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Best NBA Players in History

Updated on March 12, 2016

Photos of NBA Legends

Michael Jordan has won six NBA Championships for the Chicago Bulls. He is regarded by many as the best basketball player to ever grace the court.
Michael Jordan has won six NBA Championships for the Chicago Bulls. He is regarded by many as the best basketball player to ever grace the court. | Source
Wilt Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to score 100 points in one game. He was a giant for his time but nowadays it's common to see players well over 7 feet tall on the basketball court.
Wilt Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to score 100 points in one game. He was a giant for his time but nowadays it's common to see players well over 7 feet tall on the basketball court. | Source
Magic Johnson played for the L.A. Lakers. He helped boost the NBA's appeal in the 1980's.
Magic Johnson played for the L.A. Lakers. He helped boost the NBA's appeal in the 1980's. | Source
Larry Bird played his entire career with the Boston Celtics. He was tenacious on the court and he played with passion.
Larry Bird played his entire career with the Boston Celtics. He was tenacious on the court and he played with passion. | Source
Bill Russell was a legendary basketball player for the Boston Celtics.
Bill Russell was a legendary basketball player for the Boston Celtics. | Source
Kareem Abdul Jabbar shown shooting his famous hook shot, is a L.A. Lakers legend.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar shown shooting his famous hook shot, is a L.A. Lakers legend. | Source

Legendary NBA Players

1. Michael Jordan: Jordan was the best overall player in history on offense and defense. He won 6 Championships with the Chicago Bulls and won multiple MVP and Scoring titles. He was the face of basketball for a long time. He soared above them all during his reign in the NBA. Whether he was dunking, shooting three pointers, free throws, fade aways or blocking and stealing the ball M.J. was the man for a long time.

2. Wilt Chamberlain: Chamberlain once scored 100 points in a single game, which is a record. He was a 2 time NBA champ and 4 time MVP in the league. He was a Rookie of the year and a 7 time scoring champion.Wilt towered over his opponents and was very hard to block. When it came to scoring in the paint and rebounds Chamberlain was hard to handle to be sure.

3. Bill Russell: Russell once played for the Celtics and was a master center. He won 11 NBA Championship rings in a 13 year span, which is unheard of. Russell dunked on everyone and it was nearly impossible to get a rebound if he was in the paint. Russell seemed just a step ahead of his fellow competitors in almost every aspect of the game and he hustled all game long.

4. Kareem Abdul Jabbar: Jabbar is the NBA All Time Scoring king with an amazing 38, 387 points to his credit. He won 6 MVP Awards, which is a record plus he won 6 NBA Championships. He also was a 19 time All Star. Jabbar was a tremendous defender and he could out rebound entire opposing teams by himself at times. An amazing player and some historians rate him higher than I did on this compilation list.

5. Erving Magic Johnson: Magic won 5 NBA titles and was named MVP of the league 3 times. Johnson along with Larry Bird made basketball thrive in the 80s. Johnson had a career total 10, 141 assists, 6, 559 rebounds and almost 18,000 points in his stellar career with the Lakers. Johnson could turn up the heat offensively when his team was behind and perform with skills.

6. Kobe Bryant: Bryant has won 5 Championships thus far in his career with the L.A. Lakers. He won the MVP twice in the Finals and has a regular season MVP Award. He is a 14 time All Star. Bryant is a true showman and his dunks are always replay worthy. As he finishes out his career he may increase a spot or two on the all time list.

7. Larry Bird: Bird won three Championship rings with the Boston Celtics. He won the MVP twice during the Finals and three times during the regular season. His rivalry with Magic Johnson of the Lakers is stuff of legend. He had a tremendous work ethic which saw him many times tumbling on the floor chasing after the ball. A major fan favorite because of how he played.

8. Shaquille O Neal: O Neil won four Championships with the Lakers and he was a three time MVP of the Finals. He has 2, 732 blocks in his dominant career along with 13, 099 rebounds and nearly 29,000 points on his resume. O' Neal has broken the glass of backboards and actually tore an entire goal down onto the court with his monstrous dunks.

9. Tim Duncan: The San Antonio Spurs Center won the NBA Title four times and the MVP Trophy twice. He is a former Rookie of the Year and 13x All Star. He was a first round draft pick out of Wake Forest. Duncan continues to play which may increase his standing as his stats increase.

10. Hakeem Olajuwon: Hakeem won two rings while playing center for the Houston Rockets. He is the leagues all time blocks leader with an astounding 3, 830. Olajuwon was a 12 times All Star and he had 26, 946 points during his illustrious career. Olajuwaon was a true team player and a leader of the pack that kept his team hyped and motivated.

* Please feel free to leave your opinion on who the best basketball player is in the comments box located at the bottom of this page.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant has won multiple championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is also a multiple time league Most a valuable Player. Kobe has skills and great pride.
Kobe Bryant has won multiple championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is also a multiple time league Most a valuable Player. Kobe has skills and great pride. | Source

Birth Place of Larry Bird

Wilt Chamberlain Highlights

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NBA Legends

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Magic Johnson

Michael Jordan highlights

What Makes a Great Player?

Many basketball players become very good but to become a truly great player you must have intangibles. Jordan could dunk, shoot, dribble and steal the ball but he had something extra. Confidence. His confidence allowed him to shoot a free throw with his eyes closed. It also helped him to hit several long shots such as a couple of half court jumpers. Oh yea, Jordan was a kingpin when it came to merchandising as well.

© 2012 Buster Johnson

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