The NBA has been around since 1946, and we’ve seen some of the best athletes of all time compete on the floor throughout that time. There have been various styles of play that have spanned several ages. Shooters now dominate the sport, but the center position ruled the game only a few decades ago. Defensive dominance, sharpshooting snipers from behind the three-point line, deft slashers, and all-around godlike athletes have all been seen. Here are the Top 10 NBA Players Of All Time In NBA History.
With so many different skills, playstyles, and levels of athleticism, skill, and coaching, determine who is the best player of all time. Players such as Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bill Russell can all be argued to be great for different reasons. To establish who was indeed the greatest, we must look at stats, awards, what the era offered at the time, and what strengths and shortcomings each athlete possessed. This article will discuss my top ten players who, in my opinion, are the best to play the game.
Top 10 Best NBA Players Of All Time In NBA History
1. Kobe Bryant
Kobe, “The Black Mamba,” is a fictional character. Bryant was the face of the new millennium. The Charlotte Hornets selected him with the 13th overall choice in the 1996 NBA draft right out of high school. The Los Angeles Lakers had worked out a deal with the Hornets the day before to gain the pick, allowing them to select Bryant. With the Lakers, he signed a $3.5 million rookie contract.
He was an all-time great scorer with a killing instinct that made his opponents fearful of him. Bryant acquired the moniker “Black Mamba” for his ability to be as lethal on the floor as the poisonous black mamba. He was a 20-year NBA veteran who won five championships, including three. Bryant is still regarded as one of the best cold-blooded shooters of all time, having made 17 game-winning shots and another seven game-tying jumpers that resulted in OT triumphs over his career.
Kobe Bryant was well-known for his outstanding athleticism and clutch shooting. Highlight clips featuring devastating dunks and game-winners with no time remaining can be found. The laser focus and mental fortitude he possessed aren’t visible on a highlight reel. Kobe could communicate in various languages, including English, Spanish, and Italian. Kobe Bryant is famous for learning French to trash-talk Tony Parker. He also used his native tongue of Slovenian to taunt Luka Doncic from the sidelines. Bryant’s thinking was just as deadly as his athletic abilities in any given game during his career.
2. Moses Malone
Malone, a unique legend who hopped around the NBA during his career, knows that playing for seven different teams in the league shouldn’t take away from the fact that he is one of the best centers of all time. The three-time MVP and 1983 Finals MVP was also a 13-time All-Star, eight-time All-NBA selection, member of the NBA’s 75th-anniversary squad, and a rebounding machine almost unequaled in the 1970s and 1980s. Malone, dubbed “The Chairman of the Boards,” led the NBA in rebounds six times, and he averaged double figures in rebounding for 14 straight seasons. Only eight players in NBA history have won three or more MVP trophies, and Malone doesn’t garner nearly as much love as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, the other two MVP winners. You understand because we’re talking about Bird and Magic, who essentially saved the NBA in the 1980s. Malone, on the other hand, has a lot of honors. Julius Erving, who was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, presented his old teammate before Malone’s induction speech, and Dr. J quipped with the audience that evening, “Just think about the sound of that name.” He needed to become well-known. If he doesn’t make it, what a waste of a name.” That name has become synonymous with rebounding, winning, and, ultimately, immortality because to Malone.
3. Elgin Baylor
Elgin Baylor was never a ring winner. But don’t let the fact that Baylor never won a championship in his 14 years with the Lakers, two of which he spent in Minneapolis, overshadow his remarkable offensive prowess and status as a GOAT candidate in the league’s early days. Baylor, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1958 NBA Draft, the Rookie of the Year in 1959, an 11-time All-Star, and an incredible 10-time First-Team All-NBA selection, is, of course, a member of the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team, having more than lived up to the hype when he entered the league and left it averaging 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game.
He was an offensive innovator, becoming the first player in NBA history to score 70 points in a game and unquestionably one of the league’s top forwards. Inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977, the only thing left from his impressive resume was a title. Baylor technically deserved one because he was a member of the 1971-72 Lakers team that won it all, but he only played nine games that season and retired before the playoffs began due to a nagging knee ailment at the age of 37. Whether you think of Baylor as a champion or not, know that another immortal on this list believes he deserves a lot more credit than he gets. “Who, in my opinion, was the greatest?” Once upon a time, Oscar Robertson enquired. “This may surprise you: Elgin Baylor.” I want to watch some of today’s best players take on Elgin. They were unable to protect him. “No one could do it.”
