When they saw the N.B.A.’s 75th anniversary list of the best players ever, selected by a panel of media, players and coaches, they realized someone had been forgotten: Howard. “That was kind of crazy,” said Otis Smith, the former Orlando Magic general manager, who built teams around Howard. Said Stan Van Gundy, who coached him at his peak: “Whatever the reason that he got left out, there’s something more than basketball to it.”
A month later, Thompson, dressed in a No. 77 Jackie Moon jersey -- the number is a nod to his perceived snub from the NBA's 75th anniversary team, and the headband and jersey to the character Will Ferrell portrayed in the 2008 comedy "Semi-Pro" -- has just finished the type of personal workout that has become part of his routine throughout the arduous rehab cycle. As much as he has tried to push away the frustration from not being voted to the 75th anniversary team, the snub bothers him because of what he has accomplished as one of the game's best shooters, and because of the titles he helped his team win.
After more than two years away from the game, and with a chip on his shoulder from being left off the NBA75 list, Thompson says he is "hungrier" than ever to get back to his winning ways and join a team that is primed to return to the postseason after a two-season absence. "I know myself. I know how good I am. I know the things I've done. ... It's like -- how many times do I have to do something that no one else has ever done before and get respect? Do I have to go score 50 in a quarter now? Like, what the hell? It's whatever though, man. It's over with. I'm going to use it as fuel."
Even with those setbacks, Leonard won the 2020 NBA All-Star MVP award. And after a second straight All-NBA Second Team selection in Leonard’s first season with the Clippers, Leonard would get back to the All-NBA First Team in 2020-21, averaging a career-best 5.2 assists per game and only 2.0 turnovers per game. “I think, from being a 15th pick to being top 75, that means a lot,” said Lue when Leonard was named to the 75th Anniversary Team. “It’s a tribute to his hard work and dedication and things that he’s been able to achieve in his career. So just very happy for him.”
So congratulations on making the NBA Top 75 and being No. 47 on The Athletic’s list. Well deserved. For your efforts, I’ll buy you breakfast. Well, The Athletic will buy you breakfast, anyway. Reggie Miller: Really, 47? Wow. I’m still shocked by all of this. It’s all kind of surreal. If you’d have asked me any of this in 1987 when I was drafted, I mean, I never had any goals like this. You have goals of winning, obviously, carving out a niche in this business, but to say top 75 of all time? When they surprised me on the air (for the NBA honor), I had no idea. I thought they were there to talk about Steph (Curry) because I’d just done a sit-down with him. I knew they were announcing the last 25 and I’d already seen the first 50, and the day before, I knew that names that hadn’t been mentioned that deserved to be there — D-Wade, Shaq, guys like that. I got up to about 18, 19 guys that hadn’t been named among the top 50, I thought, OK, I’m not going to be one of the remaining six, so it’s all been very surprising.
Still, respect hasn’t always been paid to McAdoo for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because his championship years with the Lakers have been cast as him being a player at the end of his career. There’s also that he won MVP playing for Buffalo (now the LA Clippers) at a time some thought Buffalo was in the ABA. McAdoo was the only MVP and scoring champion not named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary Team, which was one of the more glaring omissions fixed with the 75th Anniversary team. “They know they messed up in the first 50,” McAdoo said. “But I still don’t feel like I’m respected, because people don’t know the whole story.”
McAdoo could still score, averaging 12 points in 20 minutes in 224 games with the Lakers. “When you saw me with the Lakers, people act like that was at the end of my career — that wasn’t the end of my career,” McAdoo said. “… I shouldn’t have been coming off the bench. “I sat around with people and they say Kevin Durant went to a team in Golden State that already had stars. You think they would have brought Kevin Durant off the bench to keep the team in Klay Thompson’s and Stephen Curry’s hands? This is what happened. I look back and say there’s no way I should have come off the bench in L.A., but that’s the way it worked. But I didn’t raise hell about it. I’d been in the league 10 years, I wanted to win a championship.”
