Since its creation in 1946, the NBA has had thousands basketball players. But have you ever wondered who the best NBA basketball players of all time are? Well, here is a list of the top 10 best NBA basketball players of all time:
10. Oscar Robertson
Robertson was born in Charlotte, Tennessee in 1938. He, as most professional basketball athletes, started playing basketball in high school. Robertson was selected by the Cincinnati Royals (now know as the Sacramento Kings)in the 1960 NBA Draft. Tagged ‘The Big O’ for standing at 1.96m and weighing 100kg, Robertson played for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks in his professional career. As a point guard he is the only player in the history of the NBA to average a triple-double for a season. In basketball lingo, it means reaching double digits in three of all assists, rebounds, points, steals, and blocks with the three doubles being assists, rebounds and points. Among his accolades in his fourteen seasons include; a twelve-time All-Star award, eleven-time member of the All-NBA Team and one MVP award. Furthermore, he was voted as being one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Since his retirement, he has been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. As a result, Oscar Robertson has the number ten spot.
9. Tim Duncan
Timothy Duncan was born in 1976 in Virginia. He was selected by the San Antonio Spurs for his talent in the 1997 NBA Draft. Standing at a staggering 2.11m and weighing in at 113kg, Tim Duncan as a power forward is a fourteen-time NBA All-Star, four-time NBA champion, two-time NBA MVP (Most Valuable Player) and a three-time NBA finals MVP. He is the only player in the NBA to be selected on both the All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams during each of his first 13 seasons. That in itself is staggering to say the least.
8. Kobe Bryant
Born in Philadelphia in 1978, Kobe Bean Bryant was selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1996 NBA Draft after playing for his Lower Merion high school. In the same year of his draft, Bryant was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers where he has since played as a shooting guard. Nicknamed the ‘Black Mamba’ and still going strong at thirty-five, Bryant has quite a number of awards. He is a five time NBA Champion, a two time NBA Finals MVP, a fifteen time NBA All Star an eleven time All-NBA First Team and a two time NBA Scoring Champion. He is without a doubt one of the few players in the NBA Basketball Hall of Fame waiting-list.
7. Shaquille O’Neal
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Considered a son of Newark, New Jersey, Shaquille O’Neal was born in 1972. With a total of 147kg and standing in at 2.16m, Shaquille is among the tallest players to have graced the game. After being selected by Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft, he became a top centre, winning the Rookie of the year award in his debut season. Throughout his nineteen year professional career, Shaquille who came to be known as ‘Shaq’ played for quite a few NBA teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers where he was teammates with Kobe Bryant, also played for the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. His numerous accolades include; four NBA Championships, three NBA Finals-MVP, FIBA World Championship MVP, eight time NBA First Team, two NBA Scoring Championships and two Olympic gold medals. He is certainly in the Top 10 Best NBA Basketball Players of All Time.
6. Wilt Chamberlain
Among the pioneers of the game, Wilt Chamberlain was born in Philadelphia in 1936. He started his professional career in 1959 as a centre while playing for the Harlem Globetrotters. At 2.16m and weighing 125kg, Chamberlain broke numerous records in rebounding and scoring. Holding the record for being the only player to score 100 points in a single NBA game makes him stand head and shoulder above the rest. ‘Wilt the Stilt’ as was his nickname, went on to become a two time NBA Champion, a four time NBA Most Valuable Player, a seven time NBA scoring champion, an eleven time rebounding champion and a seven time All-NBA First Team, which are just a few of his accomplishments. He was inaugurated into the Basketball Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. This came after his passing on in 1999 at the age of 63.
5. Larry Bird
photo: kip koech
Born in 1956 in West Baden Indiana, Bird played both high school and college basketball. He was soon selected as a forward by the Boston Celtics in the 1978 NBA Draft. He spent his entire professional career with the Celtics. In his illustrious career, he went on to win three NBA Championships, became a two NBA Final-MVP, twelve NBA All-Star, nine All-NBA First Team and three gold medals in various team competitions which included an Olympic gold as part of the ‘Dream Team’ in Barcelona, Spain. He however had to retire in 1992 due to severe back problems, but still continued to take part in basketball as a coach for the Indiana Pacers between 1997 and 2000. He moved to a new capacity as the president of basketball operations for the Indiana Pacers until he retired in 2012. He also holds the record for being the only person in the NBA to be named Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. Larry Bird certainly deserves his spot at number three in the Top 10 Best NBA Basketball Players of All Time.
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Born as Ferdinand Lewis in 1947 in the state of New York, Kareem stood at 2.18m and weighed 102kg as an NBA basketball player. After a successful run in college basketball, he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1969 NBA Draft. He later went on to play for the Los Angeles Lakers and in his professional career won six NBA Championships, six NBA Most Valuable Player, an unmatchable nineteen NBA All-Star and ten All-NBA First Team, just to mention a few. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
3. Bill Russell
In third place in the Top 10 Best NBA Basketball Players of All Time is Bill Russell. Born in Louisiana in 1934, Billy Russell started playing basketball while studying in McClymonds High school. He was later selected by St Louis Hawks in the 1956 NBA Draft after a successful spell in college basketball. He stood at 2.06m and was a defensive oriented player with admirable rebounding ability .Throughout his career he was an eleven-time NBA Champion, five-time NBA MVP, twelve-time NBA All-Star and an Olympic gold medallist. He retired in 1988 as a coach and was enthroned into both FIBA and Halls of Fame as a player in 2006.
2. Magic Johnson
Born in 1959 in Lansing, Michigan, Earvin Johnson made his name known world over while playing as a point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. After winning his college championship, Johnson was selected by the Lakers in the 1979 NBA Draft. He earned the nickname ‘Magic Johnson’ for his sublime skills and he won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his debut season. Although he retired abruptly in 1991 after an illness, Johnson returned to win the All-Star MVP Award at the 1992 All-Star Game. His many fancied achievements include 3 NBA MVP Awards, 12 All-Star games and 9 NBA Finals appearances. He played an integral part in the U.S basketball “Dream Team” that won gold in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. He was inaugurated into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002, ten years after his retirement.
1. Michael Jordan
photo: kip koech
This name most certainly needs no introductions and if it does, deservedly so, it needs the best of introductions. MJ as is known by his initials was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1963. After playing college basketball for three seasons he was selected by the Chicago Bull in the NBA draft of 1984. Standing at 1.98m and weighing 98kg, It didn’t take long before Jordan became a fan favourite because of his lovely little bit of play and his prolific scoring. He soon earned the nicknames like ‘Air Jordan’ by performing slam dunks from the free throw line. His individual accolades include five MVP Awards, 10 All-NBA First Team, 14 NBA All-Star Game appearances, 10 scoring titles and 6 NBA Finals MVP Awards, just to mention a few. Jordan holds the highest career regular season scoring at 30.12 points per game. He retired in 2003 and was in 2009 inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as the Greatest Basketball Player of All Time.