No tennis player will have the epilogue of the true GOAT of GOATS Diego Maradona

Thetouch

Professional
Many of Maradonas goals were penalties. so his numbers of goals are inflated.
So? Ronaldo scored 12 penalties last season, I don't see anybody complaining about that. Not to mention that Maradona was more marked than any player anyway during the catenaccio era
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
Not sure how many of you follow the NBA, but all this cross-era talk in football reminds me of its basketball (and, of course, tennis) counterpart where I try to explain to younger and even older fans that LeBron, Durant, Kawhi, Curry, Harden and their peers have benefited tremendously from today's offense-friendly rules and trend towards superteams and that experts are hardly exaggerating when they say MJ and possibly Kobe (outside of the triangle, yes) would be averaging 40 points/game now. Not saying Messi and CR wouldn't be spectacular in any era, but the claim that both have similarly inflated stats in today's less physical and more top-heavy football environment strikes me as valid.

And....

Patrick Bateman has spoken.
As a proud aesthete who doesn't mind being called pretentious I'm actually flattered by your dated AP reference. But you do realize you quoted that same post of mine the 1st time around like 398471 days ago, right?
 

TimHenmanATG

Hall of Fame
What a lot of people forget is that our current sporting era is unique, in that we have full access to video footage of pretty much every sporting event and every match.

People like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will never be as iconic as Maradona or Pele - simply because they live in an era which has to accept the harsh reality of mundanity.
 

Thetouch

Professional
Not sure how many of you follow the NBA, but all this cross-era talk in football reminds me of its basketball (and, of course, tennis) counterpart where I try to explain to younger and even older fans that LeBron, Durant, Kawhi, Curry, Harden and their peers have benefited tremendously from today's offense-friendly rules and trend towards superteams and that experts are hardly exaggerating when they say MJ and possibly Kobe (outside of the triangle, yes) would be averaging 40 points/game now. Not saying Messi and CR wouldn't be spectacular in any era, but the claim that both have similarly inflated stats in today's less physical and more top-heavy football environment strikes me as valid.
I stopped watching the NBA regularly around 2002 I believe and mostly because it wasn't broadcasted anymore since I don't live in the USA. I have heard that the rules have been changed too in the NBA, to benefit players but I can't comment on that. Isn't it funny that many major sports such as Football, Basketball and Tennis changed either the rules, equipmenets, surfaces etc? That idiotic former FIFA president Blatter once wanted to make the goals bigger in order for players to score more goals but it didn't happen because it would have cost too much money.
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
I stopped watching the NBA regularly around 2002 I believe and mostly because it wasn't broadcasted anymore since I don't live in the USA. I have heard that the rules have been changed too in the NBA, to benefit players but I can't comment on that. Isn't it funny that many major sports such as Football, Basketball and Tennis changed either the rules, equipmenets, surfaces etc? That idiotic former FIFA president Blatter once wanted to make the goals bigger in order for players to score more goals but it didn't happen because it would have cost too much money.
Haha so the (post-)MJ effect is quite real also outside the US, eh? Yeah the the banning of hand-checking (begun as early as in the late '90s but eliminated completely around the perimeter in '04) was designed to improve offense and it has done exactly that... but many (including moi, obviously) argue to an excessive degree as even the slightest contact seems to draw fouls now. And contrary to clueless punditry the lifting of restrictions on zone defense hasn't really made up for that big rule change, quite the opposite actually as this year's finals showed. Of course that "improved" offense means stats went up across the board, hence the frankly laughable GOAT talk for LeBron and budding superstars.

Like I said we seem to be witnessing a similar phenomenon in football... and like you said in other sports as well (certainly in tennis, too). It's good TV for casual viewers, yes, but is that necessarily a good thing when it alienates serious long-time fans? I say HELL NYET! :mad:
 

itrium84

Professional
"No tennis player will have the epilogue of the true GOAT of GOATS Diego Maradona"

Novak will, if he wins more GS titles than Rafa.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
Of course that "improved" offense means stats went up across the board, hence the frankly laughable GOAT talk for LeBron and budding superstars.
I do not follow NBA anymore but is this with the stats actually true? Last time I checked no player came close to MJ’s all time high of 37 ppg in the last years. This in turn is nothing compared to Wilts 50.4 ppg in 1962. As I said I did not follow in recent years but always had the impression that stats were slightly going down over the decades and the further we go back the crazier the numbers.
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
I do not follow NBA anymore but is this with the stats actually true? Last time I checked no player came close to MJ’s all time high of 37 ppg in the last years. This in turn is nothing compared to Wilts 50.4 ppg in 1962. As I said I did not follow in recent years but always had the impression that stats were slightly going down over the decades and the further we go back the crazier the numbers.
FYI Kobe averaged 35.4 in 2005-06, and since then Harden has posted 36.1 in 2018-19 (and 34.3 last season).