He calls his exclusion from the league’s list “very disrespectful” and comes armed with reasons why. “You hear people say, ‘He was only dominant for a couple of years.’ I didn’t know eight years of being an All-Star, being dominant for eight years, was a couple of years,” he said. “I didn’t know winning three Defensive Player of the Year awards in a row, and it should’ve been four, is something that is considered not good. “There’s guys who don’t have those many accolades. I’m the (youngest) player that’s (reached) 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 all the way up to 9,000 rebounds. That doesn’t add up. So, where is the miscommunication? Where is the lie with my stats?”
Howard uses a 32-point, 30-rebound game he had during his one season in Charlotte, only the second 30-30 game in the NBA since 1982, to push against the critics. “Their take even on the 30-30 game was, ‘Well, he could’ve been doing that every night if he just took the game seriously,’” he said. “It’s like, it doesn’t make any sense. I did something that hasn’t been done — once in 35 years by Kevin Love.”
GQ: You’ve said a lot in the last month about not making the NBA’s 75th anniversary list. Why were you upset about that? Dwight Howard: I think that what I have done in my career, there’s no way it cannot be recognized. It was upsetting, at first. But, I didn’t take it too seriously. I felt before that I wasn’t gonna be on it because it felt like [the NBA] was trying to phase me out. People think I’m trying to blame the NBA for certain things, but I look at how certain things have happened in my career and I know some of these things are not on me. I’ve watched how I rarely get talked about when they mention [the Lakers]. It’s like I’m an afterthought. Like damn.
Dwight Howard: I’ve been in the league a long time. I’ve made an impact on every team I’ve been on, on and off the court, and it never gets recognized. So, I thought it was kind of crazy, but I figured I’d get the short end of the stick. I told my friends and the people I’m close to that I’m gonna start working harder and find other ways to generate positive messages to people. Making a list like that is only to get everybody riled up. To try to compare people’s careers, that doesn’t matter. To compare somebody to somebody else? No. We’re all unique individuals. This is a waste of energy.
Anthony Slater: Klay Thompson on not being part of the NBA 75: “I wanted recognition. I didn’t get it. That’s fine. You know how you get recognition? You go win. I just want to go win again.”
Tracy McGrady discussing players snubbed from the NBA 75th Anniversary Team extended to Tony Parker missing the cut. “You can’t be mad at this list. I look at Tony Parker,” he told Sports Illustrated, “Tony Parker deserves to be on this list. There are guys that are not on there that should be on there and there are guys that are on there that I feel shouldn’t be on there. I feel that players not on the list have a better resume than some of the guys that are on this list.”
Andre Iguodala and I agree on this much: Kyrie Irving belongs on any list of the top 75 NBA players of all time, be it the league’s 75th-anniversary team or The Athletic’s rankings that we’ve been rolling out. But top 20 (?!), as the Golden State veteran claimed on Twitter back on Oct. 20 when the Brooklyn Nets point guard was left off of the league’s list? That’s crazy. I told him that, too. To his face. “No, it’s not,” Iguodala fired back while standing near the Warriors’ Chase Center practice floor in San Francisco recently. “Name 20 guys better than him. I’ll wait. I’ve got time.”
Durant added, “You see everybody who played the game and how manypeople aspire to be basketball players and to be amongst that 75 greatest is a surreal feeling. You put in so much work and to be recognized for something like that is just sweet. Your peers voted for you,people that have been around the game for 75 years voted for you, it makes you feel like you’re doing something right … I called up my moms, I called up my AAU coach from when I was 8-9 years old, you knowpeople that were around for the journey. You hit them up because they know how special the game is too. I love that the NBA did that.”
His soft touch, agility under the basket and unselfish play earned him widespread praise. But he wasn't included among the NBA's 75 Greatest Players, an omission that was widely considered a snub. Gasol, however, didn't pay that much heed. "I don't really care too much about lists," he said. "I think, to a certain degree, they're very subjective. I'm really happy about how I played through my NBA career and the impact that I've had on my teams and teammates, and that's what I care about. Lists, at the end of the day, are to create maybe a little controversy or a little talk here and there, and that's OK. That's part of the sport, and that's how it should be. So I'm not offended by any means. And if I would've been on the list, I wouldn't think that I'm better than some of the many other great players that are not on the list."
