NBA Draft

At No. 31, Bob Pettit’s illustrious career was filled with a flurry of firsts – The Athletic


Welcome to the NBA 75, The Athletic’s countdown of the 75 best players in NBA history, in honor of the league’s diamond anniversary. We’ll unveil a new player on the list every weekday through Feb. 18, culminating with the man picked by a panel of The Athletic NBA staff members as the greatest of all time.

Think about all those heated basketball arguments you’ve had with your friends and family over the years.

Who’s the best dunker of all time? Which game-winning shot is the most memorable? How would Player X perform in another decade or era? What is the greatest playoff play? (We’ve got that one covered for you.)

There’s no real answer to those questions. It’s all subjective. That’s part of what makes the discussion so fun and, many times, frustrating. Your choices and talking points might be completely different from those of your brother or sister or cousin or best friend.

But certain things aren’t up for debate. They’re crystal clear. Facts only.

The greatest or hardest? Subjective.

The first? There’s only one.

And when the topic is NBA Most Valuable Players, that “first” is Bob Pettit, No. 31 on The Athletic’s NBA 75.

“That was great because you were recognized by the fellas you played with and against,” Pettit told The Athletic.

Despite the Hawks finishing 33-39 in their first year in St.



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