The NBA announced the final 25 players on its list of the 75 greatest players of all time on Thursday with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook among those included. The list was revealed across the opening three days of the season in celebration of the 75th season of the NBA.
Beginning on Tuesday, the league released 25 players per day prior to their showcase games on both TNT and ESPN. On Thursday, the final 25 players were announced with four current Lakers among those named.
On Monday, James spoke about his potential inclusion on the list and, though he said it wasn’t something he was specifically excited about nor the team had discussed, he did speak on what it meant to have simply made it to the NBA.
“It’s very humbling and rewarding to be a part of a fraternity like the NBA,” James said. “If your name is called and even if sometimes your name is not called, getting the opportunity to put on an NBA uniform, it is the ultimate for a lot of us. Lot of kids who grew up watching the sport, loving the game of basketball and being able to put on an NBA jersey and play on an NBA floor is the most gratifying, humbling, rewarding, blessed thing ever.”
There was, obviously, very little doubt that James would be included on the list as all-time debates including him are about whether he is the greatest of all-time. As for the other three current Lakers, though, their inclusions were not a foregone conclusion.
Anthony and Westbrook each have carved out lengthy, Hall of Fame-worthy careers with different levels of accolades. Anthony has steadily climbed the ranks and sits inside the top 10 in scoring all-time. Westbrook has broken numerous triple-double records throughout his career — including averaging a triple-double in four of the last five seasons — on top of capturing the MVP in 2016-17.
Davis, meanwhile, is in the midst of his prime and was perhaps one of the more surprising inclusions on the list. Similar to how the league’s top 50 list had a number of current players on Hall of Fame trajectories like Shaquille O’Neal, Davis, along with Damian Lillard, were included in this list as well.
Still, Davis has performed at a high level to earn his recognition, making it to eight All-Star games while being named to the All-NBA First Team four times. He was also a vital factor in the Lakers’ capturing banner No. 17 in 2020 inside the bubble in Orlando.
A number of former Lakers feature on the list as well, some with more storied legacies in purple and gold than others. Among those include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, George Mikan, Steve Nash, O’Neal, Gary Payton, Dennis Rodman, Jerry West and James Worthy.
The Lakers and Nets were the only teams to have multiple active players on the listed with both Kevin Durant and James Harden earning spots as well.