#00 – Robert Parish
Best known as the defensive anchor of the Larry Bird-led mighty Celtics teams of the 1980’s, Robert Parish was also outstanding on the offensive side of the ball with a smooth jump shooter who hit at a nearly 54% clip from the floor in his 21-year career and averaged 14.5 points. A four-time NBA champion and nine-time All-Star, Parish’s athletic ability and utility on both ends as a 7-foot center foreshadowed the direction in which his position would head decades later. For his career, this post giant and 2003 Hall of Famer averaged 15/9. Seems somewhat average, right? Not when you realize he played for more than two decades. That’s right, a 15 and 9 average over the course of 21 seasons. Quite impressive as far as I am concerned.
#0 – Russell Westbrook
With only 7 years of experience in the NBA, Westbrook already has 4 All-NBA 2nd Team selections, and an NBA scoring title to his name. We already knew he was a quality NBA player, but with Durant out of the picture last season, Westbrook proved to everyone he was an NBA superstar. His stats were ridiculous – 28 points, almost 9 rebounds, and 7 assists per game. His stats were so damn impressive that despite not making the playoffs, he was still in MVP consideration. Russell Westbrook’s explosive ability at the guard position is simply unparalleled. With the increasing depth of the point guard position in the NBA, it will be tough for him to ever make the All-NBA 1st Team, but he should have a shot at an NBA Championship this season with Durant returning healthy. For his career thus far, Westbrook have averaged 21 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds. Stay tuned, much more coming soon.
#1 – Ozzie Smith
Ozzie Smith, aka “The Wizard of Oz,” as he was called, played shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals for the majority of his career, while wearing the jersey number 1. He was known and respected for his amazing defensive play (many actually consider him to be the greatest defensive shortstop in MLB history), and of course his signature backflip. He won the gold glove at shortstop every year from 1979 through 1992. He made the All-Star team 15 times, and wound up with more than 500 stolen bases and more than 2,400 hits. Elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. Sorry T-Mac and Warren Moon… Ozzie takes this spot over you both!
#2 – Derek Jeter
‘The Captain’ was one of the greatest multi-dimensional players during his incredibly successful MLB career. There was nothing on a baseball field he couldn’t do and didn’t do. He was one of the best defensive shortstops of all time (which makes him following up Ozzie Smith seem perfect), as evidenced by his five gold gloves. Jeter also finished his career with the most hits in Yankees history with 3,465. He was selected to 14 All-Star games, won one MVP award and five World Series titles. As much as I hate taking this slot away from a legend like Moses Malone, how could I possibly go against Derek Jeter?