Since the beginning of the NBA in 1946, we have witnessed some excellent playmakers who duke it out on the court. They have different styles and skills to dominate the tournament. With all those playing styles, skills, and levels of athleticism, it is tough to pick a few basketball players of all time.
However, we tried to shortlist the players based on their performance, achievements, and statistics. Remember that while preparing the list, we had to exclude some good players from the list. However, just because they missed their spot in the top 10 doesn’t mean they play average. The list of top 10 players hails the extraordinary performers who are worthy of staying on the list.
#10. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille Rashaun “Shaw” O’Neal is a retired American basketball player who made his NBA debut in 1992. During his nineteen years of professional career in the National Basketball Association, O’Neal played for six teams, including Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Miami Heat. He is considered one of the best NBA players of all time.
During his NBA career, O’Neal played a total of 1207 games with 9.4 field goals per game and 4.9 free throws per game. He also had 7.4 offensive rebounds per game, 10.9 defensive rebounds per game as well as 2.5 assists per game with a field goal percentage of 58.2.
His best performance came in 2008 under Phoenix Suns, where he scored 6.8 field goals per game, .609 field goal percentages, and .610 2PA.
O’Neal won the NBA Championship 4 times, including 3 time NBA Finals MVP awards, 15 NBA All-Star games. He was also awarded NBA Most Valuable Player of the Year (2000), NBA Rookie of the Year (1993), Associated Press Player of the Year (1991), and UPI Player of the Year (1991). Additionally, he received 8 All-NBA First Team honors. O’Neal was added to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
#09. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant played for Los Angeles Lakers throughout his entire baseball career. After making his debut in the professional basketball career in 1996,
In his 20 years of career, Bryant maintained unbelievable stats, which makes him worthy in the list of top 10 NBA players of all time. However, he faced a tragic death due to a helicopter crash. Bryant has played a total of 1346 games, in which he scored 25.0 points. He also had 8.7 field goals per game with a .447 field goal percentage. Kobe Bryant scored 1.1 offensive rebounds per game and 4.1 defensive rebounds per game with 4.7 assists per game.
He gave his best performance in 2007, where he achieved 9.5 field goals per game along with .459 field goal percentages with 15.5 2PA.
Among various awards and championships, Bryant won 5 NBA Championships as well as twice NBA Finals MVP and 18 NBA All-Star games. He was awarded NBA Most Valuable Player (2008). Bryant also received 11 All-NBA First Team honors and 9 NBA All-Defensive First Team honors. Undoubtedly, Kobe Bryant is one of the best defensive basketball players of all time.
#08. Tim Duncan
Perhaps the only flaw in Duncan’s game was that he was quite boring. Tim Duncan, nicknamed “The Big Fundamental,” dominated for nearly two decades in the basketball industry. His midrange bank shot and perfect defense makes him one of the most famous basketball players. The Stone Buddha played for the San Antonio Spurs throughout his entire career, where he achieved humongous success. From his first debut in the NBA in 1997 until his retirement in 2016, he had a brilliant performance.
In his 19 years in the NBA, Duncan played 1392 games with a total of 19 points and maintained 2.8 offensive rebounds and 8.1 defensive rebounds. He also had 3.0 assists per game and with 7.4 field goals per game and a 50.6 field goal percentage.
His best performance came in 2016, where he had 7.7 field goals per game and a 54.6 field goal percentage. He also scored total rebounds of 10.6 and made 3.4 assists per game.
Duncan won 5 NBA Championships along with 15 NBA All-Star games and 2 NBA Finals MVP awards. He was also awarded NBA Most Valuable Player twice in a row (2002, 2003), NBA Rookie of the year (1998), and NBA Teammate of the Year (2015). He received honorary All-NBA First-Team for 10th times and NBA All-Defensive First-Team for 8th times. Duncan was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.
#07. Larry Bird
Larry Joe Bird, also known as “The Hick from French Lick,” is a retired professional basketball player who played for Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers in his NBA career. The right-handed power forward was so talented that after his debut in 1979, Larry gave a brilliant performance for the Celtics.
