It has been a good summer for Scottie Pippen. Not long after he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame two times — as an individual player, and as a member of the ’92 Dream Team — the Chicago Bulls announced they will build a statue of Pippen to be displayed at the United Center by the end of this season, where he’ll take his rightful place in immortality (barring a Bart Simpson incident) alongside Michael Jordan.
In ode to Pippen’s recent accomplishment, we’ve decided to give you our top 5 active NBA players deserving of their own statue in the future.
5. Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas)
Dirk is the Dallas Mavericks. Even though they would lose the only NBA Finals appearance of his tenure (so far), Dirk has taken the Mavs higher than they’ve ever been as a franchise and has become Dallas’ defining player. He is their all-time leading scorer and rebounder, and the franchise’s only league MVP (2007). Dirk will always be adored by Dallas fans because he has been loyal, even in times when it may have been a smarter move for him to go somewhere else in search of a championship. At 32 years old, he still has a few years left to win a ‘chip as “The Man” in Dallas, but even if he ends his career ringless, you can almost guarantee Dirk will have a statue in his honor outside the Mavericks’ arena someday. The only question: Which hairstyle will they choose?
4. Dwyane Wade (Miami)
Growing up in Chicago, D-Wade idolized Michael Jordan, but has maintained that he doesn’t want to be compared to MJ because there will never be another MJ.
In the 2006 Finals, however, Wade did his best possible Jordan impersonation and brought the Miami Heat its first NBA championship. For that, he will be forever endeared to Heat fans. Wade has been the face of the relatively young franchise — he is Miami’s all-time leader in points, assists and steals — but we’ll have to wait and see whether he gets his spot usurped by new teammate LeBron James. Wade could soon become the second-best player on his team, though he will probably always be the heart and soul and captain of the ship, similar to Derek Jeter with the Yankees.
They’ve already named the county after him, so it’s only right to put a D-Wade statue at American Airlines Arena.
3. Allen Iverson (Philadelphia)
To say Iverson was the heart and soul of Philadelphia would be an understatement. Iverson was the pride of the city during his run with the 76ers. In his prime, he was on top of the world, even without a championship. Iverson was at one point the most beloved player in the League; it got to the point where you couldn’t walk outside without seeing someone in an Iverson jersey, especially in Philly.
During his time with the Sixers he won Rookie of the Year, MVP and four scoring titles, but what really won over the hearts of fans in Philly was his passion and energy. Iverson also revolutionized the game with his swag, starting several NBA trends (cornrows, headbands, arm sleeves, widespread tattoos) and made a huge impact in the hip-hop culture. His impact on and off the court helped shape the NBA and made him a Philadelphia legend along the lines of Dr. J, Mike Schmidt and Bobby Clarke, and there is absolutely no reason Iverson shouldn’t have his own statue at the Wachovia Center.
2. Tim Duncan (San Antonio)
“The Big Fundamental” was the focal point of four Spurs championship teams, collecting three Finals MVP’s, two league MVP’s, 13 All-NBA selections, 13 All-Defensive Team selections, and 12 All-Star nods in his career. He is widely regarded as the best power forward to ever play the game.
Those accomplishments speak for themselves. Duncan has always been a Spur and will most likely finish his career a Spur. It’s rare to see NBA players stay in one place for a long period of time nowadays, so Duncan should definitely be rewarded with his own statue in the AT&T center, and soon.
1. Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles)
Kobe’s career is self-explanatory. The fact that he’s being considered better than Jordan by some — even compared to Jordan, for that matter — shows you why he has to be No. 1 on this list.
Kobe is by far the best player of the 21st century so far. His career and accomplishments are among the greatest of all-time. If you don’t already know what Kobe’s done throughout his career you must’ve been living under a rock, so there’s no need to go over it. His 81-point performance may be the greatest NBA performance of all-time by any single player, seeing as how Wilt Chamberlain towered over his opponents when he scored 100 points. Kobe has a collection of five rings, is the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer, and has added an MVP trophy and two Finals MVP’s to his collection of accolades.
And he’s far from finished; he has the Lakers in championship shape and still atop the favorites even with the new star-studded Miami Heat team. The Kobe statue should already be made if you ask me.
Who do you think deserves their own statue?