The all-time NBA 'Dream Team'

Published: Thursday, July 3 2014 9:52 a.m. MDT

The NBA has been around for nearly 70 years and there have been amazing players every step of the way. The early days of the game had players like George Mikan, Bob Cousy, Ed Macauley, Dolph Schayes and Bob Pettit. They were followed by the legendary exploits of Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and John Havlicek. Since then, countless great players that have put on a NBA uniform, including stars of today like Tim Duncan, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

With so many wonderful and game changing players through the course of league history there were plenty of options for the all-time team. There were no-brainers when it came to building this team, while other selections were much more difficult.

The center position was the most taxing of the bunch on which to decide. While players like Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon are considered top 25 players in league history, there was no room for them on this team because of how deep that position is. There were also some pretty impressive forwards with legendary careers who didn't make the cut. The four that had serious consideration who just missed out were Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Elgin Baylor and Julius Erving. The guards that are on outside, looking in are Cousy, Havlicek and Isiah Thomas.

Although doing a team like this is all about personal preference and it is very challenging to compare players from different eras, there is nothing that gets sports fans going more than trying to decide who they would want on their all-time team.

Here is a look at the all-time NBA "Dream Team" if it could be built today.

Jay Yeomans is a courier by day and a freelance writer by night. He is the creator and lead writer of the website jmoneysports.com. Contact him at jmoney34@hotmail.com. Twitter: @jmoneysports

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Kearns, UT

West would be a starter on my team. If they would have had a 3 point line in those days, Jerry West would have averaged 40 points a game. They didn't call him Mr. Clutch for nothing.

Dr J is not on the list. I'd have put him on instead of LeBron or Kobe.

Salt Lake City, UT

Jerry West ... a reserve? Give me a break. Jerry West would start at shooting guard and John Stockton at the point. Michael Jordan could still be a starter on the "small" version of the dream team.

And the notion that Karl Malone is not even mentioned is ridiculous.

St. George, UT

Magic a starter in front of James and Bird? That's laughable. Not everyone played in a 2 team era and was surrounded by Kareem and James Worthy.

Ifel Of'a-sofa
Alpine, Utah

While the players of old were dominant, I don't think their stats would be as good as current stars playing against bigger faster stronger opponents.

I would give the nod to current era players on my team in most all cases.

east of utah
Saint Joseph, MO

How do you not put the 2nd leading scorer in NBA history on the team? And Tim Duncan/Wilt Chamerblin were/are great players, but to have them starting over Bill Russell is wrong.

Get Lebron off the team and make room for someone who's more deserving.

Provo, UT

Karl Malone is a better player than Tim Duncan. Stats aren't even close really. Duncan played in a better organization that better supporting pieces overall and a much better coach, and I'm even a fan of Jerry Sloan generally. He also didn't have to play against Michael Jordan in his prime or Magic Johnson/Larry Bird in their primes or up against the Detroit Pistons, a well put together team much like the Spurs with a superior coach.


For those who are annoyed at having their favorite player not starting or left off entirely have to look at things in perspective. There are only so many slots on any team and when you're looking at the greatest of all time it ultimately boils down to matter of opinion. How do you decide who is the best between Dr. J, LeBron and Bryant? Your opinion is likely dependent on who you grew up watching. There are some choices where it's obvious people really didn't watch the particular player play. For example, Magic really was that great. When he was on the floor it was exciting to watch him play. Is that a diss against those that you think should have been named in front of him? No. It just means that out of all the great players who have played in the NBA, someone has to start and someone has to come off the bench. That's just the way it is.

rock springs, wy

Every serious fan may have a different all-star team depending upon era, style of play--team player vs. individual star, etc. I can almost agree with this starting line-up except for Tim Duncan. Duncan over Bill Russell? I don't think so. And Stockton would be my point guard on just about any NBA all-star team. Teams of the past had a much different style of play. Passing and defense and shooting were prized skills. Today, dunking and trash-talking seem to excite the fans more. After all the opinions, though, the reserves in this line-up could probably beat the starters half the time!

Centerville, UT

Karl Malone should be listed in any all basketball greatest easily!

Uncle festis
Pasadena, CA

Oscar robertson a starter over lebron james??? Hmmm.. Must be same newspaper that says taysom hill is a heisman candidate


Well, I'm not a fan of basketball, and haven't seen a game in years, but I did recognize every name, so I guess the picks were pretty good.


Tell you what I'll go ahead and take Hakeem in the Post, Karl at the Power Spot, Julius wherever he wants to be, Walt or Isaiah on the point and maybe Reggie or Earl on the Shooting Guard spot.

Yeah you got first pick and Wilt was strong but Hakeem had moves beyond compare. Karl is just so strong and Julius creative beyond measure.

Walt or Isaiah have such crazy skills (Walt plays defense like nobody else and Isaiah was a competitor (and John was not available) you get Mike but one just has to look back to see how Reggie often outscored his opponents in the shooting spot - don't believe me - call any Knicks fans and see if they still nightmares of Reggie when the Garden is dark and spooky - it sure ain't Mike.

