Greatest basketball player of all time...GOAT?

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If you are a fan of basketball, you've likely weighed in on this debate. Who is the G.O.A.T., or greatest of all time, of the National Basketball Association. As the playoffs heat up for this year's NBA season, superstars and exciting play are at the top of the minds of sports fans. Does anyone stand out above the others? Will any of them rise to the level of NBA basketball greatest of all time?

We all know the names of greats Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson amongst others. But how do they actually stack up alongside one another, at least according to mentions and emojis of Twitter users?

OGUS, an online gambling resource by a collection of journalist and gamblers alike, recently analyzed hundreds of thousands of tweets during the month of May containing the phrase "GOAT" and the goat emoji to create a ranked list of players who are widely considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time.

Well, without further ado, many are wondering who is number one? Michael Jordan? No. LeBron James? No. How about Bill Russell. Easily, the best player from the best team in the early days of the NBA, Russell led the Boston Celtics to 11 championships in his 13 years in the league. Only losing in the Finals once, and only not making it to the Finals once, he and the Celtics demonstrated dominance at a time where albeit, the league had few teams, but they were clearly better than everyone else and it was due to Bill Russell being their leader.
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Coming in a close second is our latest greatest player of all time candidate, edging out Michael Jordan by just over 1%, is LeBron James. Controversial at times to many, but he has led teams to the NBA Finals ten times over his career, winning four of them, to go along with four league Most Valuable Player awards. His most recent championship with the Los Angeles Lakers coming off an interrupted season last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic where the league finished off their season in a bubble format in Central Florida.

Michael Jordan, who many consider hands down to be the best basketball player without a doubt, finished in third place, according to the poll. Jordan, brought the NBA into worldwide popularity showing off his athleticism and scoring prowess in the late 80's and early 90's winning six championships, twice going back-to-back-to-back.

Rounding out the top 10 spots were Lakers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant, San Antonio's big man Tim Duncan, the always charismatic Shaquille O'Neal, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird and Magic Johnson at the bottom of the list. These ten, along with a couple others are generally referred to as the cream of the crop when it comes to all-time play, ability and accomplishments.

Despite Bill Russell being at the top of this Twitter "poll", this debate intensifies specifically when it comes to the mentions of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Both of have a significant following in their fanbase claiming their guy should hold the number one spot, and neither really wanting to budge on the argument to concede to anyone else. The Jordan fanbase has the "six rings" argument, while the LeBron fanbase touts his statistically advantage in various categories of rebounding and assist. But to say one is right over another would usually lead to detracting from the other's accomplishments.

I'm not here to tell you in actuality who deserves the top position, to many it may not be either Jordan or James. Someone's personal opinion may lay with someone else within this top ten, or even outside of this top ten. In either event, it's a debate that would likely stay with us for a very long time.

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