Ranking the Greatest Players in the NBA

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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.

With so many different skills, playstyles, and levels of athleticism, skill, and coaching, determining who the of all time are, is difficult. To establish who was indeed the greatest, we must look at stats, awards, what the era offered at the time, as well as what strengths and shortcomings each athlete possessed. So, with that said, let’s get straight to number one!

Michael Jordan

MJ
Basketball – NBA – Charlotte Hornets v Milwaukee Bucks – AccorHotels Arena, Paris, France – January 24, 2020 Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan during a pre match press conference REUTERS/Benoit Tessier – RC2JME9ECG33

The all-time most outstanding player. Jordan became a global superstar on and off the court after leading the Bulls to six NBA titles, including six Finals MVP awards and five regular-season MVP trophies.

Jordan’s skill on both ends of the court defined a generation of basketball players and set a new bar for others who came after him. However, his gaming was more than just a sport for him.

LeBron James

Long before the term “player empowerment” was coined, James paved the way for his endorsements to become collaborations, his standing as a player to become a shareholder, and his public persona to include a social action component.

While James’ achievements will place him near the top of all athletes who have ever played the sport, the blueprint he built will allow others to get the most out of their professional careers.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar earned 19 All-Star appearances, 15 All-NBA selections, 11 All-Defensive selections, six NBA titles, six MVPs, four blocks titles, two scoring titles, two Finals MVPs, and one rebounding title during his 20 NBA seasons.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar commanded the NBA for numerous decades with his unstoppable skyhook and outstanding defensive abilities. His MVP awards spanned the years 1971 to 1980. His first and last Finals MVPs were separated by more than a decade.

Bill Russell

The most excellent defender in NBA history guided the Boston Celtics to an NBA championship record 11 times. Bill Russell is a fascinating selection since his offensive stats aren’t particularly impressive, but his impact was significantly more than that.

Russell had the potential to completely control the game defensively. Still, his career numbers aren’t bad, and if blocks and Finals MVPs were recorded and awarded throughout his career, he’d have a lot of them.

Russell is the most significant sports winner of all time. His 11 championships may be the most secure record in the NBA.

Wilt Chamberlain

Chamberlain was a foregone conclusion to be near the top of the list, despite being a questionable teammate and an obsessive competitor obsessed with all the numbers and records.

Chamberlain’s ability to prioritize his own numbers over winning was well documented, and it’s simple to see why when there was nothing he couldn’t do on the floor. When he was accused of being selfish, he purportedly responded by leading the league in assists.

Despite his team’s frequent losses against Russell’s Celtics, he virtually doubled his opponent in points and shot a more significant percentage from the field.

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson has 5 championship rings
Ranking the Greatest Players in the NBA 4

It’s hard to talk about the top point guards in NBA history without mentioning Magic Johnson. When Magic Johnson came out of Michigan State and entered the NBA in 1979, he completely revolutionized the game.

Consider how unbelievable it is that Magic started Game 6 of the NBA Finals at center in his rookie season and dropped 42 points. He was a five-position player who helped the Lakers to their first championship in nearly a decade.

This was only the beginning for Magic, who revolutionized the way the basketball world saw guards because of his size.

So, there you have it, folks, six of the best to have graced the NBA. What do you think? Do you agree? Is there someone missing from this list?