Now I know you're a Wilt supporter, but frankly the guy was the ultimate ball hog, making a whopping 39.5 FGA (which remains an all-time NBA record by far) in that 1961-62 season. Here are these guys' PTS per FGA:

Wilt - 1.28 (50.4/39.5)
MJ - 1.33 (37.1/27.8)
Kobe - 1.30 (35.4/27.2)
Harden - 1.47 (36.1/24.5)

Wilt's record doesn't look all that untouchable now, does it? (BTW that's one of the reasons why I've got your guy below Bill, Kareem and Shaq among the bigs, but probably above Hakeem.)

And that higher "efficiency" for the Beard is a mirage made possible by those rule changes that were designed to bring about precisely that. Take a gander at the foursome's FTA/game:

Wilt - 10.4
MJ - 11.9
Kobe - 10.2
Harden - 11.0

The fact that Wilt's career high still ranks below Mike's and James' (he actually averaged an even higher 11.8 last season) and barely over Kobe's should tell you just how trigger-adverse the refs were in his heyday. And MJ's exceeding even Harden's shouldn't be all that surprising as the game was considerably more physical in the '90s, and because players are shooting more treys than ever (3PA, 3P%):

Wilt - N/A (the NBA didn't introduce the arc till 1979-80)
MJ - 0.8 (not a typo), 18.2%
Kobe - 6.5, 34.7%
Harden - 13.2, 36.8%

You see the big leap from each generation to the next. But what about the league at large, you say? The trend is clear:


Those 34.1 and 32.0 3PAs in the last two seasons are literally unheard of. And pay close attention to the ORtg (offensive rating), which saw a sharp rise in 2004-05. Guess when the league banned hand-checking around the perimeter?

Now Kobe grew up watching and playing in the hand-checking era so he never got to fully embrace the 3-point "revolution."And we all know MJ improved his range over his career. It's unlikely either would have developed into a sharpshooter a la Reggie, Allen and Curry, but put 'em in this era and both would no doubt eat Harden's lunch and then some, especially outside Jackson's triangle which discourages hero ball in favor of diligent ball movement (though, TBF, neither had yet to get fully on board with the system in his monster season). Hence the hardly far-fetched claim that these two at their peak would average over or at least close to 40 points/game today, all while playing much better defense.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
FYI Kobe averaged 35.4 in 2005-06, and since then Harden has posted 36.1 in 2018-19 (and 34.3 last season).

Now I know you're a Wilt supporter, but frankly the guy was the ultimate ball hog, making a whopping 39.5 FGA (which remains an all-time NBA record by far) in that 1961-62 season. Here are these guys' PTS per FGA:

Wilt - 1.28 (50.4/39.5)
MJ - 1.33 (37.1/27.8)
Kobe - 1.30 (35.4/27.2)
Harden - 1.47 (36.1/24.5)
Thanks. Did not follow mich NBA lately so did not know about Harden. Regarding Wilt you are right, his FG% in 1962 was roughly over 50% so nothing great for a center. As you also already mentioned this was mainly because players got away with way more fouls back then so he had to take tougher shots. Also it was said Wilt wanted to be known for being skilled as well and that it was not only his height to give him an advantage so instead of dunking as much as possible he took a lot of fade aways and finger rolls. We also need to keep in mind that for reaching such great numbers as 50.4 points you will typically get lower FG percentage as you also need to take more risky shots. In the 70s when he wasn’t the main scorer anymore he got as high as 70% and was leading the league in this stat.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
Weeks at no.1 and slams he objectively goes past Fed and Ned. Unless u want to change goal posts to popularity?
Eh? I just said he won't win the most slams, IMHO.