As a player, Larry played 897 games in which he scored 24.3 points as well as 2.0 offensive rebounds per game and 8.2 defensive rebounds per game. He also maintained 6.3 assists per game along with 9.6 field goals per game and 49.6 field goal percentages.
Larry gave his best performance in 1986, where he achieved 11.6 field goals per game and 52.7 field goals, percentages only out of 76 matches. He also achieved total rebounds of 9.3 and total assists of 6.1 in that particular season.
As for awards and achievements, Larry was 3 times NBA Champion and 2 times NBA Finals MVP, along with 12 NBA All-Star exhibition games winners. He received the NBA Most Valuable Player award thrice in a row (1984-1986), NBA Rookie of the Year (1980), AP Athlete of the Year (1986), and NBA Coach of the Year (1998). Larry also received 9 All-NBA First Team honors as well as 3 NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors. He was added to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998.
#06. Wilt Chamberlain
Wilton Norman Chamberlain, nicknamed “The Big Dipper,” was a football player who used to stay ahead of his time. His NBA-record score of 100 points and 50 average points per game made him legendary as well as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. During his playing career, Wilt played for Harlem Globetrotters, San Francisco Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Lakers.
As a great player, Wilt played a total of 1045 games, where he maintained 30.1 points and total rebounds of 22.9. He also had an average assist of 4.4, 12.1 field goals per game, and 54.0 field goals percentage.
In 1972, Wilt had 5.2 field goals per game, a massive 72.7 field goal percentage, and 4.5 assists per game, which is considered as his best performance throughout his professional career.
The Big Dipper won 2 NBA Championships, 13 NBA All-Star games, 7 consecutive NBA Scoring Championships (1960-1966), and was awarded NBA Finals MVP in 1972. He also received 4 NBA Most Valuable Player awards (1960, 1966-1968), NBA Rookie of the Year (1960), and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player award (1957). Wilt was honored with the 7 All-NBA First Team as well NBA All-Defensive First team twice.
#05. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson was the main reason for the NBA’s revolution. He was a transparent passer as well as a legendary winner. Without Magic Johnson and his all-time rivalry with the Celtics, the NBA could’ve missed the revolution. Johnson played most of his career for the Los Angeles Lakers. However, he was unable to play basketball from 1991-1995 due to HIV.
The 6-foot giant played a total of 763 games in which he scored 6.9 field goals per game and 52 field goals percentage. He also maintained 19.5 points with 1.8 offensive rebounds per game and 5.5 defensive rebounds per game. With an average assist of 12.4 per game, Johnson is considered one of the most popular NBA players.
In 1983, Johnson gave a brilliant performance where he scored 6.6 field goals per game with 56.5 field goal percentage and 13.1 assists per game.
The Tragic won 5 NBA Championships and 12 NBA All-Star games. He was awarded NBA Finals MVP thrice (1980, 1982, 1987), 3 NBA Most Valuable Player awards (1987, 1989, 1990), 2 NBA All-Star Game MVP (1990, 1992), and NBA All-Rookie Team award (1980). Johnson also achieved 9 All-NBA First Team honors.
#04. Bill Russell
His defensive abilities made him the perfect teammate for Wilt Chamberlain. Played his entire basketball career in Boston Celtics; Russell was so dominating that every opponent was afraid of him.
In his career, Russell played only 963 games, but all of them were packed with pure thrills. He also scored 15.1 points as well as total rebounds of 22.5. He had 5.9 field goals per game with a 44 field goal percentage. Russell has an average assist of 4.3.
His best performance came in 1965, where he scored 5 field goals per game with 40 field goal percentages and 4.8 assists per game.
Along with 11 NBA Championships, Russell also won 12 NBA All-Star games (1958-1969) and 4 NBA Rebounding Championships (1958, 1959, 1964, 1965) as well as 2 NCAA Championships (1955, 1956). He was awarded NBA Most Valuable Player 5 times, NBA All-Star Game MVP (1963), UPI College Player of the Year award (1956), and WCC Player of the Year (1956). Russell received 3 All-NBA First Team honors and 8 ALL-NBA Second Team honors.
