Wednesday, December 8, 2021

NBA 75th Anniversary Team: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Allen Iverson among first 50 players announced

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The NBA has officially kicked off its 75th season in existence, and to celebrate, the league has decided to name the 75 greatest players in league history. A panel of voters was assembled to build the list, which will be entirely distinct from the Top 50 list the league released for its 50th anniversary in 1996. However, like the ’96 list, the players will not be ranked. 

The NBA officially released the first 25 names on the list Tuesday, and on Wednesday they announced the next 25 names. Here are the players who’ve made the cut so far: 

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  • Bill Russell
  • Oscar Robertson
  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Hal Greer
  • Bob Pettit
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Kevin Durant
  • Elvin Hayes
  • Jerry Lucas
  • Willis Reed
  • Nate Archibald
  • Bob Cousy
  • Dave Cowens
  • James Harden
  • Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Kevin McHale
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • George Mikan
  • John Stockton
  • Steve Nash
  • Charles Barkley
  • Julius Erving
  • George Gervin
  • Moses Malone
  • David Robinson
  • Paul Arizin
  • Rick Barry
  • Larry Bird
  • Wilt Chamberlain 
  • Clyde Drexler 
  • Tim Duncan
  • Patrick Ewing
  • Walt Frazier
  • Kevin Garnett
  • John Havlicek
  • Allen Iverson
  • Magic Johnson
  • Sam Jones
  • Michael Jordan
  • Karl Malone
  • Robert Parish
  • Chris Paul 
  • Scottie Pippen 
  • Bill Sharman
  • Isiah Thomas
  • Nate Thurmond
  • Wes Unseld
  • Bill Walton
  • Jerry West
  • James Worthy 

So far, 41 players on the Top 50 list from 1996 have made the cut, despite the fact Top 50 honorees weren’t guaranteed selection onto the Top 75 list. Every era and player type has been represented thus far, and the list will only get deeper when the final set of 25 names is unveiled Thursday.   

For Kevin Durant, one of the new selections that had not even reached the NBA when it named its top 50 players in 1996, the honor was among the greatest of his career. 

“It means a lot,” Durant said on TNT after being selected. “It means everything to be honest. You wanna leave your mark on this league, on the game of basketball itself. To be among the greatest that this game has ever seen, just to be in that same company is pretty sweet. As a kid I saw the 50th anniversary and always dreamed of having one of those jackets on, being amongst that group so it feels good to be a part of it now.” 

With 50 names down, the NBA still has 25 to go. The league has a number of celebrations planned for the season to honor the 75th anniversary, and players like Nowitzki, Pettit, Robertson, Magic Johnson and Clyde Drexler will serve as ambassadors for the diamond anniversary.

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