Beware the Glitz

Cowens or Kareem?


Walton or Wilt?


Elgin Baylor, Rick Barry, Dr. J, George Gervin, David Thompson or Hondo?


Karl Malone or Marques Johnson, Paul Silas, and Horace Grant?

The latter 3.

Before the Finals last June, I had a conversation with my brother, the die-hard Lakers fan, that went something like this:

Lex: You don't have a bench.

Bro: We have the best bench in basketball!

Lex: Really?

Bro: We got Sasha, Vlads, Jordan, and Luke.

Lex: I'll take Powe.

Bro: [Silent, staggered by my choice of Powe over Posey and House]

Lex: We'll see (meaning, you'll see).

Most of the world would agree that Kobe is better than Paul. A smaller universe would take Kobe over Paul when a game is on the line (though I'd allow that a clear majority would still take Kobe).

For me, stats don't matter. Glitz don't matter.

What matters is whether the player shows up when it counts. I don't care how many regular season games someone posts 40 points or grabs 20 rebounds. I do care whether a player scores his points or grabs his rebounds when a BIG GAME is on the line.

By the end of this year, I might take Ray Allen over Kobe, too.


The Kid said...

You would really take Cowens over Kareem?

Lex said...


In 1974 I sure would have.

The Kid said...

I don't know if I would ever take Cowens over Kareem. The Celtics were better than the Bucks in '74 but Kareem was a better player than Cowens every year they were in the league together and there's also the thing about Kareem lasting in the league long after Cowens retired.

Lex said...

The Celtics beat the bucks in 7 games.

Who was a more talented team is a close question.

Cowens definitely outplayed kareem.

Kareem lasted longer, as cowens career was basically over the second he took his leave of absence.

But I'll take those previous six years from cowens over just about any other center I've seen.

The Kid said...

Kareem carried that '74 Bucks by himself as Oscar Robertson wasn't nearly the player he once was. Cowens had Havlicek, Silas, White and more. Kareem put up better numbers than Cowens in the '74 Finals and of course had that big game 6.

The thing about Cowens is that in his best 6 years those were also Kareem's best 6 years arguably as Kareem won 3 MVPs to Cowens 1 and Kareem didn't play on squads as good as Cowens. Kareem was considered the unquestioned best center of the game at that time and history still has him as the best at that time.

I'll agree to disagree but I can't find a way to take Cowens over Kareem. Kareem is a top 3 center and one of the 10 best to ever play.

Lex said...

Did you see the series?

Cowens won the match-up.

Kareem didn't like playing against him.

Lex said...

I think that where the disagreement comes in.

I'm arguing I'll take Cowens in the Kareem-Cowens matchups I saw.

You're arguing Kareem was the better player.

Apples and oranges.

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