Judy Kay-Wolff


Whether at bridge or sports, can anyone argue against ‘SKILL’ reigning supreme when it comes to all-star qualifications (tantamount to the Primary Bridge Hall of Fame)?  Regardless of the outcome of the ACBL HOF Selection for 2010, this article is a ‘must read.’   I found it on the computer this morning.   The caption is ‘Magic Johnson Runs the Show in All-Time NBA All-Star Squad’ by Evans Clinchy on Feb 14, 2010 11:35:03 AM and I believe the site is called THE BUZZ. 

I, personally, ran a sports memorabilia operation for almost twenty years, and was familiar with the names of thousands of sports stars over the two decades.   There is a difference between good, very good, super, terrific, excellent, etc.    I could not believe some of the potentially glaring omissions in the ‘ONE TIME ALL-STAR GAME FOR ALL TIME’   That, to me, is what any Shrine should be about — the BEST OF THE BEST.  I was shocked with the omission of such names as Elgin Baylor (don’t tell Eddie Kantar) or Wilt Chamberlain (our Philly all-time superstar).  

Read on for yourselves as I have taken the liberty of highlighting, pasting and copying this hair-raising article for your convenience:


“Especially in recent years, we’ve seen a lot of mediocre players make names for themselves as NBA All-Stars. Wally Szczerbiak, Theo Ratliff, Jamaal Magloire — if everything goes right, practically anyone can find themselves in the big game on All-Star weekend.

So how do you separate the mere All-Stars from the true best of the best? No easy task, that’s for sure. But ultimately, the NBA’s true legends are the ones who stand the test of time. Not the one-season wonders, but the ones who wow us with their abilities year in and year out. The true mainstays of the game.

If you could only have one All-Star Game for all time, who would make the cut? Only the very best.

Only these 10.

Eastern Conference

Point guard: Oscar Robertson. A 12-time All-Star and a three-time MVP of the February game, Oscar was the most dominant point guard in the game in the 1960s and ’70s. Statistically, he was off the charts — he was a statistical machine in his early years, even averaging a triple-double (30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, 11.4 assists) for an entire season at age 23. He still sits fifth on the all-time assist list. One of the most incredible players in NBA history, and he put up numbers unlike anything the NBA had ever seen until… well, the next guy on this list.

Shooting guard: Michael Jordan. What can you say? The single greatest star in the history of American sports. Jordan was the ultimate competitor, the ultimate winner, the ultimate athlete. He commanded the attention of everyone in the room, everyone in the arena, everyone on the planet. MJ revolutionized the game of basketball, and he ushered in a generation of fans that will never, ever forget him. A six-time champion, a five-time MVP, a 14-time All-Star — Jordan had it all. He was the greatest.

Small forward: LeBron James. Don’t call him the next MJ. But he is the best in the game today, and it’s scary to think that he’s still only 25 and hasn’t stopped getting better. His athleticism is freakish; his basketball acumen is amazing. He hasn’t won a championship yet, but he’s about to make the sixth All-Star Game of his career, and he has the potential to be the best player in the NBA for the next decade. Will he ever be considered the greatest ever? Maybe not. But LeBron is the King right now. Don’t you forget it.

Power forward: Larry Bird. Larry Legend wasn’t just a fantastic individual scorer and rebounder; he was the ultimate teammate. He made stops on defense. He made game-changing hustle plays. He made perfect passes when the situation called for it. He rose to the occasion and carried his team in big games. It was never about himself, but he did manage to earn himself 13 consecutive All-Star appearances, and that’s no small feat. Bird was a great team leader on the 1980s Celtics — he could play that same role on the East’s all-time team.

Center: Bill Russell. When you think of winning, you think of Bill Russell. Eight straight titles and 11 out of 13 — it’s difficult to grasp just how incredible a feat that is. No one cared more than Bill Russell. No one wanted it more. No one dedicated himself to winning championships the way he did. He was extraordinarily gifted physically and had all the talent in the world for the game of basketball, but what truly set Bill Russell apart was a desire to win and a desire to be the best. And for more than a decade, he absolutely was the best.

Western Conference

Point guard: Magic Johnson. Magic was what a point guard should be. He revolutionized the position in the 1980s – at 6-foot-8, he had the bulky frame of a power forward, and he could not only run the floor but also dominate against bigger, tougher defenders. Like LeBron, Magic had the physical gifts to play any position he wanted, but at the point, he was able to carry his Lakers teams by becoming a vocal leader offensively and stepping up to make things happen in big games. He was never the dominating individual force, never the “leading scorer” type, but always a superstar and always a winner.

Shooting guard: Kobe Bryant. How many times can one player reinvent himself? Kobe began his career as a sidekick to Shaquille O’Neal; he then alienated Shaq and became a frustrated loner on a disappointing Lakers team; he then brought the Lakers back to glory as the leader of a team that won the Finals in 2009. He’s been through a lot in his career, on and off the basketball court, but there’s no doubt that he’s always cared more and always worked harder than everyone around him. That’s what makes him one of the all-time greats — love him or hate him, he’s earned his place in the conversation.

