After Michael Jordan’s first retirement in 1998, at the end of his second three-peat with the Chicago Bulls, the powers-that-be in the NBA greatly fretted whether the departure of Jordan, and the age of many of the great superstars that ruled the NBA in the 1990’s, would lead to a massive vacuum in basketball talent.
Needless to say, the boom of talent that entered the NBA starting in the late 1990’s, and crested in the middle of the first decade of the 2000’s, ensured no such vacuum would exist; if anything, the NBA was blessed with an abundance of stars.
Which begs the question: who emerged as the best players in the NBA, in the post-Michael Jordan era? We thought you’d never ask. Here’s our crack at the top 25 players since Michael Jordan retired from the NBA—both the first time (from the Bulls), and the second time (from the Washington Wizards).
25. Chris Webber
When Chris Webber left the University of Michigan in 1993, most of the NBA saw Webber as a 6’9 forward who would shift nearly everything we thought we understood about guys who play the power forward position. The first overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft enjoyed an electric rookie year in Golden State, but after forcing a trade after his first season, wandered in the NBA wilderness a bit with the Washington Bullets.
But when Washington traded him to the Sacramento Kings, Webber appeared to really fulfill the promise of his potential, averaging 24.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game in his first five years with the Kings, while serving as the front man for some of the most entertaining basketball we had seen in quite some time. He was named to an All-NBA team in each of his first four seasons in Sacramento as well.