4 Basketball Players That Changed the NBA

The beauty of basketball lies in the fact that it continuously evolves. For one, it has 13 rules when James Naismith introduced it in 1891, but today’s game complies with a rulebook of 66 pages.

Time and again, people came to the league and impacted the way it operates—the impact was so huge at times a rule was named after him.

Speaking of these players, here are the most influential names that changed how the game is played.

Shaquille ’O’Neal

Not all NBA players are created equal, and ’O’Neal is the perfect example of this. He was not the most versatile player ’you’d see in the court, and his greatest weakness was shooting free throws. 

Hack-a-Shaq was invented, which means to intentionally foul ’O’Neal since he cannot score from the line. This gives the other team a chance to get the ball possession. 

It was banned by the NBA in 2017, giving the fouled team one free throw and the possession. The No Hack-A-Shaq Rule made it pointless to commit an intentional foul.

Allen Iverson

Iverson was one of the shortest players to ever play in the NBA. But this ’didn’t stop him from winning the MVP award. He also averaged 20 points per game. Iverson is an inspiration for other short players (by ’NBA’s standard) who also desires of becoming aggressive scorers. He even gave Michael Jordan an in-your-face score on his rookie season.

Aside from that, he popularized the crossover move which then became as The Allen Iverson Crossover. He was one of the most recognizable players from afar also staring from his trademark cornrows to tattoos and arm sleeves—the hip-hop swagger. Thereby not just merging sports and entertainment but also starting a culture. 

Iverson was so influential in this aspect that the NBA management required the players to adhere to a strict dress code in 2005. Before and after each game, all the players need to wear business casual attire.

Bill Russell

The Finals MVP award was named after him after Russell won 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics. He was one of the GOAT (greatest of all time) players; he was a proud owner of an NCAA title, NBA title, and Olympic gold medal. Russell was the only player who has won all three. He was the ’NBA’s greatest defender. 

Off-court, he was a proud Black athlete who became a head coach and won a major sports league. Russell opposed strongly to racism. 

Michael Jordan

As the GOAT, Jordan has changed the NBA in many ways. He always wanted to take the game a notch higher, starting with levying for the players to be paid a premium. Today, the league is a big deal, not just the salaries, but also sports apparel. 

It was Jordan who put athletic wear in the mainstream, particularly his shoes. A pair of Jordans is a necessity when in the court. Also, people still buy his #23 Chicago Bulls jersey. Jordan made tons of TV commercials and one of the most-loved movies of all time.

 

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11 Youngest MVP Winners in NBA History

Winning the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in the NBA is the greatest achievement any baller could ever have. While there are no clear criteria of who should win it, the award is open to all the best performers of the season even to the young players.

Truth be told, the new breed of NBA players can outperform even the seasoned ones.

Here are the youngest NBA MVPs.

#11 Giannis Antetokounmpo (age 24)

Antetokounmpo is the latest addition to the list of elite basketball players who achieved the highest milestone in the NBA. He was the third-youngest player to become an MVP in 40 years, joining Derrick Rose and LeBron James in the roster. 

#10 Bob Pettit (age 24)

Pettit was a dominant force in the history of the NBA in terms of scoring and rebounding. He has two MVP awards, the first one of which he received in his sophomore year.

#9 Bill Russell (age 24)

With a total of five MVP trophies, Russell was one of the most successful players in the NBA sans a championship trophy. He was a rebounding leader in his heydays. In one of the games, he grabbed a total of 49 boards.

#8 Lew Alcindor (age 24)

Alcindor is a familiar face in the NBA; he goes by the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar now. He has a record of six MVP awards from the first one he earned in the 1970-71 season. The same season wherein the Milwaukee Bucks won the championship.

#7 Dave Cowens (age 24)

Cowens won the Rookie of the Year award, and after two years, both the league and All-Star Game MVP awards. He was also one of the reasons why the Boston Celtics received an NBA-best record of 68-14. 

#6 Moses Malone (age 24)

Malone was NBA’s best player in 1979, but it was in 1981 when he had his first finals, with the House Rockets. He has a total of three MVP awards.

