Sports Briefs: The Best Power Forward Ever

(Sponsored by 3 Spoons Yogurt)

Chris: When determining the best power forward ever, certain measurable qualities are looked at, including: is the player powerful, is the player forward-minded, is that player capable of being powerful and forward-minded simultaneously, and does said player even play basketball. As one can see, no stone will be left unturned.

Joe: Karl Malone is the best power forward ever. His longevity and résumé - 25 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.4 SPG, 14x All-Star, 14x All-NBA team, 2x NBA MVP (1997, 1999), Hall-of-Fame inductee (2010) - speaks of how dominating he was in delivering the mail - points that is. He was dominate on both ends of the court for almost two decades, as his muscular build and mean-like disposition made him more that most teams could handle.

Ralphie: Karl Malone is the best power forward ever because his Jazz had to face the Buils, and they were unstoppable during their hey day.

Chris: Malone was also an excellent craftsman, adept at engraving the names of all the Chicago Bulls on both the 1997 and 1998 Larry O'Brien trophies, as well as the names of the Detroit Pistons on the 2003 trophy. Including college and the NBA, Malone won as many championships as I did, which should give me equal consideration as the greatest power forward ever, assuming not playing basketball past high school does not disqualify me. Would it be considered opprobrious to name Michael Jordan as the best power forward ever, considering he went 2-0 against Malone in the playoffs and 3-0 against the other All-Star power forward of the era, Charles Barkley? I just said "opprobrious." It means "poo-poo."

Ralphie: Charles Barkley is NOT the best power forward ever because his man-to-man defense was somewhat lacking. War Eagle, though, Mr. Barkley.

Joe: Charles Barkley is NOT the greatest power forward of all time because of his lack of bringing in the titles that Karl Malone did. Sir Charles, the Auburn University "Round Mound of Rebound," was an intimidating player, even though he was only 6'6" (generously listed) among defenders much taller than he was. He could dominate the floor, take it coast to coast, block out and get the rebound like no one else his size has ever done. He is one of the all-time best players and most colorful commentators on basketball (or any other subject you choose to bring up). Résumé: 22.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 11x All-Star, 11x All-NBA team, NBA MVP (1993), Hall-of-Fame inductee (2006).

Chris: Two power forwards who never faced Jordan in the playoffs are Elvin Hayes and Tim Duncan, both of whom won championships and may have generated high ratings had they been cast together for "The Odd Couple." If the 1998 Edge Pro Gel commercial was any indication of how Duncan and David Robinson interacted as roommates, Hayes would have made things much more violently captivating, as audiences would have learned how much damage a gnome thrown in anger could cause.

Ralphie: Elvin Hayes is NOT the best power forward ever because of his sulky attitude and difficulty accepting criticism.

Joe: Elvin Hayes is NOT the greatest power forward of all time. Elvin was a great power forward for his time but has been exceeded by several modern era players. His résumé - 21 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 12x All-Star, 6x All-NBA team, NBA champion (1978), Hall-of-Fame inductee (1990) - speaks loudly of his accomplishments and abilities, but his weakness of free throw shooting has kept him from being the best of all time.

Ralphie: Tim Duncan is NOT the best power forward ever because the Spurs would never have been able to take on the Bulls the way Malone's Jazz did.

Chris: Saint Patrick's Day 1996 was the last time I rooted against Tim Duncan. For one thing he wasn't wearing green. However, as a junior at Wake Forest, he was simultaneously beating the Texas Longhorns in the NCAA Tournament and causing NBA fans in Texas to hope that he would enter the NBA Draft, allowing the Mavericks to draft him. Instead, Duncan decided to stay in school, and the Mavericks drafted Samaki Walker. Fortunately, the Spurs drafted Duncan the following year, and after 18 seasons, Duncan has won five NBA titles, possibly six, assuming the Spurs held on to win in 2013, as the latter part of Game 6 was erased from my memory by an unlicensed hypnotist.

Joe: Tim Duncan is NOT to best power forward ever because his outstanding résumé - 19.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 3 APG, 2.2 BPG, 14x All-Star, 14x All-Defensive team, 14x All-NBA team, 2x NBA MVP (2002, 2003), 5x NBA champion (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014) - is supported by an outstanding cast of teammates. Tim's point production is 25 percent less than Karl Malone's. Yes, Tim is a great silent leader and excellent all-around player, but not the dominant force Malone was.

Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.

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