From Jerry West to Elgin Baylor, from Magic to Kareem, from Shaq to Kobe, the Los Angeles Lakers boast perhaps the most star-studded franchise in NBA history. But which of those Lakers is the greatest of all time?
Former Laker Bob McAdoo doesn’t know – and he’s not even going to try to split hairs.
“It’s always hard to compare generations,” the NBA Hall of Famer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “You know guys from their generations are always going to think they’re better, but you never know. You’re not lined up together. It’s hard to say.”
Bryant, to his credit, won five NBA titles, made 18 All-Star appearances, was a two-time Finals MVP, finished third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, and, last night, had one of the most memorable games of his career, scoring 60 points in a 101-96 win over the Jazz at Staples Center.
Nevermind that it took Bryant 50 shots to reach 60 points for the sixth time in his career. It was a great night for a Laker icon.
“It was fantastic that his teammates thought of him like that to feed him the ball,” McAdoo said. “I watched part of it. He was at 30, I think, when I dropped out. But then I got up this morning and I had some friends text me and told me he had 60. I said, ‘That’s a great way to go out.’ I know he didn’t have the team that he wanted, but for him personally, individually, that’s a great way to end his career last game. Fantastic way.”
Bryant’s performance almost overshadowed – or perhaps did overshadow – the Warriors’ historic 125-104 win over Memphis. The win gave Golden State its NBA-record 73rd win of the season. Steph Curry, the presumptive league MVP, scored 46 points in 30 minutes, drilling 10 threes before watching the fourth quarter from the bench.
Curry finished the season with 402 three-pointers, obliterating his previous NBA record of 286 that he hit last season.
“That’s very impressive,” McAdoo said. “They were ready. I will say the competition was a little bit harder (in previous generations) because you had less teams, but the fact of the matter is they did it. What they did, what the Chicago Bulls did with the 72, I mean, you got to tip your hat off to (the Warriors) because it’s never been done before. That’s coming with it every night and producing at a high, high level.”
While Steve Kerr believes the Warriors’ record of 73 wins will never be broken, McAdoo disagrees. In fact, he’s positive that it will.
“Oh, of course,” he said. “That’s what they say: Records are meant to be broken. That generational player is always going to show up. You never know when it’s going to be. Next year, 10 years from now – it’s going to happen. Nobody thought anybody would come up who could challenge Jordan. Nobody thought a team was going to come up that could challenge that Chicago Bulls’ record, but it’s going to happen. Believe me, it’s going to happen. It always does.”