Top 10 NBA Players of All-Time

The NBA has had tons of stars throughout the years, but these 10 made an impact on the game.

10. Hakeem Olajuwon- The smoothest big man the league has ever seen. Olajuwon could do absolutely anything he wanted on the offensive end, and blocked shots at a high rate to boot. He would very likely be ranked much higher on this list, as evidenced by his two championship wins.

9. Allen Iverson- AI is known to be as one of the best pound-for-pound scorers in NBA history, Iverson averaged 26.7 points and 6.2 assists during a 14-year career that included stops with the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, and the Memphis Grizzlies. Selected No. 1 overall in the 1996 NBA Draft out of Georgetown, Iverson was the 1997 Rookie of the Year, the 2001 MVP, a three-time All-NBA first-team selection and a four-time scoring champ. With career totals of 24,368 points, 3,394 rebounds, and 5,624 assists. Iverson led the Sixers to the 2001 NBA Finals and is firmly cemented as one of the franchise’s all-time greats. He is the franchise leader in 40-point games (76) and 3-pointers (885), and is second behind Hal Greer in points (19,931).  He is destined for induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

8. Kobe Bryant- Formerly a high-flying dunker, Bryant is now a prolific jump shooter and phenomenal defender. His four championships put him at No. 7, but with three to four more years of high-level basketball left, Kobe could easily advance up this list. If he finishes his already illustrious career with seven rings, perhaps we’ll be waiting for the next Kobe instead of the next Jordan in the future.

7. Oscar Robertson- With just one MVP award and one championship, he has less hardware than the other players on this list. But you’d have a hard time finding a better all-around basketball player than “The Big O.” In his second NBA season, he averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.8 assists, the only time in league history someone has averaged a triple-double for a season. He nearly did it many more times while making nine All-NBA first teams. His 186 triple-doubles are a record that may never be broken.

6. Larry Bird- Larry reinvigorated the Celtics franchise and led them to three championships during the 80s. He averaged a cool 24 points and 10 rebounds in 13 seasons, and helped put the NBA on the national television map with his rivalry against Magic Johnson. Bird was also one of the most entertaining and confident players to suit up in the 80s, with his three-point contest guarantee (which he upheld by winning), along with his multiple acrobatic game-winning shots. Larry Legend will forever live on as a legend in the Boston area, which is no easy task.

5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar- Kareem played for a ridiculous 20 years, which is no easy task for a big man (just ask Yao Ming, who is struggling to make it through one full season). His name is synonymous with the sky hook, a shot attempted by youngsters across the globe along with NBA centers today, and his six MVPs only bolster an already impressive resume. Abdul-Jabbar is also the league’s all-time leading scorer, ahead of Wilt and Michael Jordan. He won six NBA championships, serving as Magic Johnson’s go-to man in the 80s. Out of every center the NBA has ever seen, he’s the second best. Not too shabby.

4. Bill Russell- The Boston Celtics were mediocre before Bill Russell arrived, and lousy after he left. That’s why Russell, while far from the most talented or dominant player in NBA history, was its greatest winner. He defended. He rebounded. And, more than anything, he led. The result? Eleven championships in 13 seasons, a feat unmatched in major American sport.

3. Ervin “Magic” Johnson- Magic was the only player who one-upped Larry Bird during the 80s. He has been part of a whole bunch of championships. Johnson’s passing ability was simply surreal. No 6’10″ player should be able to play point guard with such grace and skill, yet Magic broke that unwritten rule. When his team needed a center during the Finals, Magic filled in and delivered a championship. Only the third greatest player of all time could do something so monumental.

2. Wilt Chamberlain- Wilt is the most dominant basketball player to ever play the game. At some point, you have to throw out the “he played in a much worse era” argument, because Wilt was so far above everyone else he played against. He scored 100 points in a game, averaged 50 for a season, and even led the league in assists when he decided to pass more.

1. Michael Jordan- MJ is the greatest basketball player this world has ever seen. He refused to lose, a trait possessed by few in the era of high-paid NBA players afraid to get dunked on today. He won six championships against John Stockton, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, and other Hall-of-Famers. While most players suffer from the effects of achy bones and bruises as the years go on, Jordan simply adjusted his game and got better. He was the ultimate leader, the ultimate scorer, and the ultimate defender.

Honorable Mentions:

Shaquille O’Neal-

During Shaq’s prime, there wasn’t anything on earth that could slow him down—except that darn free throw line. O’Neal is a four-time champion, and could likely add ring No. 5 by season’s end in Cleveland. There was literally no answer for him in the paint in the early 2000s, and his defensive ability made him just as lethal on both sides of the ball. Some point to Kobe Bryant as the reason O’Neal won three championships in Los Angeles, but virtually no champion lacked at least two superstars on the same team (except for Duncan and Olajuwon). Shaq was a guy you could build a team around and win 60 games. Today, he’s still a worthy competitor on any finals contender.

Tim Duncan-

Duncan is the most under appreciated player basketball has ever seen. His fundamental offensive moves were supposed to work in the 1960s, not the 2000s, yet he’s been a career 20 points per game player. In an era that should’ve been completely dominated by Shaq, Kobe, and LeBron, Duncan won four championships with his best teammates being Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Duncan was and still is, a once-in-a-lifetime defender and leader. His statline in a game against the Nets during the Finals (21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, 8 blocks) remains the epitome of a fantasy basketball owner’s dream, and he achieved that on the highest stage in the world, not a meaningless regular season game against the Clippers.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

What is 6 + 8 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)