The Los Angeles Lakers announced last week that they will erect a statue honoring The Logo, Jerry West, during the 2010-11 All-Star Weekend…It’s about time. Mr. Clutch has contributed more to the success of the Los Angeles Lakers than any other person not named Jerry Buss. The statue of one of the greatest NBA executives of all time will be flanked by statues of Magic Johnson and Chick Hearn. If threes a crowd, then that is a pretty cool crowd.
The announcement of the Jerry West statue, made me start thinking about what current NBA players deserve their own statue thirty years down the road. Part of the fun of building a statue is deciding what pose or moment to model the statue after, which is what I did with these five guys. I am suggesting that with each statue, we also build in a speaker system that blasts something that defines that players career.
Here’s the list…
#5. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Everyone gives the Memphis Grizzlies a hard time for trading away Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown, but that’s because they probably do not remember how the Mavericks acquired the Big German. Dirk was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks and was immediately traded to the Mavericks, along with Pat Garrity, for the one, the only…Robert Traylor.
When you think of the Dallas Mavericks, you think of Dirk and his established and impressive career. Since his inception into the Association in 1998, Dirk has led the Mavericks to the playoffs for ten straight years, including a Conference Finals in 2003 and an NBA Finals in 2006. Nowitzki has been an All-Star nine times and is a member of the All NBA Team ten times over. His biggest accolade? Being the 2007 NBA MVP.
Dirk’s name dominates the Mavericks record books as well, holding the following records: games played, minutes played, field goals and three point field goals made, free throws made, most defensive and total rebounds, and total points. Chris Kaman’s BFF is also climbing the all-time, NBA ranks as well. He is currently 27th on total points list.
My suggestion for what his statue should be modeled after:
Statue Soundtrack: David Hasselhoff tracks on a loop.
#4. Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
Before you add a comment, send me an email or yell at me on Twitter (@hoopstopia), I know that KG is a Boston Celtic…but he does not deserve a statue for his contributions as a Celtic. He does not even deserve to have his number retired as a Celtic. He has not spent enough time in New England to hang with the likes of Havlicek, Bird and Cousy.
While he may not deserve one in Bean Town, he does deserve a statue outside of the Target Center. The Big Ticket made basketball in Minnesota. The Timberwolves averaged 21 wins per season over the course of their first six years as an NBA team. This all changed once they drafted Garnett. During KG’s tenure with the Timberwolves they averaged 41 wins per season and made the playoffs eight times. Since Garnett was traded to the Celtics, the Timberwolves are back to winning only 20 games per season and they are no longer making the playoffs.
Garnett holds nearly every single Timberwolves record there is: most points, rebounds, assists, free throws, blocks, and steals. Garnett is also 22nd all-time in points (22,421), 20th all-time in rebounds (12,292), 19th all-time in blocked shots (1,796) and 1st all-time in trash talking. Garnett will be a unanimous, first-ballot Hall of Famer – guaranteed.
Here is what Garnett’s statue should be modeled after:
Statue Soundtrack: Garnett’s all-time favorite trash-talking lines, including, but not limited to: “Cancer patient”, barking like a dog and the “Mother f#@&#r”.
#3. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs knew they had something special when they drafted the Big Fundamental number one overall in the 1997 NBA Draft. The Spurs were ecstatic at the idea of teaming up Timmy with the Admiral and building the greatest “Twin Towers” combination the NBA had ever seen.
Duncan proved to be the much needed boost that the Spurs needed to propel themselves into the NBA Finals, which he did during his second season in the Association. Duncan decided he liked being in the Finals so much, he took his team back in 2003, 2005, and 2007, winning the trophy every single time.
If we took a trip to Duncan’s home and took a look at his mantle, it would be filled with awards upon awards. So would his other fourteen mantles. If there is an NBA award out there, Duncan has won it. Here are some of the honors that he holds: Rookie of the Year, an All-Star game MVP, an NBA Finals MVP three times over, and MVP of the NBA two times over. He has been an All-Star twelve times, made the All-NBA First Team nine different times, been a member of the All-Defensive First Team eight times, along with some All-NBA Second and Third teams too. Oh and he has won four NBA championships.
