In nine days the 2021-22 NBA season will tip off with the OKC Thunder set to begin their campaign the night after in Utah. While fans will be flocking back into arenas there is more to celebrate this year as the association marks its 75th anniversary.
With that in mind, the league is running a commercial paying homage to some of the best players in history and there will be copious publications paying homage to the occasion.
Reflecting back, during the 50th anniversary the league recognized the top 50 players, and this year there will undoubtedly be more of those tributes. As such, USA Today released their tip of the hat to the top 75 players in NBA history.
With 30 teams in the league and 75 years’ worth of performances to consider making the list is a huge accomplishment. Many franchises have a long storied history with various name changes as well as shifting city locations. Only two current teams began with the name they sport today and remain in the same cities – the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.
5 OKC Thunder players make the USA Today top 75 players in NBA history
The OKC Thunder are the youngest of all the franchises, having been in existence for 13 seasons as they enter their 14th year. Given those specifics, the fact five former players were recognized by USA Today is a major accomplishment and something for Thunder fans to be proud of.
In compiling the list USA Today had a panel of 15 writers provide their individual choices and then a master list was created from those choices. Of note four of the five players listed below made every list with the one player who missed some lists being Carmelo Anthony.
Local representation came courtesy of Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman and yes, Russell Westbrook made his list (the pair had a long-standing feud that Thunder lifers are all too familiar with. Although his placement of Kevin Durant at 21st on his list is slightly suspect.
To review each of the 15 panelists list of 75 along with an accompanying video click here.