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When Do We Start To Give Players “All-Time Great” Status?

It’s amazing to see the next generation of elite players, especially when they are so good at such a young age. I have always wondered, when is the right time to give an active player legend status? I’m going to avoid Lebron James in this explanation because he is high above the rest and has been seen as one of the greatest ever for a while. The first players I thought of that applied to my question, Kevin Durant.

Now at 31 years old, it is recognized by everyone that Durant will go down as one of the best scorers to ever play the game. As far as the greatest player of all time, he will definitely be high up in many rankings. Could it be a consistency thing that brings players into the legend conversations, because before missing this season with an injury, Kevin has been a top 3 player in the league for the past 8-10 years. Consistently being one of the best in the world, and being really great for several seasons should probably factor into putting him into all-time conversations. But at what point was Durant put in consideration among the greatest ever. As early as his MVP season in 2014? Or was it his first NBA Championship with the Warriors in 2017? His controversial move to Golden State in 2016 could have brought him down in the eyes of some people, but that doesn’t take away from how unbelievably talented he is.  

This goes to show how it’s not set in stone what determines a player to have “Legend Status”. The reason I’ve begun to think about this is that in the coming years we will have to determine that status for some of the young superstars in our game. Giannis Antetokounmpo is only 25 years old. He already has an MVP and is on a path to have a mindblowing career. At what point will we be putting him in All-Time great conversations. Part of me thinks that being really good for several years plays a big factor because if a player really is one of the greatest ever if they were only really great for 5 seasons or less. Giannis hasn’t sustained his dominance for several years and as well as still being very young. How old does a player have to be to be classified as one of the greatest ever? If Luka Doncic wins 2 MVPs and a Championship  before his 25th birthday, do we already put him among the basketball legends, or does he need more time?  

There’s a lot of different ways to look at it, and different factors such as age, accolades and sustained consistency to determine a player an all-time great. People always have their different opinions on what tier a player should be recognized in, and the beauty of it is that these things are up for debate and spark good conversations. Let me know what you guys think about when we should give players All-Time legend recognition. 

  • Kevin Barnett

Instagram @nolimit_kb

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