NBA Conference Finals feature compelling matchups

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors now know their opponent in the Western Conference Finals. Now the MVP must play at a high level to get his team to the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry and the top seeded Golden State Warriors now know their opponent in the Western Conference Finals. Now the MVP must play at a high level to get his team to the NBA Finals.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Western Conference finals are now set as the Golden State Warriors will host the Houston Rockets after a convincing game 7 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday afternoon. The Eastern Conference championship will also feature the top 2 seeds in the conference as the Atlanta Hawks will host the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Curry received his MVP reward a couple weeks ago, now he hopes to add a ring to his trophy.

Curry received his MVP reward a few weeks ago, now he hopes to add a ring to his trophy.

This postseason could conclude with history being made as 2 of the remaining teams have never won an NBA title. The Warriors only NBA championship came in 1974-75 with a team featuring Hall of Fame players Rick Barry and a rookie at the time Jamaal Wilkes. This Warriors team hopes to continue the momentum they created in defeating a tough Memphis Grizzlies team. Stephen Curry, fresh off of winning NBA MVP this year, will go head-to-head with the runner-up to the MVP award in James Harden.

Dwight Howard (l) and James Harden (r) are hoping to return to the NBA Finals together after having suffered separate defeats on the biggest stage.

Dwight Howard (l) and James Harden (r) are hoping to return to the NBA Finals together after having suffered separate defeats on the biggest stage.

The Rockets are hoping to build on their own momentum after becoming just the 9th team to overcome a 3 – 1 deficit and win the series. Harden and Dwight Howard are hoping to return to the NBA Finals stage together where they were both on the losing side in their own separate championship appearances. The Rockets won back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995 with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon leading the way.

If the Hawks are to advance, they must continue to receive good production from their starters, (l - r) Paul Milsap, Al Horford, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, and Jeff Teague (not pictured).

If the Hawks are to advance, they must continue to receive good production from their starters, (l – r) Paul Milsap, Al Horford, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, and Jeff Teague (not pictured).

The Atlanta Hawks are also looking to achieve an historic end to their season as the franchise searches for its first NBA title. The Hawks have had several close games so far this playoffs, but have found ways to have different players step up at key moments. Though the Hawks are the higher seed, many consider the Cavaliers the favorites to win the series, largely because of the brilliance of LeBron James in recent years in the playoffs.

LeBron James (l) and his teammates Tristan Thompson (m) and Kyrie Irving (r) are looking to continue moving through the playoffs despite injuries to key players this postseason.

LeBron James (l) and his teammates Tristan Thompson (m) and Kyrie Irving (r) are looking to continue moving through the playoffs despite injuries to key players this postseason.

If the Cavaliers are able to get past the Hawks, it will make the 5th consecutive NBA Finals appearance for LeBron James, a feat reminiscent of the 1960’s and those Bill Russell led Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers will have an uphill battle considering they are without starting forward Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving has been battling injuries throughout the playoffs as well. So far injuries have not impacted the playoffs significantly yet as the 2 top seeds in each conference are playing for a chance to go to the NBA Finals.

Earlier this year on OnPointPress.net, this writer said offense, not defense wins championships in this NBA. Time will tell if that theory continues to hold true this year in the NBA Finals.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr is a sports aficionado and a licensed insurance agent with Health Markets. Follow me @GloverIsGood Twitter.com.

Will the NBA’s post-season live up to its exciting regular season?

The Golden State Warriors (top) and Atlanta Hawks (bottom) enter the playoffs as #1 seeds in their conference this year.

The Golden State Warriors (top) and Atlanta Hawks (bottom) enter the playoffs as #1 seeds in their conference this year.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The NBA regular season came to a scintillating conclusion Wednesday night as playoff positions were finally set. The eighth seed was decided on game 82 for both conferences and the scoring title was settled as well. The end of the regular season means that struggling teams can move on to making preparations for betters seasons next year, while playoff teams prepare for the post-season marathon.

After a close MVP race this NBA season, James Harden (l) and Stephen Curry (r) are the clear frontrunners to win the award.

After a close, nail-biting MVP race this NBA season, James Harden (l) and Stephen Curry (r) are the clear front-runners to win the award.

The NBA post-season will have to be spectacular to equal the exciting regular season which featured an MVP race for the ages, a scoring title race decided on the final day, and several meaningful games Wednesday night.  The Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks set season records for franchise victories, while teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics rebounded from the cellar of the NBA last year to make the playoffs this year.

