Jazz announcer Rod Hundley played basketball with Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, and against Bob Cousy, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson. He has called games featuring the greatest modern-era players: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Julius Erving.
All totaled, he played six years and has been a broadcaster for 24 years. His pick for the "greatest of them all?""Larry Bird is my man, without question," says Hundley. "He's the greatest player of all time. He was the only player, the only player I've ever seen in my life who has a complete understanding of what the game is about. He's the best player, by far, that I've seen in my life. Nobody touches him, not Magic (Johnson), not Jordan, none of them."
Hundley says the thing that sets Bird apart is his understanding of the game, and his ability to carry it out. "He plays the game the way it's supposed to be played," Hundley continues. "There are a lot of great players like Jordan, etc., but they don't have an understanding about the game the way Bird has."
Hundley says Bird knows when he walks on the court that the object is to win. He also cites Bird's coolness in clutch games. "His ability, desire, dedication, his brain, his understanding . . . he's the only guy I've ever seen like that. He's the most complete player ever."
Although Hundley said there are numerous possibilities for an all-time All-NBA team, among those greats are Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Bird and Julius Erving.
His all-time Jazz lineup is easy enough to predict: Adrian Dantley and Karl Malone at forwards, Pete Maravich and John Stockton at guards and Mark Eaton at center.
His all-interview team? Erving, Maravich, Johnson, Connie Hawkins and Darrell Dawkins.