All-Star Weekend is upon us, and we’ve decided to get in on the fun. Welcome to our first ever Rep the Squad All-Star Team.
Our first starter came down to a choice between the greatest point guard of the 80s (Magic) and the greatest point guard since (Curry). There’s a fair case to be made for either as the better player*, but for the purposes of an All-Star team, we’ve got to go with Magic. All-Star is all about spectacle, and Magic is perhaps the greatest showman the league’s ever seen**.
Moreover, Magic’s the greatest passer we’ve got, and surrounding him with the kind of scoring threats we’ve got further down this list will get the absolute most out of his skillset. Who doesn’t want to see him running the break with REDACTED or throwing alley-oops to YOU’LL SEE IN A MINUTE?
*For a single game; Magic’s career accomplishments pretty easily dwarf Steph’s so far… but Steph isn’t done playing yet.
**Other contenders: Julius Erving and Pistol Pete.
SG: Kobe Bryant
This one was a no-brainer; with apologies to Klay Thompson, Kobe’s the greatest shooting guard of the last twenty years, and one of the three greatest shooting guards in NBA history (along with MJ and Jerry West). That he’s also a tremendous dunker is All-Star gravy, but it’s Kobe’s two-way intensity and dominance that gets him the nod.
We just covered Barry in our Throwback Thursday series, so we won’t spill a ton of ink here, but the short version is this: Barry’s a five-tool player and top-shelf scorer who dominated every league he played in, and definitely has the bona fides to start at Small Forward ahead of anybody else we have. Especially since…
…we’re cheating slightly and sliding Durant up to the 4. KD plays plenty of minutes at the 4 and even the 5 for Golden State, and All-Star teams typically don’t really have specific power/small forward slots anyhow. All that said, the team we’re building needs some extra shooting (with only Barry so far as a truly elite outside sniper) and some extra defense (Magic wasn’t a great defender); KD’s the perfect solution to both.
This was a pick ‘em between Shaq (the evolutionary Wilt) and Wilt (the primordial Shaq). Strictly by on-paper skillset, it’s Wilt’s game (he was a better defender and his statistical anomalies are what they are). If instead you go by winning, Shaq’s four rings double Wilt’s two; Shaq also scored the hyper-rare three-peat, while Wilt never made three consecutive Finals, let alone won them. Who was ultimately the greater player is a thornier issue than we have room to get into here.
We went with Shaq for a few reasons, though. First, his familiarity with Kobe makes for an irresistible reunion (not entirely unlike the 2009 All-Star Game where they shared the MVP). Second, the All-Star game is ultimately at least somewhat about theatricality, and they just don’t come any more theatrical than the Big Aristotle.
Wilt may have missed out on the starting lineup, but he’s our sixth man and bench captain. We’ve also got 2018 All-Stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson spelling the backcourt and opening up four-out sniper lineups alongside Durant and Barry to give Shaq and Wilt maximum room to operate. Shoring up the forward spots, we’ve got apex Detroit Grant Hill to make some plays and drink some Sprite, and the Reign Man himself (Shawn Kemp) throwing down thunderous alley-oops from Magic, Steph, and our 11th man, Detroit’s Isiah Thomas. Filling out our final spot we’ve got Mount Mutombo, for rim protection and finger wags.
How’d we do? Think our team measures up against Team Lebron or Team Steph? Who’d we miss? Let us know on social @repthesquad.