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Shaquille O’Neal counters Julius Erving, lists his top 10 greatest NBA players

Shaquille O’Neal counters Julius Erving, lists his top 10 greatest NBA players

Shaquille O’Neal gave his list of what he considers the greatest ever NBA players.

His list was opposed to that of Julius Erving, though he said he was not countering him.

O’Neal as a Hall of Famer won three of his four NBA championships with the Lakers, while Erving (aka Dr. J) helped legitimize the American Basketball Association (ABA) and was the best-known player in that league when it merged into the National Basketball Association (NBA) after the 1975–1976 season.

Erving won three championships, four Most Valuable Player awards, and three scoring titles with the ABA’s Virginia Squires and New York Nets (now the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets) and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.

O’Neal decided to reach out to The Times to share his list of top 10 all-time greatest players, his reason for doing so was to show his respect to Julius Erving for his list and to let the critics know that he supports the opinion of “the great Dr. J.”

Shaquille O’Neal, Julius Erving, List, Top 10, Greatest NBA players
Shaquille O’Neal and Julius Erving 

When Erving left LeBron James and Stephen Curry off his top 10 during a recent interview, it rubbed some the wrong way, including Atlanta Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young.

Erving’s top-10 list, in no particular order, was Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Kareem Adbul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Magic Johnson and Nate “Tiny” Archibald. Erving said he left James and Curry off his list because both are still playing in the NBA.

O’Neal said he was not partaking in the criticism, adding that anyone disagreeing with Erving should just stop.

“Hey, man, I got no problem with Dr. J’s list,” O’Neal said. “He’s the great Dr. J. He paved the way for all of us. He can say what he wants and nobody should say a damn thing about it.”

O’Neal then gave his top 10, adding more fodder to the conversation by giving a first and second team.

He said his first team, in no particular order, was Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and then [expletive] me.”

“That ain’t no disrespect to Malone, [Charles] Barkley and Kareem,” O’Neal said. “Hey, that’s my list. Understand what I’m saying?”

O’Neal said coming off his bench would be Curry, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Malone and Isiah Thomas.

“Yeah,” O’Neal said. “And you can quote me on that.”

O’Neal paused for a moment, adding, “also, you got to put Kareem on that second team too,” which, of course, is now a top 11.

He said “Dr. J has his list and I have my list. I’m all good with Dr. J’s list.”


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