In any case its fun to think about - oh and off my bench is Charles, and Gary, and Clyde and Shaq (hardworking Shaq) and the healthy Bill - That one year in Portland when he was so good it was scary. Try driving the lane on a line of Shaq, Chuck and Karl - it's like trying to sneak through a trailer park a night stealing BBQ's - not gonna happen.

and Abraham, Martin and John.... (It's from a song if you're too young to get the reference)

Cottonwood, CA

Remember festus Oscar Robertson averaged a triple double for the season. Your knowledge is lacking beyond the last ten years.

Orem, UT

Lebron James? Really? The Spurs showed he is one sided offensively and when you look to shoot as much as he does of course he is going to put up points. But when you understand he either drives left or stops to take a jump shot, he really is an above average player. But not the best of the best. Any of the defensive specialists of the 80's would have shut him down.

Centennial, CO

I grew up in LA with Wilt at the end of his career. Wilt was a great player, but...he had 2 titles, Russell had 11, and yet Wilt starts ? No, sorry.

And, yes, Tim Duncan is a great player, but...not in the all-time 5.

Captain L
Provo, UT

Some really weird opinions here, but opinions are opinion and everyone has one, I have watched and played along time, my boys played in college, so I have watched the game pretty close. Back in the 60's there weren't very many good big men and the compitition was weak. I was a big fan of Wilt but I wouldn't have him as my center, I wouldn't have Russell either , despite his 11 titles, watching the videos reminded me of how great Bird was and I couldn't leave him off my starter list. Duncan is a great player but way over rated, championships aren't an indication of how great the individual player is, it has to do more with how good his team is. My 5 would be Magic at point, Jordon at 2, Bird at 3, Malone at 4, Kareem at 5, my reserves would be: Hakeem at 5, Barkley at 4, LeBron at 3, Robertson at 2, Stockton at 1. Duncan has 5 titles and his nickname of mr fundamental which is accurate but he played more as a 5 than a 4 and individually he's not up there with those I've listed and several others.

los angeles/USA, CA

Many fans these days refer to basketball-reference.com for data, and for the most part, their data is spot on. However, when it comes to the proverbial "win shares" even that great website fails to calculate one stat when it comes to the Big Dipper: Blocked shots!
The NBA didn't count blocked shots until after Wilt had retired. I have been blessed with relative good health, and thereby have been fortunate enough to see every player mentioned - both in the article and in the comments - in their primes.
That said, if all the greats were 27 years of age at the same time, with access to the same dietary and medical advances we have today, this debate would be far different. Pete Maravich would light Michael Jordan up, period!
Jordan was in Chicago for five years before the Bulls did anything, and that was ONLY after they acquired Cartwright.
To leave Nate Archibald out of this debate reflects the youth of the writer; and Elvin Hayes would tear Duncan apart.
As for the Celtic anti-Wilt perception, consider: Chamberlain’s team losses to Celtic teams were an aggregate of less than 25 points, including a last second miracle shot by Sam Jones in 1962 to beat the Sixers by one point.
Forty years after he retired at the age of 37, Chamberlain’s name appears in the NBA’s record book 97 times; when he retired following the 1972-73 season, it was 128 times. Wilt and Bill Russell played against each other 142 times throughout their careers. In those head-to-head match-ups, Wilt averaged 28.7 points and 28.7 rebounds while Russell posted averages of 14.5 and 23.7. Russell was distraught in the game when Wilt grabbed 55 - FIFTY-Five - rebounds against him; Wilt dominated the paint, taking everything in sight. That 55 rebound record still stands today and no one will come near it.
Wilt scored 135 points in a 24 hour span - 73 against the Bulls and 62 points against the Celtics. It took 22 years for someone to score 50 or more points on consecutive nights. Bernard King did it - back to back 50’s - versus San Antonio and Dallas in 1984.
Wilt scored 50 or more points 118 times in his career; Michael Jordan is second with 31. Twenty different players have scored 60 or more points in an NBA game. Only four players have scored 60 points on more than one occasion: Wilt 32 times, Jordan five times, Kobe five times, and Elgin Baylor four times.
Everyone makes a big fuss out of a triple double. How about a triple double-double, which Wilt did against the Pistons in 1968! Wilt’s line from that game – 22 points, 25 rebounds and 21 assists.
Never fouled out of a game; high school, college, professional!
My starting five – if they’re all 27 years of age – would crush this youngster’s line-up:
Andrew Toney
Rick Barry
Elvin Hayes

Eagle Mountain, USA, UT

Stats don't lie. Lakers dominate this list. RIP Dr Buss

Clearfield, UT

The all time points leader is on the bench? Kareem is number 1, not 6.

Even over Wilt.

Celtic gold
Orem, UT

You must be too young to have seen Bill Russell play! Just compare his world championships to Wilt. I grew up in Boston during the Celtic golden years & Russell was amazing. Also, no one hustled like Bird every minute he was on the court!!! What you need to do is pick an all time Celtic team

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