In an effort to ramp up anticipation for who made the list, the NBA unveiled the 76 names over the first three days of the regular season.
The NBA officially kicked off its 75th season in existence, and to celebrate, the league decided to put together a list of the greatest players in history. However, instead of it consisting of 75 names similar to how the 50th anniversary team included 50 players, 76 players were announced due to a tie. To create this list, a panel of voters was assembled, which is entirely distinct from the Top 50 list the league released for its 50th anniversary in 1996. However, like the ’96 list, the players were not ranked.
In an effort to ramp up anticipation for who made the list, the NBA unveiled the 76 names over the first three days of the regular season. The first 25 names were announced on Tuesday, followed by the second batch of 25 players on Wednesday. The list was finalized Thursday night with the final 26 names. Now that the list has been released in its entirety, here are the players who were granted the prestigious honor:
Although the league said the Top 50 honorees weren’t guaranteed a spot on the 75th anniversary team, all 50 players made it after the final batch of players were revealed. Every era and player type has been represented on the list, showing the history and evolution of the NBA.
For Kevin Durant, one of the new selections that had not even reached the NBA when it named its top 50 players in 1996, the honor was among the greatest of his career.
“It means a lot,” Durant said on TNT after being selected. “It means everything to be honest. You wanna leave your mark on this league, on the game of basketball itself. To be among the greatest that this game has ever seen, just to be in that same company is pretty sweet. As a kid I saw the 50th anniversary and always dreamed of having one of those jackets on, being amongst that group so it feels good to be a part of it now.”
The league has a number of celebrations planned for the season to honor the 75th anniversary, and players like Nowitzki, Pettit, Robertson, Magic Johnson and Clyde Drexler will serve as ambassadors for the diamond anniversary.