Jamal Mashburn named Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in his all-time favorite starting 5. But modern players missed the cut to make his roster.
There is no such thing as an objective all-time list when it comes to any basketball fan. There are people who consider Kobe Bryant to be a better, greater basketball player than Bill Russell. Without having watched Bill play, it is tough to make that decision unilaterally.
And yet, people love engaging in such hypothetical debates. It is a testament to how the game keeps evolving with each season that we’ve got several new candidates. Instead of raising names of old-timers, we’ve now got Steph, KD, Kawhi, LeBron and James Harden to factor in.
There’s never going to be a consensus all-time starting five, and that’s completely okay. However, given the plethora of Gen Z and millennials who post their all-timers on Twitter, we think it’s prudent to use the all-time starting 5 from a former NBA All-Star.
Jamal Mashburn names Michael Jordan and Larry Bird but excludes LeBron James from his starting 5
Jamal Mashburn was a part of the generation that came into the NBA just after the Dream Team was formed. He was a scoring forward who could also D it up when the occasion demanded it.
Mashburn was on the Knuckleheads podcast recently. He illuminated our knowledge about a lot of basketball players, including the likes of Charles Barkley. Q and D pressed him to name a starting five of his favorite players, and Mashburn couldn’t refuse:
“A guy that I wish I would’ve seen play – well 2 guys – and they’re probably my favorite – Wilt and Oscar. Michael Jordan, who else, Larry Bird would be on that list. And it’s a toss-up between Isiah (Thomas) and Magic Johnson.”
“I like Isiah. I don’t think people realize how good Isiah was and how much he sacrificed for the Detroit Pistons. Isiah Thomas, just as a scorer alone, he could’ve led the league in scoring.”
“I’m not a guy that puts in the championship thing, I think that’s a team thing. There’s a lot of great players who’ve never won a championship. And they still need to be in a discussion as far as this great players thing is concerned.”