Anthony Davis (l) and Kyrie Irving (r) are 2 of several notable players making their playoff debuts this postseason.

Anthony Davis (l) and Kyrie Irving (r) are two of the many notable players making their playoff debuts this postseason.

The pairings for the playoffs are:

EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF MATCHUPS
1. Atlanta Hawks vs. 8. Brooklyn Nets
2. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 7. Boston Celtics
3. Chicago Bulls vs. 6. Milwaukee Bucks
4. Toronto Raptors vs. 5. Washington Wizards

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF MATCHUPS
1. Golden State Warriors vs. 8. New Orleans Pelicans
2. Houston Rockets vs. 7. Dallas Mavericks
3. Los Angeles Clippers vs. 6. San Antonio Spurs
4. Portland Trail Blazers vs. 5. Memphis Grizzlies*
*Grizzlies will have home-court advantage

The playoffs will be different this season as playoff regulars like Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook will be absent this year with their teams’ failure to secure playoff berths. The NBA post-season is in good hands though, as emerging superstars like Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, and James Harden will have the opportunity to add important playoff experience to their impressive regular season resumes.

In the end, it is highly possible that either LeBron James (c) and his Cavaliers or Tim Duncan (l) and Greg Popovich (r) and the Spurs will be playing for the championship again this year.

In the end, it is highly possible that either LeBron James (c) and his Cavaliers or Tim Duncan (l) and Greg Popovich (r) and the Spurs will be playing for the championship again this year.

Other stars like Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving will be able to take the next step in their careers and advance deep into the playoffs for the first time. As interesting as it will be to see some of the new faces in the post-season, in the end, LeBron James and the San Antonio Spurs will likely play a major role in determining the championship. Again.–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com.

Recent NBA Finals show good offense, not defense, wins championships

While defense is always important, these champions have used offense to reach the ultimate goal. (clockwise from top left) LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki.

While defense is always important, these champions have used offense to reach the ultimate goal. (clockwise from top left) LeBron James, Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

With the NFL playoffs underway, the old adage “defense wins championships” will be repeated ad nauseam by commentators and analysts. While that may apply to other sports regularly, the NBA has seen a trend of offensive excellence in recent NBA champions. While contributors at sportingcharts.com may have concluded, “Having an efficient defense is more important than an efficient offense,” it seems a great offense is better than a great defense.

The 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs showed true offensive dominance during their championship run last season.

The 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs showed true offensive dominance during their championship run last season.

Case in point, the 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs put forth one of the most dominant shooting displays en route to a 4-1 route of the Miami Heat. According to ESPN Stats and Info, “All four of the Spurs wins came by at least 15 points, outscoring the Heat by an average of 14 per game for the series. That’s the largest points per game differential in NBA Finals history, breaking the record of +12.6 PPG by the 1964-65 Celtics in their victory over the Lakers.”

Both Tim Duncan (l) and Kawhi Leonard (r) have been NBA Finals MVP. They were both excellent defensively but also efficient offensively when they won the award.

Both Tim Duncan (l) and Kawhi Leonard (r) have been NBA Finals MVP. They were both excellent defensively but also efficient offensively when they won the award.

The Spurs had 4 regular rotation players shoot 50 percent or better from the floor and 35 percent or better from the 3-point line for the playoffs. In the NBA Finals their team shooting was even better with 6 regular rotation players shooting 50 percent or better and 6 different rotation players shooting 35 percent or better from the 3-point line.

(left-right) Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, and Al Horford have helped the Atlanta Hawks to one of best records in the NBA with their offensive efficiency. Can they sustain this high level into the playoffs?

(left-right) Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague, and Al Horford have helped the Atlanta Hawks to one of best records in the NBA with their offensive efficiency. Can they sustain this high level into the playoffs?

Excellent shooting has become the deciding factor for NBA champions for the last decade now. Since 2005, every NBA champion has had at least 2 regular rotation players shoot at least 50 percent from the field and at least 3 regular rotation players shoot 35 percent or better from the 3-point line. Efficiency has become essential offensively as teams have transitioned away from the ground and pound style of offense that tended to be predictable to defend.

Could this be an NBA Finals preview? Stephan Curry (l) has the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry (r) has helped lead the Toronto Raptors to one of the best records in the East.

