What’s the Greatest Starting Lineup in NBA History?

Since the sports world has been put on hold over the past month, fans across social media have come up with ways to continue to debate their favorite sports teams and players. If you’re active on Twitter, you’ve probably seen people tweet out who’d they “start, bench, or cut” between three players.

NBA analysts, including Boston legend Kendrick Perkins, have also joined in on these debates. Perk tweeted out what he thought was the greatest starting five in NBA history.

This tweet went viral overnight on social media because there are people who couldn’t get behind some of his choices. LeBron James at point guard? Kevin Durant at small forward? Kevin Garnett at power forward? Not everybody will agree with each other when it comes to topics like this, and it wasn’t any different for Perk.

This topic made me think about what my all-time starting lineup would be. I considered a handful of players at each position but ultimately made my decision. My all-time starting lineup in NBA history would be…

PG: Magic Johnson

SG: Michael Jordan

SF: Larry Bird

PF: LeBron James

C: Shaquille O’Neal

Magic Johnson, in my opinion, is the greatest point guard of all time. There will be a ton of people that will argue Steph Curry would make their lineup, and I understand that argument based on his shooting and all that he’s accomplished in his career. But, at 6’9, Johnson dominated the league in the ’80s. He’s one of the smartest players to ever pick up a basketball and is a magician whenever he handles the rock. This lineup would more than welcome his career average of 11.2 APG.

Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time. That’s all that needs to be said here.

Larry Bird is one of the most underappreciated, greatest players of all time. Bird is a top-5 player of all-time, in my opinion. There are few players who had the offensive skills that he possessed. He’s an underrated defender, passer, and rebounder. In all honesty, he was LeBron James before LeBron James was Lebron James, but with a much better shot. His intensity was unmatched. He was one of the greatest trash talkers ever and was out there to compete and win on a nightly basis. His career accomplishments (in such a small window) speak for themself.

LeBron James is the second greatest player of all time. Will he ever eclipse MJ in fans’ minds? He already has in some, but Jordon still wears the crown. James is arguably the greatest all-around player in history, who will eventually finish near the top on the lists of all-time points, rebounds, and assists. His four league MVPs speak for themselves. He’s had some of the most dominant seasons we’ve ever seen in the NBA. He’s been at the top of the mountain for over 10 years, and he’s still holding on to the top spot.

Shaquille O’Neal is the most dominant player to ever play the game of basketball. It’s funny when players like Draymond Green talk and act like they could guard Shaq or hold him to a certain number of points. There are a handful of players that could maybe do that, but Shaq would say otherwise. I can’t think of a center more physically dominant or intimidating than Shaq. He’d hold the post and paint down on this team and would be the ultimate protection for the rest of the lineup. You have a Hulk? Well, we have a Shaq.

That’s my all-time starting five in NBA history: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, LeBron James, and Shaquille O’Neal. This lineup collectively has won 21 championships, 17 Finals MVPs, 16 regular-season MVPs, and has made 69 All-Star and 48 All-NBA First Team appearances.

Let me know who you agree with, who you’d replace, and what your all-time starting lineup would be! Try and top that.


Photo: Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated

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