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How I rank centers

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  June 3, 2011 01:14 PM

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Apropos my ranking of Shaquille O'Neal vying for the fourth spot on the all-time roster of NBA centers along with Moses Malone, and my assertion that no one could reasonably argue against Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-jabbar being the top three (in that order), a few people have asked about my well-known belief that Bill Walton was the greatest center we've ever had.

For those who don't know, here is my premise:

If Planet Earth were involved in a winner-take-all one-game basketball playoff against an alien invader, the loser to go into servitude for all eternity, my first pick of anyone who has ever played basketball in our known world would be a healthy Bill Walton. He was the most complete center ever, the perfect control tower through which to run both your offense and your defense.

But a career? Well, of course not. Injury prevented him from having the career he deserved. But for one game, I think he's the most important player who has ever laced up a sneaker.

So when I name the all-time centers I put him over on the side.

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About bob ryan's blog Opinions, observations and anecdotes from Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan.
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Bob is an award-winning columnist for the Globe and the host of "Globe 10.0" on Boston.com.

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