4. Hakeem Olajuwon
The Admiral of the Fleet. David Robinson, who comes in at No. 21 on our list, is a truly generational talent. That demonstrates how difficult it is to rank these individuals. A two-time champion, MVP, 10-time All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year, and four-time first-team All-NBA player can’t even make it into the top 20. Maybe we have Robinson ranked too low, but when you’re comparing ultra-talented players against ultra-talented guys, it’s like splitting hairs. Robinson’s greatness was never spectacular, but his presence and performance were significant in propelling the San Antonio Spurs dynasty, which Tim Duncan eventually carried on. Robinson was a true all-around player, as evidenced by his statistics.
Robinson’s career averages were 21.1 points per game and 10.6 rebounds per game, with 3.0 blocks per game. That is just remarkable. Robinson’s numbers were great, but he also brought athleticism to the center position that was uncommon for his day, which is why he was named to the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team. The Admiral accomplished what he set out to do, and then extra.
5. Karl Malone
Karl Malone is a long line of great players from the 1990s who Michael Jordan and the Bulls overlooked. Losing two Finals games to MJ and the rest of the team didn’t improve matters. Despite this, Malone remains the NBA’s second-leading scorer, averaging 25.0 points per game across his 19 seasons in the league.
He was a two-time NBA MVP, played in 14 All-Star games, was named the first-team All-NBA 11 times, and the 75th-anniversary squad. According to the data, Malone is undoubtedly a top 20 player in NBA history. Malone’s career will probably be defined by his failure to win a championship, but the production was always there for him.
6. Dirk Nowitzki
Another difficult ranking. There are several outstanding big men from NBA history in this portion of the order, but Dirk ends up at No. 17 because he transformed the game. Before Dirk, it was rare to see a 7-footer in the NBA launch from long range. Take a look at the NBA right now. You’re not going to win anything if your team doesn’t have a big man who can shoot from three.
Dirk was a catalyst for change in the NBA, radically altering how the game is played. Dirk’s numbers and honors back up his place on this list above anything else. He scored over 30,000 points throughout his career, won an MVP award, appeared in 14 All-Star games, was named to the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team, and received numerous other honors. And while this isn’t particularly noteworthy, Dirk was able to do it during his entire career with the same franchise. I didn’t mention how incredible he was against LeBron James and the Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals.
7. Bill Russell
With 11 championships, Bill Russell holds the record for most championships in NBA history. He only missed out on a title in two of his 13 NBA seasons. Russell also achieved success on a national level, capturing the NCAA championship in 1955 and 1956. In the 1956 Summer Olympics, he also won a gold medal for the United States. Russell is best remembered for his championship rings, but he is also one of the best rebounders and defenders in NBA history.
Russell wasn’t the dynasty Celtics’ primary emphasis, but he had a significant impact in other ways. Russell was the best rebounder in the league five times, averaging over 20 rebounds per game ten times throughout his 13-year career. Russell is one of just seven players in history to win an NCAA title, an NBA title, and an Olympic gold medal.
Russell was also instrumental in bridging the color divide in the United States. He wasn’t the first black basketball player, but he was the first to achieve superstardom. Near the end of his career, he served as a player-coach for the Celtics, making him the first black coach in the NBA and the first black coach to win a title.
Russell is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, shot blockers of all time, even though the NBA did not begin tracking blocks until the 1970s. According to several press accounts, Russell has blocked as many as 17 shots in a single game, and he frequently earns triple-doubles in terms of points, rebounds, and blocks! Russell’s career shot-blocking total is unclear, but it’s safe to say he stopped at least six attempts per game, and that’s on the low end of the spectrum. In fact, according to an unofficial list compiled by fans who independently searched for the answer, Russell averaged 8.1 blocks per game over his career.
8. Tim Duncan
Tim is known as “The Big Fundamental.” Duncan is the all-time best power forward in NBA history. In 1997, the San Antonio Spurs drafted him first overall, and he would play for the Spurs for the rest of his 19-year career. Duncan wasn’t a spectacular player, but he was highly efficient on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Duncan was able to lead a dynasty that lasted nearly two decades, thanks to the tutelage of coach Gregg Popovich. He defeated outstanding players like LeBron James twice, Ben Wallace, Jason Kidd, and others to win five titles.
