BUCKING THE LEGEND
I have read a lot of absurd articles in my time, but Peter Carry's The Best Team—Ever (Nov. 15) takes the prize. Carry might be well on his way toward becoming the Tex Maule of basketball writers.
One does not have to create any "Dominance Index" to realize that the Boston Celtics, as Carry finally admits in the last line of his article, "were the best pro team in any sport." Their record of 11 championships in 13 years and the 11 banners hanging from the rafters of Boston Garden speak more eloquently than any index. I can recall the Philadelphia 76ers in 1967 and the New York Knicks in 1970 proclaiming to the world that they were the greatest teams ever and on their way to establishing dynasties that would surpass the Celtics. Well?
Certainly the Milwaukee Bucks have the potential to dominate the league for many years, but so did the 1967 76ers and the 1970 Knicks. The Bucks must earn the title, as did the Celtics, and not be given it by sportswriters who like to go out on limbs. After all, if the Celtics, who are certainly not one of the top teams in the league at this point, can defeat the Bucks as they have done this year, then the Bucks cannot expect to win the crown without a struggle.
I imagine Red Auerbach did a slow burn as he read Carry's article because Auerbach never conceded anything. His great teams proved themselves on the courts of battle rather than on the pages of magazines. Furthermore, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see Auerbach rebuild his team and prevent Carry's assumption from becoming a reality.
Peter Carry's conjecture should beget an avalanche of mail from screaming fans. As a Milwaukee Buck fan, my appraisal is that Kareem Jabbar is fantastic, but Bill Russell's awesome record is in a class of its own. The Celtic record and the Russell legend are based upon year after year of determination and sacrifice. The upstart pretenders, including the Bucks, will have to dominate for the better part of a decade before they can even dream a phrase like "the best team—ever."
Players like Wilt Chamberlain, John Unitas and Henry Aaron managed a taste of team glory. Players like Bill Russell, Bart Starr and Mickey Mantle arc among those fortunate enough to have fully savored the rewards of some of the best teams ever. Ask Oscar Robertson.
No, sir, the Bucks aren't great yet. And if Kareem Jabbar retires prematurely....
How can SI's "expert" be so stupid and premature as to call the Milwaukee Bucks the best team ever? Agreed, Jabbar is the best, or soon-to-be-best, center. Agreed, the Big O is one of the finest guards. But you were talking in terms of teams, not individuals. Jabbar never had to battle a young and healthy Chamberlain or Russell year after year. He battled a small Wes Unseld, a crippled Willis Reed and an old Wilt Chamberlain.
State College, Pa.
Thanks to SI and Peter Carry for a fine article. The NBA is the toughest it has ever been, and with so many good teams, especially in the Bucks' Midwest Division, it is a wonder one team can still dominate. Could the old Lakers, Celtics or 76ers do today what the Bucks are doing? With Jabbar, the Bucks are making the biggest and best dynasty of the century.
Calloo Callay! Hooray for the Bucks. But a Dominance Index of 235%? What about the tertiary extrinsic appurtenancy? It's .047%, of course. And how can you possibly ignore the floomary rebound relation? Obviously, it is -2,347%. Adding these very important statistics will significantly alter the DI. In the future, gentlemen, please keep your arbitrary analyses of the abstract correct in all essentials.