Obviously if he did win the most, and had the most weeks at No 1, then he'd be GOAT. It just won't happen though.
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
Thanks. Did not follow mich NBA lately so did not know about Harden. Regarding Wilt you are right, his FG% in 1962 was roughly over 50% so nothing great for a center. As you also already mentioned this was mainly because players got away with way more fouls back then so he had to take tougher shots. Also it was said Wilt wanted to be known for being skilled as well and that it was not only his height to give him an advantage so instead of dunking as much as possible he took a lot of fade aways and finger rolls. We also need to keep in mind that for reaching such great numbers as 50.4 points you will typically get lower FG percentage as you also need to take more risky shots. In the 70s when he wasn’t the main scorer anymore he got as high as 70% and was leading the league in this stat.
Wilt may well be the most gifted big man ever to play basketball, but the guy was simply not much of a team player or a born champ. As @TheFifthSet pointed out (in a group chat) his teams were offensively below average in 6 of his 1st 7 seasons, and as I pointed out in response Bill Sharman reportedly had to fool Wilt into thinking he was his team's go-to guy before he started taking the game more seriously.

Plus none other than Tex Winter has said Shaq had more varied offense and footwork than Wilt ever did. And while Wilt's defense was no doubt up there his rival Russell is widely considered by bball cognoscenti the best defensive big ever. (When Mark Jackson of all people calls him precisely that during a finals game in 2020, more than half a century after his retirement, you know he was that good.)

FYI my all-time ranking of bigs would be like this:

Bill and Kareem (tie)
Shaq
Wilt and Hakeem (tie)

The top pick really depends on whether your team needs more offense or defense. (Push comes to shove Bill would get my vote 'cause Kareem's arrogance was said to turn off his teammates.) Shaq himself had the potential to become the greatest center ever and it might be almost comical to call anyone with 4 rings an underachiever, but the consensus among insiders (which I share) seems to be that the guy's plan to counter even bigger guys like Arvydas Sabonis and Luc Longley by bulking up backfired spectacularly and his excessive weight shortened his prime and career. And Hakeem was perhaps the only big who could match if not even surpass Wilt in athleticism, and while the latter's superior size and power are nothing to scoff he wasn't quite the leader the Dream was.

And I'd put Duncan right below these guys. His mate Robinson has a case himself, but the guy's mind was often elsewhere and his relatively limited offense takes a back seat to Tim's (albeit overrated) bank shot. A stronger candidate would be McHale, I think, though I haven't seen enough of him to rank him properly.
 

urban

Legend
Now Paolo Rossi has died too, the striker, who scored all the goals for Italy's world cup triumph in 1982 (over Argentina and Maradona, too), after coming from a long suspension for match-fixing.
 

aldeayeah

Legend
dunno about the globe, but whenever Nadal kicks the bucket it will rock Spain pretty hard

might not get to see it myself though, considering that he's my junior by a year and presumably has healthier habits
 

Poisoned Slice

Bionic Poster
Paolo Rossi doesn't have the most prolific goal scoring record for a striker. Still, scoring 6 at a world cup (9 total) and winning the world cup makes up for that. Also won fair share of domestic titles. First player to top score in Serie b and Serie a in consecutive seasons. Bless his soul.

 
Messi is better at football though, and it's not even close. Ronaldo is better at goal hanging and scoring penalties. Messi will end his career with more goals and assists.
I think messi is a better soccer player than maradona but his personality is quite lame.

Maradona obviously couldn't handle his life but he was a big star personality.

Maradona was a real superstar while messi is boring but effective kinda like djokovic.

I mean djokovic probably will be the goat when all is said and done but still he never will have the aura of federer or even Nadal.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
Plus none other than Tex Winter has said Shaq had more varied offense and footwork than Wilt ever did. And while Wilt's defense was no doubt up there his rival Russell is widely considered by bball cognoscenti the best defensive big ever. (When Mark Jackson of all people calls him precisely that during a finals game in 2020, more than half a century after his retirement, you know he was that good.)

