Around the Hill: Which Five Players Make Up Your All-Time NBA Starting Lineup?

David Minster, Maroon-News Staff

Although there have been thousands of NBA players since the league started, only five players can comprise the best starting lineup. At point guard, Magic Johnson takes the top spot. Magic was dominant since his days at Michigan State and after getting drafted No. 1 overall in 1979,  he led the Lakers to five championships while also picking up multiple MVP awards, NBA first-teams and other accolades. He’s solidly in the all-time starting five even though his career was derailed after his contraction of HIV. Along with Magic in the backcourt is fellow Laker Kobe Bryant. Kobe’s been the face of the league since getting drafted in 1996 and is currently in his final season of his career. His sharpshooting ability, clutchness and intensity has helped Kobe establish himself as one of the scariest opponents in NBA history. With an 81-point outburst, five Championships, and 18 All-Star Games, Kobe is in a whole other league compared to the rest of the NBA’s stars. Along with Kobe and Magic on this team would be Michael Jordan at small forward. From his ridiculous dunks to his incredible athletic ability, Michael Jordan entertained the crowd every game he played. Jordan is arguably the greatest player of all time and has the championships and MVP awards to prove it. Tim Duncan would be at power forward, barely beating out Karl Malone for the starting spot. Duncan continues to amaze at age 39 and is leading the Spurs to a historic record while also being a big force on the floor. The center in this lineup would be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He was unstoppable in the post, an amazing defender, and is a fine addition to the all-time best lineup in NBA history.

Reed Schultz, Maroon-News Staff

My all-time NBA starting five would be Magic Johnson at point guard, Michael Jordan at shooting guard, LeBron James at small forward, Tim Duncan at power forward and Bill Russell at center. The greatest factor for me when selecting the team was their championship pedigree and each individual’s desire to win. I tried to select the five players I thought would outcompete any other combination of five players. One of the hardest decisions for me was selecting my center. At first, I wanted to go with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Wilt Chamberlain, but I ultimately decided to go with Bill Russell. All three players have outstanding individual statistics, but it is Russell who won 11 championships in 13 years. For me, championships are the most important factor in choosing between players with equally impressive statistics. I also felt that Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan were obvious picks, and they are the two greatest players of all time. The hardest part for me was leaving Kobe Bryant off my team. As a player that I got to witness firsthand, no one outcompeted or had more desire than Kobe. His longing to win and his overall “Mamba” mentality about basketball is something that I want on my team. With all that being said, I cannot place Kobe Bryant ahead of Michael Jordan on my team. I chose Tim Duncan because of the consistency of his numbers and the longevity of his career. Finally, LeBron James is one of the most physically gifted athletes that I have ever seen, and he is probably going to be the greatest small forward of all time.

Andrew Vojt, Managing Editor

In the process of assembling my all-time NBA starting lineup, I strived to put a team together that I could see feasibly playing together in a game. There’s no doubt in my mind that this team could string together wins like no other, even more than the Warriors have done this year. At the point would be Lakers point guard Magic Johnson. This dude was a freak of nature as a 6’9” point guard, which is outstanding height to match his additional athleticism and quickness. He electrified the NBA throughout his career and dominated with and without the ball. The shooting guard of this all-time team will be none other than His Airness. Michael Jordan is unarguably the greatest NBA player of all time, and to leave him off a team like this would be an insult to anyone to plays or studies the game. His scoring ability is unrivaled and he is a winner through and through. Larry Bird would be my small forward to provide some knockdown shooting. Bird is known for his clutch shooting ability and is one of only three players in history to win three consecutive MVP awards. Plus, we would get to see a real-life version of his McDonald’s commercial with Magic Johnson. This lineup will feature two centers, the first being Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I’d give him the power forward slot due to his shooting ability, and who wouldn’t want to him see rain skyhooks game after game? The center of this team would be Wilt Chamberlain. Averaging over 22 rebounds a game and being a god amongst men in his era warrants his selection on my all-time NBA team.