Reading through ESPN’s all-time NBA Top 100 list, updated for this year, can take some time if you’re busy. I mean, there’s 100 players.
Fortunately, if you have a radio show like Mike Francesa, you have fans who can call in and read the list to you. (We kid. To be fair, it’s actually a cool way to get listeners to participate in the show and engage with the host.) Even if you can take a guess as to who might be in the top 10, ESPN always manages a few surprises. Otherwise, why bother updating this list every year, right?
But Francesa took issue with the list right away (as did the caller, which is why he brought this up), when Oscar Robertson wasn’t ranked second after No. 1 Michael Jordan. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had that No. 2 spot, to which Francesa responded, “This is already ridiculous.” He didn’t much care for Magic Johnson at No. 4 either. The disbelief developed into anger as the caller went down the top 10 and Robertson was nowhere to be found.
Here’s the full segment, via @RNs_Funhouse:
Update, July 2021: this clip has been taken down.
“So Oscar’s not in the top seven players of all time!” Francesa yelled as Larry Bird was revealed to him as No. 6 (and he already knew Bill Russell was No. 7). “Oh my God, Oscar — they musta had to restrain him!” Once the caller lists the rest of the top 10, Francesa loses it.
“Come on now! Any list that has Bill Russell at seven shouldn’t be — should be too embarrassed to actually be made public!” And he still hasn’t heard Oscar Robertson’s name. “WHERE’S OSCAH?”
The caller then actually lists some of the rankings incorrectly, either reading the wrong page or hoping to further incite Francesa. Robertson is ranked No. 11, with Jerry West (another player Francesa was incredulous over not being in the top 10) at No. 13. (Not below Dwyane Wade, as the caller said.)
Francesa then declared he would never accept another call on this show to discuss ESPN’s all-time NBA Top 100 list. Though once he reads the actual list for himself, perhaps he’ll calm down a bit. Just a bit.
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