Best Basketball Players of All Time

rhamilt
The most dominating and revolutionary players ever.

The Top TenXW

1Michael JordanMichael Jeffrey Jordan, also known by his initials, MJ, is an American retired professional basketball player.

Best player the world has seen and will see. Just looking at him inspires you to become a basketball player. No matter what anyone says, Jordan is the best basket-baller.

Amazing how quickly people forget how good he was. Bobby Knight who coached him in the 84 Olympics once made a statement saying he is the best player to ever play any team sport. Knight might has been an ass at times, but he knew talent and if one of the few who knew Michael would be as great as he was. He also made Pippen and Rodman the players they are due to his desire to win. Paul Westfall after getting beat by Jordan was asked by reporters did you say you had to stop Michael. Westfall replied, nobody can and we never said we could, the only way stop Michael is rip his heart out. He was red in the face and left the podium. How many great players did he keep from winning a championship: Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, Karl Malone and basically everyone on the Dream Team unless they played for the Bulls or when Jordan was playing baseball, Hakeem O. Who was picked a head of Jordan in the 84 draft. It was a good pick, with Jordan playing baseball he was able to win 2 championships ...more

The best player ever! Everybody will know the one who is going to surpass him. (if that day will ever come)

Curry better

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2Magic JohnsonEarvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association for 13 seasons.

Seriously, you put Iverson ahead of Magic Johnson? You have lost all credibility with 98% of your audience. No one on this list exhibited the versatility, vision and capability to make others around him better than Magic!

Now Magic what a player the most unselfish in NBA history he has the highest assist average in an NBA career ever he lead the lakers to the NBA crown when he was just a rookie but yet didn't win rookie of the year he has 4 rings 3 MVP's and way way more awards he is a great player and if he didn't retire on his 12 season he would probably be at the very top at this list or at least second because he was probably the best of the era he played. - logankulas

Magic could easily play point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and power forward. He once played center in 1980 nba finals and won with kareem injured in game 6. The bulls struggled when Jordan played the point because he was not good at distributing. Jordan was too small in size and did not have the strength to play small forward at his prime.

Overall Talent
While I do give Michael Jordan the edge in scoring, Magic had more all around talent. He has 100 more triple doubles than Michael Jordan did even though he retired at only 32. Magic Johnson was the best passer the game has every seen not even john stockton, jason kidd, steve nash, or chris paul can pass as good as Magic Johnson. Magic Johnson was best rebounder who played out of any guard position averaging 7.2 rebounds a game for his career.

Competitiveness
While Jordan did win 6 rings. Magic Johnson won 5 rings in the 1980's era that was best in basketball there was celtics who had bird, mchale, and ...more

Magic Johnson does magic. PERIOD.

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3Kobe BryantKobe Bean Bryant is an American retired professional basketball player. He played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association.

Kobe = 81 points, most by a wing player in NBA history.

That's one game I'm not trying to take away anyone from this amazing night by Kobe but one game shouldn't be a reason he's number one. - chocodilesforlife

HAD KOBE PLAYED THE FOURTH QUARTER AGAINST DALLAS WHEN HE HAD 62 POINTS AT THAT TIME I'M SURE HE WOULD OF HAD ANOTHER 80 POINT GAME.
HEART OF STONE. IT'S FITTING HE IS RANKED 2ND.

It is obviously MJ, but Kobe is probably the closes thing to him we will have. People are looking for LeBron to be the next MJ, but they don't realize that's Kobe.

Kobe is the best basketball player ever you got to deal with it

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4LeBron JamesLeBron Raymone James is an American professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association.

Kobe is great but LeBron James fantastic he can dribble he can shoot he can do anything he would be the next Michael Jordan in the next few years because he has got amazing potential and he won back to back MVP's I mean who else can do that - logan101

Lebron James is the greatest Small Forward right now in NBA but he is the right now in NBA Larry Bird and Kobe is Magic Johnson Kobe said he's number 1 idol in NBA is Magic Johnson! Kobe wants he's jersey number is 33 but Kobe said 33 is on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar so he's jersey number now is 24

Lebron is the best he shines over Kobe in every way. I think he's better than Jordan too all he needs are the rings and enough said. People don't give Lebron his credit just as people don't Eminem his credit well we all know Eminem is the best rapper alive and Lebron is the greatest ball player ever to touch a basket ball!