TD will soon crack the top 30 for all time leading scorers in the NBA, he currently sits behind Bob Petit with 20,762 points. He is 25th all-time in rebounds (11,415), 30th all-time in field goals made (7,987), and 11th all-time in blocked shots (2,253). This guy is a lock to get into the Hall of Fame the first time he is eligible.
Picking a picture to model Timmy’s statue after is a little difficult. Tim does not show a lot of emotion when on the court and the one thing he is known for his hugging the ball prior to each game and the statue would look ridiculous with half of his face blocked by the ball. Here’s what I ended up going with:
Statue Soundtrack: Enya…I just get the feeling that this is what Timmy listen’s to while cruising the streets of San Antonio in his Kia Sorrento.
#2. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
I know I am going to get some angry readers that will argue with me that Tim Duncan should be ahead of Pierce on this list because of all of his accomplishments and his four titles. Well you’re wrong. Pierce is a member of one of the greatest NBA Fraternities of all time – the Boston Celtics. Not only is he a member, but he is one of the top 5 Celtics of all time and when you realize who he’s competing with for one of those top 5 spots, it makes it even more impressive.
When you take a look at the different generations of the Celtics, there are usually two or three players to define those periods. During the Sixties, you had Havlicek, Cousy and Russell. Havlicek was still the man in the Seventies, but you also had Cowens and White. The Eighties were Bird, McHale and Parrish. Did the Celtics have any good teams during the 90s? The late 90s and 2000s have been all Paul Pierce. Yes, there was Employee #8, Antoine Walker, but he left the team to go win a ring elsewhere. Pierce is the Celtic of his generation. Sure KG and Ray Allen will be remembered for coming to town and winning a championship, but Pierce is the guy that got them there. Pierce is the guy that has endeared himself to Celtic fans around the world.
Here’s what his statue should look like:
Sorry, I could not help myself. Here’s the real suggestion:
Statue Soundtrack: Notorious BIG rapping over a bag-pipes laden track.
#1 Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
The Black Mamba may be the most polarizing player to ever play in the Association. But love him or hate him, there is no denying that he is one of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood. Kobe Bryant is the greatest player of his generation, which includes all four of his cohorts listed above.
Kobe has done and won everything there is to do and win in the NBA. He is a 12-time All-Star, an All-NBA First Team and All-NBA Defensive First Team member eight times over, he has been the All-Star Game MVP three times, won a Dunk Contest, has won two scoring titles, been a regular season MVP once (which is a total sham, just ask Larry Bird), been a Finals MVP twice and has won five NBA Championships. And he scored 81 points in a game.
Kobe is 23rd all-time in three-point field goals made, 9th all-time in free throws made (6,612) and 28th all-time in steals (1,564). Kobe is currently 12th all-time in points (26,042) and has the ability to move all the way up to the 5th spot, which is currently occupied by Shaquille O’Neal. That fact alone is enough for Kobe to stick around and make sure he bumps Shaq down the list.
Not only is Kobe in the discussion for, “greatest Laker of all time”, but he is now in the discussion for “greatest player ever”. I am not going to take a side on that argument, but the fact that Kobe is in that discussion shows how great of a player and competitor he is.
What on earth do you choose to model Kobe’s statue after? His go-to-move? He had way too many moves in his arsenal to select just one. Do you choose a picture of him holding up his first championship trophy or his fifth? What about him receiving a gold medal? Here’s what I decided on:
Statue Soundtrack: A Dr. Dre produced hip-hop track entitled, “Shaq, tell me how my fifth tastes!” By the time this statue is built, you may be able to change the title of the song to, “Jordan, tell me how my seventh tastes!”
Why did I choose Kobe dunking over Nash? Is it because I hate Nash? Not one bit. This moment, to me, embodies everything about Kobe. When he plays, he is out to hurt and punish his opponent. He loved silencing the opposing teams fans by dominating the game and willing his team to victory. He loves putting on a performance that forces those that hate him the most to say, “Kobe Bryant may be the greatest player of all time!” Well he did all of these things in this one moment.
Did we miss anyone? Did we completely blow what each player’s statue should be modeled after? Let us know! You can always post comments here on Hoopstopia.com, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or catch us on twitter @hoopstopia.