UNLV Runnin Rebels-
The Runnin’ Rebels were the prequel to the Fab Five. The UNLV Rebels had it all: a smart point guard in Greg Anthony, a two guard that could light it up in Anderson Hunt, a high flying wing in Stacy Augmon, a dunking power forward in Larry Johnson and Elton Spencer in the middle. Those rebels obliterated teams. Every other play was a fast break, blocked shot or three pointer. They were beating teams so bad back then that they average margin of victory was 31 points per game! There will never be another team like that ever again.
Fab 5 Michigan-
The black socks with the black Nike Air Force 180s. The extra long Michigan shorts. The blank blue shirts (which by the way was a way to make a statement but ended up being a cool fashion statement). The Nike Huraches. The dancing and the screaming after each dunk. The trash talking. Simple: The All time coolest basketball team of all time. Not the Dream Team, or The Showtime Lakers, or The 90s Bulls or the Bad Boys or any team that ever played be cooler than these guys.
The 1987 showtime Lakers (and even those before the 1987 season),…..If you didn’t love Magic, then you could love Kareem. If you didn’t love Kareem then you got Worthy. And if you wanted to love Kurt Rambis you could too. That Laker team had 12 different big personalties. Movie stars and models sitting front row. 800 fast breaks a game. There was no more glitz in the 1980s than the Lakers. The fact the Lakers had Magic throwing no-looks everywhere and a coach that looked like a wall street exec didn’t hurt also. Nor did the 5 titles including the back-to-backs.
1992 Dream Team-
The team that changed basketball forever. Many of the older European basketball stars who made the NBA (like Dirk and Peja) found inspiration from the Dream Team. The Dream Team showed the world that 12 mega-stars (well 11 and one college player) could come together, put all the BS aside and destroy teams. The Dream Team also showed what a mega athlete looked like up close (hint: MJ). The fact that Magic was leading the break and that Scottie Pippen was dunking over everyone and that Barkley was elbowing opponents are all minor details at this point. The Dream Team was the greatest basketball team ever assembled and one of the greatest sports teams ever assembled. The rest doesn’t matter anymore.
Phi Slamma Jamma- The all-time greatest college dunking basketball team. There had never been anything like Phi Slamma Jamma before and there has not been a team like that in the the 35 years since. Not only was it a group of high flyers, it also had a young Dream on the team. If they could dunk on every possession they would have. Not only were the starters supreme dunkers, but so were all the guys on the bench. Possibly the greatest warm up line ever.
Pete Maravich’s LSU Tigers-
The LSU Tigers during the Pete Maravich team was the team to see. Maravich had shattered all scoring records, and was a one-man show on the basketball court. Maravich was part Marques Haynes part scoring machine. Maravich was sort of a rock star in those days and his signature floppy socks tied in the whole look. Every arena was sold out to watch him. Maravich said he would rather play on the road and put on a show for the visitors who had never seen him before.
This was a tough choice, it came down to Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas or Allen Iverson’s Hoyas. After much debate, Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas of the 1980s won the spot. Why exactly? Because Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas were BAD. They were feared and other teams were scared to play them. Even some fans didn’t want to watch them. Iverson ofcourse, was famous for his Hoyas outfit with his Air Jordan XIs, but the rest of that team wasn’t remarkable. Ewing’s Hoyas were bad ass a team. They were the Bad Boys before the Bad Boys Piston’s were. Those old tough Big East days of the 1980s are long gone and we will probably never see another team like that.
1990s Orlando Magic- A young Shaq, a young Penny Hardaway who at the time was playing like Magic Johnson part 2, Nick Anderson, Dennis Scott and Horace Grant. Nike and Rebook on the feet of the two stars. Lil’ Penny on TV and Shaq recording rap albums. It just doesn’t get any better. Once Penny was traded for Chris Webber in the 1993 NBA Draft, the media was saying it was Kareem and Magic all over again. The Shaq/Penny duo however, was even more exciting (for the short time) than Kareem and Magic. Its too bad that Shaq didn’t stick around and bring a title (or few) to Orlando. They would have been even cooler than they were.
1960’s Globetrotters with Wilt Chamberlain-
There was nothing quite like the early 1960’s globetrotters. They were one of the first teams to take their show internationally, and every show in every city and every country sold out. In fact, the Trotters were so popular back then, that they would have to play multliple games a day to meet demands. Foreign fans had never seen such a show, and every fan was on the end of their seats. Chamberlain claimed the year he spent with the Trotters (in which he was the most famous basketball player in the world) was the greatest in his life. Can you image Zion deciding to play with the Trotters after he got drafted??
The Celtics teams that won 8 straight titles and then two more after in the 1960s. After every title, the team would talk about getting back together and winning another title. Unless someone was retiring like Cousy in 1962 and Auerbach in 1966, everyone on the team wanted to come back as a group. And if someone did retire, it was next man up. No one wanted to go to a different a team or a rival at that. Every year they decided to come back together and win another title. And there is just nothing cooler than that.