#03. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
No other players in NBA history can compete with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s achievement list. His unstoppable skyhook helped him to achieve more points than any other player in NBA history. During his 20 NBA seasons, Kareem made his debut in Milwaukee Bucks and then later transferred to Los Angeles Lakers.
Throughout his career, Kareem played 1560 games, where he achieved 15.6 points with 2.4 offensive rebounds per game and 7.6 defensive rebounds per game. He also had 10.2 field goals per game with 55 field goal percentage as well as 72 free throw percentage and 3.6 assists per game.
During his time in Los Angeles Lakers in 1979, he played 82 games where he scored 10.2 field goals per game, 60 field goal percentage, and 4.5 assists per game. He also maintained total rebounds of 10.2 in each game.
Let’s take a look at his achievements. Kareem won 6 NBA Championships, 2 NBA Scoring Championships (1971, 1972), and a record of 19 NBA All-Star games (1970-1977, 1979-1989), NBA Rebounding Championship (1976), and 3 NCAA Championships (1967-1969). He was awarded twice NBA Finals MVP (1971, 1985), 6 NBA Most Valuable Player, NBA Rookie of the Year (1970), and 3 National College Player of the Year (1967-1969). Moreover, Kareem was honored in All-NBA First Team 10 times, All-NBA Second Team 5 times, and NBA All-Defensive First Team 5 times. Kareem was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.
#02. LeBron James
Career Statistics (Still Playing)
LeBron Raymore James Sr. is an NBA professional basketball player who plays for Los Angeles Laker. He’s widely considered the second greatest basketball player of all time. His physical power and passing abilities are the main things that turned him into a legendary player. He started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He also played for the Miami Heat.
Until now, he participated in 18 NBA seasons where he played 1281 games with 27 points as well as 1.2 offensive rebounds per game and 6.3 defensive rebounds per game. He also has 7.4 assists per game, including 9.9 field goals per game and 50 field goal percentages.
We don’t know what might happen later, but his 2013 season is considered his greatest performance ever. He played 77 games in that season, where he maintained 10 field goals per game and 50 field goal percentages, as well as 6.9 total rebounds and 6.3 assists per game.
LeBron won 4 NBA Championships, 16 NBA All-Star games, and NBA Scoring Championship (2008). He was the NBA Assists Leader in 2020. LeBron is awarded 4 NBA Most Valuable Player (2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013), NBA Rookie of the Year (2004), Time Athlete of the Year (2020), USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (2012), and Naismith Prep Player of the Year (2003). He received 13 honorary All-NBA First Team and 5 NBA All-Defensive First Team.
#01. Michael Jordan
Without a single question, Michael Jordan is the best basketball player ever. Also known as “MJ,” he is the chairman and principal owner of Charlotte Hornets of the NBA and 23XI Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. During his era, Jordan played for Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards.
In his 15 years of basketball career, Jordan played 1072 games where he secured 30.1 points along with 1.6 offensive rebounds per game and 4.7 defensive rebounds per game. He also had 11.4 field goals per game and a 49 field goal percentage. With an average assist of 5.3, Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.
In 1990, during his time with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan participated in 82 games with 12.1 field goals per game and a 53.1 field goal percentage. He also had total rebounds of 6.0 per game and 5.5 assists per game.
This legendary player won 6 NBA Championships, including 14 NBA All-Star games, 10 NBA Scoring Championships, 2 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Championships (1987, 1988), and one NCAA Championship (1982). He was awarded 6 NBA Finals MVP as well as 5 NBA Most Valuable Player awards, 3 NBA All-Star Game MVP awards (1988, 1996, 1998), NBA Rookie of the Year (1985), 3 AP Athlete of the Year (1991-1993) and ACC Player of the Year (1984). Jordan also received 10 All-NBA First Team honors and 9 NBA All-Defensive First Team honors. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Here’s the list of the top 10 players of all time. Remember that the list is produced upon statistics and achievements and total career results. So, if you haven’t found your idol on the list, then don’t be disappointed. Every player is unique in their way.
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