Klay Thompson has every right to complain about his NBA Top 75 team snub ... so says his former teammate Festus Ezeli, who tells TMZ Sports he can't believe the Warriors star didn't make the cut. "Klay's one of the best of all-time," the ex-Golden State center said ... "He's one of the greatest of all-time. Of course [he deserved to be on the list]. He's the best shooter!"
You were snubbed on the 50th-anniversary list. Were you optimistic about the 75th? Alex English: I was thinking that maybe people realized it was a mistake not having me on the 50th-anniversary list. I felt I should have been on that one. But I was even more hurt this time because they added 25 more players. They could have kept all 50 of the original names but added me. They added Dominique Wilkins and Bob McAdoo who were scorers as well. So what reason was I not included? Is it because Dominique was a great dunker? I feel that he belongs there as well. So does McAdoo. They were great. But my body of work was just as good. What I did during the era I played, no one scored as many points. Every year, we were in the playoffs. It was just disappointing.
How did you find out you were not included on the NBA’s 75th-anniversary list? Alex English: The television broadcast. That stung. At the same time, I was getting calls from the league to be measured for something. I thought maybe I was on that list. I would have assumed. But I guess that’s not what I was being measured for. It just stings. I know what I did. I know the work that I put in. When I look at who they have on that list, and you tell me I shouldn’t be included, I don’t like that. I think the way they did it was a little flawed. I will get over it. Like I said in my tweet, I congratulate thepeople who got selected.
Alex English: I can’t say I’m not disappointed but I know my body of work stands up or is better. It’s not something I can continue to harp on and be worried about. This is my last conversation about it if I can help it. I want to move beyond this. I was disappointed. I’m moving on. My whole life goes on. I still live life. Life to me is more than just my basketball career. I don’t want to sound like sour grapes. That’s not what it’s going to be. I’ve moved on from that. Basketball was a part of my life but I have a whole life.
What were the flaws with the methodology on how the league selected its players? Alex English: I don’t like that they included all of the same 50 players from the 50th-anniversary list. You also can’t have too many of the young people voting because they’re going to look at what they see now. They might not remember me or know about my game. It’s flawed in that sense and I think that basketball minds have to be the people that voted.
Nick Friedell: Draymond says he’s going to get another bottle of DRC wine tonight to celebrate Steph making the 75th anniversary team. For the second year in a row — the bottle’s going on Joe Lacob’s tab. Depending on the year — it’s about $8k a bottle.
Before Saturday's practice, some of Thompson's teammates hung a No. 77 jersey in his locker. Golden State forward Draymond Green posted two short videos on his Instagram stories of the jersey hanging in Thompson's locker and then another video of Thompson sporting the jersey while walking around the Warriors' weight room. Prompted by Green to give a message to the fans, Thompson, who posted a couple of times recently on social media about how disappointed he was to not be named to the list, took the good-natured ribbing in stride. "77!" Thompson said. "Best player of all time, baby!"
Mark Medina: Lakers coach Frank Vogel taking issue with Dwight Howard and Klay Thompson not being on NBA Top 75 list. Vogel called it “surreal” that LeBron, AD, Westbrook and Melo are all on the list
Sean Highkin: Dame mentions Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Alex English as players he was surprised didn’t make it. “Out of all the players on there, I think I was the shortest tenured and the youngest. But I’m not the one making the list.”
Jovan Buha: Frank Vogel says Dwight Howard “for sure” should have made the NBA’s Top 75 list, citing Howard being a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and 11th all-time in rebounding.
Tom Moore: #Sixers coach Doc Rivers: ‘I was pissed that I didn’t make (the #NBA Top 75). … Maybe if they have a top 575.’
Alex English: Can't say I am not disappointed for not being included on the 75th anniversary team after seeing the list. I felt the same after the first list of 50. I have always known that my understated style wasn't conducive to being associated with such a flamboyant sport, especially when you start making " the best of" lists. I know that my body of work as an @NBA player stands up to the test and would put it to test against many on the list,I am content with that. I congratulate the Players that were selected.
