Stephen Curry has just been named Sports Illustrated’s 2022 Sports Player of the Year, and during his conversation with SI he was asked to put together his all-time starting lineup. There was one stipulation: Carrey had to include himself, which isn’t really a stretch because it’s getting so hard to make a case for anyone else as the greatest point of all.
“I’m on PG, I’ll go with Magic [Johnson]”We’re going to play hybrid vigilantes,” Curry told SI. [Michael] Jordan, you have Dirk [Nowitzki] Spacing the floor, launching the ball, and you got the big guy, Diesel [Shaquille O’Neal], press it. So, I think this is a strong lineup.”
Curry put this dream together starting fifth, so let’s not put a ton on this one, but it’s worth noting that he let LeBron James out of the way. Petty as such, I can’t imagine LeBron not taking it lightly. Curry and LeBron are the faces of the post-Jordan era. Nobody else is in competition with either of them, and there’s a strong case to be made that LeBron is the greatest player of all time.
Curry’s lineup fits well, which is the only way you can even begin to excuse Nowitzki over James for spacing alone, but even then I don’t know how you can take Dirk over Kevin Durant, who was another slight like his former teammate Curry. If you want a traditional position, I’d take Tim Duncan (don’t start with the “he was a power forward!”) semantics, but Shaq certainly deserves that kind of recognition.
The one you can’t justify is Magic Johnson over LeBron, who is basically a bigger, stronger, faster, more athletic, better scoring, better shooting, and better defensive version of the Magic. There is only one thing on the basketball court that Magic Johnson has arguably done better than James, and that is passing, and LeBron is the same passer all the time. Anyone who would take the Magic over LeBron is living in a nostalgic dreamland.
The Curry-Jordan backcourt with LeBron as a point forward is without a doubt the best perimeter trio you could ever form. Pose there, you can discuss the fourth and fifth players. But it’s impossible to justify leaving LeBron out of any starting five, even if he’s listed off the top of your head.