SAN FRANCISCO — The NBA revealed the final names on its 75th Anniversary Team on Thursday night, and the outcry regarding snubs and disrespect immediately ensued. The league, which made the list in honor of the NBA’s 75th anniversary this season, enlisted an 88-member panel faced with the near-impossible task of whittling down the list.
The full team included obvious players like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, but there was likely more debate about the final names on the list, particularly when it comes to those whose careers are still in progress. One such player, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, was a no-brainer for the list given his accomplishments.
But two other Warriors up for consideration, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, didn’t make the final cut.
Before their home opener against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, Warriors coach Steve Kerr addressed the omission of Thompson and Green. He said that he understands how difficult it is to make decisions on the list once you get past the first 50 or so names, but that he also believes Thompson and Green belong on the 75th Anniversary Team.
“I definitely think both guys (Thompson and Green) are top 75, just based on winning and two-way basketball and everything that really matters more than statistics and anything related to numbers,” Kerr said. “What matters is if you’re winning championships, and that’s what counts. I would have hoped and thought that both guys would be on there.”
Thompson also took to Instagram to voice his disappointment in not being selected, writing, “Maybe I’m just naive in my ability to play basketball, but in my head I’m TOP 75 all time.”
Thompson and Green are both 31 years old and, most likely, have a lot of basketball left to make the next iteration of the list, whenever that is released. Both were integral parts of three Warriors championship teams and each is considered one of the greatest of all time in their biggest strength: shooting for Thompson and defense for Green.
Given the differences in basketball, both in gameplay and rules, from one era to the next, it’s a monumental task to try to compare modern players to those who competed in the 1950s or 1960s. At the end of the day, it’s probably easier to lean on career numbers and since Thompson and Green’s careers are far from over, they just can’t measure up in that department quite yet.
Even so, you can understand Kerr standing up for two players who he has seen contribute to winning both on and off the court for the last several years.