FYI my all-time ranking of bigs would be like this:

Bill and Kareem (tie)
Shaq
Wilt and Hakeem (tie)
Need to disagree here. Bill is overrated for me as far as individual play goes. He was simply too average on the offense (44% FG for a Center is not really good). Sure defensively he is among the GOATs but even here Wilt has slightly better numbers. Hakeem is little underrated here. Even Jordan went on record saying that he would be his number one pick for center. Hakeem had a positive H2H against Jordan’s bulls including a 5-1 during the first three-peat. Jordan allegedly even said something along the lines like he is happy that the Rockets do not get out of the west and that if Hakeem is in the zone there is not much anyone can do but to wait until the storm is over. This coming from an arrogant egomaniac like MJ says something. Hakeem also completely destroyed Robinson and Shaq (yes pre prime but still) in 95 and his stats in steals are unique for a center. As for Shaq himself: Wilt was ten times the athlete Shaq was. I can hardly picture Shaq doing high jump or triple jump or running the 100 meter dash in 11sec, let alone playing all 48 mins for a full season in higher pace games. Both of them obviously suck from the free throw line but other than that I would put Wilt at the very least on the same level in actual basketball ability (finger roll, jumper, assists etc.)
 

JasonZ

Semi-Pro
I think messi is a better soccer player than maradona but his personality is quite lame.

Maradona obviously couldn't handle his life but he was a big star personality.

Maradona was a real superstar while messi is boring but effective kinda like djokovic.

I mean djokovic probably will be the goat when all is said and done but still he never will have the aura of federer or even Nadal.
federer is as boring as messi, nadal also. djokovic has personality, just not a very likeable one for many people.
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
Need to disagree here. Bill is overrated for me as far as individual play goes. He was simply too average on the offense (44% FG for a Center is not really good). Sure defensively he is among the GOATs but even here Wilt has slightly better numbers. Hakeem is little underrated here. Even Jordan went on record saying that he would be his number one pick for center. Hakeem had a positive H2H against Jordan’s bulls including a 5-1 during the first three-peat. Jordan allegedly even said something along the lines like he is happy that the Rockets do not get out of the west and that if Hakeem is in the zone there is not much anyone can do but to wait until the storm is over. This coming from an arrogant egomaniac like MJ says something. Hakeem also completely destroyed Robinson and Shaq (yes pre prime but still) in 95 and his stats in steals are unique for a center. As for Shaq himself: Wilt was ten times the athlete Shaq was. I can hardly picture Shaq doing high jump or triple jump or running the 100 meter dash in 11sec, let alone playing all 48 mins for a full season in higher pace games. Both of them obviously suck from the free throw line but other than that I would put Wilt at the very least on the same level in actual basketball ability (finger roll, jumper, assists etc.)
You know, after I posted that last nite it did occur to me that Wilt's edge over Shaq in passing and rebounding was too hard to ignore. Shaq even in his leaner days was never the undisputed king of boards that Bill and Wilt were, and even if we take into account the latter's well-known hoarding of assists in those years he was clearly a better facilitator than Shaq. And yes, a better athlete by some distance, too.

OTOH... Shaq's own advantage in the offense department is real and significant. You needn't take Winter at his word for that, just compare the umpteen YT clips of both players and there's no doubt Shaq had a bigger bag of tricks than Wilt ever did. (The only big who boasted a wider variety of low-post moves is McHale.) Of course the most varied or complete doesn't necessarily mean the best and you could say Wilt's trademark finger roll was just as effective, but potent as his weapon was it wasn't quite as unstoppable as Kareem's sky hook, as he reportedly found out from ATG defenders like Russell and Thurmond.

Still not convinced? Then let's turn to the numbers. Here are Wilt's and Shaq's PTS/FGA in their most prolific seasons:

Wilt (1961-62) - 1.28 (50.4/39.5)
Shaq (1999-00) - 1.41 (29.7/21.1)

That's a pretty big gap, and given that Shaq had the identical # of FTA (10.4) while converting even less (a dismal 52.4% vs. 61.3%) it's hard not to conclude that the Big Aristotle was the more dangerous offensive force of these two titans.

And again there's the mental part. I've already mentioned what Sharman had to do in order to get his unruly star fully involved, but it becomes even more comical when you hear from the man himself. According to journo/former coach Charley Rosen:

"I'd just keep asking him questions about strategy," says Sharman, "until Wilt came up with the right answer. Then I'd tell him how smart he was and what a great idea he'd come up with. Thinking that every important strategy was his, Wilt played championship ball."
Plus, in what's gotta be the most badass move by a basketball coach ever (or in basketball period), Alex Hannum reportedly had to slam Wilt against a locker and threaten to smash his face unless he finally got his shi-ite together. That's what it took for Wilt to win his two championships (with the 1966-67 Philly Warriors and the 1971-72 LA Lakers), and I dare you to find a comparable example of Shaq giving any of his coaches such a tough time.

