Article: Zack’s Take on the Top 10 NBA Players of All Time
10. Kobe Bryant- Kobe is a great scorer. Ranked 5th on the all time scoring list, Kobe has been a scorer since the day he was born. At just age 33, Bryant has more career points than NBA legends such as Shaquille O’Neal, Moses Malone, Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird, and Jerry West. The Lakers guard once scored 81 points in one game, which is the second highest single-game scoring mark, in NBA history. Kobe is a 5 time NBA champion, 1 time NBA MVP, and 2 time finals MVP. Kobe was also the youngest player ever to reach 15,000 points. Bryant is known for having a killer instinct and being one of the most clutch players of all time.
9. Tim Duncan- 2 time MVP, 4 time NBA champion, 3 time Finals MVP, rookie of the year, 13 time all-star. This guy has done it all. Time Duncan is a great overall player. He can score, rebound, block shots, ect. Duncan averages a double-double for his career. He also manages to score 20+ points per game for his career on great .507 shooting. So not only does Duncan score, he scores with efficiency. Tim can also block shots, averaging over 2 blocks per game for his career. The Big Fundamental is known for being the greatest power forward in NBA history. Duncan is also a superior passer for a big man.
8. Hakeem Olajuwon- Hakeem is one of the greatest big men the game has ever seen. He was an excellent all around player. Ranked 9th on the all time scoring list, Olajuwon averaged 21.8 points per game on great field goal percentage. In fact, he shot 51% from the field! That’s an outstanding number especially when he was a 20+ point scorer. Hakeem led the Rockets to 2 rings. He was the Finals MVP both times he won the championship, and Hakeem was also a one time NBA MVP. The Hall of Famer was also an extraordinary shot blocker. For his career, Hakeem averaged 3.1 blocks per game.
7. Shaquille O’Neal- Shaq is one of-if not the- most dominant players of all time. His giant structure and unbelievable strength was just too much to handle. Could you imagine having to cover a 7’1 320 pound giant? His dominance led the Lakers to 3 NBA championships, and the Miami Heat to one. Shaq was a 3 time Finals MVP and 1 time NBA MVP. The Diesel averages 23.7 points per game for his career on a superior 58% shooting from the field. Shaquille was also a great rebounder and shot blocker. Shaq had 1 major weakness. Free throws. Because he was nearly unstoppable in the paint, other teams created a system called “Hack a Shaq”. Since you couldn’t stop him down low, opponents would just foul him hard and make him shoot free throws. Overall, Shaq in my opinion is the most dominant player in the history of the NBA.
6. Larry Bird- Larry Bird is one of the greatest shooters of all time. His all around play was just amazing. He was an outstanding shooter and scorer, a great defender, an excellent rebounder, and a superior passer. The 6’9 small forward averaged 10 rebounds per game for his career. That is a crazy number for a small forward. He also averaged 6.3 assists per game which shows he was a willing passer. Along with getting rebounds and dishing out assists, Bird scored 24.3 points per game and 1.7 steals per game. Bird is one of the most well rounded players in NBA history. Larry Legend was a 3 time NBA champion, 2 time Finals MVP, and 3 time NBA MVP. The Celtics legend would do anything to win. No matter what it took, Bird would just do anything to win. Bird is one of the greatest 3point shooters of all time and also a great leader.
5. Wilt Chamberlain- Wilt may be one of the most talented players the NBA will ever see. His individual accomplishments were just crazy! In the 1961-1962 NBA season, Wilt averaged over 50 points a game and 25 rebounds per game. He is the only player in NBA history to do that. He has also broken many records, like the most points in a single game, with 100 points. Wilt is one of only 4 players to ever score over 30,000 career points He also grabbed 23,924 career boards, which is the highest number in NBA history. Wilt the Stilt is a two time NBA champion and 4 time NBA MVP. The Hall of Famer was also a 13 time all star, and he won Rookie of the Year.
4. Earvin “Magic” Johnson- Magic Johnson was a similar player to Larry Bird. He was a very complete player. From scoring to passing to rebounding, he could do it all. Johnson is hands down the greatest point guard of all time. Averaging 19/11/7 for his career, he was a great all around player. He was a great rebounder for a point guard, and it had to do with the fact that he was a 6’9 point guard. He led the Lakers to 5 NBA championships. He was a 3 time Finals MVP and 3 time NBA MVP. Magic was an exceptional leader and a great overall point guard. He was a pretty good scorer, but his passing and exceptional rebounding made up for not being the greatest scorer. He was also a great defender averaging just about 2 steals per game.
3. Bill Russell- Bill Russell is hands down the greatest winner of all time. He led the Boston Celtics to 11 NBA championships during his 13 year NBA career, and 2 of those came while he was a player/coach. During the 60’s, the Boston Celtics won 8 NBA championships in a row, led by Bill Russell. Russell was a great rebounder and defender. In my opinion, he was the greatest defender of all time. He was not very big, but he could block any shot. He was also one of the greatest rebounders to ever play the game of basketball. He averaged 22 rebounds per game! He also grabbed more than 20,000 rebounds in his career. He’s only one of two players to ever reach that mark. Russell is a 5 time NBA MVP along with 11 time NBA champion. His individual feats may not be as great as players like Shaquille O’Neal, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird, but he made every other player on the court look better.
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar- The legendary center was arguably the most talented player ever. His scoring, rebounding, defense, he was great. Jabbar holds the record for most career points scored. Over 20 seasons, Kareem scored 38,387 points. No other player in NBA history has scored that many points or played 20 seasons. In his prime, Kareem was an excellent rebounder. Kareem averages just over 11 rebounds per game. Kareem is currently ranked #3 on the all time rebounding list. Abdul-Jabbar was also a good passer for a center, dishing out 3.6 assists per game. Kareem was absolutely unstoppable in the post. He was famous for his hook shot. Abdul-Jabbar averaged 24.6 points per game in his career on 55% shooting. He was also a great shot blocker. He averaged 2.6 blocks per game in his career, and is ranked #2 on the all time blocks list. Kareem is a 6 time NBA champion, 6 time NBA MVP, and 2 time Finals MVP.
Michael Jordan is hands down the greatest basketball player of all time. He revolutionized the game of basketball. His will to win and his skill level was amazing. Ranked #3 on the all time scoring list, #3 on the all time steals list, #5 free throws made, this guy was just amazing. Jordan averaged 30.1 points per game in his career, which is tied for best all time with Wilt Chamberlain. Jordan was a very complete player. He averaged 62 rebounds per game and 5.3 assists per game along with 30 points. In the 1988-1989 season, MJ averaged 32 points per game, 8 assists per game, and 8 rebounds per game. Not many players have done that before. He was an excellent defender as well. For his career, he averaged 2.3 steals per game. Jordan is also known for having insane jumping and dunking ability. The legendary Bulls Shooting Guard led the Bulls to 6 NBA championships. His Airness is also a 5 time NBA MVP and 6 time NBA Finals MVP. He also won rookie of the year and defensive player of the year honors. Michael Jordan is the best player to ever step onto a basketball court.