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The NBA has officially unveiled its list of the 75 greatest players of all time as voted on by a panel of media members, current and former players, coaches and team executives. And naturally, with a list of this magnitude, there are going to be disagreements. One prominent one came before the final list was even released. On Thursday morning, Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala tweeted "So y'all saying Kyrie Irving ain't top 75? I agree… he top 20 at least…" Irving was not named to the top 75 when the final 25 names were released on Thursday.

Irving is currently in the spotlight due to his position on the COVID-19 vaccine. The Brooklyn Nets star is not currently allowed to play in home games at Barclays Center because of a vaccine mandate in New York City, and the team is holding him out entirely rather than allowing him to play only on the road. His Nets lost their opening night tilt with the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks without him. 

His all-time stature within the league is extremely difficult to parse. On pure skill, Irving has a compelling case for the top 75 and beyond. He's one of the greatest ball-handlers and individual scorers in NBA history. He hit a championship-winning shot that knocked out a 73-win team. If you were merely selecting the 75 players you'd want in a single game in NBA history, it wouldn't be hard to argue in Irving's favor. 

But this list is meant to represent the totality of NBA history, and Irving, relative to many of the players who did make the list, is only a small part of it. He still hasn't even hit his 30th birthday yet, and there are players on this list who spent two decades in the NBA. And then there's the matter of his stature compared to other guards of his era. While Irving is a seven-time All-Star, he is only a three-time All-NBA selection. He has never even received a single MVP vote anywhere on the ballot. 

Igudoala suggests that Irving is a top 20 player of all time. Well, many critics would suggest that he hasn't even consistently been one of the top 20 players in the NBA in a given season. While he ranked 17th on CBS Sports' top 100 poll this season, he was 23rd before the 2020-21 campaign. Given the injury risk he poses whenever he steps on the floor, his defensive limitations and his relatively limited impact as an off-ball offensive player, Irving falls short of contemporaries like Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and James Harden, who all made the cut. 

Of course, being a tier below those legends should not automatically disqualify Irving from consideration. But timing worked against him here. He is competing against guards who have played out full careers. With only part of his in the books, the standard is simply higher for him than it was for some of the older guards that ultimately made the cut. To make it as a modern player means being either at the end of a storied career or to be so dominant at this moment that inclusion could not be denied. Irving fits neither category, and so, despite Iguodala's protests, he missed out on the NBA's list.