Could this be an NBA Finals preview? Stephen Curry (l) has the Golden State Warriors at the top of the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry (r) has helped lead the Toronto Raptors to one of the best records in the East.

As the NBA season nears the halfway point, a handful of low-seeded playoff teams have become top seeds in the conference. Though it is still early in the season, comparing teams by offensive efficiency might be the best way to determine which teams will have long playoff runs. As of today, only the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors meet the 50 or 35 percent field goal/3-point threshold common in the last ten NBA champions with the Atlanta narrowly missing the criteria.

New York Times writer Rodger Sherman recently stated during last season’s playoffs, “Being the staunchest, stingiest squad on paper does not mean as much as an old saying might make it seem.” As the season continues, it seems efficient offenses, not stingy defenses, will be the best way to determine the next NBA champion.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

NBA players’ exemplary financial maturity is a model for other athletes

Grant Hill

Grant Hill retired after a 19-year NBA career in 2013. Hill partnered with billionaire investors Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh to develop an ownership group to place a bid for the Los Angeles Clippers. Hill currently works for NBA TV/TNT.

By Charles Glover

NBA players are recognized for their talent on the basketball court but there is also a growing number of current and former NBA players who learned entrepreneurial lessons from their predecessors. This new breed of player-entrepreneurs know how to put what they learned in business to grow their personal brands and enhance their financial legacies.

Webber was the #1 overall draft pick in 1993. He retired after the 2008 season. Webber owns a restaurant, and an investment company. He currently works for NBA TV/TNT.

Webber was the #1 overall draft pick in 1993. He retired after the 2008 season. Webber owns a restaurant, and an investment company. He currently works for NBA TV/TNT.

Recent NBA retirees like Grant Hill and Chris Webber have learned their lessons and have an eye towards NBA ownership. Hill put together a group of investors that attempted to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers, while Webber put together a group that is hopeful of purchasing the Atlanta Hawks.

But despite the examples set by the player-entrepreneurs, there have been many accounts of professional athletes, and in particular some NBA players, who have blown their fortunes shortly after retiring from the game of basketball.

Rumeal Robinson

Rumeal Robinson last played in the NBA in 1997 after being the 10th overall draft pick in the 1990 NBA Draft. Robinson’s legal troubles include charges for bank fraud, bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and perjury.

There’s the tragic story of former NBA guard Rumeal Robinson who swindled his foster mother out of her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2003, Robinson tricked his foster mother into signing over the deed to her own home. He then transferred the property to people unknown to her. These thieves eventually forced the foster mother from her home of over 30 years.

Jason Caffey

Jason Caffey was taken 20th overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1995. He finished his NBA career in 2003. Caffey faced a brief jail stint for failure to pay child support.

There’s also the unfortunate story of former Chicago Bulls players Jason Caffey. Caffey eventually had to file for bankruptcy after having trouble paying child support for 10 children with 8 different mothers. Former NBA power forward Derrick Coleman also had to file for bankruptcy after having a series of investments go sour. Coleman’s former New Jersey Nets teammate Kenny Anderson has also faced serious financial hardship for many years following his NBA career.

Latrell Sprewell

Latrell Sprewell was the 24th overall draft pick of the Golden State Warriors in 1992. Sprewell was a four- time All-Star, making the team with the Warriors and New York Knicks. Sprewell endured many financial woes including a $200 million lawsuit against him from an ex-girlfriend and auctioning off his yacht to make his defaulted mortgage payments.

Latrell Sprewell, after turning down a three-year, $21 million extension from the Minnesota Timberwolves was quoted as saying “I’ve got my family to feed.” A few years later Sprewell’s home was in foreclosure and he had to sell his yacht as he experienced financial difficulties shortly after retiring.

Ray Williams

Ray Williams was the 10th overall draft pick of the New York Knicks in 1977. Williams finished his NBA career playing for the New Jersey Nets in 1987. Williams would experience extreme hardship in post-NBA career resulting in homelessness. Williams was a victim of a real estate scam and filed for bankruptcy in 1994. Williams died on March 22, 2013 of colon cancer in New York City at the age of 58.

Antoine Walker, formerly of the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, has also had to file for bankruptcy after earning over $100 million during his playing career. There was also the sobering tale of 10-year NBA veteran Ray Williams. Williams, who played for the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He ended up homeless, living out of his car in Florida, before dying at a relatively young age.