Alex English: Just getting this text from a fellow #HOFer who "knows the game" gave me a piece of solace. "Just wanted to let you know how disappointed I am that you were not in the NBA Top 75.Face with symbols over mouth" - Rick Barry
Sean Highkin: Damian Lillard on being included in the NBA’s Top 75 list: “I was surprised. … It’s a great honor. Being included among the best of the best across the whole history of the NBA. … I appreciate it, but I’ve got a lot I still need to accomplish.”
Alex Schiffer: Asked Steve Nash about voting for #NBA75 and how he went about it: “I can’t divulge my secrets.” Adds he asked around the organization for help and thoughts on it.
One notable snub was Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who reacted to the news with a pointed message on Instagram. “Maybe I’m just naive in my ability to play basketball, but in my head I’m top 75 all time,” wrote Thompson. “PERIOD. #fuelforthefire #NBA75”
Mark Medina: Draymond Green more disappointed that Klay Thompson was left off NBA’s top 75 list than upset at his exclusion. Draymond: “I’ll keep building on my resume” and expressed optimism he’ll be in top 100 list in 25 years pic.twitter.com/eq96xVPjst
Dwight Howard has more All-NBA selections (8) than any other player left off the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team. Howard has as many All-NBA selections as Dave DeBusschere, Kevin McHale, Earl Monroe, Dennis Rodman, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Lenny Wilkens, and James Worthy combined.
George Karl: Man of class and dignity Best player in Denver Nuggets history Leading scoring of the 80s Not a top 75 NBA player?! Alex is in my book!
LeBron James: From where I come from I’m simply LOST FOR WORDS!! BEYOND HONORED & BLESSED!! 🙏🏾 #ThekidfromAKRON🤴🏾⁶ #StriveforGreatness🚀 #NBA75💎
Mirjam Swanson: Kerr on the Top 75, and if Klay & Draymond were snubbed: "How do you differentiate? Seems like there are 50-60 guys who are automatic and then you're just - pick one. "I think those guys are top 75 based on winning, two-way basketball, everything that matters more than stats."
Marc J. Spears: The complete NBA 75th Anniversary Team ⬇️ #NBA75
A total of 158 NBA championships and 730 NBA All-Star selections. A combined 110 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Awards and Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Awards. More than 1.5 million points scored. Those are just some of the collective accomplishments of the players who comprise the NBA 75th Anniversary Team, which was announced across TNT and ESPN from Oct. 19-21 as the league tipped off its landmark 75th Anniversary Season.
First Harden was tabbed as the best shooting guard in the annual GM survey. Then the league did one better, picking him — along with Durant and Nash — for the 75th anniversary team as among the best players in history. “Ever? Wow. Where I come from, even just to be in the NBA was a farfetched dream. To be an NBA basketball player was unheard of,” Harden said. “Then not just making it but sustaining it was a different type of mountain you’ve got to climb. And to be one of the best basketball players is a whole different mountain. “It’s a testament to the work I’ve put in and continue to put in until I can’t play anymore. Obviously I haven’t reached the ultimate goal, which is a championship; but that’s what keeps me working and going hard every single day. That’s the end goal.”
Yahoo Sports NBA: "Ever??" James Harden couldn't believe he was on the Top 75 list. (via @JHarden13)
The league will make the list public in three bursts of 25 players each on Tuesday (via TNT), Wednesday (ESPN) and Thursday (TNT). The players will not be ranked 1 to 75. It's going to be an alphabetical listing just like the 50 Greatest Players compilation from 1996. The identities of the voters (but not their full ballots) will be revealed after all 75 players are announced. The voting panel includes current and former players, coaches and team executives as well as selected members of the media.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced that its 75th Anniversary Team, comprised of the 75 greatest players in league history, will be unveiled during special editions of TNT’s NBA Tip-Off presented by CarMax and ESPN’s NBA Today from Tuesday, Oct. 19 through Thursday, Oct. 21.
Twenty-five members of the team, representing a cross section of positions and eras from throughout the NBA’s rich history, will be announced on each of the three days. The team is being selected by a blue-ribbon panel of media and current and former players, coaches, general managers and team executives.
