NBA Basketball Players - Best and Top Ranked Ever
When choosing the Best NBA player of all time, you have to decide what statistic will be your guiding point. Some start with Championships, MVP's, or points scored. Is your favorite player missing? Add it. Rank the list. Make a comment.
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Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963) is a retired American professional basketball player and active businessman. His biography on the National Basketball Association (NBA) website states, "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.
In his 15-year career, he averaged 30.1 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists along with 2.3 steals and 0.8 blocks. He also shot a tremendous 49.7 percent from the field and 84 percent from the free-throw line.
He was selected to the All-Star team 13 times, winning three All-Star game MVPs. He was also one of the greatest defensive players of the all time as he won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1987-1988.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. (born August 14, 1959) is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years, but returned in 1996 to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time.
During his career, he led the Lakers to nine Finals appearances in the toughest era of all time—the '80s—while winning five of them. His career averages are 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, and two steals per game. He also shot a tremendous 52 percent from the field, and a very good 85 percent from the free-throw line.
Wilton Norman "Wilt" Chamberlain (August 21, 1936 – October 12, 1999), nicknamed Wilt the Stilt, The Big Dipper, and Chairman of the Boards, was an American professional NBA basketball player for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers; and also played for the Harlem Globetrotters. The 7 foot 1 inch Chamberlain, who weighed 250 lbs as a rookie before bulking up to 275 lb and eventually over 300 lb with the Lakers, played the center position and is considered by his contemporaries as one of the greatest and most dominant players in the history of the NBA.
Wilt was, without a doubt, the most dominant player of all time. In his 14-year career, he had averages of 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game, while shooting a fantastic 54 percent from the field and a terrible 51.1 percent from the line.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Ferdinand Lewis 'Lew' Alcindor; April 16, 1947) is an American retired basketball player, coach, actor and author. During his 20-year professional career in the NBA, from 1969 to 1989, he scored the highest points total of any player in league history (38,387), in addition to winning a record six Most Valuable Player Awards and six NBA championships. He was known for his "skyhook" shot, which was famously difficult to block because it put his 7'2" body between the basket and the ball. Abdul-Jabbar's success began well before his professional career; in college at UCLA, he played on three championship teams, and his high school team won 71 consecutive games. In his NBA career, he played for the Milwaukee Bucks for six seasons and then with the Los Angeles Lakers for fourteen seasons.
In a dominant 20-year career, he had averages of 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.9 steals, and 2.6 blocks per game. He also shot an amazing 55.9 percent from the field and 72.1 percent from the free-throw line.
Larry Joe Bird (born December 7, 1956) is a retired American NBA basketball player. Drafted into the NBA sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in 1978, Bird started at small forward and power forward for thirteen seasons, teaming with legendary center Robert Parish and forward Kevin McHale. Due to back problems, he retired as a player from the NBA in 1992. Bird was voted to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996 and inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998. He served as head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000.
He averaged an amazing 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.8 blocks. He also shot a fantastic 49.6 percent from the field, 37.6 percent from the three-point line, and 88.6 percent from the free-throw line. He was selected to 12 All-Star teams in his 13-year career.
Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon (born on January 21, 1963) is a retired Nigerian American professional basketball player. From 1984 to 2002, he played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors. He led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Offensively, he averaged 21.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, shooting 51.2 percent from the field and a solid 71.2 percent from the free-throw line. Defensively, he was amazing, with career averages of 3.1 blocks and 1.7 steals.
Kobe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978) is an American shooting guard who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career and made instant headlines when he decided to go directly into the NBA upon graduation. He was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant and then-teammate Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002. After O'Neal's departure following the 2003–04 season, Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers franchise. He led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons. In 2006, Bryant scored a career high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second highest number of points scored in a single game in NBA history, second only to Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point performance.
William Felton "Bill" Russell (born February 12, 1934) is a retired American professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). A five-time winner of the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and a twelve-time All-Star, Russell was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won eleven NBA Championships during Russell's thirteen-year career. Along with Henri Richard of the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens, Russell holds the record for the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. Before his professional career, Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA championships (1955, 1956). He also won a gold medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics as captain of the U.S. national basketball team.
In his 13-year career, Russell had averages of 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists along with shooting 44 percent from the field and a subpar 56.1 percent from the free-throw line.
Oscar Palmer Robertson (born November 24, 1938 in Charlotte, Tennessee), nicknamed "The Big O" or O-Train, is a former American NBA player with the Cincinnati Royals and the Milwaukee Bucks. The 6-foot-5, Robertson played the shooting guard/point guard position, and was a twelve-time All-Star, eleven-time member of the All-NBA Team, and one-time winner of the MVP award in fourteen professional seasons. He is the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season, and he is regarded as one of the best and most versatile NBA players of all time. He was a key player on the team which brought the Bucks their only NBA championship in the 1970-71 NBA season.
Jerry Alan West (born May 28, 1938) is a retired American basketball player who played his entire professional career for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His nicknames include "Mr. Clutch" for his ability to make a big play in a clutch situation; "The Logo" in reference to his silhouette being incorporated into the NBA logo; and "Zeke from Cabin Creek" after the creek near his birthplace of Chelyan, West Virginia. Playing the small forward position early in his career, West was a standout at East Bank High School and at West Virginia University, leading the WVU Mountaineers to the 1959 NCAA championship game, earning Most Valuable Player honors despite the loss. He then embarked on a 14-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and was the co-captain of the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal team in Rome.
In his legendary 14-year career, he averaged an amazing 27 points, 6.7 assists, and six rebounds along with a great 47.4 percent and 81.4 percent from the free-throw line. He also averaged 2.6 steals and 0.7 blocks, and his defensive stats were only recorded in his last season.
Erving won three championships, four Most Valuable Player Awards, and three scoring titles while playing with the ABA's Virginia Squires and New York Nets and the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. He is the fifth-highest scorer in professional basketball history, with 30,026 points (NBA and ABA combined). He is well-known for slam dunking from the free throw line in Slam Dunk Contests.
As the face of the NBA for several years, he averaged 22 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists, along with a fantastic 1.8 steals and 1.5 blocks. He also shot a fantastic 50.7 percent from the field and 77.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Peter Press Maravich, born on June 22, 1947, died January 5, 1988, nicknamed "Pistol Pete", was an American basketball player. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Maravich starred in college at Louisiana State University (LSU) and for three NBA teams. He is still the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with 3,667 points scored and an average of 44.2 points per game.
Patrick Aloysius Ewing (born August 5, 1962) is an American retired Hall of Fame basketball player. He played most of his career with the NBA's New York Knicks as their starting center and played briefly with the Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic. Ewing was named as the 16th greatest college player of all time by ESPN. In a 1996 poll celebrating the 50th anniversary of the NBA, Ewing was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Basketball Players of All Time. On April 7, 2008 he was elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on September 5, 2008 along with former NBA coach Pat Riley and former Houston Rockets center, Hakeem Olajuwon. His number 33 was retired by the Knicks in 2003.