Blogtable: I Wish I Would’ve Seen …

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Role Player Hall of Fame | I Wish I Would’ve Seen … | How to Avoid a Decision is running a ‘Best Ever’ video series all this week. Give us one player that you never had a chance to see play but wish you had. Why?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comElgin Baylor. There was competition on my wish list, with Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, George Mikan — how plodding was he, really? — and Maurice Stokes close behind (as a kid, I saw Wilt in his final year). But Baylor took the NBA above the rim, blazing a trail that Julius Erving, Michael Jordan and so many others refined into a runway. Like a lot of guys whose careers began in the days of B&W newsreel vs. 1080p HDTV (and pre-ESPN), Baylor’s combination of finesse and power hasn’t been fully appreciated. To a lot of people, early NBA history fast-forwards something like: Mikan, Celtics, Celtics, Celtics, Willis Reed limps through a tunnel …

Fran Blinebury, Well, since I’m old enough to have seen Wilt, Russell, Oscar, Baylor and Cousy, I’ll have to dig way back into the Jurassic amber and say George Mikan. He was the NBA’s first superstar.

Oscar Robertson (NBA Photos)

Oscar Robertson (NBA Photos)

Jeff Caplan, “Pistol Pete” Maravich. You don’t see basketball magicians everyday. He was the type of player that every time he stepped on the floor you never knew what you might see. I could have seen Maravich play in person during my early childhood in Los Angeles, but my dad was a huge Calvin Murphy fan and he typically took me to games when the Rockets were in town.

Scott Howard-Cooper, Elgin Baylor. The way people talk about Baylor as Dr. J before Dr. J, and knowing his incredible pride and determination, I know only being able to get as close as old clips is my loss. The Elgin before his knees abandoned him would have been a treat to see on a regular basis. Arvydas Sabonis is my asterisk mention. I saw him a lot when he played for the Trail Blazers, but didn’t really see him. No one who only knows the NBA Sabonis did. When Sabas was healthy and playing in Europe, he was a world-class talent. By the time he got to Portland, age and injuries had taken a toll.

John Schuhmann, NBA.comOscar Robertson. As the ultimate do-everything player, he was basically the original LeBron. The game was different (faster-paced, less defense) back then, but the guy averaged a triple-double (including more than 30 points) over his first five seasons in the league! Heck, forget about the points and rebounds, Robertson ranks fourth all-time in assists per game. And as a guy who loves great passers, I would love to see how he created shots for his teammates.

Philipp Dornhegge, NBA Deutschland: I started following the NBA in the early 90s, so everything that happened before I had to watch on YouTube and elsewhere. I obviously would have liked to see Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain or Oscar Robertson, but the one guy I barely missed and feel the worst about is Bill Walton. His career was derailed by injury, but whenever he did play he contributed in ways that many guys don’t even understand today. He was the ultimate team player, he was unselfish and just knew how to play the game the right way. If, despite all the injuries, Larry Bird wants you on his team, you must be a special player.

Akshay Manwani, NBA India: The logo, Jerry West. He was as clutch as it gets and a terrific shooter. No less than a person named Michael Jordan said of West (in his book, For The Love Of The Game), “I would have liked to test myself against him at his best … He was a great scorer, but he also played good defense … Could I have stopped him? I don’t know. But it would have been a great matchup.” That testimonial by Jordan for West does it for me.


  1. Desmodeus says:

    Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. The stats (Wilt) and the rings (Bill) say a lot but it would be great to be able to see them play and get a sense of how great they truly were.

  2. ACES215 says:


  3. Gillsy says:

    I would have loved to see Dominique and MJ in their early years. Along with the Bad boys of the Pistons especially Thomas and The Worm, Show time with Magic and his battles with Bird and the C’s. When winding the click back I would have loved to have seen the battles between Wilt and Russell along with the complete game of The Big O. I still cant believe Wilt had a 20-20-20 game.

  4. LeBronsBabyToe says:

    Javale McGee & Deandre Jordan vs. Two Sigfreid and Roy Tigers in a cage in Flint Tropics jerseys for all the marbles… Winner gets a reality show.

  5. Lucas Muijrers says:

    Oscar Robertson, Wilt and Bill Russell.

    Reasons why are obvious

  6. steagl3 says:

    Pistol Pete, hands down. The original John Stockton (and ironic both ended up in Utah).

  7. Chuck says:

    Dominique Wilkins. 360 windmills my brutha

  8. juggernaut584 says:

    Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, and Tracy McGrady stay healthy for their entire careers. Shawn Kemp not having his career derailed by personal issues. (I’m a late 80’s- 90’s baby if you can’t tell). As far as before my time, I would say Oscar Robertson, Kareem in his prime, Wilt, Pistol Pete, David Thompson, Dr J in his prime, George Gervin, Elgin Baylor, Rick Barry, Jerry West, Earl Monroe, Nate Archibald, Bill Walton in his prime, Lakers win 33 straight, and Russell’s Celtics when they 8-peated.

  9. Isiah Thomas. The best little man of all time. Just look at his stats: Isiah’s Stats

  10. Tom says:


  11. trey says:

    I agree MJ and Grant Hill n their prime without the injuries and retirments.I would love to c Iverson in a do over along with DR.J those were very exciting players.

  12. Jay says:

    MJ in his prime.. Grant Hill, Magic, Bird, Oscar Robertson. Love the triple double machines!

  13. mezstah says:

    More like Earl Manigault just to check the quarter of the backboard story

  14. Marco29 says:

    Like most non-US residents, I only got to see NBA basketball at the beginning of the 90s at a time when Magic and Kareen were way past their primes and Larry was already plaged by his back injuries.
    If only we had been granted the chance to see the NBA in the 80’s it would have been great: Lakers vs Celtics with all these players in their primes, seeing a young MJ fighting his way through and his epic battles against the Pistons and Celtics. Dr. J and Moses Malone, etc…
    Anything from the 70s and before, I would not have witnessed anyway but I would have loved to see West, Maravitch, Baylor, Wilt vs Russel, Bob cousy, the Big O and the young Lew Alcindor.
    If only the Dream Team had existed before. Imagine what collection of talents you would have had in the 60s, 70s and 80s.
    But past is past (and there is only one Dream Team) and there is no so much to complain about when you had the chance to see the Bulls era, Hakeem and the Rockets, David Robinson and the Spur’s trio, Kobe & Shaq and then Kobe & Pau, the Pistons, The 3 Amigos and also Stockton & Malone, The Beast of the East, Chuck, The Sonics, The Kings and the Suns when they had their chances…

  15. RealAnd1GM says:

    Yeah, I gotta agree with Jose O, definitely Pete Maravich.

  16. philaw123 says:

    I would have loved to see the Big Dipper. No one dominated the game like he did. He had the unfortunate luck to go up against the loaded Boston Celtics which is why he only won 2 chips but if he had played in today’s diluted NBA, he could probably carry a team to 6 or 8. And while there are clips to show how he dominated, the fact remains there is still not one single clip of the game where he scored a hundred points. Not one. The single most dominant performance by 1 player and no video coverage. Sad.

  17. Freakazoid says:

    I’m from Serbia ,and a few years ago when Iverson playerd for Besiktas they played in europacup against a serbian team Hemofarm Vrsac. I was watching that game, hoping to see the Answer play, but he did not travel to that game with his team 🙂

  18. J says:

    Wilt Chamberlain in his prime would have been awesome! mostly from the 1962 season when he averaged 50.4 points per game. amazing.

    and Bill Russell in his prime. blocking every shot in his vicinity ah that would be sweet.

  19. Jugernaut says:

    David Thompson, Elgin Baylor, Len Bias and a young Julius Erving.

  20. Jose O says:

    Pistol Pete Maravich…

  21. Leslie Chirata says:

    Oscar Robertson (LeBron before LeBron), Pete Maravich (artist), Wilt Chamberlain (dominant monster) or Larry Bird (leader & winner)… the list goes on. It would be a disservice to all these great players to restrict myself to only one player. They each gave different things to the game I love which ultimately have enriched it.

    • Flesch says:

      I think LeBron is a bit overrated when we talk about triple doubles, I mean, he’s a great all-around player, but he got 36 T-D in 10 seasons, big-O got 181 in 14 seasons and Magic johnson got 138 in 12 seasons.

  22. PC3 @SwHTown20 says:

    Started watching NBA In The 90 s ..& I Wouldve Love To See Larry Bird Play Only here Great Stories Of A Warrior/Winner…But Wouldve Love to See Yao Ming Play out his career he was deffentialy a Talented Shooter Injuries Took Away His Greatness But Wouldve Love 2 See Him Play More

  23. Randolph says:

    I would have liked to see Kareem Jabbar (Lew Alcindor) when he was in High School, College, and the Pros… he’s often overlooked, yet the record books speaks for him.

    • Desmodeus says:

      I never saw him in high school or college but I saw him in the NBA and he was unguardable. I modelled most of my offensive game on Kevin McHale but Kareem inspired me to develop the sky hook.

  24. Max says:

    I had the oportunity of seeing Sabonis playing for Zalgiris Kaunas and for Soviet Union in the early 80´s and he was so special! I remember once in the Real Madrid christmas tourment that Antonio Martin (played for Portland, and was he first spaniard in NBA) and Fernando Romay (Real Madrid center) could not stop him, and so they faul him over and over until Sabonis get mad and crash the boards ending the game!
    I remember that every kid shout “Sabonis” when grabbing a rebound in our training camp on those days.
    Clyde Drexler once said that if Sabonis had been able to spend his prime in Portland they would have had four or five titles. Guaranteed!