Small forward: Charles Barkley. Sir Charles is the only player on this list to retire without an NBA championship ring. That hurts his case, definitely, but the 11-time All-Star belongs in this lineup because he accomplished so much with so little. Barkley was listed at 6-foot-6, but many would tell you he wasn’t a hair taller than 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3. He became one of the best rebounders in NBA history on heart, tenacity and hard work. Some would hesitate to place Barkley among the game’s all-time legends, but he earned this spot. He was one of the greats.

Power forward: Tim Duncan. Duncan has been so amazingly reliable, so amazingly consistent, that he sometimes forget he’s still there. And we certainly don’t pay enough attention to how good he is. He’s not just a guaranteed 20 points per game every season — he’s also a great rebounder, a great defender, a great facilitator, a great leader, a great teammate and a great winner. Duncan is about to start his 11th consecutive All-Star Game, and we’ve taken him for granted all this time. Someday, we’ll look back and realize how amazing he really was.

Center: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Nineteen All-Star selections. Six MVPs. Eleven All-Defense selections. More points (38,387) than anyone in the history of the game. He was a truly great NBA big man for two decades, he won six titles with two different teams, and he always dominated when his teams needed him most. Kareem wasn’t just a legend — he was a pioneer. Basketball was never the same after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

A lot of great players have graced the All-Star Game with their presence over the years. But only a few stand out as the true best of the best. If only we could see these mythical teams go five-on-five in an All-Star Game for the ages… that would be truly special. But instead, you’ll have to settle for the game Sunday night. Enjoy it.”


Danny KleinmanFebruary 16th, 2010 at 1:31 am

I agree with you, Judy, about Wilt and Elgin. I would put Wilt in place of Russell as center for the East (Russell’s better success rate stemmed from better teammates), and Elgin ahead of Barkley as small forward for the West. Maybe those who saw things differently never watched Wilt and Elgin in their prime.

diogenesFebruary 16th, 2010 at 12:59 pm

There is much the ACBL Hall of Fame Committee and candidates can learn from this article (and your comment about distinguishing “good” from “very good” from “super” from “terrific” from “excellent:” and so on). The HOF is suppose to house the Bo Dereks of this world. Remember her and her movie “10” which was symbolic of the best. In the future, we should settle for no less. It would not be a tragedy to have no one elected into the, as you call it “primary” HOF if there are no totally qualified candidates in a given year. Better than making a farce of the whole process.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFFebruary 18th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Danny —

It’s all about being ‘in the know.’ How could you expect even the greatest sports authority who saw the current listed players in action recognize the superiority of others omitted whom they never saw in the flesh.

How could you expect the present HOF Selection Committee to know how much they have compromised the standards of their HOF slate when they did not see and play against most of the Best of the Oldtimers and know the standards for which we should be striving. Most of the candidates do not live up to anywhere near the Best of the Best beacon — and the sponsors’ nominations are totally absurd — an insult to the the majesty of the institution, now being tainted primarily by the green stuff in an effort for the pros to maintain their fine lifestyles and deify their clients.

JUDY KAY-WOLFFFebruary 18th, 2010 at 3:02 pm


Because of some irrational provision in the HOF strictures (to wait for stragglers who were not conscientious enough to mail their votes in a timely fashion, we must wait ten days to learn the results of the 2010 election (certainly grossly unfair to the anxious candidates). Perhaps well-deserved cosideration will be given then to re-writing many of the conditions for nomination which are contaminating the original objective of its founders and will serve as a stalwart effort to right the ship.

Blair FedderFebruary 19th, 2010 at 1:59 am

George Mikan, as a forward or backup center is an automatic ( “George Mikan vs. Knicks”, once a Madison Square Garden marquee. Number 99 was the first and only player inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1959. He was voted the Greatest Player of the First-Half Century, and later, 1996, to the NBA 50 Greatest Players). I wrote a two hour response to your blog. It was about the history of the Minneapolis/ L.A. Lakers, the 10 selected superstars in the blog and why so many did not belong in the starting 10, but it just vanished. Oh well, it was quite a history about basketball.

Players who do not belong are James, Barkley, Duncan, Bird and the Big O (nor Baylor, Gervin, Maravich, Cousy, Pettit, Sharman, Chamberlain, Lucas, Barry, Hayes, Monroe, DeBusschere, Bradley, Havlicek, Frazier, McHale, Worthy, Olajuwon, the “Admiral”, the “Glide” or a crippled Willis Reed, just to name many). In other words, I’ll take Mikan, Magic, Kareem, Michael and the Doctor and I’ll think about Russell vs. Walton as my 6th man. West and Kobe are 8th and 9th, as Doctor J would start as he could outplay either.