Four Spurs Selected Among Sporting News' 50 best NBA players

os Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tops Sporting News’ list of the 50 greatest players in the NBA today, as selected by a panel of 107 Hall of Famers, major award winners, executives, current players and coaches and other basketball experts.

Bryant beat out Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James for the No. 1 spot and received 62 first-place votes. James received 34 first-place votes, and Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who was third on the list, received 11 first-place votes. Magic center Dwight Howard was fourth, and Spurs power forward Tim Duncan fifth.

Rounding out the top 10: 6. Hornets PG Chris Paul, 7. Celtics PF Kevin Garnett, 8. Mavericks PF Dirk Nowitzki, 9. Nuggets SF Carmelo Anthony, 10. Celtics SF Paul Pierce.

Among the NBA legends who filled out ballots for SN were 28 Hall of Famers: Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Walt Bellamy, Bill Bradley, Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, Joe Dumars, Harry Gallatin, Cliff Hagan, Tom Heinsohn, Bob Houbregs, Bailey Howell, Bob Kurland, Earl Lloyd, Bob McAdoo, Dick McGuire, Earl Monroe, Bob Pettit, Jack Ramsay, Frank Ramsey, Arnie Risen, Oscar Robertson, Bill Sharman, Jack Twyman, Dick Vitale, Bobby Wanzer, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens. The complete panel is below.

“I think what we’ve seen from Kobe in the last two, three years is that he has become an incredible leader,” former Lakers great Magic Johnson said about Bryant. “That was the only thing he had to do that was left on his resume. Before, there was no question that he was the best basketball player in the world, like he is now. He was dominant every night, but he didn’t take on that leadership role. ... Now, he is the total package.”

The Spurs were tied (with Boston) for the second most player in the top 50, with four overall: 5. Tim Duncan; 13. Tony Parker; 22. Manu Ginobili; 46. Richard Jefferson.

How other teams fared:

— Four players picked: Celtics, Spurs
— Three: Hawks, Pistons, Rockets

— Two: Cavaliers, Grizzlies, Jazz, Magic, Mavericks, Nuggets, Raptors, 76ers, Suns

— One: Bulls, Bucks, Clippers, Heat, Hornets, Nets, Pacers, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Wizards

— None: Bobcats, Kings, Knicks, Timberwolves, Warriors

The new Sporting News Magazine, featuring Alabama running back Mark Ingram on the cover, hits newsstands this week and can be purchased at all Barnes & Noble, Borders and Hudson Retail outlets. More coverage can be found on and in today’s edition of Sporting News Today, the world’s first digital daily sports newspaper. Go to to sign up. All questions and requests should be directed to editor-in-chief Jeff D’Alessio at


1. Kobe Bryant, SG, Lakers
2. LeBron James, SF, Cavaliers
3. Dwyane Wade, SG, Heat
4. Dwight Howard, C, Magic
5. Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs
6. Chris Paul, PG, Hornets
7. Kevin Garnett, PF, Celtics
8. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Mavericks
9. Carmelo Anthony, SF, Nuggets
10. Paul Pierce, SF, Celtics
11. Steve Nash, PG, Suns
12. Deron Williams, PG, Jazz
13. Tony Parker, PG, Spurs
14. Brandon Roy, SG, Trail Blazers
15. Yao Ming, C, Rockets
16. Shaquille O’Neal, C, Cavaliers
17. Pau Gasol, PF, Lakers
18. Chris Bosh, PF, Raptors
19. Amare Stoudemire, PF, Suns
20. Chauncey Billups, PG, Nuggets
21. Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder
22. Manu Ginobili, SG, Spurs
23. Jason Kidd, PG, Mavericks
24. Tracy McGrady, SG, Rockets
25. Joe Johnson, SG, Hawks
26. Derrick Rose, PG, Bulls
27. Ray Allen, SG, Celtics
28. Gilbert Arenas, PG, Wizards
29. Ron Artest, SF, Lakers
30. Vince Carter, SG, Magic
31. Danny Granger, SF, Pacers
32. Baron Davis, PG, Clippers
33. Devin Harris, PG, Nets
34. Ben Gordon, SG, Pistons
35. Al Horford, C, Hawks
36. Carlos Boozer, PF, Jazz
37. Nene, C, Nuggets
38. Rajon Rondo, PG, Celtics
39. Andre Iguodala, SG, 76ers
40. Josh Smith, PF, Hawks
41. Rudy Gay, SF, Grizzlies
42. Hedo Turkoglu, SF, Raptors
43. Lamar Odom, SF, Lakers
44. Shane Battier, SF, Rockets
45. Elton Brand, PF, 76ers
46. Richard Jefferson, SF, Spurs
47. O.J. Mayo, SG, Grizzlies
48. Charlie Villanueva, PF, Pistons
49. Michael Redd, SG, Bucks
50. Andrew Bynum, C, Lakers


Gene Banks

Rick Barry

Elgin Baylor

Butch Beard

Walt Bellamy

Travis Best

Otis Birdsong

Muggsy Bogues

Jeff Bower

Bill Bradley

Terrell Brandon

Allan Bristow

Dee Brown

Hubie Brown

Mike Brown

P.J. Brown

Marcus Camby

Rick Carlisle

Bill Cartwright

Tyson Chandler

Phil Chenier

Doug Christie

Archie Clark

Jim Cleamons

Wayne Cooper

Bob Cousy

Dave Cowens

Mike D’Antoni

Don Delaney

Joe Dumars

Mike Dunleavy

Mark Eaton

Craig Ehlo

Mario Elie

Gar Forman

Harry Gallatin

Dick Garmaker

Mike Gminski

Cliff Hagan

John Hammond

Tim Hardaway

Tom Heinsohn

Rod Higgins

Bob Hill

Lionel Hollins

Bob Houbregs

Bailey Howell

Eddie Johnson

Marques Johnson

Bobby Jones

George Karl

Steve Kerr

Bob Kurland

Frank Layden

Tim Legler

Ronnie Lester

Earl Lloyd

Donyell Marshall

Bob McAdoo

Rodney McCray

Dick McGuire

Brad Miller

Earl Monroe

Daryl Morey

David Morway

Tracy Murray

Tom Nissalke

Norm Nixon

Kevin O’Connor

Will Perdue

Geoff Petrie

Bob Pettit

Randy Pfund

Scot Pollard

Gregg Popovich

Kevin Pritchard

Jack Ramsay

Frank Ramsey

Arnie Risen

Oscar Robertson

Scotty Robertson

Jimmy Rodgers

John Salley

Flip Saunders

Charlie Scott

Bill Sharman

Purvis Short

Jim Spanarkel

Steve Stipanovich

Ed Stefanski

Rod Thorn

Jay Triano

Kelly Tripucka

Jack Twyman

Dick Van Arsdale

Kiki Vandeweghe

Stan Van Gundy

Dick Vitale

Chet Walker

Bobby Wanzer

Mark Warkentien

Slick Watts

Bill Wennington

Jerry West

Lenny Wilkens

Pat Williams

Brian Winters