When Kevin Garnett revealed his selections for best starting lineup of all time, actor Jamie Foxx called him out for neglecting a specific active player in the league.
“I’m just saying, you left off LeBron James,” Foxx told the 15-time All-Star on a recent episode of Garnett’s TV show, Area 21.
Garnett — who played six seasons in Boston and was a part of the Celtics’ 2008 title squad — elected to go with all retired players: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, himself, and Shaquille O’Neal.
“Ain’t no young boys in my top five!” he said of James’s absence. “Ain’t no young boys in my top five!”
Now, picking the top-5 NBA players of all time in a team concept is a totally subjective exercise, but right away I am taking The Big Ticket, Shaq and Pippen off the team. My choices are going to have size, skills and savvy. They are going to be able to hit the long ball, drive, rebound, pass and defend. They will be versatile and interchangeable. That is why Magic and Michael remain on the team.
Who are the others? I am going with four eras here, all the way back to the 60's with Jerry West. He absolutely checks all of the boxes I have mentioned. We are going to the 80's, and Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are there. Jerry is at the guard position and Larry is at forward. In a bold move, I am placing Magic at center. He can play anywhere, and remember his Game Six in the 1980 Finals against the Philadelphia 76'ers (per Wikipedia):
In Game 6, Magic Johnson played what may have been the greatest game of his career. Playing on the road, Johnson (a 6'9" rookie point guard) started the game at center and eventually played all five positions in a dominating performance. Scoring a game-high 42 points and grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds—and handing out seven assists— Johnson led the Lakers to the NBA crown.
On to the 90's, and Michael is in the backcourt with The Logo. What a pairing! Lebron James from the present era goes into the other forward slot. He has already proven himself and is still playing.
There you have it. These chosen five have very few weaknesses and a wealth of strengths. All of them are fierce competitors with a fiery desire to win. They could be moved around from position to position like chess pieces because of their versatility. They will not be beaten. There is an immense amount of room to give us your starting five. Let's hear from our readers.