Ranking the 50 greatest NBA players of all time

The Last Dance, Michael Jordan, LeBron James (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The Last Dance, Michael Jordan, LeBron James (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Rick Barry (24) of the San Francisco Warriors is shown leaping through the air past Oscar Robertson (4) of the Milwaukee Bucks as he shoots for the basket. /

32. Rick Barry

  • Resume: 14 seasons (NBA and ABA), 1 NBA championship, 1 NBA Finals MVP Award, 6-time All-NBA selection, 8-time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, Rookie of the Year Award, 1-time NBA leader in scoring, 1 ABA championship, 4-time All-ABA selection, 4-time ABA All-Star, Hall-of-Famer
  • Stats: 24.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 4.9 APG, 2.0 SPG, .456/.297/.893 shooting splits, 21.0 career PER, 128.9 win shares

We’ll get this out of the way first: Rick Barry was well known as one of the biggest dicks in NBA history. He didn’t have time for teammates who weren’t as good as him (pretty much all of them) and he wasn’t a leader in terms of charisma. Luckily, he had the game to back up his cocky attitude and abrasive personality, and it’s the reason the Warriors got their first championship ever.

A simple look at his resume will tell you plenty about how effective Barry was. Though his jump to the ABA to play for his father-in-law turned out to be an incredibly stupid decision, especially since he left a Warriors team that would’ve contended for years in the NBA, Barry was one of the best passing forwards ever. He also averaged an insane 35.6 points per game in just his second season and he was a lights-out shooter from everywhere but 3-point range in the ABA.

It’s really too bad the “Miami Greyhound” didn’t work harder to be well-liked, because there were few players in the ’70s that you could build a title contender around quite like him. Upon his return to the NBA, he led the Warriors to a four-game sweep of a heavily favored Washington Bullets team that had Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld in the 1975 NBA Finals.

His attitude may have been as bad as his hairpiece, but no one can deny that Rick Barry was one of the most gifted players to ever grace the game. He won a title and found great success despite only playing with two Hall-of-Famers in his entire career. We’ll remember him for his talent, his prickly personality and his unorthodox granny shot technique from the free-throw line that somehow helped him make nearly 90 percent of his career attempts.