Russell Westbrook (i) and Kevin Durant (r).

In the summer of 2014, Russell Westbrook (l) had his Westbrook XO line debut at Barney’s New York and launched his own line of sunglasses. Kevin Durant (r) opened a restaurant in Oklahoma City in 2012, appeared in the 2012 children’s film “Thunderstruck,” and had a documentary about his life air on HBO in the summer of 2014.

Many of today’s NBA players have learned from both the cautionary tales and the impressive one. They new breed of player-entrepreneurs are making strides in taking care of their finances for their families’ future. The Oklahoma City Thunder have two dynamic All-Stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durrant has used his popularity to garner major endorsement deals and appearances in film and television. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook has taken his notoriety for style and turned it into an opportunity to earn through fashion. Westbrook not only has his own clothing line, as an extension through with his endorsement deal with the Jordan Brand, he also has his own brand of sunglasses.

Amar'e Stoudemire with the stars of Beyond the Lights.

(l – r) Writer/Director, Gina Prince-Bythewood, NBA Player/Producer, Amar’e Stoudemire, Co-stars of “Beyond the Lights,” Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Nate Parker.

Amar’e Stoudemire has taken some of his NBA earnings and translated it into a film production career that featured production credits on the recently released film “Beyond the Lights.” Stoudemire also has a clothing line and writes children’s books. Stoudemire’s New York Knicks teammate Carmelo Anthony has taken some of his NBA earnings to begin to prepare for his post-NBA career through the funding of tech companies that he hopes can eventually grow to be successful as over the next several years.

Chris Paul (l) and Blake Griffin (m) on the set with Jimmy Kimmel (r).

Chris Paul (l) and Blake Griffin (m) on the set with Jimmy Kimmel (r).

Blake Griffin and his Los Angeles Clippers teammate Chris Paul have taken their popularity and translated it into off the court opportunities as well, with Paul contributing handsomely to President Obama’s social initiative “My Brother’s Keeper,” which is designed to offer opportunities to Black and Latino boys.

LeBron James.

LeBron James is not only a minority owner of the Liverpool soccer club but has also expressed interest in teaming up with soccer star David Beckham to own a Major League Soccer (MLS) team in Miami.

Perhaps no NBA player has done more to build his own personal brand then Lebron James. James has not only had large endorsement deals but he also has co-ownership  of the Liverpool soccer club in England. James is already on record as stating that he wants to become a billionaire and he appears to be on his way.  Kobe Bryant is also creating waves with his own production studio, to make films.

Magic Johnson.

Magic Johnson’s sports ownership includes being a part of the majority ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Sparks. Johnson is also working to develop an expansion team in the MLS in the near future.

These current players seem to have taken the lead from two of the best 12 who ever graced a basketball court in Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Both Johnson and Jordan are owners of major sports teams. Johnson is the majority owner of the  group which purchased the  Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Sparks while Jordan is the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets.

Michael Jordan.

With the recent increase of his ownership stake in the Charlotte Hornets to 89%, Michael Jordan has had his personal value evaluated at over $1 billion.

Jordan and Johnson are phenomenal businessmen who provide a template for their contemporaries and future NBA stars, while sending the message that it is important to value themselves as professional commodities beyond the game of basketball. The example set by Jordan, Johnson, Hill, Weber and the current player-entrepreneurs is a strong reminder that it is important to prepare for life after basketball. Their examples offer a good mirror for other athletes to use and plot their future before their sports careers end..-Onpointpress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a management/employee training and benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646) 309–1938.

Major injuries to key players change the outlook for the 2014-15 NBA season

Kevin Durant will be forced to sit and watch his team as the NBA season begins thanks to a foot injury sustained during  the preseason.

Reigning MVP Kevin Durant will be forced to sit and watch his team when as the NBA season begins, due to a foot injury he sustained during the preseason. He will be sidelined for 6 to eight weeks.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

As the beginning of the 2014-15 NBA season approaches, there are more injury concerns that will have an impact on teams which reached last season’s playoffs. General managers and coaches will be challenged to fill large voids left by injured stars.

Chicago Bulls fans are tired of seeing Derrick Rose in a suit like they have for much of the past two seasons. Hopefully, Rose can put his injury woes behind him for good.