#5 LeBron James (age 24)

James won his first MVP award in the same year the Cleveland Cavaliers led the major categories, i.e., points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. He was the tenth player to win the award back-to-back (2012 and 2013).

#4 Wes Unseld (age 23)

Unseld held the NBA record of winning the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in a single season—the second player to do so. Although he was undersized for a center, standing at 6’7”, he had the strength to create rebounds that matter. He earned the moniker Round Mound of Rebound because of this. 

#3 Bob McAdoo (age 23)

McAdoo was an underrated big man, playing for at least seven teams throughout his career. He won the NBA MVP award in the 1974-75 season. 

#2 Wilt Chamberlain (age 23)

Chamberlain was the first player to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards within the same season. He also holds the records for the highest rookie averages that no other MVP players gained including 37.6 points and 27 rebounds. He went on to win three more MVP awards. 

#1 Derrick Rose (age 22)

Rose won the MVP award two years after winning his Rookie of the Year award. He was the second Chicago Bulls player to win the MVP award during his first few seasons in the NBA; Michael Jordan was the first Bulls player to achieve this milestone.

 

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NBA Offseason Moves: 6 Riskiest and Most Rewarding Trades

Every game is a gamble. So they say.

Now that news of Dwight Howard signing with the Los Angeles Lakers (albeit the non-guaranteed contract) dawned on us. The next important question is: how will this change the 2019-20 NBA season? Howard was with the Lakers in 2012-13. Hopes and expectations were high then but left abruptly after the team’s first-round loss. 

This can be one of the most surprising returns throughout NBA history, especially after Howard telling the fans that he already put the Lakers behind him.

Sports analysts are also quick to note that the Howard re-sign is nothing compared with the Anthony Davis trade. The latter potentially changed the 2019-20 season by making Lakers a playoff contender now. Will Howard be an integral part of the strategic roster of LeBron James-Davis tandem? 

That’s one question we have yet to answer. The same applies to how the trades, signings, re-signs, draft picks would change the coming season.

In the meantime, here are some of the most intriguing NBA offseason moves.

Riskiest: Kemba Walker leaving Charlotte Hornets

Walker left the Hornets after low-balling him for Boston Celtics, who also lost Kyrie Irving. Walker was the only franchise player and losing him would mean the next season’s chaos of a team. 

Most Rewarding: Kawhi Leonard signing up with Los Angeles Clippers

Even long before the finals win for Toronto Raptors, Leonard has already eyed the Clippers. The addition of Leonard, who signed a four-year maximum deal with the players, and Paul George, among others, made the Clippers as an early favourite to win the title.

Riskiest: Hoping for Isaiah Thomas’s comeback season

The future of the Washington Wizards is bleak, with a roster of players that can be easily mistaken as a G League frontrunner. The only extenuating feature of the Wizards is Bradley Beal, its #9 first-round draft, Rui Hachimura, and the recently-signed Thomas.

Most Rewarding: Brooklyn Nets signing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant

Irving and Durant are the duo to watch out for—a tandem that was not expected until it happened with the Nets. These two alone makes the team one of the NBA elite. DeAndre Jordan, Garrett Temple, and Wilson Chandler make the defence all the more exciting.

Riskiest: Cleveland Cavaliers losing three players but did not sign new members

Kevin Love has a disappointing performance in the 2018-19 season, and the Cavaliers is ready to give him up. This makes sense as the team is trying to shift its focus on developing the young rosters of players. It drafted three new names such as Darius Garland, Dylan Windler, and Kevin Porter Jr. And unless these players perform, the Cavs will be one of the terrible NBA teams this upcoming season.

Most Rewarding: New Orleans Pelicans signing Zion Williamson

Williamson was this season’s first pick overall. A lot is expected from him, having shown his speed and leaping ability comparable to that of Charles Barkley. Playing together with seasoned players such as JJ Redick and Derrick Favors, this can be the Pelicans success formula for this season despite losing Davis to the Lakers.

 

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