NBA 75th Anniversary Team: Kevin Durant, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell among first set of 25 players announced

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The NBA is all set to kick off its 75th season in existence, and to celebrate, the league has decided to name the 75 greatest players in league history. A panel of voters was assembled to build the list, which will be entirely distinct from the top 50 list the league released for its 50th anniversary in 1996. The players will not be ranked, but the NBA officially released the first 25 names on the list Tuesday. Here are the players that made the cut in that first list of names:

  • Bill Russell
  • Oscar Robertson
  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Hal Greer
  • Bob Pettit
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Kevin Durant
  • Elvin Hayes
  • Jerry Lucas
  • Willis Reed
  • Nate Archibald
  • Bob Cousy
  • Dave Cowens
  • James Harden
  • Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Kevin McHale
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • George Mikan
  • John Stockton
  • Steve Nash
  • Charles Barkley
  • Julius Erving
  • George Gervin
  • Moses Malone
  • David Robinson

For 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,” Kevin 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. 

With 25 names down, the NBA still has 50 names to go. The next 25 will be released on Wednesday with the final 25 coming on Thursday. 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.

The players selected on Tuesday run the entire gamut of NBA history. Pettit debuted in 1954. Antetokounmpo debuted almost 60 years later in 2013. Russell has 11 championship rings. Harden has none. Every era and player type has been represented thus far, and the list will only get deeper as it is unveiled in the coming days. 

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