The NBA is one of the world’s most beloved sports, boasting many legendary players. But who is truly the greatest of all time?
Narrowing down the list of NBA greats can be challenging, as their impact both on and off the court should always be taken into account. So let us take a look at some of the most significant figures in basketball history and their lasting contributions to the game.
1. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is considered one of the greatest basketball players ever. He achieved numerous personal milestones and led his team, the Chicago Bulls, to six NBA titles during his tenure with them.
He is renowned for his impressive skills and charming disposition. His commitment to winning never wavers; he will do anything necessary to secure victory.
His youth saw him cut from his high school team due to his height, but he worked hard to grow 4 inches and join the varsity squad after freshmen year. Soon after, he earned a place on McDonald’s All-American game!
He was an unstoppable force on the court, earning six MVP awards during his career and two Olympic gold medals for Team USA. His legacy continues to be celebrated by fans today as one of sports’ most beloved and influential figures.
2. LeBron James
LeBron James is an iconic NBA player who has achieved unparalleled success throughout his career, earning him many accolades and distinctions along the way. Currently the most successful player in the league, James could go down as one of basketball’s all-time greats.
He is an inspiring example of what can be accomplished when hard work, dedication and faith are combined with the right mindset. He has become a role model and inspiration to many young people.
His achievements are truly remarkable and have had a lasting impact on basketball culture. Additionally, he is an inspiring advocate for civil rights issues and has had a lasting effect on those within his community.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of basketball’s all-time greats, having played for both Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, winning six NBA titles along the way.
His success on the court has earned him numerous accolades and is the only six-time MVP in NBA history. Additionally, he holds numerous records for most games played, points scored, minutes played, field goals made, rebounds made, blocks made and career victories.
He is a global icon who revolutionized professional basketball, becoming a New York Times best-selling author, filmmaker, and cultural ambassador for America.
4. Magic Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s basketball talent earned him the moniker “Magic.” His athletic prowess made him a national hero to fans across America. A first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979, Johnson went on to win five NBA championships with them.
He was a 12-time All-Star and three-time MVP, finishing his career with the highest assists and steals totals in NBA history. In 2002 he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Additionally he became president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers before investing in various businesses today.
5. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is one of the most beloved and esteemed NBA players of all time. He has led his team to five championships and earned a place in history by being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
He has earned selection to 18 NBA All-Star teams and 15 All-Defensive teams, as well as winning four MVP awards – one for the All-Star Game and another for the Finals.
He has earned two Olympic gold medals and is a passionate supporter of children’s charity After-School All-Stars. Furthermore, his relentless work ethic is well known, which plays an integral role in his success on the court.
6. Shaquille O?Neal
Shaquille O?Neal was an unstoppable force on the basketball court from his birth on March 6, 1972 in Newark, NJ. His accolades and successes rival those of only the greatest players in NBA history and have become legendary legends within their own era.
He helped his teams win NBA Championships and Olympic gold medals during his tenure with the league. Furthermore, he enjoyed a successful business career and became an accomplished broadcaster.
He was a legend on the court, yet not without controversy. From alleged disagreements with teammates and coaches to accusations of narcissism, his career had its share of issues.
7. Larry Bird
Bird was a two-time NBA champion and one of the greatest small forwards in league history. Additionally, he boasts the most triple-doubles ever scored by an NBA player in league history.
After a remarkable career in the NBA, Bird went on to become President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers and is a proud member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
At the height of his career in the NBA, Bird led the Boston Celtics to three championships and earned himself an All-Star status for 12 straight seasons. Additionally, he was part of the 1992 Olympic team that won gold medals in Barcelona.
Larry Bird is renowned for his accomplishments on the court as well as his coaching and special adviser roles for the NBA. He is best known for his competitive spirit and leadership style in both these capacities.
8. Wilt Chamberlain
Chamberlain was an iconic 7-foot-1 figure who revolutionized basketball. Throughout his tenure with the league, he excelled on both offense and defense alike.
He was a two-time NBA champion (with the Philadelphia Warriors and 76ers) and four-time MVP, leaving an indelible mark that continues to resonate today.
Chamberlain set an NBA record by averaged 50 points and 26 rebounds a game, and no other player ever did it quite like him. That feat continued for more than a decade.
His records remain virtually unbroken, including his single-game rebound total of 55, total career rebound total of 23.922 and career assists total of 11.1. He remains the only player to lead both scoring and rebounding for an entire season.
9. Bill Russell
Russell is remembered as one of basketball’s all-time great winners, hoisting 11 NBA championship flags at Boston Celtics Garden over 13 seasons. Additionally, he helped redefine the role of athletes as political agents by advocating for civil rights and racial justice issues that were previously unattainable for a Black basketball player.
Russell was a diminutive 5’11” center who was cut from his junior high school team. But his raw athleticism soon led to him becoming an all-around sensation on both college and professional levels, winning gold medals at both University of San Francisco and becoming MVP in his first season with the Boston Celtics.
10. Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan has earned the respect of many throughout NBA history with 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. A great all-around player, he excels as a passer, rebounder, shooter, scorer, dribbler and defender.
He is renowned for his clutch play, having won three NBA Finals MVP awards. His consistency was unsurpassed in the league, making him one of the most beloved and respected figures in NBA history.
Over his 19-year NBA career, he averaged 19 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2.1 blocks per game. Furthermore, he holds the record for most All-NBA and All-Defensive team selections in league history – making him an truly exceptional player.