Earl “the Pearl” Monroe is now 77 and the last time we saw him, like Bill Russell, he was using a cane.
But like Russell, he remains sharp and follows basketball closely.
In this clip, Monroe picks his five (okay, six) top NBA players of all time. Here they are
- PG: Magic Johnson/Oscar Robertson (he couldn’t choose between them).
- 2G: Michael Jordan
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Karl Malone
- C: Wilt Chamberlain
It’s not the exact list we would choose but that’s what makes it fun.
First, we would take Magic over Oscar because Magic won everywhere he went. We would swap out James and Malone for Larry Bird and Tim Duncan. James is a great player but with this group, Bird would make everyone better (and they would make him better too) and Duncan, besides Chamberlain, is an awesome thought.
In the not-too-distant past, we’ve lost Russell, KC Jones, John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, Elgin Baylor, Bob Lanier and earlier, Wilt Chamberlain.
These guys played in a very different era but in many ways a tougher era as expansion really started in the late 1960’s which meant you didn’t get a night off. With less than 120 jobs prior to expansion that started in 1966, the NBA was brutally competitive.