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Top Ten NBA Players of All Time

Updated on January 29, 2018

Sidenote

Don’t kill me because Bill Russell isn’t on this list. Yes, he won 11 championships which is amazing, but the fact that the finals were in the second round, the era was weak, and he lacked talent on the offensive end makes it hard for me to put him on this list. He’s number 11 on my list. Some other very honorable mentions are Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, and Julius Erving.

#10- Hakeem Olajuwon

Picked 1st Overall, 1984

One of if not the best post player ever. The all time leader in blocks. Two championships. This man was good. Definitely one of the more unguardable players of the 90’s. His most famous move, the “dream shake” caused many to stumble around in the post, creating space for a wide open basket. His handle was impressive for someone his size, and had arguably the best footwork around the basket ever. His offensive rebounding was also spectacular, averaging well over 3 offensive boards a game for his career.

What may be even more impressive was his defensive presence. His height was listed between 6’10 and 7 feet, and he averaged a very impressive 3.1 blocks for his career.

Fun Fact: Olajuwon became the first player in NBA history to win the Most Valuable Player, Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season.

#9- Wilt Chamberlain

Territorial Pick, 1959

Many remember him as the man who scored 100 points in a single NBA game, which is a record that still stands today. He is most certainly one of the best scoring big men ever to step foot on the hardwood, seeing as in the ‘61- ‘62 season, he averaged over 50 points. He stood at about 7’1 and was completely dominant, and the only one who could even temporarily contain him was Bill Russell. During Wilt’s time, blocks weren’t recorded, but we can only imagine how many he averaged, especially with witnesses saying he got up to 17 a game at one point. He was also a skilled passer, leading the league in assists one year. He did dominate a weaker era of basketball, and struggled significantly from the free throw line, so he stand at number nine.

Fun Fact: Holds the record for most points scored in a game, with 100, and the most points averaged in a season.

#8- Shaquille O’neal

Picked 1st Overall, 1992

You may know him from his gold bond commercials, but during his prime, Shaq was the most dominant force the NBA had ever seen. He won four championships by breaking numerous backboards, and by playing with Kobe on the Lakers. During his ‘99- ‘00 MVP campaign, he averaged 29.7 points, 3 blocks, 13.6 boards, and nearly 4 assists, shooting .574% from the field, ultimately leading the Lakers to the finals, where they won their first championship in what would become a threepeat. Once he was traded to the Heat, he won yet another championship. due to his shear dominance. Unfortunately, his poor work ethic and health issues held him back from reaching his full potential, so he comes in at number 8.

Fun Fact: He only made one three-pointer in his whole career.

#7- Tim Duncan

Picked 1st Overall, 1997

The big fundamental was one of the most consistent players in league history, as well as one of the most humble. His ability to go out and consistently score 20, and grab 10 boards as well as send two shots back per game was incredible. He did most of his work around the basket, but also had a solid mid range game. His unselfish play style led him to five rings. He did most of the dirty work for the Spurs, ultimately letting Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to score in more flashy ways, while he was significantly more layed back. He also hit many clutch shots in the playoffs, making him one of the greatest winners in league history. He has a better win percentage in the finals than even Kobe, which says something. He is almost always recognized as the best power forward ever, even though he spent significant time at center too, and is the best Spur ever, setting a tone for the winning franchise.

Fun Fact: He won rookie of the month every month of his rookie year.

#6- Kobe Bryant

Picked 13th Overall, 1996

Whatever you may know him as, everyone can agree that Kobe is one of the most iconic players ever. From turn around jumpers to flashy dunks, to game winners, many get nostalgic thinking about Kobe, and for good reason. He was the closest thing we’ve ever seen to Michael Jordan, and probably is the closest we’ll ever get. He won five championships, and was an MVP. He averaged an insane 35 points one year, and was an underrated passer averaging almost 5 assists for his career. Quite impressive for someone labeled a ball hog. His ball handling and ability to hit contested shots at a high rate was a impressive. He was also a very good defender, just like Jordan. He hold the record for the second most points scored in a game with 81 against the Raptors. Once he got hot and in the zone, there was absolutely no stopping the black mamba.

Fun Fact: Holds the record for most consecutive all star games played, with 17.