Chicago Bulls fans are tired of seeing Derrick Rose in a suit like they have for much of the past two seasons. Hopefully, Rose can put his injury woes behind him for good.

Last year, the Chicago Bulls had their hopes of a deep playoff run dashed again when Derrick Rose went down with a season-ending injury for the second straight season. Brook Lopez’s season-ending injury changed the expectations for the veteran Brooklyn Nets team to do well. Both teams were able to make the playoffs but neither had a deep playoff run.

Pacers fans will likely have to wait until next season before seeing Paul George in uniform again.

Pacers fans will likely have to wait until next season before seeing Paul George in uniform again.

There has already been key injuries to big NBA stars before the season has begun. The Indiana Pacers will be scrambling to replace Paul George, who went down with a gruesome injury this summer while playing with Team USA.

Young guard Bradley Beal has helped the Wizards become a playoff team. They will need him healthy if they plan on improving from last year.

Young guard Bradley Beal has helped the Wizards become a playoff team. They will need him healthy if they plan on improving from last year.

Bradley Beal has been ruled out for the next several weeks which could also change the season outlook for a Washington Wizards team that is looking to build on its playoff success from last year.

The Thunder general manager and coaches will have to make changes to endure Durant's preseason injury.

The Thunder general manager and coaches will have to make changes to endure Durant’s preseason injury.

Perhaps no injury will impact the NBA more than the foot injury sustained by reigning MVP Kevin Durant. Durant is expected to miss the next 6 to 8 weeks as he recovers from the injury he sustained during the preseason. The Thunder are fortunate enough to have another superstar in Russell Westbrook to help the team adapt but there will definitely be a change in the team’s production this season.

Thunder fans are hoping the team responds to Durant's injury the way they did last season when Westbrook missed numerous games.

Thunder fans are hoping the team responds to Durant’s injury the way they did last season when Westbrook missed numerous games.

Time will tell if these general managers and coaches can help thees teams cope with these drastic changes. The Thunder faced a similar challenge when Westbrook started the season injured last year, but there are no assurances the team will have the same kind of success this year. While teams with injured stars can still make the playoffs, there are no guarantees as the league becomes more competitive due to huge player and personnel changes. Read OnPointPress.net for new developments.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a training/benefits consultant and a sports aficionado. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

What to expect in the Spurs vs. Heat NBA Finals rematch

The NBA FInals start June 5, 2014 at 9pm with the Spurs hosting the Heat. Featured above (l - r) Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

The NBA FInals start June 5, 2014 at 9 p.m. with the Spurs hosting the Heat. Featured above (l – r) Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) will begin the Finals on Thursday night at 9 p.m.. The matchup, pitting the Miami Heat versus the San Antonio Spurs, will be a rematch of last year’s Finals. The Spurs’ big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker will have a chance to avenge their loss to the Heat’s big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. The Heat won that tightly-contested series in 7 games last year, and it looks as if these two teams will again be evenly matched. But this time around the Spurs, in Duncan’s words want to get rid of “the bad taste in our mouths” that was the direct result of their epic loss to the Heat.

The best player for each team, Tim Duncan (l) and LeBron James (r) are going to need to be excellent throughout the series to lead their team to a victory.

The best player for each team, Tim Duncan (l) and LeBron James (r) are going to need to be excellent throughout the series to lead their team to a victory.

The Spurs will have home court advantage this time around, but this year the NBA will revert to the 2-2-1-1-1 home/away split that is typically used throughout the playoffs. Last year’s 2-3-2 home/away split allowed the Heat to have games 6 and 7 on their home court to come back and win the title. These teams are pretty much the same as they were in terms of composition and style last year so they will be extremely familiar with each other.

The Larry O'Brien trophy is awarded to the team that wins the NBA Finals. Will a NY team win this award in my lifetime?

The Larry O’Brien trophy is awarded to the team that wins the NBA Finals. Will a NY team win this award in my lifetime?

Both teams have some minor injury issues to worry about going into the Finals series but both should be close to full strength come Thursday night. For the Spurs to win this time, they will have to defend the perimeter, make their three point shots, and score in the paint often. If the Spurs are successful, it would be the franchise’s 5th title, all during the Tim Duncan era, since 1998.

The Spurs look to add the franchises 5th title while the Heat are seeking their franchises 4th.

