30 Greatest Players In NBA History

Mike - July 30, 2019

30 Greatest Players In NBA History

Mike - July 30, 2019
Photo Credit: Orlando Pinstriped Post

9. Shaquille O’Neal – Magic/Lakers/Heat/Suns/Cavs/Celts:

The dominating O’Neal was the most physically imposing figure in NBA history by far. Standing 7’1” and weighing 325 pounds, opposing teams often resorted to simply fouling him with the ‘Hack A Shaq’ strategy to make him revert to his only weakness – shooting free throws.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

But it didn’t work. O’Neal won the NBA championship four times and was named Finals MVP in three of those victories. He won an NBA MVP award in 2000. He was also a 15-time All-Star who won the All-Star MVP award three times. O’Neal made 14 total All-NBA teams in his career. Finally, he owns two NBA scoring titles. The massive-yet-athletic “Shaq” averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game in his historic career.

Photo Credit: Hoops Habit

8. Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs:

While Shaquille O’Neal found success with powerful, flashy dunks, Duncan found his own with a quiet mastery of the fundamentals of basketball. As one of the greatest big men in NBA history, Duncan won five NBA championships and was the MVP of three Finals.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

He was also a two-time NBA MVP winner. Duncan made 15 All-Star games and won the MVP there in 2000. He made 15 total All-NBA teams in his career, including 10 First Team selections. Duncan also made 15 NBA All-Defensive teams as well. He was as consistent as they come, averaging 19.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game in his legendary career. He’ll never be the flashiest, but he’s one of the greatest.

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7. Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers:

A true Lakers legend amongst a never-ending sea of Lakers legends, Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the NBA’s most storied franchise. He was the youngest player in NBA history to score 30,000 points. Bryant won five NBA titles and was named the Finals MVP in two of those. He owns one NBA MVP award from the 2008 season.

Photo Credit: Sportscasting

Bryant was an incredible 18-time All-Star, winning the MVP award in that game four times. He made 15 total All-NBA teams, including 11 First Team nominations. Bryant also made nine NBA All-Defensive First Teams. He was the NBA league scoring champion twice. Few could fill up the stat sheet like Bryant could when he got hot. He once scored 81 points in a game against the Toronto Raptors. All told, he averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game as one of the best offensive players to ever play.

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6. Larry Bird – Boston Celtics:

Bird is simply one of the best pure shooters in basketball history. His accomplishments are many, proven by the fact he is the only person in NBA history to win Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, NBA Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year. It’s going to be difficult for anyone to even come close to all those accolades.

Photo Credit: Sportscasting

But that was far from all Bird accomplished. He was a three-time NBA champion and two-time Finals MVP in 1984 and 1986. Bird won the NBA MVP award twice. He was a 12-time All-Star and won the All-Star MVP award in 1982. Bird made nine All-NBA First Teams in his decorated career. And of course, he won three 3-Point Shootouts as well. He averaged 24.3 points, 0.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game in his legendary career, proving he belongs high among the best of all-time.

Photo Credit: Lansing State Journal

5. Magic Johnson – Los Angeles Lakers:

Johnson is largely considered the best point guard in NBA history and for good reason. He stormed into the league his rookie season and won both the NBA title and Finals MVP award, proving a sign of things to come. Johnson won four more titles in L.A. and three total Finals MVP awards.

Photo Credit: ESPN

He was a 12-time All-Star, winning the MVP award in two of those games. He made nine All-NBA First Teams. Johnson led the league in assists four times and steals twice. Throughout his career, Johnson averaged 19.2 points, 11.2 assists, and 7.2 rebounds per game. The 11.2 assists per game is the highest average in NBA history. While he was a somewhat controversial figure in the latter stages of his career, Johnson ranks up there with the best to ever play in the NBA.

Photo Credit: FanSided

4. Wilt Chamberlain – Philadelphia Warriors/76ers/Los Angeles Lakers:

‘The Stilt’s’ greatest records still hold true today. He holds the NBA record for most points in a single game with 100. He’s also the only player to average more than 40 or even 50 points per game in a season. Chamberlain was dominant, winning two NBA titles and a Finals MVP in 1972.

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He was four-time NBA MVP and made 13 All-Star games, winning the MVP in 1960. Chamberlain made seven All-NBA First Teams. But it was his individual scoring and rebounding skills that separated him far from the rest. Chamberlain was a seven-time NBA scoring champion and 11-time rebounding champion. He even led the league in assists in 1968. All told ‘The Stilt’ averaged 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game in his all-time great career.

Photo Credit: Sport360

3. Lebron James – Cavaliers/Heat/Lakers:

Now is where the NBA’s greatest of all-time debate really heats up. James is no doubt in the top five players of all-time, but can you really rank him above the two all-time greats above him? Some would vehemently argue yes while others would say not a chance. In any case, James accomplishments are historic in their own right.

Photo Credit: USA Today

He’s a three-time NBA champion and won the MVP award in all of those wins. James is also a 15-time NBA All-Star, having won the MVP award in that game three times. He’s made 12 All-NBA First Teams. James also added five NBA All-Defensive First Team awards to that list. Finally, he’s won four NBA league MVP awards. James is the all-time leader in NBA Playoff scoring and fourth all-time in regular-season scoring. Perhaps the only knock on him would be his multiple Finals losses, but he hasn’t always had the team to win. James is still playing at an elite level and could rise up to the top spot on the list of the NBA’s greatest players ever.

Photo Credit: Behind the Buck Pass

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Milwaukee Bucks/ Los Angeles Lakers:

The one-time Lew Alcindor is a true legend of the game. Abdul-Jabbar owns the NBA records for most league MVP awards with six and the most All-Star Game appearances with a whopping 19. He led his teams to the playoffs in 18 of his 20 seasons and made the Finals 10 times. Abdul-Jabbar was a six-time NBA champion and won the MVP in two of those championships.

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He made 15 total All-NBA teams including 10 First Team selections. Abdul-Jabbar was selected to five NBA All-Defensive first teams. He led the NBA in scoring twice, rebounding once, and blocks four times. Topping it off, Abdul-Jabbar is the all-time leader in points scored and most importantly, wins. It’s tough to argue with this resume.

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1. Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls/Washington Wizards:

Now we’ve reached the mountaintop. While there are some truly amazing players preceding him on this list, the fact simply remains that Michael Jordan is the best NBA basketball player to ever play. He’s a six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls and he won the Finals MVP in all six of those iconic victories. Jordan even retired to go play baseball then came back and won his second three titles. Adding to that, Jordan was a five-time league MVP as well.

Photo Credit: Wiz of Awes

“Air” Jordan made 14 All-Star games, taking home the MVP award in three of them. He made 10 All-NBA First Teams. Jordan had nine NBA All-Defensive First Team awards and was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1988. In a huge achievement, he was the NBA scoring leader 10 times throughout his career. Jordan also led the league in steals three times. He was also well known for his dunking prowess, particularly in his historic Slam Dunk Contest battles with Dominique Wilkins. Jordan also remains a leading figure in the sports apparel business and created a massive industry with his Air Jordan brand. But what he’ll be remembered for most are his epic three-peats with Chicago, feats that probably won’t be repeated.

For those and his massive all-around success, Michael Jordan is the greatest NBA player of all-time.