John Salley may not have ever reached his full potential during his NBA career as the 11th overall pick of the 1986 NBA Draft. But Salley had a winning pedigree since he won four championships throughout his 11-year career in the league, becoming the first player in the history of the NBA to win a title with three different teams and in three different decades.
John Salley reveals his top NBA player from each decade
Salley was never the greatest player, but he managed to find a way to carve out a spot for himself in the rotation wherever he found himself and help his teams to victory. Salley won championships with the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls, and Los Angeles Lakers to help cement his name into the history books, even if he didn’t play a massive role in all those wins.
Salley’s career managed to span three decades, despite the fact he only played for 11 seasons, which means that he saw the NBA during multiple transitional periods. For that reason, Salley seems like a good person to ask for his list of the best player from each decade of the NBA. When asked, Salley provided some controversial responses while also naming who he believes will be the best player of the current decade.
1960s: Oscar Robertson
1970s: Jerry West
1980s: Magic Johnson
1990s: Michael Jordan
2000s: Shaquille O’Neal
2010s: LeBron James
2020s: Ja Morant
John Salley has some interesting top players for each decade
Salley’s list certainly has some interesting choices that could elicit controversy from fans everywhere. Right off the bat, Salley begins by choosing Robertson over Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell in the 60s and West over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 70s. Some of his choices, such as Johnson, Jordan, and James, are much more respectable, but those are some glaring omissions that he has to begin this discussion.
Salley also makes the interesting choice by labeling Morant the player who will run the 20s, with guys like Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, or Giannis Antetokounmpo seeming like more obvious choices. Overall, Salley has some OK selections here, but many of his choices are beyond confusing. While most of his choices are set in stone, it will be interesting to see whether or not Morant justifies Salley’s confidence in him over the next few years.