Charley Rosen Ranks the Point Guards

July, 20, 2005
7/20/05
4:41
PM ET
FOXSports.com's resident crank is going through all the positions. The point guard list includes some surprises (Dennis Johnson makes the list with room to spare, Jason Kidd is a footnote) and one great anecdote about Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

Johnson also had a magic touch with the media. The bright smile, the up-beat comments, the total availability. But when the red light was switched off, Magic often had another agenda.

Like the first time Magic met with the Lakers' new coach, Mike Dunleavy, at a players association meeting back in 1990. Dunleavy sought out Magic for a pre-season confab, and as they strolled along the beach, he handed Johnson the playbook he planned to implement for the upcoming season. Magic proceeded to toss the playbook into the ocean, point to his head and say, "The playbook is in here."
For the record, Rosen's ranking was Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, John Stockton, Walt Frazier, Dennis Johnson, Lenny Wilkens, and Ralph Beard. Ralph Beard? Rosen says Beard only played two seasons before he was banned for a little incident involving taking money from gamblers while he was at the University of Kentucky.

His game featured error-free passes, headlong drives to the rim and shut-down defense. According to Adolph Rupp, the only flaws in Beard's game were an erratic left hand, and inconsistency at the foul line. (During Beard's brief tenure in the NBA, his free throw accuracy was 77 percent.) Otherwise, the notoriously hard-to-please Rupp believed that Beard was "an almost perfect basketball player."

In the long history of the NBA, no one ever played with more intensity than Ralph Beard.

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