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Ranking MJ, Bird and the greatest fantasy basketball seasons ever

Larry Bird and Michael Jordan posted two of the best fantasy seasons in NBA history. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Young, stat-crazy NBA fans don't know how good they have it. Just to throw an NBA old-man anecdote out there: I got my first idea for a player rating measurement when I was about 13 years old. In order to obtain the data to calculate it, I had to write to the league office and beg for a packet of statistics. (Which they sent!)

That old formula of mine has been lost to the dusts of time, but I still love to rate players as much as ever. So it was great pleasure that I participated in ESPN's process of ranking the best players of all-time. Because of the incompleteness of the historical statistical record, we had to rely as much on memories and stories as hard data when slotting in anyone who came before Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, though we have methods for gleaning quite a bit statistically from the little bits we have left behind.

As it happens, the history of roto sports -- or fantasy leagues, in the modern parlance -- is roughly the same age as our history of (mostly) complete NBA statistics. We plumbed that record a few weeks back to look at where Kobe Bryant rated in his career as a fantasy asset. In that vein, and borrowing the same methodology, let's get into the spirit of #NBARank and look at the best-ever single-season fantasy performers.