All that said, these two are the best power centers ever and I'm now inclined to give them a tie. Both take a clear back seat to Kareem as their godawful FT shooting makes them useless in the clutch, and neither was the defender or leader that Bill was (more on Bill vs. Wilt shortly). But they both rank above Hakeem for this reason: the Dreamer was really a power forward in a center's body, and while he was probably the most athletic big ever Wilt's and Shaq's superior size and power would give them a significant advantage in the low post where these three did most of their damage. Also I've asked a couple longtime insiders (two coaches, one ref) about Bill vs. Hakeem and they all said that the latter's Dream Shake wouldn't be all that effective against the former's suffocating defense. Throw in the fact that Hakeem wasn't much of a passer and it's hard to make a case for him above the usual suspects.

As for the Secretary of Defense himself... it's true Bill's O was limited but then he wasn't the go-to scorer that all of these other guys were. You also need to keep in mind that the game was more physical and intense and the offense more primitive in his heyday, and there's no doubt his shooting % would improve accordingly in a later era (as Wilt's own % did).

But it's really on the other end of the floor that he schools everyone else. Reportedly the guy was so quick he could wait till after his opponent's release to deflect/block the shot, and he also had a knack for getting his hand on the ball so that it remained in bounds and recoverable by his mates. Those "slightly better numbers" for Wilt are highly misleading as they can't capture any of this and Bill never dominated the ball nearly as much. And even if one grants that Wilt's defense wasn't too far behind it wasn't until later in his career that he used it to his team's advantage rather than his own, like in that 2nd championship season (1971-72) when Sharman convinced him to go easy on his ball hogging in favor of Jerry West and Gail Goodrich (a precursor of the Showtime Lakers, if you will) who often put up shots before Wilt could set himself up in the low post and mid-range. (The numbers tell the story: his FGA came all the way down from his career high of 39.5 to 9.3 and he averaged just 14.8 points vs. 50.4 or even his previous season's 20.7.)

That Chamberlain who devoted himself to rebounding, passing, defending and setting crushing screens at the expense of his individual glory might well have been the best big there ever was... except for the small fact that this was his penultimate season and we got to see very little of Wilt the consummate teammate before or after. Ergo advantage Russell and Abdul-Jabbar, even though their rival (as you may know Wilt and Kareem hated each other's guts) likely had the highest ceiling.
 

Xemi666

Professional
How about more goals lol. Ronaldo way better than Messi. Ronaldo v maradona is the debate
How about goals per game, moron. Of course Ronaldo has more goals now, he's several years older than Messi. Messi>>>Ronaldo, that's why Messi has more ballon d'ors in the real world, and you can only ***** and moan about it on the internet.
 

BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
Still not convinced? Then let's turn to the numbers. Here are Wilt's and Shaq's PTS/FGA in their most prolific seasons:

Wilt (1961-62) - 1.28 (50.4/39.5)
Shaq (1999-00) - 1.41 (29.7/21.1)
You gave the answer to this yourself here:
As for the Secretary of Defense himself... it's true Bill's O was limited but then he wasn't the go-to scorer that all of these other guys were. You also need to keep in mind that the game was more physical and intense and the offense more primitive in his heyday, and there's no doubt his shooting % would improve accordingly in a later era (as Wilt's own % did).
If the more physical game and poor referees can be taken as an excuse for Bills low FG%, then it also explains why Wilts % is below Shaq here. I agree that Wilt was the ultimate stat padder and did not always do what was best for the team but in terms of raw ability (technical and physical) I simply cannot put Shaq ahead here.
But they both rank above Hakeem for this reason: the Dreamer was really a power forward in a center's body, and while he was probably the most athletic big ever Wilt's and Shaq's superior size and power would give them a significant advantage in the low post where these three did most of their damage. Also I've asked a couple longtime insiders (two coaches, one ref) about Bill vs. Hakeem and they all said that the latter's Dream Shake wouldn't be all that effective against the former's suffocating defense. Throw in the fact that Hakeem wasn't much of a passer and it's hard to make a case for him above the usual suspects.
Hakeem is also way better than you rate him Imho. The 94 and 95 runs were very impressive destroying Robinson, Ewing and Shaq. I am not sure whether we should take the opinions of ex coaches or refs as gospel here, when MJ himself holds Hakeem in such high regard. Regarding passing, he had some seasons with 3.5/3.6 Assists per game, nothing compared to Wilt or even Bill but in any way on the same level as Shaq. Throw in, that Hakeem completely outperforms Shaq in steals and blocks and even had the slightly better rebound stats in his best seasons I cannot help but agree with Jordan and put him ahead of Shaq. Hakeem actually had some of the worst supporting casts during his championship runs (in this he is similar to Maradona). Give him Kobe and Wade and he would have 5+ titles.
 

