ATLANTA — Please join me as I take a step down fantasy lane wearing hi-top Converse and also a sleeve on my shooting arm. Yes, this is about combining the old with the new and coming up with the Ultimate All-Star Game, pulling players from the past and present.
Not every great player makes a good All-Star Game participant, though. I put a premium on the entertainers: the passers, the leapers, the dunkers of course and the improvisers. There are dozens of Hall of Famers that I don’t want near the game. Mainly, the gravity-challenged centers. I’d want Bill Russell, for example, if I’m trying to win a championship, but wouldn’t even give him a ticket to watch my Ultimate game, let alone play in it.
That said … here are my two squads, with some choices fairly obvious.
Pete Maravich. The Pistol is, quite simply, the model All-Star Game guy, worth any price of admission. It would be fun just watching him pull up his floppy socks.
Magic Johnson. How about Pistol Pete and Magic on the break together? That’s a match made in YouTube heaven.
Kobe Bryant. It’s the only game where Kobe passes the ball.
David Thompson. Perhaps the ultimate finisher the sport has ever seen.
George Gervin. Because that’s how we finga-roll.
Connie Hawkins. Here’s the progression: Hawkins>Dr. J.>Michael>everybody else.
Elgin Baylor. Well, maybe it was Elgin>Hawkins>etc.
Chris Paul. Caught a lot of flak the other day when I said Paul creates more for his teammates than any point guard in the league. Still standing by that statement.
Steve Nash. Because the Ultimate Game needs somebody to shoot. Not a bad passer, either.
Jason Kidd. OK, Pistol, Magic and Kidd running the break together. Wonder what might happen.
Shawn Kemp. Good Lordy, can you imagine how many posters he’d make in the Ultimate Game?
Clyde Drexler. Imagine, the Glide being forced to come off the bench in an All-Star Game. But not any All-Star Game.
Michael Jordan. Well, um, duh. We found a spot for him.
Julius Erving. Oh, and we’ll also pencil him in for the dunk contest at halftime.
Dominique Wilkins. Because you can’t have Highlights without a Human.
Bob Cousy. Here’s the progression: Cooz>Magic>Kidd.
Isiah Thomas. Zeke was always a great All-Star gamer. Even managed to freeze out Jordan one year.
Earl Monroe. The Pearl, like the Hawk, was before his time. Too bad cable TV wasn’t around when they played.
Spud Webb. Just want to see him throw down an alley-oop.
Mark Jackson. I’m telling you, Jackson was very underrated as a creator. His game was disciplined street ball.
Allen Iverson. He might even show up for practice the day before.
Larry Bird. Because the Ultimate Game needs somebody to shoot. Not a bad passer, either.
LeBron James. Has anyone ever gone coast-to-coast quite like LeBron? Doubt it.
Derrick Rose. Among entertaining point guards, he’s got next.
Well, that’s it. The Ultimate All-Star Game, guaranteed to entertain and thrill and keep you from yawning. How did I do? Did I leave anyone out? Your turn.