“My name’s Pitt, and your ass ain’t talkin’ ya way outta this shit.”
-A Bad Mother Fucker
The internet is awash with lists, ranking the 10 greatest basketball players of all time because fans invest themselves in the great ones. For basketball aficionados, the legends define who they are as fans. Biases become more inherent; whether because of a person, or place, or time, the marriage between fan and player is never more powerful, never more defined.
Conversely, it’s why this corner of the web groans under the combined weight of debate and dissension. It’s why tumbling down the quagmire of basketball debate is the fans equivalent of falling down the rabbit hole. Logic spirals out into the ether, twisted by the gravity of bias.
In crafting this list, I have my own biases, and I’ve created my own gravity too. Both shaped from years of watching basketball, researching its history, and scouring the internet to learn more; entrenched in film, reading biographies, editorials, etc. All to ensure that I have the clarity and context necessary to craft the perfect list.
The truth that I’ve discovered is — there is no top ten. The fighters that comprise 11–13 certainly “belong” in the top ten, and subjectively speaking, within someone else’s gravity, they very well may.
The glorious quote hoisted above this forward is from the masterpiece Pulp Fiction, brilliantly delivered by Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Jules, a hitman, listening to the ramblings of a man pleading for his life. With that in mind, I’m not an apologist, nor do I feel the need to viciously defend my rankings.
If you’d like to better understand the aforementioned ‘gravity’ or read the first and second installments than there you go. If you’ve just discovered this list in its third installment, then I implore you to do so. Otherwise, here is Part III: Tier 1: