Even though Kareem Abdul Jabbar wore the Los Angeles Lakers jersey alongside Magic Johnson during many campaigns and dominated the league together, the two-time NBA Finals MVP doesn’t rank his former teammate amongst the best point guards in basketball history.
While most do consider Johnson to be the best player there ever was in his position, the second-highest NBA scorer places another basketball legend at the top.
“I don’t think you’re going to want to hear this. Oscar Robertson. The Big O. I only had the chance to play with him at the end of his career, but he was awesome,” Abdul-Jabbar told the press at the start of this week.
Check out some of Robertson’s best highlights, as he was nicknamed Mr. Triple Double back in the 60s and 70s:
During an interview in New York, he eventually recognized other great players in this position, but barely named his ex-Lakers teammate.
A couple of weeks ago, Stephen Curry reignited the debate over the NBA’s all-time best point guards by placing himself at the top of the ladder. In a recent interview with former player Gilbert Arenas, the former Wizards star asked him the question directly, and Curry bluntly said “yes.”
Then, after thinking about it for a minute, the current superstar accepted that it was a complicated conversation, especially considering Magic’s career, but that this is precisely why these debates are so fun to engage in.
“I obviously had to answer that way,” he explained. “But I really feel like, to your point, Magic’s résumé is ridiculous. so the fact that we are even having this conversation is a place I never thought I’d be. But the fact, to your point and how you grade it, this is why we have these conversations because it’s fun.”
Stephen is a four-time NBA champion with Golden State who has revolutionized the game as a prolific shooter. On the other hand, Robertson played in a different era and only won a single league title, but was honored as the season’s MVP in six occasions.
Decades later he was awarded a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in two opportunities, the first for his NBA career, and later for his achievements in the Olympic Games. Robertson had career averages of 25.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists throughout 14 campaigns.
Kareem recognized the greatness of other NBA players who excelled as point guards, but remained convinced Robertson was the best
Abdul-Jabbar, or “The Captain” as he was also known, acknowledged Johnson, Curry, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant’s significance, but stayed true to his position of placing Oscar at the top of the point-guard list.
“I know Steph Curry and LeBron, Kobe [Bryant], Magic [Johnson] … all of those guys are superior, but I would have to go with Oscar,” he said.
Take a look at the Warriors star’s remarks over his position as the best point guard in NBA history:
.@StephenCurry30 SAID HE’S THE BEST POINT GUARD EVER. 👀🔥
HIS WORDS. NOT MINE. 🤷🏾♂️ pic.twitter.com/SYgQHlQwr2
— Gilbert Arenas (@GilsArenaShow) August 21, 2023
Kareem then claimed that Robertson’s career had been underappreciated mostly due to the era he played in, as he also believes that he didn’t have the benefit of playing during the modern game.
“If people had seen him play in the prime of his career with the 3-point shot … Oscar had 3-point range, but he never got to play when the 3-point shot was incorporated into the game. People don’t really understand how significant he was,” he assured.
Both Robertson and Abdul-Jabbar played a couple of seasons side by side with the Bucks, leading the Milwaukee franchise to the 1971 NBA trophy.