Now that Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry has his fourth ring, it’s easy to include him in the NBA’s prestigious top 10 all-time list. But that also means he has to take the spot of someone else’s.
Of course, removing someone else from the list is always the most challenging part, but that’s what needs to happen, especially if the player about to take their spot is unanimously considered the greatest shooter in basketball history.
Hot take or hard truth?
In the latest episode of Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe said that he’s willing to remove Shaquille O’Neal from the list to make room for Curry because the latter has surpassed the big man in terms of personal achievements. Sharpe also said that O’Neal’s lack of work ethic and determination to be the greatest basketball player of all time cost him to fall down the list.
“The [Finals MVP] was the only thing missing from [Steph Curry’s] resume. He got his first Finals MVP, he’s a two-time regular-season MVP. The only unanimous winner of that award. He’s a four-time champ, two-time scoring champ and how he changed the game of basketball, I don’t know if we can properly qualify what he’s done for and to the gave of basketball. The guy that I bumped into the top 10 was Shaq. It was between him and Kobe,” Sharpe said.
“The thing I’m most disappointed in Shaq and I know Shaq had four titles but I don’t think Shaq got everything out of his career. I don’t believe we’ll ever see a guy as physically gifted as a big man as Shaquille O’Neal. 7-foot-1, 323-335 pounds, could run, athletic, agile but he didn’t work. He should have been the all-time scoring leader right now, he should have six or seven championships if he had the work ethic,” Sharpe added.
Is “work ethic” a fair argument?
We’re not sure if work ethic plays significant criteria in determining this list, but it certainly is why Curry is now considered a top 10 all-time player. From a skinny kid who was doubted for his defense during his rookie year to developing into one of if not the best offensive players of all time — Curry wouldn’t be here without his dedication and willingness to be great.
But truth to be told, it’s tough to imagine a top 10 all-time list without O’Neal, who also changed the game in ways he only could. It’s been 11 years since O’Neal retired, and it seems nobody has taken his place as the most dominant big man in history. One can argue that alone should defend his case in the top 10 all-time list.
It’s incredibly tough to construct this exclusive all-time list, but that speaks volumes about how blessed the NBA is to witness one superstar after another take over their generation. As more superstars etch their place in history, removing the ones who have already made their mark will get even more challenging.