70sStrokes

New User
You must be kidding. Even american news channels were covering his death for days and doing specials about him. Have you even seen all the newspapers around the world? Maradona was on every cover. A french known newspaper said "God is dead". In fact Michael Jackson is the only one whose death was covered around the world the same way but no way was Whitney Houston#s death on the same level. Maradona and MJ became big at the same time and were about the same age, so hundreds of millions of people followed their careers.

And yes, Maradona was above Pele, Messi and the rest, there is no doubt about it. Not only was he the best player but he was the only one creating so many emotions for people all around the world.
I think Pete and Ronaldo were better than Maradona. Pele used to get the crap beat out of him and still was the greatest. Also Ali could go anywhere in the world and people would flock to him.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
The deaths of both Maradona and Kobe Bryant last year really shook me.

The skill that Maradona produced on poor quality pitches, when opposition players were allowed to continually hack him down and not face much punishment (for example in the 1982 World Cup Claudio Gentile fouled him 23 times and only received a yellow card), was mesmerising.

It's all highly subjective of course, but I still consider him to be the best / greatest player that I've ever seen.
 
Absolutely. No tennis pro will have shot at reporters, have dealings with the mob, support political extremism, become a junkie.

That epilogue will not befall any tennis ATG, ever.
 
Some people know how to handle their addictions better than others or maybe have just been luckier. Richards may fall into either category or maybe both. Point is that if you mess around with this stuff you're taking a big risk with your life. Whitney and other younger addicts took the gamble and lost. They were the unlucky ones but the risk was always there.
There are people who snuff it from heroin on the first try, others do it for 30 years.

It's mostly genetics. As usual.
 

Sudacafan

Talk Tennis Guru
The deaths of both Maradona and Kobe Bryant last year really shook me.

The skill that Maradona produced on poor quality pitches, when opposition players were allowed to continually hack him down and not face much punishment (for example in the 1982 World Cup Claudio Gentile fouled him 23 times and only received a yellow card), was mesmerising.

It's all highly subjective of course, but I still consider him to be the best / greatest player that I've ever seen.
He had that ending, because he knew he was the one.
Nobody would have coped with that.
Therefore...
 

NonP

Hall of Fame
If the more physical game and poor referees can be taken as an excuse for Bills low FG%, then it also explains why Wilts % is below Shaq here. I agree that Wilt was the ultimate stat padder and did not always do what was best for the team but in terms of raw ability (technical and physical) I simply cannot put Shaq ahead here.
Figured I'd pick up where we left off since we're on something of a (bball) roll. The main difference here, again, is that Wilt was without question his team's go-to scorer while Bill was not (it goes without saying even centers improve their shooting by doing more of it). It's no coincidence that Wilt's FG% hovered around 52-53% until 1966-67 when he clearly began delegating to his teammates more - in fact his two seasonal highs, save in his farewell season, coincided with his two championships - whereas Shaq's % remained in the high 50s throughout his career. And though the game might have been more physical in Wilt's heyday team defenses had gotten far more sophisticated by Shaq's time. There's no question which of these two had superior offense, and while I do think it's offset by Wilt's significant edge in passing, rebounding and athleticism that's vs. Shaq (I now have these two tied, just so we're clear), not vs. Bill or Kareem.

Hakeem is also way better than you rate him Imho. The 94 and 95 runs were very impressive destroying Robinson, Ewing and Shaq. I am not sure whether we should take the opinions of ex coaches or refs as gospel here, when MJ himself holds Hakeem in such high regard. Regarding passing, he had some seasons with 3.5/3.6 Assists per game, nothing compared to Wilt or even Bill but in any way on the same level as Shaq. Throw in, that Hakeem completely outperforms Shaq in steals and blocks and even had the slightly better rebound stats in his best seasons I cannot help but agree with Jordan and put him ahead of Shaq. Hakeem actually had some of the worst supporting casts during his championship runs (in this he is similar to Maradona). Give him Kobe and Wade and he would have 5+ titles.
As you know those two years happen to be when a certain #23 was taking a hiatus from the league and getting back to his old form. Ya really don't think he of all people would be so generous to his rival after destroying him in the finals, do you? :happydevil:

No argument from me on both Shaq and Hakeem being mediocre passers. And Hakeem may well be the most athletic big ever, which allowed him to grab those steals and blocks while rivaling Shaq in rebounds despite O's big size advantage.

