With the NBA playoffs now underway, what better time to reveal my pick for basketball’s best ever? For any team sport selecting an individual as the best ever can be tricky, and controversial. But just like my pick in boxing, Ali, size matters. And like my pick in baseball, Willie Mays, consistent longevity in total contribution and overall rankings in career stats are key components. That’s why my pick is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. From the time he started playing basketball his teams were dominant. In high school, his team won over seventy straight games. In college, his UCLA Bruins teams only lost two games in his four years and won three straight NCCA championships. The only thing that prevented them from winning four straight like the UCONN women’s team did this year was that freshman weren’t allowed to play on the varsity during his college years. The fear of his potential total dominance of the college game led to the dunk shot being outlawed upon his arrival. That just encouraged him to develop and perfect, what has been called by many the single most unstoppable shot of all time, his sky hook. It was deadly accurate from an incredible range and virtually unblock-able. As a pro, he took a lowly Milwaukee Bucks team and quickly turned them into consistent contenders. He led them to their one and only NBA championship. After being traded to the L.A. Lakers, he was the centerpiece of teams that won five NBA titles. His longevity, 20 seasons, and consistently high level of play, 19 all-star appearances, are also testament of his value to the game. Even now, after almost 30 years in retirement, Kareem is still the NBA all-time leading point scorer. Other career rankings include: minutes played, 1st, games played, 2nd, total win shares, 1st, offensive win shares, 1st, defensive win shares, 3rd, MVP shares, 3rd, total rebounds 4th, shot blocks, 3rd, fga, 1st, fgm, 1st, 2 pt fga, 1st, 2 pt fgm, 1st, fta, 6th, ftm, 10th. As far as individual awards, he was the 2-time AP Player of the Year, 3-time Final Four Outstanding Player, and 68-69 Naismith Player of the Year in college. As a pro, he was 6-time NBA MVP and twice the NBA Finals MVP, as well as the already mentioned unprecedented nineteen-time All-Star. He was also named a member of the NBA 35th and 50th anniversary all-time teams and one of the fifty greatest players of all-time. In addition, Abdul-Jabbar was named to the all-defensive 1st team five times and to the 2nd team six times demonstrating his all-around game and value to his teams. Personally, I believe that due to his size and dominance many fans and so-called experts alike don’t give him credit for being the best because his play seemed almost effortless. Smaller players, relatively speaking, are given credit for seeming to put forth greater effort and thus being more impressive. A prime example of this prevailing attitude being that centers never win the dunk contest. But as they say, the numbers don’t lie. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s numbers have stood the test of time. He won just as many titles as Jordan, and scored more points.  And he exceeds Mr. James in both those categories. If I was asked to put together a basketball team for all the money, and could pick anyone, my first choice would be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Period. And that’s the reason why, along with all of the above, in my book, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest basketball player of all-time.