Duncan was noted for his efficiency, but his defensive abilities distinguished him. He is still ranked third all-time in defensive efficiency in the NBA. He was a 15-time All-Defensive selection and a 2-time MVP despite never winning Defensive Player of the Year. Duncan possessed the ability to play a solid, fundamental style of basketball. Duncan made the perfect passes and plays to win games with guys like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, who would have been unknowns if Duncan hadn’t guided them to success.
Duncan isn’t a flashy player, which is why I feel he ranks at the bottom of many all-time rankings. He was never interested in the money or the jewelry; all he cared about was winning. Even after retirement, Duncan can be observed sporting his flannel shirts and ill-fitting jeans. Duncan is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players to ever tread on a court, even though he doesn’t have a vast shoe deal or a million commercials.
9. Kevin Garnett
The Big Ticket is one of those players that doesn’t care about the “rings” debate. Even though he helped revolutionize the power forward position even more than Tim Duncan (he’s a center! ), I believe he’s been underestimated because of all those years in Minnesota lugging mid-teams on his back. KG would have more than one ring on his finger if the Spurs picked him.
Garnett was overshadowed by Duncan, who had slightly better numbers, but he was the most entertaining player to watch. KG was at his best on the offensive end, but he was at his most significant on the defensive end. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, the same year he won his only championship in Boston. He was named to the All-Defensive team 12 times and was named to the league’s 75th-anniversary squad with ease.
Like Magic Johnson before him, Garnett pushed the limits of what a player of his height could accomplish on the floor. KG modeled his game after Magic as a kid, resulting in him becoming one of the most versatile big men in NBA history.
10. Earvin Johnson Jr.
During the 1980s, Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. was a pillar of the NBA. In the 1979 NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected him first overall. Magic earned the Rookie of the Year title and the NBA championship the same year he was chosen. He was also the MVP of the Finals that year. His job as a point guard was to manage the offense, and he excelled at it, leading the league in assists four times throughout his career.
Magic’s winning ways began in college when he led the Michigan State Spartans to the NCAA Championship, where he faced off against his career adversary Larry Bird for the first time. Magic defeated Bird in the Final Four, claiming the award for Most Outstanding Player. Their rivalry would continue in the NBA, with Magic and Bird meeting three times in the Finals. Magic and the Lakers were victorious on both occasions.
Magic and the Lakers were part of the greatest Lakers dynasty in history. Because of their fast-paced, run-and-gun attack, they were dubbed the “Showtime Lakers.” The Lakers and Magic were able to win five rings while competing in the Finals nine times thanks to Magic’s passing ability and Kareem Abdul-scoring Jabbar’s abilities.
Magic’s career was nothing short of spectacular. He won five championships during his career, but he could have won even more if it hadn’t been for his health. When he declared that he had contracted HIV in 1991, Magic had to resign immediately. He didn’t play for another four years until returning for a 32-game stint before retiring permanently in 1996. Magic went to nine Finals in his 13-year career, winning five of them.
We are attempting to represent ten of the greatest NBA players of all time in this blog. Please let us know which one is your favorite in the comments section below.
Where does LeBron rank all time?
Who Is Better MJ Or LeBron?
According to LeBron James’ statistics, he is a significantly better basketball player. Even though Jordan scored more points overall, LeBron is a more efficient player who shoots better from two and three points. LeBron also outperforms Jordan in terms of passing and rebounding.
Will LeBron Pass Kareem?
Because the NBA considers that a regular-season-only record, Kareem remains the NBA’s all-time leading scorer; however, if LeBron continues at his present rate, he will pass Kareem late next season or early in the 2023-24 season.
Who Is Statistically The Best NBA Player?
Is LeBron The Greatest Athlete Ever?
Nick Wright claims that LeBron James is the most outstanding athlete. LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world right now. That remark is likely to be agreed upon by most individuals, including most basketball players.
Who Has More Rings Than Jordan?
Michael Jordan is the best NBA champion ever. He has more rings than Bill Russell (11), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six), and Kobe Bryant (five).
Who’s Better, Kobe Or LeBron?
While LeBron is a better team player and has more excellent stats than Kobe, Kobe was a more diverse and complete player, a virtuoso with incredible skills and defense talents.