Teams: Chicago Bulls (1984-93, 1995-98), Washington Wizards (2001-03)
Titles: 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
Honors: 14-time All-Star, 5-time MVP (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998), 6-time Finals MVP, Rookie of the Year (1985), Defensive Player of the Year (1988)
The player: The standard by which all other players are measured.
Air Jordan was the most skilled, most athletic, toughest, meanest, most inspirational and most competitive of all the shooting guards who have ever played the game. He dominated both ends of the floor. He also was the biggest winner and perhaps the greatest clutch player in history.
The credentials -- and pictures -- speak for themselves: six championship rings, five MVP awards, six Finals MVP awards, one defensive POY award. And his career numbers were otherworldly, most notably 32,292 points (third all time) and a 30.1 points per game scoring average (first). Oh, and he averaged 20 points and six rebounds as a 40-year-old! Only his last two seasons in Washington kept him from shooting more than 50 percent for his career.
Jordan had no real weaknesses; he mastered every facet of the game. He dominated a big man's game and was the leader of the only dynasty in NBA history that did not feature a dominant center.
On top of all that, he helped make the NBA a global game. From his trademark tongue wag to his game-winning shot in the 1998 NBA Finals, MJ was the most electrifying player ever to step on a court.
The greatest player of all time.
Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images
Team: Los Angeles Lakers ('96-present)
Titles: 3 (2000, 2001, 2002)
Honors: 10-time All-Star
The player: As close as it gets to MJ. He's still just 29, so his legacy has yet to be written. But his credentials already are legit, starting with the three rings he won while teamed with Shaq.
He was the fastest player to 20,000 points -- scoring 81 in a single game -- and is one of the best two-way players at any position.
Like Jordan, Bryant does everything well. He can carry a team offensively for long stretches, defend the other team's best player, hit outside shots, create for others, slash to the rim, excel in transition and win playoff games.
He is the prototypical shooting guard, with a killer instinct and nearly unlimited range on his shot. And he's getting better.
Considered by many to be the best all-around player in the NBA today, Bryant has at least a glimmer of hope of challenging Jordan for the top spot before it's all said and done.
Photo: Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images
Teams: Virginia Squires (1972-74), San Antonio Spurs (1974-85), Chicago Bulls (1985-86)
Honors: 12-time All-Star (9 in NBA, 3 in ABA), Hall of Fame
The player: The Iceman could score on anyone from anywhere. The Iceman could score blindfolded. The Iceman could score getting out of bed. You get the point.
At 6-foot-8, Gervin revolutionized the position, won four scoring titles (one in the ABA, three in the NBA) and scored an NBA-record 33 points in one quarter. His artistry with the ball made him one of the most entertaining players ever. His line-drive jumper was a smooth sight, and his creativity around the basket was second to none.
He scored with flair from the outside and in the midrange and showed a delicate touch inside; his finger roll is one of the great signature shots in NBA history.
Simply put, he was one of the truly unique players in the history of the game.Photo: Malcolm Emmons/US PRESSWIRE
We asked 20 NBA experts for their lists of the top 10 shooting guards in NBA history. Players received 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second and so on down to one point for a 10th-place vote.
|Others receiving votes (points): Sam Jones (31), Dwyane Wade (23), Hal Greer (19), David Thompson (14), Bill Sharman (9), Dave Bing (6), Tracy McGrady (5), Sidney Moncrief (5), Manu Ginobili (4), Ray Allen (3), Paul Arizin (2), Vince Carter (2), Dennis Johnson (1), Gail Goodrich (1), Drazen Petrovic (1), Mitch Richmond (1), Jimmy Walker (1).|
• Henry Abbott, TrueHoop (HA)
• J.A. Adande, ESPN.com (JA)
• Greg Anthony, ESPN (GA)
• Jon Barry, ESPN (JB)
• Chris Broussard, ESPN The Magazine (CB)
• Ric Bucher, ESPN The Magazine (RB)
• Jemele Hill, ESPN.com Page 2 (JHi)
• John Hollinger, ESPN.com (JH)
• Mark Jackson, ESPN (MJ)
• Scoop Jackson, ESPN.com Page 2 (SJ)
• Tim Legler, ESPN (TL)
• Carlos Morales, ESPN Deportes (CM)
• Chris Palmer, ESPN The Magazine (CP)
• Chris Ramsay, ESPN.com (CR)
• Jack Ramsay, ESPN (JR)
• Jalen Rose, ESPN (JRo)
• Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com (CS)
• Bill Simmons, ESPN.com Page 2 (BS)
• Marc Stein, ESPN.com (MS)
• David Thorpe, Scouts Inc. (DT)
The experts have given their opinions. Now it's your turn, SportsNation.
