fact, he'd be No. 1. Anthony holds the record for most points in an Olympic game (37), and he's on his way to a record third gold medal. His Team USA track record adds a level of success Melo simply hasn't seen in the NBA.
Kevin Durant (2012, 2016)
Will history smile on Durant's decision to head west for Golden State? Winning titles would bolster his reputation, to be sure, but some will always believe he took the easy way out. And if the Warriors fail to win multiple titles, KD will never hear the end of it. That's all secondary to the fact that Durant is on track to be one of the greatest players ever, though -- or it should be, at least.
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Dwyane Wade (2004, 2008)
Perhaps a few spots too low for Wade, given how astonishing of a scorer he was in his prime -- and how effective he's managed to be as a veteran. I'm holding his lack of a 3-point shot against him, though, especially that first year with LeBron in Miami. Wade attempted 206 3s and made 30.6 percent of them; for his career, he's a 28.4 percent shooter from deep. He was excellent without being able to stretch the floor, true; just imagine the heights he could have attained had he made even 33 percent of his 3s.
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John Stockton (1992, 1996)
Here's how astonishing Stockton's all-time assist record is: At Chris Paul's current rate of 9.9 assists per game, he'd need exactly 10 full seasons (820 games) to tie Stockton's total of 15,806 regular-season dimes. That would give Paul 1,593 games played, bringing him within 18 of Robert Parish's record. Or LeBron James could deliver another 8,991 assists to tie it, I guess.
NBAE/Getty ImagesDick Raphael
Scottie Pippen (1992, 1996)
Pippen rises a few spots on my list for symbolic reasons. Like a few others, he sacrificed for the greater good. He could have been the No. 1 option for a championship contender. Instead, Pippen chose to be the glue for one of basketball's greatest dynasties. You have to respect that -- and just how damn good he still was. Pippen was such a good defender that his ability became part of Michael Jordan's legend. There are few higher honors.
Charles Barkley (1992, 1996)
Never let Barkley tell you that 3-pointers are bad. Chuck loved the 3-ball, attempting 220 during his first year in Phoenix. Oh, and what a surprise -- that's the year the Suns went to the Finals, only to fall short to Jordan. Barkley thought he was better than MJ until that meeting; while that's patently absurd, he was still one of the greatest ever. The Round Mound of Rebound averaged 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game despite generously being listed at 6-foot-6.
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Karl Malone (1992, 1996)
One of the paragons of basketball longevity, Malone averaged 20 or more points for game for 17 straight seasons -- every year other than his first and last. In 1989-90, he put up 31.0 points and grabbed 11.1 rebounds per game, one of just a handful of legendary players to reach those lofty marks. As the second half of Utah's vaunted pick-and-roll offense, Malone became the second-leading scorer in NBA history (36,928 points).
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Kevin Garnett (2000)
Perhaps KG's career served as a slight inspiration for Kevin Durant. Garnett put up otherworldly numbers as a versatile force on both ends of the court for a Minnesota team that was consistently overmatched (albeit not as talented as some of KD's Thunder squads). After years of loyalty, Garnett made the heart-rending decision to leave for Boston, where he finally won his long-sought title. Along the way, he became one of a select number of big men to rank in the top 20 in points, rebounds and blocks in a career -- and he's in the NBA's top 50 for assists for good measure. His unrivaled defensive understanding makes him one of the top 10 players on this list, in my book.
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Kobe Bryant (2008, 2012)
No amount of explanation will convince Kobe's biggest fans that this is fair. I understand and appreciate that -- he's one of the greatest ever. This isn't an indictment of Kobe simply because he was a volume scorer who at his peak could help win a team a title and at his worst lost you games. It's more a reflection of how we've underrated a couple of the best big men ever who rate just ahead of the Black Mamba.
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David Robinson (1992, 1996)
Here's the ugly truth about basketball in the 90s: We only remember the biggest games because those were the few times we all got a chance to watch the NBA on national television. Now, with League Pass and a million games on NBA TV, ESPN, ABC and TNT, it's easy to be a basketball fan. I bring this up because of Robinson's evisceration at the hands of Hakeem Olajuwon after the former was presented with his MVP award during the 1995 Western Conference finals. That lasting image -- Olajuwon putting Robinson in the Dream Shake-shaped blender -- has dulled our memory of how amazing the Admiral was. He put up a quadruple-double, for the basketball gods' sakes. Robinson deserves consideration as a top-10 player of all-time.
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Hakeem Olajuwon (1996)
With all the above said about David Robinson, Hakeem was still slightly greater. He scored more points, grabbed more rebounds, dished more assists, blocked more shots and had more steals (astonishingly finishing his career in the top 10 all-time in that last category) than the Admiral -- and there was that whole aforementioned MVP kerfuffle. It's no coincidence that when Jordan tried baseball, Olajuwon was the one to fill the void in the NBA.
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Shaquille O'Neal (1996)
O'Neal could have been the greatest ever. Instead, he coasted to the most dominant peak for a big man since at least Wilt Chamberlain -- if not in NBA history. Shaq won four titles and crushed the competition in the Finals during his Lakers heyday, but we'll always dream about what would have been had the Big Aristotle been committed to staying in shape and becoming an even bigger defensive monster.
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Larry Bird (1992)
One of the only players in NBA history to win three consecutive MVP awards, Bird is the legend. At his best, few have been better. Unfortunately, Bird's back forced him into an all too brief career. Had he remained healthy, he would have played the tail end of his career just as the league started to dabble in 3-point shooting. Maybe he would have started a revolution 20 years before Steph Curry.
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Magic Johnson (1992)
At his best, Magic challenged Jordan for the title of the game's greatest. That rivalry ended far too soon for tragic reasons, but that ending doesn't diminsh Magic's splendor. He could play any position at a championship level, but he took great joy -- and gave it in equal measure -- from dazzling as the world's largest, greatest point guard. His record of 11.19 assists per game seems safe for the foreseeable future; there will never be another Magic.
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Tim Duncan (2004)
There is nothing like sustained excellence, personified in Duncan. For 19 years, he was the heart of a franchise. He had plenty of help from Hall of Famers along the way (and from the very start), but in the end, San Antonio became what Duncan had always been. Only two stats matter for one of the greatest big men (he played both power forward and center -- we can be adults about this, friends): Five championships, and 1,002 wins. Now, if only he could forget about that awful Olympic experience ...
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LeBron James (2004, 2008, 2012)
He's the only player to lead his team to a comeback from a 3-1 Finals deficit. He's the only player to lead both teams in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in a Finals series. He's the only player in the past 40 years to appear in six consecutive Finals. And he's the only player with a shot -- an infinitesimal one, but a shot nonetheless -- to overtake the greatest of all-time. After what LeBron did this postseason, I have no problem calling him the second best player on this list, full stop.