The NBA 75th Anniversary Team honors 75 of the best NBA players of all time
In celebration of their diamond anniversary, the NBA 75th Anniversary Team honors the greatest basketball players to ever step foot on the hardwood floor. During the halftime show of the TNT broadcasted 2022 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland, the NBA held a sensational ceremony announcing 76 basketball legends followed by a performance from Earth, Wind & Fire.
Sunday night was one for the Cleveland sports history books as Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse was filled with NBA basketball legends including past players such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to current players ranging from Steph Curry to LeBron James. The NBA introduced each of the historical athletes in a positional format, starting with “Forwards”, “Centers”, then “Guards”.
A blue-ribbon panel of media, general managers, coaches, former and present players, and franchise executives picked the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. Due to a tie in voting, a total of 76 basketball legends were hand-picked while 45 of them were able to attend the 2022 NBA All-Star Game Halftime Show in spectacular fashion. Some players appeared via video, yet those who have passed were paid tributes.
The last player announced in each category of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team is considered the greatest in their position. Being back home and on the court of his first and former NBA team the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James received the biggest applause Sunday night. The stadium also roared following the announcement of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan during the “Guards” showcase.
For the NBA 50th Anniversary Team in 1997, all but three of the 50 best players were able to attend the ceremony, with only Pete Maravich who had passed away. Another 25 years would entail more losses, but more lasting legacy.
“It’s a testament to the longevity of the NBA and just the evolution of the game itself,” said former Phoenix Suns All-Star Shawn Marion in regards to the NBA 75th anniversary team. Marion currently serves on the NBRPA “Legends” board of directors. “Over the course of the league, first 25 years, then 50, now to 75, I feel like we’re watching history and making history at the same time.”
The 2022 NBA All-Star Game itself was one of the most entertaining matches to date, even when compared to the 2020 nail-biter. Steph Curry shot a record of 16 three-pointers and won MVP with his 50-point performance for Team LeBron. The last seconds ended in storybook fashion as LeBron James hit the game-winning field goal to defeat Team Durant 163-160, raising $450,000 for the Kent State I Promise Scholars program.
“I could not have dreamed of that moment any better than the actuality that just happened,” said James. “For me to be back here—staying 35 minutes south of where I grew up in Akron, Ohio—I couldn’t have pictured that moment any better.”