The Ultimate NBA G.O.A.T. Debate

Grant Taylor

The greatest of all-time.

At the end of one's career, even being considered for such a title is a great honor in itself.

Talent, hard work, and winning play a key role in the final debate, and at the end of the day, it is apparent that some players are better than others in certain areas of the game.

These players have been turned into NBA legends.

They outperformed their peers to standout in a league full of talent.

A recent uproar in "debate articles" has put the title seemingly up for grabs, with a number of loose ends keeping it from being official.

As the argument grows, I am here to put an end to the debate.

I will determine who is at the top in each area playing a key role in the final verdict.

Then, you, the readers, will have your own chance to voice your opinion.

Let's begin.

First, the Nominees

Obiously, I need to have made a list of players that I think are among the front-runners in the G.O.A.T. debate. Don't worry if I miss one of your favorites, at the end you will be able to voice your opinion.

Michael Jordan

Magic Johnson

Bill Russell

Kobe Bryant

Wilt Chamberlain

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Jerry West

Larry Bird

Hakeem Olajuwon

Julius Erving

Karl Malone

Tim Duncan

That's a list of 12 players.

Again, you can voice in at the end if you find I'm missing a nominee.

Knack for Winning

If you want a consideration, you have to have had success on the basketball court.

It's that simple.

Now I know you are all starting to wonder why I put players such as Karl Malone on the nominees list, but that question will soon be answered.


1. Bill Russell: 10.0

2. Michael Jordan: 9.5

3. Kobe Bryant: 9.0

4. Magic Johnson: 9.0

5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 8.5

6. Tim Duncan: 8.0

7. Larry Bird: 7.0

8. Wilt Chamberlain: 6.0

9. Hakeem Olajuwon: 5.5

10. Julius Erving: 4.5 (not including ABA titles)

11. Jerry West: 2.5

12. Karl Malone: 1.0

Unmatched Competitive Spirit

These players don't just want to beat you, they want to leave you in the dust.

They work hard each day so they can get better and rise above the rest.

Their lust to win is only matched by their heart.

To them, the game, series, or quarter is never over until the fat lady sings.


1. Michael Jordan: 10.0

2. Kobe Bryant: 9.5

3. Jerry West: 8.5

4. Bill Russell: 8.0

5. Larry Bird: 7.5

6. Hakeem Olajuwon: 7.5

7. Magic Johnson: 7.0

8. Tim Duncan: 7.0

9. Wilt Chamberlain: 6.0

10. Julius Erving: 6.0

11. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 5.5

12. Karl Malone: 5.5

Utter Dominance

Performance is something that is always expected of an NBA player. No matter how bad.

From Luke Walton, to Michael Jordan; Kwame Brown to Magic Johnson.

But the key difference between an NBA reject and an NBA legend is simple: some people perform better than others.

Tricky, isn't it?


1. Wilt Chamberlain: 10.0

2. Michael Jordan: 10.0

3. Karl Malone: 9.0

4. Kobe Bryant: 8.5

5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 8.5

6. Larry Bird: 8.5

7. Hakeem Olajuwon: 8.0

8. Magic Johnson: 8.0

9. Tim Duncan: 7.5

10. Jerry West: 7.5

11. Julius Erving: 7.5

12. Bill Russell: 7.0

The Clutch Factor

When the game is on the line, these are the players you want to get the ball to.

They remain calm in the most stressful situations.

They can be relied upon to hit the buzzer-beater that adds a 'W' to their record.


1. Michael Jordan: 10.0

2. Jerry West: 10.0

3. Kobe Bryant: 9.5

4. Larry Bird: 9.0

5. Magic Johnson: 8.0

6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 7.0

7. Julius Erving: 6.0

8. Tim Duncan: 5.5

9. Hakeem Olajuwon: 5.5

10. Bill Russell: 5.0

11. Wilt Chamberlain: 4.5

12: Karl Malone: 4.5

Defensive Presence

These players relish the opportunity to make the hustle play.

They get blocks, steals, and can take a player out of a game entirely.

They are the leaders of the not-so-flashy side of the court.


