Originally Posted by Whoah10115
I don't think I'd heard of the finger thing until reading your post. You're saying he hurt it before even playing a professional game? I can't try to imagine how much better he would have been. As far as his back goes...the guy played 12 seasons worth of basketball and he was a great player every single season. He was a top 10 player in eleven different seasons. Hard to ask for more, especially in that era.
Correct. I was shocked as well. I can't find any one great article (again, my source was the recent Magic/Bird book), but searching for something like:
Larry Bird finger injury softball
on Google (or any other news archiver of your choice) from the summer of 79 will give you some matches.
There is a lot of recent revisionism with Kareem. I'm sure there were people talking him up 10 years ago and even earlier (as far as his GOAT candidacy) but it was never like this. Thru high school I hardly ever saw a list where he wasn't ranked below Wilt and Russell, for starters. Magic was often #2, tho I sometimes saw Wilt at #2, as his numbers were just stupid. I was surprised when I saw Bird below the other 5 on the ESPN list of greatest athletes (tho I guess they could take into consideration that Wilt and Russell were all-around athletes, and KAJ is the best college player ever). A lot of different (and random) magazines would compile their list of the greatest athletes and I often saw Michael, Magic, Larry as the top 3 basketball guys. But, regardless, it was rare that I saw Kareem ahead of either Russell or Chamberlain. And I think the somewhat recent obsession with ranking him #1 is a great example of people looking toward a list of checked-off accomplishments that justify some new movements on the list. Also, people are still looking for the Air Apparent. They'll even go back in time.
Ah okay. One other point of note is that at the time, Walton was considered by a fair portion of sportswriters/other players to be the superior player (compared to KAJ). I definitely respect his longevity (particularly what he did in 85, absolutely ridiculous) but agree for the most part.
BTW thanks for sharing your stance on Robertson/Erving (as I said, the reason I mentioned both guys was to try and see if where you slotted them had something to do with the Kareem placement...two leading criticisms of him regard only winning with a legendary PG, and having some of his best statistical seasons in a split league).