The Spurs look to add the franchise’s 5th title while the Heat are seeking their franchise’s 4th.

Conversely, the Heat will need to make their three point shots, defend the interior well, and pressure the ball to cause turnovers, in order to win the series again. The Heat have been to 4 consecutive Finals and are looking to win 3 straight times and the 4th overall for the Miami franchise. If they are able to stay healthy throughout the series, I believe they will accomplish that feat and join the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Boston Celtics as the only franchises to win 3 consecutive championships in NBA history.

But count on the Spurs to offer a solid fight because they are on a mission to redeem their costly loss from a year ago. One thing is certain, the NBA Finals will be must-see television, with two teams determined to secure a powerful legacy.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Honoring NBA greats who paved the way for today’s superstars

Bill  Russell deservingly, receives a great deal of recognition for his accomplishments.

Bill Russell appropriately receives a great deal of recognition for his extensive career accomplishments.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

As the National Basketball association (NBA) exits the month of the All-Star game, many fans are looking forward to the playoffs and the MVP race. The recent conversation about all-time great NBA players always features Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and many, many, more. This has prompted OnPointPress.net to honor some of the all-time greats who deserve as much recognition as those who are regularly mentioned.

At the end of each month, for the rest of the NBA season, we will highlight a center, forward, and guard who deserve to be recognized publicly and often.

Moses Malone is one of the best centers of all-time.

Moses Malone is one of the best centers of all time.

At center, we recognize Moses Malone. Malone started his professional career in 1974 in the American Basketball Association (ABA) as one of the first players to go straight to the pros from high school. Malone played for 9 different teams during his 21-year career, while earning MVP honors 3 times (79′, 82′ and 83′) and making the All Star team 14 times (2 ABA and 12 NBA).

Malone was the key acquisition of the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983 and the Malone\Julius Irving-led team finally captured the NBA championship in a sweep of the Lakers that season. Malone was named MVP in the Finals as well. Many basketball fans remember Malone for his serious demeanor and exceptional rebounding prowess. Malone retired in 1995 with 29,580 points, 17,834 rebounds, and 1936 assists. He should regularly come to mind when discussions of best centers of all time is raised.

Elgin Baylor, is not only one of the best players of all-time but is also the best scorer (27.4 ppg) in Lakers history.

Elgin Baylor, is not only one of the best players of all-time but is also the best scorer (27.4 ppg) in Lakers history.

At forward, we recognize Elgin Baylor. Baylor was the first overall draft pick of what was then the Minneapolis Lakers in 1958, and won rookie of the year honors in 1959. One of the best scorers of all time, Baylor would later average 27.4 points per game in his 13-year career (currently 4th best all time). Baylor would put together a phenomenal stretch while averaging 34.8, 38.3 and 34 points per game, respectively, in the 1960-63 seasons.

Baylor, along with Jerry West, led the Lakers to the NBA Finals on eight different occasions but had the dubious distinction of losing every appearance. As fate would have it, Baylor would suffer a serious knee injury that cut his career short. In fact, he retired early in the 1972-73 season, the same season the Lakers would set an NBA record winning 33 consecutive games and finally winning the championship. If not for the Celtics domination of the sixties, Baylor would definitely be brought up more regularly. Baylor (6’5″) was also an exceptional rebounder, who averaged 13.5 rebounds per game (career high 19.8 rpg in 1960) for his career.

Hal Greer holds the career scoring record for the 76ers.

Hal Greer holds the career scoring record for the 76ers.

At guard, we recognize Hal Greer. Greer joined the NBA in 1958 with the Syracuse Nationals, which eventually became the Philadelphia 76ers ,in 1963, and would play his entire career with the franchise. Though he played many years with Wilt Chamberlain, Greer holds the record as the 76ers all-time leading scorer.

The 10-time All Star would team with Chamberlain to lead the 76ers past the Boson Celtics in 1967, ending the Celtics 8-year championship run and culminating in the first title of the 76ers franchise. Greer actually led the team in scoring (27.7 ppg) during that playoff run, which marked the pinnacle of his career. Of the guards that played throughout the 1960’s, only Oscar Robertson and Jerry West are more accomplished than Greer.

This article is not intended to be a biography for these players. Instead, the writer’s intent is to remind fans of the contributions these players made to the exciting game of basketball and to the NBA in particular. Stay tuned as we honor more NBA greats in the near future.–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.