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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Picks Greatest Point Guard Ever, and It Isn’t Magic Johnson

Who is the greatest point guard of all time? That’s become a fun debate among fans of the current NBA and past eras of the game, often framed around Warriors star Stephen Curry and Lakers great Magic Johnson. 

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar presumably would choose his former Lakers teammate in the GOAT point guard discussion. But in an interview with Justin Walters of New York’s WPIX-TV, the six-time NBA MVP named a different player altogether.

“I don’t think you’re going to want to hear this,” Abdul-Jabbar told Waters. “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 immediately acknowledged that his pick might be surprising, because today’s NBA fans aren’t as familiar with Robertson as they are with Johnson and Curry.

A 12-time All-Star, Robertson played the majority of his 14-year career with the erstwhile Cincinnati Royals. But his final four seasons were with the Bucks. He and Abdul-Jabbar won the 1971 NBA championship together with Milwaukee.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says former Bucks teammate Oscar Robertson is the greatest point guard of all time.

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

Robertson is best known for being the first NBA player to average a triple-double over the course of an entire season, compiling 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game during the 1961-62 campaign. For his career, he averaged 25.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game. 

By comparison, Curry has averaged 24.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 6.5 assists, while Johnson notched 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.2 assists per game. 

Abdul-Jabbar points out that Robertson played before the three-point line was adopted by the NBA, and his deep-shooting range likely would’ve resulted in an even higher scoring average. However, Curry has won four NBA titles, and Johnson earned five, which is likely why fans view them as the GOAT point guards.

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