The NBA has no shortage of superstar-level talent. Even though the game has changed drastically from its roots, an unprecedented number of stars are dominating the game in a way that has drawn worldwide recognition.
But nothing really compares to 80s era basketball. Those years brought us Showtime, Bird’s Celtics, and the beginnings of Michael Jordan’s Bulls. For proof of just how star-heavy that era was, one needs to look no further than the 1987-88 All-NBA team — which may be the greatest ever.
At point was Earvin Magic Johnson, a guy many still deem the best pure point guard in league history. At the time, he had just finished a season in which he averaged 19.6 points, 11.9 assists, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game on 49% shooting.
At shooting guard was, of course, Michael Jordan, who averaged 35 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game on 53% shooting. He was only 24 at the time, but his game was already at historic levels. That season, he also won his second MVP.
Larry Bird was named the starting small forward for obvious reasons. He averaged 29.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game on 52% shooting and 41% shooting from deep. When it comes to scoring the ball, there are few who in basketball history who could have matched up to Larry legend.
Charles Barkley is not talked about very often, but he definitely should be. His skillset as a big man is truly unmatched and it showed that season. He averaged 28.3 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game on 58% shooting. Over his 16-year career, he was an 11x All-Star, 1x MVP, and 11x All-NBA player.
Finally, at the center position, was Hakeem Olajuwon. He was a genius in the paint and on defense. He averaged 2.7 blocks per game in the 87-88 season.
Together, the team of Magic, Michael, Bird, Barkley, and Hakeem is the best starting five ever “assembled.” And while there have been plenty of stars to join the scene since, the 1987-88 All-NBA team is truly the epitome of greatness.