The downside of compiling a list of a sport’s most decorated players is the inevitable nature of leaving deserving players off it. That was the case this past year when the NBA celebrated its 75th anniversary by naming the best 75 players in its history. But what players should have made the NBA Top 75, but did not? Let’s take a look.
One would think that the NBA considered the cultural impact of some of these players on the game. But the omission of Vince Carter as one of the NBA’s greatest 75 players feels egregious.
Aside from the fact that he’s in the top-20 all-time in scoring, Carter was must-see TV every time he was on the court. He was a human highlight reel, doing things on the basketball court that defied physics. The 2000 Slam Dunk Contest made it feel like Carter was superhuman, performing dunks that no one had seen before.
Carter never won a ring but was the main cog on several teams and franchises throughout his career. It’s hard to imagine the early-2000s NBA without having a Vince Carter memory.
It’s hard to imagine how dominant Dwight Howard was in his prime as he bounced around from team to team for the last few years. Yet, Howard has the accolades any player would dream of accomplishing, such as being the only player in history to win three straight Defensive of the Player of the Year awards and four consecutive All-Defensive First Team honors.
Howard is currently 11th in career rebounds, 15th in blocked shots, and in the top 60 for scoring. He single-handedly took the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals, eventually losing to Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers. However, it’s hard to defend a list that doesn’t include Howard when he was a dominating presence in the paint before Steph Curry and the game changed forever.
The notion that Kobe Bryant won his championships by himself after Shaq left the Lakers is preposterous, considering how vital Pau Gasol was to get those two championships. Gasol is 23rd in career blocks, 29th in rebounds, and 40th in scoring.
Gasol could do multiple things on the court that made him an asset in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense. It’s easy to put the blinders on and imagine Kobe carried that team on his back, but Gasol was a key component.
There are most definitely more than four players that should have made NBA top 75 list. It’s just these all-time greats were the most blatant omissions and deserved the recognition of being the sport’s best.
LeBron’s and Wade’s “Heatles” teams wouldn’t have been the same if Chris Bosh didn’t come along for the ride. It’s not fair to compare Bosh’s career numbers, considering his career ended prematurely because of health concerns. However, when Bosh was at his peak, he was a game-changer.
While seven-foot-tall men popping threes are a common occurrence now, Bosh was one of the few power forwards you could trust behind the arc. It’s safe to say that Bosh’s perimeter game revolutionized the need for players of all sizes to develop a lethal jumper.