Vote in our poll to tell us which of the all-time greats is your favorite, which was the best passer, which was the best rebounder and which you'd start a team with. And rank the top 15 of all time.
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Teams: Philadelphia 76ers (1996-2006), Denver Nuggets (2006-present)
Honors: 9-time All-Star, MVP (2001), Rookie of the Year (1997)
The player: The Answer is, pound for pound, the toughest player ever. At 6 feet, and 165 pounds dripping wet, his scoring ability is nothing short of phenomenal. He has won four scoring titles and is third behind Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain in career scoring average.
A true competitor, he never stops and often crashes to the basket with little regard for his personal safety. He's a dazzling ball handler and an underrated passer who has no problem putting a team on his back.
A classic shooting guard? Not at all. But a one-of-a-kind little man? A warrior who possesses legendary amounts of durability, consistency and scoring talent? Without question.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Teams: Portland Trail Blazers (1983-95), Houston Rockets (1995-98)
Titles: 1 (1995)
Honors: 10-time All-Star, Hall of Fame
The player: A member of Phi Slamma Jamma, Clyde the Glide was one of the fastest players ever off the dribble and one of the best finishers ever. He was electrifying on the fast break.
He was an all-around player, too. He could score, rebound, defend and make plays. With his athleticism and confidence, he could "throw the ball in" despite not being a great shooter from deep.
Although he was overshadowed by Jordan, he was a unique talent.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
Team: Indiana Pacers (1987-2005)
Honors: 5-time All-Star
The player: The most prolific 3-point shooter in league history, Miller helped define the term "shooting guard." Nobody could catch and shoot better than Reggie.
Despite being rail-thin, he was a very tough competitor who could take a beating and would run defenders ragged off screens. He played with an assassin's mentality and was one of the greatest clutch players of all time. His 25-point fourth-quarter performance against the Knicks in 1994 is legendary.
He is the all-time leader in 3-pointers made and attempted. And he scored more points than any 2-guard except Jordan. A title is the only thing missing from his résumé, although he did average more than 21 points per game in the playoffs for his career.
The Sporting News/Icon SMI
Teams: Atlanta Hawks (1970-74), New Orleans/Utah Jazz (1974-80), Boston Celtics (1980)
Honors: 5-time All-Star, Hall of Fame
The player: In his era, Pistol Pete was the greatest basketball show on Earth. There was nothing he couldn't do with a ball. He was a versatile scorer and passer from anywhere on the floor. He made the deep jump shot a weapon long before the 3-point line, and he helped bring playground moves into the mainstream.
If the Pistol had been on better teams during his NBA career, he might have ended up much higher on this list. But there's no denying he was an unparalleled showman who remains an NBA icon to this day.
Richard Pilling/NBAE/Getty Images
Teams: Baltimore Bullets (1967-71), New York Knicks (1971-80)
Titles: 1 (1973)
Honors: 4-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year (1968), Hall of Fame
The player: You will not find a more natural talent. Smooth as silk and tough as nails, The Pearl revolutionized the game of basketball with his trademark spin move, his feathery touch and his hang time.
His numbers are retired in Philadelphia playgrounds and with two NBA franchises, and his streetball style was emulated by young players all over. That will earn you the nickname "Black Jesus."
Nathaniel S. Butler/ NBAE/ Getty Images
Team: Detroit Pistons (1985-99)
Titles: 2 (1989, 1990)
Honors: 6-time All-Star, Finals MVP (1989), Hall of Fame
The player: They don't call him Joe D for nothing. Dumars was a lockdown defender and one of the most underrated players of his generation.
He was excellent on both ends, with a silent but deadly style that combined defensive tenacity and a picture-perfect jump shot; if needed, he could have averaged 20-plus points per game. He was a tremendous clutch shooter and has a Finals MVP trophy to prove it.