As part of “NBA 75,” the league’s celebration of its landmark 75th Anniversary Season, the NBA selected Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers Clyde Drexler, Magic Johnson, Bob Pettit and Oscar Robertson, as well as 14-time NBA All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, to serve as ambassadors for the 2021-22 season. Representing different eras of the league’s history, the ambassadors will make appearances throughout the 75th Anniversary Season and have a significant presence at NBA All-Star 2022 in Cleveland.
To promote the NBA’s 75th anniversary, the NBA made a short film called NBA Lane, which is a metaphorical neighborhood fitted with the league’s personalities and top moments to help the fans reminisce about the league’s history. Throughout the trip down NBA Lane, you will encounter some of the greats of the past, current superstars and future stars. During filming at Leimert Park, such current NBA players as Carmelo Anthony, LaMelo Ball, Devin Booker, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Jayson Tatum took part. Former NBA greats Gary Payton, Isiah Thomas and Jerry West also were involved in the three-day shoot last month.
“Just reflecting on 75 years and all the teams and players, it is an honor to be a part of 75 years. It has always been a dream of mine to be in the NBA. I was honored when they asked. It’s a big deal,” Tatum told The Undefeated. This season the NBA will also announce its Top 75 players in league history as picked by a select panel. Anthony, who will enter his 19th NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers next month, was very proud to be a part of the filming.
Speaking on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast Club Shay Shay, ex-Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson was adamant in his belief that Luka Doncic has a legitimate case to be part of the NBA’s Top 75 Greatest Players list. Here’s what he had to say about the Mavs phenom. “The one guy that you named to me, I think, could well very be on the top 75 player list that comes out pretty soon. And people say will there be a sleeper that’s young, but Luka Doncic is the real deal. When you look at what he’s been able to do early on in his career, he has got it. If it was me voting, he’s on the list.”
The NBA has announced that a "blue-ribbon panel of media, current and former players, coaches, general managers, and team executives" will select the 75th anniversary team. "Ah man, it would mean a lot," said the 36-year-old Paul, who is entering his 17th NBA season. "It would mean a lot." The 75th anniversary team will be announced later this month.
"Look at the winning he's been able to do and be a part of and affect over the course of his career," Monty Williams said. "And the talent, the longevity. Sure, somebody looks at me and says, he's biased. They'd be right, but I've also watched it from afar when I wasn't with him and competing against him, he was a pain in the butt."
Ballots for the NBA's 75th anniversary team were due back to the league office today. The league previously announced that the official list of its 75 greatest players, as selected by "a blue-ribbon panel of media, current and former players, coaches, general managers and team executives," will be revealed in October. The voters will also be revealed — not their full individual ballots but the names of those who made the selections.
The selection process for the NBA's 75th anniversary team, which will be unveiled in October as an official compilation of the top 75 players in league history, is underway. The NBA is assembling what it calls “a blue-ribbon panel” of current and former players, coaches, general managers and team executives, in addition to selected media members, to choose the team. (The list, we repeat, will not be a 1-to-75 ranking.)
January 17, 2022 | 7:13 pm EST Update
Paul Garcia: “He’s been out for a long time, I mean a really long time. He needs his rhythm to come back to feel comfortable.” – Coach Pop on Zach Collins playing in the G-League as he gets ready to return from his injury. Pop says he was just watching some of Collins’ game with Austin
Tom Orsborn: Pop indicated that D White will continue to come off the bench – at least until Tre Jones returns from health and safety protocols. “Tre is not here, so we need that backup point,” Pop said.
Serena Winters: Isaac Okoro on how much pride he takes on the defensive end: “I take a lot of pride in that. Ever since I was young, I learned that was the only way I was going to get on the court was by playing defense… If I’m locking somebody up, I’m happy.” – @Isaac Okoro
January 17, 2022 | 7:08 pm EST Update
Josh Lewenberg: Halfway point of the season for the Raptors tonight. Nurse said that this has been the most challenging of his 4 years as an NBA head coach so far, lots of ups and downs. “There’s some stark downs, man, and it’s been a battle to pick everybody up, or pick yourself up.”