But we again come back to that extra mass which largely explains Shaq's decisive advantage in career FG%: 58.2% vs. 51.2%. (I'm guessing you already know just how gigantic a 7% advantage is here.) Like I said Hakeem was really a PF who happened to be big enough to play a center, a finesse player who would be bullied enough by the likes of Bill, Wilt and Thurmond (and probably Unseld and Reed) for his vaunted Dream Shake to lose much of its effectiveness. OTOH Shaq's only rival as a power center is Wilt, and with a variety of low-post moves second only to McHale's he'd be a force to reckon with vs. anyone, yes even Russell (if not quite to the same extent as Kareem, but then nobody is).

In today's NBA I'd be more inclined to agree that Shaq and Hakeem would be roughly equal, but against the great bigs of yesterday I do think the Big Aristotle would have the edge.

So here's my slightly revised GCOAT ranking:

Russell & Kareem (tie)
Wilt & Shaq (tie)
Hakeem
Thurmond
Willis
Unseld
Malone (Selfish Wilt 2.0 if you will, but the guy could rebound)
Walton (virtually impossible to rank due to his litany of injuries)

Honorable mention: Mikan

Ewing and Robinson may have the numbers but I've seen enough of both not to trust 'em when the game is on the line. Dwight is a joke compared to those two - literally the only series where he excelled was the '09 conference finals vs. the Cavs - let alone the above ATGs.
 

Gizo

Hall of Fame
He had that ending, because he knew he was the one.
Nobody would have coped with that.
Therefore...
After the news of his death, I re-watched the infamous game against England in 1986.

Obviously the hand of goal god is infamous / legendary, but it mustn't be forgotten that in the build up to it, his skill to dribble past a couple of England players like they were training cones and pass to Valdano was exquisite. That's before we get to the wonder goal 4 minutes later.

In that same game, the England player Terry Fenwick elbowed him off the ball in the first half, hacked him down numerous times, and (I think) elbowed him again later on. Just before the hand of god, Fenwick and Maradona both jumped for the ball, Fenwick led with his arm and knocked Maradona down.

And his achievements at Napoli really cannot be underestimated. Serie A was the best league in the world by a huge distance at the time. Arrigo Sacchi's Milan team only won the league title once given how tough the competition was, genuinely world class players were spending some of the prime years of their career at mid-table Italian clubs, and many of the best Argentinian, Brazil, German and Dutch players were there. Plus in Italian society and Italian football, much of the money and power was in the far wealthier North, so Napoli as Southerners were very much seen as outsiders.
 
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BorgTheGOAT

Hall of Fame
As you know those two years happen to be when a certain #23 was taking a hiatus from the league and getting back to his old form. Ya really don't think he of all people would be so generous to his rival after destroying him in the finals, do you?
Well yea trust him to not give Hakeem credit had he beaten him :). Anyways, Hakeem went 5-1 in regular season games against 91-93 MJ with countless blocks on his airness during this process. His two runs in 94-95 with a very mediocre team completely destroying MVP Robinson is one of the most impressive things I have ever seen. Also he is way more versatile than Shaq as can be seen by his quadruple doubles and the combination of steals/blocks.
My list would be:

1. Wilt
2. Bill/Kareem
3. Hakeem
4. Shaq

I completely agree with you on Ewing and David. While impressive in numbers they were prone to fold under pressure.
 
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Deleted member 744633

Guest
Been a hard week for all of us with the passing of probably the greatest ever sportsman this week.
The global reaction to his passing illustrated how revered and loved he was and it is hard to see any tennis player, even Nadal and Federer having such an effect on the entire globe as we saw this week.
In terms of trangressing a sport Maradona did that and then some.
Loved that guy so much. He did it his way and had charisma to burn.
Tennis players of this era bar perhaps Djokovic and Nick are perhaps too PC?
Sorry Becker, a cheat can never be the greatest. That's simply out of the question. The hand of God? More like the hand of one who has no qualms about cheating to win.
 
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