JTA avoids listing players he never saw.
During a newly-published conversation on Golden State Warriors All-Star power forward Draymond Green’s Uninterrupted series “Throwing Bones,” Los Angeles Lakers deep-bench reserve forward Juan Toscano-Anderson submitted his personal top five favorite NBA players ever.
JTA’s list arrived with one major caveat: he refused to include players he didn’t witness, meaning all-time Lakers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor, plus other all-time players like Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon, et al., didn’t make the cut.
This feels like a somewhat disingenuous qualifier, as all of these legends have some level of highlights and even full games available on YouTube.
“Mike is the god, though,” Toscano-Anderson said. “He is who he is. We all know that.” The Lakers forward then went on to explain his top five, which was a Lakers-heavy list including Bryant, James and Shaquille O’Neal. “So for me, Kob [Kobe Bryant] is No. 1, Bron [LeBron James] No. 2, Steph [Stephen Curry] No. 3, Shaq [Shaquille O’Neal] 4 and probably Timmy [Tim Duncan] No. 5.” Toscano-Anderson said..” Toscano-Anderson said.
It is fascinating that he lists Bryant ahead of James, Duncan, and Stephen Curry, especially since Toscano-Anderson has played with both Curry and James now. This writer would probably give a slight edge to O’Neal over Bryant as well. Though Bryant may have the edge on O’Neal by a year in longevity, and by a title in championship tallies, the Big Diesel at his peak was arguably better than Bryant at his, and inarguably O’Neal was the centerpiece of more title-winning teams (three) than Bryant (two).
Ultimately, all of this is picking nits, and the 29-year-old’s list reflects his own personal preference. Will James give Toscano-Anderson grief for listing the Black Mamba over the Chosen One? Does any of this have to do with the fact that Toscano-Anderson is no longer in the Lakers’ rotation as of this writing? Who knows?