NBA & Street Ball Starting 5..Who You Got?

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    Updated: June 17, 2014
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    Basketball is great to watch and even more fun to actually play. There’s nothing like getting on the court and enjoying 5 on 5 full of trash talk against an opponent. But not all basketball is played the same. There are two types of basketball: in door organized full-court basketball, and street ball. When I was in high school I used to love getting all the new And-1 Mixtapes that came out because I couldn’t wait to see what guys like AO, Hot Sauce and The Professor to see what new moves they had created since the last And-1 tape.

    The And-1 stuff was always entertaining, but I never took is seriously because I know that type of ball would never get me on any high school or college squads. Organized team ball reigned supreme as we could all see from how much we loved the actual NBA. But I’ve never put together two starting 5′s consisting of one an All-Time great NBA team, and one All-Time 5 NBA street ballers team. The street ballers are NBA players that had that Rucker Park feel to their games. So here it goes:

     

    All-Time All-NBA Starting Point Gaurd…Magic Johnson…

     

    Earvin Magic Johnson came into the Association in 1980 and set the world on fire. As a rookie he won rookie of the year and led his Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA Championship. Magic was a master with the ball in his hands and his court vision is possibly unmatched in NBA history. At 6’9 he’s a handful for opposing point guards who are usually far shorter, and Johnson was always three steps ahead of everyone else on the court. His achievements speak for themselves. Magic would be my starting point guard.

     

    All Street Ball NBA first Team Point Guard: Isiah Thomas/Tim Hardaway…

    Thomas and Hardaway are two Chicago legends that could do what they wanted to an opponent when they were running the point position. Both of these NBA greats came up in the street ball cultures of Chi-town and they always showed remnants of it in their NBA careers. Hardaway was known for his savage killer crossover that still has players from his era icing their ankles. Isiah utilized the low to the ground dribble similar to the Harlem Globetrotters and was always difficult to defend because of his ball handling skills and ability to make the right play. Isaiah could also drop points one on one like he did on multiple occasions during his legendary Detroit Pistons career. For me this is a toss-up. I’d choose either man.

     

    All-Time All-NBA Shooting Guard…The GOAT

     

    Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player in history. He’s an automatic inclusion into every all-time starting 5 lists. MJ could score, he could play defense, he could pass, and he was incredible leader. There’s nothing Jordan couldn’t do and there’s really not much I have to add. This inclusion is mandatory.

     

    All-Time All-Street ball Shooting Guard…Jamal Crawford

     

    I might get a lot of puzzled looks for this pick but Jamal Crawford plays with the type of reckless abandon that street baller dreams are made of. Jamal will gladly take an opponent off the dribble to try to create his own shot, he has great leaping ability, and he has great street ball type handles. You know, the type were he’s borderline carrying the ball on every possession, which in the NBA is a sin, but outdoors it is revered. Jamal fits the bill for me.

     

    All-NBA All-Time Small Forward…Witness Greatness

     

    Courtesy of Lebron-j4mes.tumblr.com

    It was hard for me to pick LeBron James over Larry Bird because I think Larry Legend was a Gawd. But LeBron James is simply a weapon of mass destruction that can’t be contained when he’s in full LeBron mode. Bron has the vision of Magic, body of a Mack truck, leaping ability of Michael Jordan and the speed of a point guard. He’s the NBA version of the T-1000 from Terminator 2; a hybrid beast. Love ya Larry Legend, but I’m going Bron here.

     

    All-time Street Ball Small Forward…Mr. You’re the Real MVP himself

     

    I know I know, This is supposed to be Julius “Dr. J” Erving spot. I know it’s blasphemy not picking him for this position but i’m going with KD. This might seem like a weird inclusion but if you’ve never watched Durant at the Rucker Park games in the summer, go find them and enjoy. He’s 6’10 with handle, and can pull up from anywhere on the court. And just like any great street baller, he loves nothing more than burying a shot off the dribble from out of nowhere right in his defenders face. KD isn’t a great defender but he’s getting better, so like a lot of street guys his game is less predicated on clamp down defense, but he can score on you at will to embarrass you in front of a crowd. Something all street ballers love doing more than anything, putting on a show. KD gets the nod for street Ball Small forward.

     

    All NBA All-Time Power Forward…The Big F’n Fundamental

     

    Tim Duncan is the poster boy for the perfect power forward. He’s amazing on defense, he’s great with his back to the basket, he can pass and he has a great elbow jumper from about 17 feet from the basket. Throughout his career Duncan consistently proved year after year that’s he’s mastered the power forward position. There’s nothing he can’t do and there’s a lot he can do better than any other power forward in league history. While Greg Popovich’s system creates new stars each year, Duncan was not a product of any system. He was just a talented and hard-working and smarter than anyone to ever play his position. Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward ever and at 38 years old he’s still going strong. Duncan is nothing short of remarkable.

     

    All-Time Street Ball Power Forward…Sir Charles

    Charles Barkley was a 6’6 bully on the blocks during his NBA career and in his prime could run the floor with the best of them and dunk the ball with ferocity. He was a power forward anomaly for his size. Barkley was great down-low, he could shoot, he was an excellent rebounder, he never backed down from anyone and he can handle his own in the post. With his skills, aggressiveness and ability to move players out-of-the-way with his body, he would be a nightmare on the playground for players who can’t really on help defense or the service of NBA refs bailing them out with charge calls when Barkley drives his body into them. Shawn Kemp would have also been ideal here because the Reign Man was explosive and a high jumper as well, but if I’m going to the playground and need a guy at the 4, it’s Sir Charles for me all day.

     

    All-NBA All-Time Center…The Big Aristotle

     

    During his prime, was there ever a player more unstoppable than Shaquille O’Neal? At 7’1 320 pounds he was an immovable object that could move his defenders at will. If someone wanted to make the case for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar I wouldn’t argue because it was a difficult selection for me. But there was no guarding Shaq once the ball was in his hands. Every defender was under siege in the paint and an entire style of defense was invented for him, “Hack a Shaq.” Shaq commanded double and triple teams because there wasn’t a man in the league that could stop him alone. He was the focal point of the Los Angeles Lakers 3-peats in early 2000’s and his playoff numbers are filled with 30 point 14 rebound games. Shaq is possibly the most unstoppable player in league history. If I could have just one game and needed a center in his prime for my starting 5, I would bite the bullet and take the Big Aristotle of Kareem.

     

    All-NBA Street Ball Center…The Big Ticket

     

    Another Chicago native, Kevin Garnett is the perfect center for a street ball game. Prime Garnett was great running the court, he was slim, long, great wing span, excellent jumper, explosive leaping ability, great defender, and fearless. Imagine a street ball game and watching what Garnett would do with the ball in his hands running up the court and unleashing and insane windmill dunk. Garnett was a beast when he was with Stephon Marbury and seeing those two together always reminded me of playground basketball. Garnett could be either a 4 or 5 and excellent at either position because of his height and his adaptability. Garnett would be the perfect 5 for an NBA street ball team. 

    There are a lot of players that could have made both lists. John Stockton, Allen Iverson, Shawn Kemp, Stephon Marbury, Chris Webber, Karl Malone Hakeem the dream Olajuwon, Kobe Bryant, and etc. But I would put my starting 5 All-NBA and my starting 5 All-NBA Street Ball against anyone’s 5 on both side and feel confident my two teams would win. So ask yourself…who your starting 5?

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