Originally Posted by fpliii
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.
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).
That wasn't my reason, tho I considered saying that out loud. But I don't want to knock Kareem based on that. The Kareem I saw playing in LA was one lazy man on defense. Did not defend the pick n' roll and didn't protect the rim nearly as much as his blocks suggest. Altering shots is more important than blocking a couple. He blocked a lot but I didn't see him contest as much as I would have liked, considering how lazy he was. The guy was known for his end-to-end speed and his gracefulness, but he was so lazy that I used to think he was slow (I'm talking pre-Magic).
I won't hold against him that he didn't win without a great PG. He just never had the impact of the other 5. And it was very noticeable. It makes me even think about ranking other players ahead of him, tho I struggle mostly because of the overall career...I mean, the longevity was crazy...especially when he did it.
But then I think of all the games I've seen and all that things I've read about him as a Buck...that Kareem was something else.