Michael Jordan

Besides his six NBA championships and five MVP awards, MJ holds
records for career scoring average (33.4) and most seasons
leading the league in scoring (10).

"He is a miracle worker, a man who performs feats so dramatic,
they seem too good to be true. If Michael Jordan were a
fictional character, if his career were the product of some
writer's imagination, he would be dismissed as too wonderful to
believe. But he is the real thing."
--PHIL TAYLOR SI, June 17, 1998

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

He won three NCAA titles, six NBA championships and six league
MVP awards and holds career NBA records for minutes, points and
field goals made and attempted.

"He has stood at the center of his own remarkable universe,
unwavering in his consistency. The only time Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
has ever succumbed to change was when he got better."
--BRUCE NEWMAN SI, May 5, 1980

Oscar Robertson

The Big O, the only player in NBA history to average a triple
double for a full season (1961-62), ranks among the top five
in career points, assists and free throws made.

"The story of Robertson's true excellence lies in the
statistics. Even his most practiced observers are constantly
amazed when his point total, assists and rebounds are tabulated
after a game.... He has been almost eerily consistent...like a
.333 hitter who arrived at that figure by going 1 for 3 with one
walk in every game of the season."
--FRANK DEFORD SI, Dec. 9, 1968

Wilt Chamberlain

The only man to score 100 points in an NBA game (March 2, 1962)
and the league's alltime rebounding leader; he won two NBA
championships and four MVP awards and holds career records for
50-plus-point games (118) and single-season scoring average
(50.4 in '61-62).

"Chamberlain is no Fancy Dan, though it appears he could be if
he chose because he has speed, grace and spring in abundance. He
simply takes the ball in the pivot, jumps and turns, stretches
out an elastic frame and unbelievably long arms in midair and
dunks it."
--JEREMIAH TAX SI, Dec. 17, 1956

Magic Johnson

He won five championships and three league MVP awards from 1980
to '90, and in every year he played, he had the league's most
valuable personality.

"In person, Magic may have a YMCA shot, herky-jerky and
one-handed, but it still has gone in 53% of the time in his
career. He has always taken those mincing steps, as though his
legs were not quite hinged in the middle, yet he can outjuke a
wolf to a sirloin. He seems to dribble with the flat of his
hand, as though holding a two-by-four, but if you had to cross a
minefield behind a dribbling NBA player, whom else would you
--RICK REILLY SI, Dec. 18, 1989

Larry Bird

He won three NBA titles, three consecutive league MVP awards
(1984-86)--and the unanimous respect of his peers.

"There has never been a basketball player quite like the
Celtics' Larry Joe Bird, in whom talent and tenacity rage a
daily wire-to-wire battle for supremacy."
--JACK McCALLUM SI, March 3, 1986