1. Hakeem Olajuwon: 10.0

2. Bill Russell: 10.0

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 9.5

4. Michael Jordan: 9.0

5. Wilt Chamberlain: 9.0

6. Kobe Bryant: 8.5

7. Magic Johnson: 8.5

8. Karl Malone: 8.0

9. Julius Erving: 8.0

10. Tim Duncan: 8.0

11. Jerry West: 8.0

12. Larry Bird: 6.0

Offensive Dynamo

These legends had or have the ability to manipulate defenses and boggle coaches' minds.

With their vast offensive repertoire, these players could hurt you from all angles. With their shooting, driving, pull-up, and circus-shot abilities, they were nearly unstoppable.


1. Jerry West: 10.0

2. Michael Jordan: 10.0

3. Wilt Chamberlain: 10.0

4. Kobe Bryant: 9.5

5. Larry Bird: 9.5

6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 9.5

7. Julius Erving: 9.0

8. Tim Duncan: 9.0

9. Hakeem Olajuwon: 8.5

10. Magic Johnson: 8.5

11. Karl Malone: 8.0

12. Bill Russell: 6.0

Assassin-Like Approach

Although "assassin" is not a literal term in this case, it produces a similar result.

They come out of the gates determined to break you down. Little by little, they deliver blow after blow to both your physical and emotional strength.

They come to silence critics and to prove they are the best the NBA has to offer.


1. Kobe Bryant: 10.0

2. Michael Jordan: 10.0

3. Jerry West: 8.5

4. Larry Bird: 7.5

5. Magic Johnson: 6.5

6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 5.5

7. Bill Russell: 5.5

8. Tim Duncan: 5.5

9. Julius Erving: 5.5

10. Wilt Chamberlain: 5.0

11. Hakeem Olajuwon: 5.0

12. Karl Malone: 4.5

Consistent Throughout Career

These players worked hard to keep at a high level even in the twilight of their careers.

They were a consistent threat and always needed to be accounted for.


1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 10.0

2. Michael Jordan: 9.5

3. Wilt Chamberlain: 9.0

4. Julius Erving: 9.0

5. Bill Russell: 8.5

6. Kobe Bryant: 8.5

7. Larry Bird: 8.0

8. Karl Malone: 8.0

9. Hakeem Olajuwon: 7.5

10. Magic Johnson: 7.0

11. Tim Duncan: 7.0

12. Jerry West: 7.0

Human Highlight Film

They dazzle fans. They set up jams.

Whether they dish, dunk, or dribble, these players never disappointed and always amazed fans with their amazing creativity on the court.


1. Magic Johnson: 10.0

2. Julius Erving: 10.0

3. Michael Jordan: 10.0

4. Jerry West: 9.5

5. Kobe Bryant: 9.0

6. Wilt Chamberlain: 8.0

7. Karl Malone: 7.5

8. Hakeem Olajuwon: 7.0

9. Tim Duncan: 7.0

10. Larry Bird: 6.5

11. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 6.5

12. Bill Russell: 5.0

Decorated Careers

The outcome of a successful career is the trophy.

NBA Champion, Rookie of the Year, MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Finals MVP, and 6th Man of the Year.

These are all awards that are sought after most by NBA players, and to be a G.O.A.T. candidate, you have to have them.

1. Tim Duncan: 10.0

2. Michael Jordan: 10.0

3. Bill Russell: 10.0

4. Wilt Chamberlain: 9.0

5. Magic Johnson: 9.0

6. Kobe Bryant: 9.0

7. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 8.5

8. Larry Bird: 8.5

9. Hakeem Olajuwon: 8.0

10. Julius Erving: 7.5

11. Jerry West: 6.5

12. Karl Malone: 5.0

The Verdict

You saw the categories, now here are the scores:

1. Michael Jordan: 98

2. Kobe Bryant: 90.5

3. Magic Johnson: 81.5

4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 79

5. Larry Bird: 78

6. Jerry West: 78

7. Wilt Chamberlain: 76.5

8. Bill Russell: 75

9. Tim Duncan: 74.5

10. Julius Erving: 73

11. Hakeem Olajuwon: 72.5

12. Karl Malone: 61

So, there you have it. Michael Jordan snags the top spot. I hope I provided a thorough examination of the G.O.A.T. debate.

But wait, there's more...

Your Opinion Counts

I now give you, the fans, a chance to voice in your opinion.

Comment to tell me who you think I missed from the nominees list, who your G.O.A.T. is, what you think a certain score should be, and why you think I got it wrong.

Every 50 comments I will post the front-runner of your votes.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to comment.


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