There have been so many great players throughout NBA history, but who ranks among the best. Noah reveals his top ten greatest players of all-time.
Top 10 Greatest NBA Players of All-Time, Ranked
Over the course of 75 seasons, the NBA has seen many amazing, talented players. The NBA is already filled with the best players in the world and it is an extremely hard league to be in, let alone succeed in.
Still, some players figured out the recipe for success in the NBA. The question ultimately becomes: which players are the best? In this article, we rank the top ten greatest NBA players of all-time. This will consider accolades, championships, skill level, and legacy and impact on the NBA.
10. Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain dominated in the NBA. He put up ridiculous numbers. He scored 100 points in one game. He grabbed 55 rebounds in one game. He averaged 50.4 points per game in one season.
There are countless other unbreakable records owned by Wilt Chamberlain. He was truly an unbelievably talented athlete.
9. Larry Bird
Larry Bird was one of the most skilled players in the NBA. He was a great playmaker. He was an elite scorer, and he was a great shooter for his time. Bird’s mentality and trash talking made him a better player. He once played a whole game with his left hand because he was “saving” his right hand for the Lakers. During the three-point shooting contest, he refused to take off his warm up jacket because he was unafraid of his competition.
Bird and his Celtics helped make the NBA popular. The Lakers-Celtics rivalry peaked in the 1980s. For that reason, Bird can be recognized as one of the pioneers for popularizing basketball and making it a more exciting sport to watch.
8. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry revolutionized the game of basketball. He can quite literally shoot the ball from anywhere on the court. There has never been a shooter as lethal as Curry who has elite ball-handling and who moves well off the ball. He is the greatest shooter of all time making him one of the greatest NBA players of all-time.
Even though he gets praised the most for his shooting, Steph Curry is more than just a shooter. He is also a crafty finisher.
Curry is one of the all-time greats in terms of accolades. He is a four-time NBA champion and a two-time MVP. He is the only unanimous MVP in NBA history.
7. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal is arguably the most dominant player in NBA history. Shaq was a four-time NBA champion and a league MVP. He had unbelievable strength and size. He often broke backboards by hanging on the rim.
Shaq’s size was not the only reason he was a great basketball player. He also had great footwork and solid ball-handling skills for a center. A team’s only hope to stop him was to foul him, which is the reason why he has 5,935 career made free throws. Had he made all of the 5,317 free throws that he missed, he would have scored 33,913 career points, placing him third on the all-time scoring list ahead of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.
6. Kobe Bryant
The late, great Kobe Bryant was one of the most legendary players to play the game of basketball. The Lakers superstar put outstanding effort and confidence into his game. Kobe gave it his all every night. His diligent effort to play his best developed into one of the greatest basketball mentalities the game has ever seen.
That “Mamba Mentality” helped Kobe win five championships and an MVP during his career. One of his most impressive individual performances was an 81 point game.
5. Bill Russell
Bill Russell played so long ago that some of his stats weren’t recorded. That being said, you don’t win 11 NBA titles by coincidence. Most teams struggle to win a championship. If they are good enough to three-peat, they are considered a dynasty. Bill Russell won eight championships in a row with the Celtics, which is the most amongst greatest NBA players of all-time.
Bill Russell has the most championships by a player in NBA history and he was the clear best player in his era. The way he achieved this was through his defense and tremendous athletic ability. Although we do not know the exact number of blocks he recorded, Russell swatted away several shots during his career and grabbed many rebounds. There is evidence that he averaged near double-digit blocks per game and that if his blocks were recorded, he would rank among the leaders in all-time blocks, perhaps even ranking at the top.
4. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson is not only one of the greatest NBA players of all-time, but the greatest point guard of all-time. From the moment he entered the NBA, he made an immediate impact on winning. As a rookie, he led the Lakers to a championship after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar suffered an injury.
Magic is one of the most influential players in NBA history. Above all else, Magic Johnson was an entertainer. With his flashy passing and his smile, he helped transform the Lakers into a fast paced team that was exciting to watch.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the best winner in basketball history. After dominating in high school and college, Kareem took his success to the NBA. There, he won six NBA championships and six MVPs, which is a record.
Kareem’s skyhook was one of the most unstoppable shots in NBA history. Combining that with his incredible longevity, he was able to become the leading scorer in NBA history.
2. LeBron James
LeBron James is the best all-around player in basketball history. He is a one-of-a-kind type of player. It is extremely rare to see a player of his size and strength move so well with tremendous speed around the court. LeBron can truly excel at playing all five positions in basketball.
The longevity of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was impressive, but LeBron’s longevity is arguably even better. He is entering his 20th season in the NBA and he is still considered one of the top players in the NBA, and one of the greatest NBA players of all-time. He is probably going to break Kareem’s record for the most points in NBA history. Considering that his best skill is his passing, where he also ranks top ten, that is very impressive.
By the way, he also has won four MVPs and four NBA championships during his career. He has historically carried teams to success in no way any other player has. LeBron James could easily be the number one spot on this list. He is a gifted NBA talent in all areas of the game.
1. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time, which is why he tops the list of greatest NBA players of all-time. It is more than the six championships in eight seasons. It is more than the six MVPs. It is more than becoming the leader in both regular season and playoff points per game. It was his legacy.
Michael Jordan took what Magic and Bird started and exponentially increased the popularity of the NBA. Through his iconic shoes, dunks, and overall skill on both ends of the floor, Jordan became a world icon. With his winning mentality, Michael Jordan ascended into greatness.
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