I'm not a stats guy (don't have the time). I respect people that study sports stats but...I just can't get into it at that level and I feel they're descriptive, but can also be abused by people (like the guy telling me Brad Beal went 1/3 against Maxey therefore Maxey is a good defender). Its definitely something I'll pay attention to because I think most people are excited that with Ben shipped to Abu Dhabi....Matisse and Maxey will get bumps in minutes.
But to me, guys that transcended the game and belong on the Mt Rushmore of basketball, there are 3 clear ones. Who the 4th is depends and I'll try to address that...
Kareem Abdul Jabbar - 6 rings. 1 back to back. (71, 80, 82, 85, 87, 88) so he dominated a decade (with help on that Lakers team). 10 finals appearances. All-time NBA scoring record after playing three years of college. 21 seasons of NBA basketball after 3 years of college. Also won 3 college championships (67, 68, 69). Went 88-2 in college. 71 wins in a row in high school and 3 NYC city high school championships. Wilt Chamberlain called him "The Greatest High School Player I've ever seen".
Michael Jordan - 6 rings (91, 92, 93, 96, 97, 98). 6 finals appearances. 6-0 in the finals. Won at 28, 29, 30, SKIPPED 2 years at 31 and 32, and won again at 33, 34, 35, and could have kept playing. 1 college championship in 3 seasons. Two 3-peats, rare-air.
Lebron James - 4 rings. 10 finals appearances. 16 NBA seasons averaging 27 points after being a "pass-first" guy. Lebron is 3,000 points away from Kareem. If he plays 3 more full seasons, and averages 12 points a game, he will catch Kareem. (He'll do it). Ridiculous but also currently 8th all-time in assists. 3,000 away from 2nd place (J Kidd), so would need to average 12 assists a game for 3 seasons to catch him. 6,000 away from John Stockton so would need 24 assists a game over the next three seasons to catch him. I could see him being the greatest scorer ever, and 2nd in assists all time if he goes for both records....and if he is able to, he'd still be #3 in my book since he never did played college. I still remember his first game in the NBA and when he was on the SI Cover coming up....most impressive record is that he is a family man.
The 4th, cases could be made for Bill Russell, Wilt, even Magic, Kobe and Duncan with 5 rings. I read John Wooden's book who said that if Wilt was on the same teams at Bill Russell had in Boston, Wilt would have had as many rings. I don't know who is in that 4th spot....all i know is...Kareem is hella-underrated.
Also of the 3, Kareem had the sky-hook, MJ had the fade-away...does Lebron have a signature move?
Anyway, who is the 4th?