#5- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Picked 1st Overall, 1969

The all time leading scorer, with the most unstoppable move in league history- the sky hook. He was the greatest combination of strength and finesse, allowing him to score at ease. He holds a record six MVP’s, and has six rings as well. Blocks weren’t recorded in the first few years of his career, but when they were, he averaged about 2.5 a game, and had one year getting four a game. He also didn’t struggle significantly from the free throw line like other big men such as Shaq or Wilt, only adding to his scoring totals. He was also very efficient, shooting well above 50% from the field for his career. Along with this, he averaged about a steal a game as well. Some may argue he is the greatest player ever, but he always had a spectacular guard like Oscar Robertson or Magic Johnson to pass him the ball when he needed it the most.

Fun Fact: Holds the record for most all star games in nba history, with 19.

#4- Larry Bird

Picked 6th Overall, 1978

The greatest white man to ever touch a basketball. Standing at about 6’9, Bird was great at so many different things. He was an amazing passer for a forward, a strong rebounder, good off ball defender, and most notably a knockdown shooter. At a time where the three point line wasn’t utilized, Bird’s sharpshooting abilities from long and mid range made him unguardable. He was never the fastest or most athletic player on the court, but his incredibly high basketball IQ, as well as ability to hit clutch shots pushes him well above most. He was also a creative player, often grabbing his own misses and orchestrating the fastbreak by getting everyone involved, in ways the defense would never expect. He was also an insane trash talker, often telling opponents how he would score, and then doing just what he said.

Fun Fact: Once scored 47 using only his left hand.

#3- Magic Johnson

Picked 1st Overall, 1979

The only point guard on the list, Magic stands at 6’9, yet is the best passer of all time. He was also great at several other things as well. He averaged over 7 rebounds for his career, about 2 steals, half a block and 19.5 points. Unlike most point guards, a decent chunk of his points came from the post, where he was able to over power average sized guards by posting them up, and finishing with some impressive post moves. The passing was the most impressive aspect of his game, even with all of his other abilities. He averaged 11.2 assists for his career, with only 3.9 turnovers. His career high in assists was in the ‘84-‘85 season where he averaged 13.1 a game, with only 4.6 turnovers. He ran the fastbreak better than anyone else ever could, especially with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the frontcourt, which is what led to the nickname, “Showtime Lakers.”

Fun Fact: Holds the record for highest regular season assist average, with about 11.2 a game.

#2- Lebron James

Picked 1st Overall, 2003

The most complete player of all time. Picked 1st overall in the 2003 draft, standing at 6’8, and weighing 250 pounds, Lebron is built like Karl Malone, yet sprints like a point guard. He has passing vision that rivals all time greats like Chris Paul, drives and finishes with insane power, has ball handling skills, and hasn’t been shooting poorly recently. He instantly makes everyone around him better with his unselfish play, and has no stunning weaknesses. The only thing to point to could be his shooting. His three-pointers are hot and cold- he shoots .343% on threes for his career- which isn’t great but not horrendous. His free throws also draw a lot of attention, but they aren’t terrible. He shoots around 77% for his career from the line, which is decent. But when it comes to all around play, nobody trumps Lebron.

Fun Fact: Youngest player to hit 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, and 20,000 points.

#1- Michael Jordan

Picked 3rd Overall, 1984

The G.O.A.T. Six rings with zero finals losses. He could do just about anything. His scoring was the most well-known and exciting part of his game, notably averaging over 30 points for his career. His athleticism allowed him to get to the basket with such ease, and he was great around the basket with his wide array of dunks and layups he could pull off. His mid range game was also out of this world, most famously demonstrated by his turn around jumper. He was a great shot creator as well, with the ability to shoot heavily contested shots, and make them. He also played lockdown defense, winning the defensive player of the year award in the ‘87-‘88 season, averaging over three steals, and 1.6 blocks. He was also an underrated passer. When the team ran him at point guard as an experiment, he averaged over eight assists and eight rebounds. He was also one of if not the clutchest players, hitting countless big shots in the regular season and the playoffs. He was the most ruthless scorer and player ever, and the GOAT.

Fun Fact: Has a record six finals MVPs, winning one every year he won a championship.

Conclusion

That wraps it up for today’s list. Commen below if you agree or disagree with my list, and read more when I get to posting. Thanks!

© 2018 Mr Basketball

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