Top 10 Greatest Basketball Players of All Time

There have been great NBA players in every generation, some have used their physicality to dominate the game, some have used their high IQ inside the court, and some have used their technicality. 

We will be taking a look at who are the greatest basketball players to have ever done it inside the basketball court. 

Greatest Basketball Players of all-time:

10. Tim Duncan 

Total Championships: 5

Total MVPs: 2

Unarguably one the greatest basketball player in the history of the San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan turned the Spurs into the best team in the world for quite some time. Considered by many as the greatest Power Forward to ever play, and we are not here to deny it. 

Proving his loyalty to the franchise, Tim would spend his entire 19 seasons in the NBA playing for the Spurs. Being a defensive player with a highly efficient attacking display, Tim Duncan surely deserves to be amongst the greatest basketball players to ever do it. 

9. Wilt Chamberlain 

Total Championships: 2

Total MVPs: 4 

Next up on Sportco's list of greatest basketball players is the 'Big Dipper', Wilt Chamberlain. Who else has had the rules of the NBA changed because of how dominant they were? 

Only Wilt Chamberlain is amongst those players. Had it not been for the records, Wilt’s scoring input would’ve been considered a myth. 

Scoring 100 points in a single game, averaging  50.4 points for an entire season, scoring triple-doubles like it's a joke, Wilt Chamberlain has done it all. 

To this day, no one has come close in matters of scoring except the Late Kobe Bryant who was still far from breaking Wilt’s records.

8. Larry Bird

Total Championships: 3

Total MVPs: 3

When it comes to clutch players who have played for the Boston Celtics, Larry Bird is the top dog for the franchise. Winning 3 consecutive MVPs, and delivering 3 Championships to the Boston Celtics, we couldn’t leave Larry Bird out of this list. 

Had his career not been shortened after his injury, we might’ve seen Larry even higher on this list. Nevertheless, Larry Bird is still amongst the greatest basketball players to have ever played the game of basketball. 

7. Bill Russell 

Total Championships: 11

Total MVPs: 5

Yes, we have not made any mistake while typing those numbers; Bill Russell is the greatest winner in the game of basketball. Another player for the Boston Celtics makes the list, Bill Russell’s defensive abilities helped the team win 11 championships. 

Blocks weren’t recorded during the time Russell played but he is still regarded as one of the greatest shot blockers ever. He is the player who’s recorded triple-doubles with points, rebounds, and blocks. Even if it was one of the earliest eras, Russell’s greatness cannot be denied. 

6. Shaquille O’ Neal 

Total Championships: 4

Total MVPs: 1

When it comes to dominating the court from one end to the other, Diesel is known as a force not to be reckoned with. With his body type, not one player in the NBA could challenge him physically. The only player who’s broken the basketball board by dunking on it, multiple times. 

Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant formed the greatest duo the NBA has ever seen. No one could stop Shaq once he entered the paint, and not many could face Shaq once they had entered his territory in defense. Shaq is also considered to be one of the most underrated players to ever exist.

5. Magic Johnson

Total Championships: 5

Total MVPs: 3

Winning the NBA Finals MVP in your rookie year is a dream that would be considered impossible by many but not by the Great Magic Johnson, who did it himself. 

After Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was injured in the finals, the Lakers were dependent on the rookie Magic Johnson and they weren’t wrong in doing so as they would win the Championship. 

This wouldn’t be his only title as he would go one to 4 more. Unfortunately, Johnson’s career would shorten right in his prime due to HIV and this would lead to his career, more or less, ending. 

4. Kobe Bryant

Total Championships: 5

Total MVPs: 1

It would be straight-up disrespectful not to include Kobe Bryant in your top 5 list of greatest basketball players of all time. 

No one has come close to Michael Jordan’s game except Kobe Bryant himself. Even after injuries throughout his career, Kobe never backed down and this would result in him scoring over 33,000 points throughout his NBA Career. 

Kobe Bryant never left the Lakers no matter how bad they became and still managed to win 5 Championships. 

Many would say Kobe deserved more MVPs, which is true but so is fate. Before retiring, Kobe dropped 60 points in his final game, a score not many can reach even in their prime. 

Kobe has also had an 81 point game, the closest points scored in a single game to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100.

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

Total Championships: 6

Total MVPs: 6

We enter the podium places for our list of the greatest basketball players of all-time. At third, we have the highest scorer in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who also leads the NBA in the matter of MVPs won. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s longevity and consistency helped him score over 38,000 points in one of the most physical eras of basketball. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played 20 years, a crazy feat to achieve in itself, and won 6 championships. The Sky Hook shot is yet to be perfected by any other player to this day and Kareem was a menace using it, people had to poke him in the eyes to stop him.

2. LeBron James

Total Championships: 4

Total MVPs: 4

This one would break many hearts, however, LeBron James ends up on the runner up list of the greatest basketball players of all time. 

Considered by many as the GOAT, LeBron James is still going strong in the NBA and it’s his 19th year in the league. A physical beast ever since his debut season, LeBron James uses his physicality and athleticism to dominate defenders. 

A player with one of the greatest performances in the 2016 finals of the NBA where he would help the Cleveland Cavaliers do the impossible by overcoming a 3-1 score against the Golden State Warriors, this was never seen before. 

Currently, the only player in the NBA who could beat Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of scoring the most points in the history of the league. 

1. Michael Jordan

Total Championships: 6

Total MVPs: 5

If the Chicago Bulls were making it to the finals with Jordan in the lineup, just forget about the opposition having a chance at winning the Championship. 

Michael Jordan flaunts a perfect 100% win record in the NBA Finals, with 6 rings to his name. What is the second name given to Michael Jordan? The GOAT! 

We are sure that if Jordan had played as much as the others in the top 3, he would’ve held all the records to himself. 

Jordan is someone who retired in his prime years and came back when he was 38 and still averaged over 20 points for 2 seasons. One of the most feared players by the opposition, no one comes close to Michael Jordan’s game except Kobe Bryant. 

Hence, Michael Jordan wraps up our list of the greatest basketball players of all time.

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