LeBron sucks he should be the dead last LeBron is a crybaby LeBron sucks!

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5Larry BirdLarry Joe Bird is an American retired professional basketball player who played for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association.

Larry was a great shooter with few dunks unlike Jordan who had many dunks to increase his shooting percentage. Larry was also a better rebounder, free throw shooter, and passer than Jordan. Larry entered the NBA one year late, after sitting out a year in college, and missed almost another full year in his prime with a foot injury. He was not a selfish shooter but just wanted to win and would get all of his teammate involved. He averaged over 10 rebounds per game for his career - not bad for someone who couldn't jump! He was both the first AND second player ever to shoot over 50% from the field AND over 90% from the line for a season - and this from a long range shooter! He was the best ever with a ful command of the game and awareness of what was happening - always.

He was the best ever: the greatest, most creative passer ever; one of the greatest defensive rebounders, the greatest all around shooter, the greatest clutch shooter, and played great team defense. Add to all these qualities his great basketball intelligence, mental toughness, and pure skill, and you have, by far, the greatest player of all times!

Scored when ever he wanted to. Anywhere he was he was great.

Best basketball player ever. Not a ball hog like Jordan and others. He was aware of everything happening on the court at all times. It was like he had a sixth sense, and no one in the world can match his talent.

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6Wilt ChamberlainWilton Norman "Wilt" Chamberlain was an American basketball player . He was born on August 21, 1936 in Philadelphia and died on October 12, 1999 in Los Angeles due to heart failure . ...read more.

He averaged 50 points in a single season
Scored 100 points in a single game
Got 55 rebounds against the Celtics led by Bill Russell (2nd all time career rebounder behind chamberlain)
Had a 33 game winning streak
Of the 62 times more than 60 points have been scored by a single person in a game, 32 of those times were by Chamberlain
Blocked shots were recorded after he retired, but Harvey Pollack asked his statisticians to count Chamberlain's blocks, and they got up to 25 one night. Well above the record for most blocks in a single game.
Elgin Baylor said that Chamberlain was the only player that could dominate on both end of the court. He recalled one particular game against the bulls where he blocked every single shot for 4-5 minutes and how no one from the bulls could get a shot in.
In a sport where one game is 48 minutes for a season he averaged 48.5 minutes a game, thanks to overtime.
Bill Russell, the man who won more rings than he has fingers, said that ...more

Wilt Chamberlain was by far the most underrated player to ever play basketball. People are so quick to discredit Wilt by saying he played "lesser" quality players and would not be as dominant in this day and age. Kareem Abdul Jabar, Willis Reed, Bill Russell, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld were all excellent players who played in the post at the same time as Wilt, are you saying they weren't quality basketball players. He played 48.5 minutes a game in chucks, and all 82. He averaged 8 assist a game as a center in season, his records in scoring and rebounding remain untouched. Wilt Chamberlain was the greatest player to ever play on the hardwood.

Best ever you are crazy if you think Michael Jordan is better
Wilt all the way
Kareem second then bill russell

100 point game enough said

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7Kareem Abdul-JabbarKareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers.

No one could guard the sky hook. Most points scored in a career - not even close

Most points scored in the history of the NBA- He has so many blocks as well as some great assists. That is why He deserves number 1

Humble giant, master of all time, takes after his original coach, unforgetable speaker... Spoke about how he learned to be a good man ^^ about life through his coach. Kareem should be number 1 player.

Records are unreal. The best since high school. A complete team player. Always in the box and for the team. And on top of it a good caring person.

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8Bill Russell

I would simply like to say that with all due respect to the names listed here, you must remember that this is a TEAM game. If you wanted to talk about who is the best 1 on 1 player based on his individual talents and all around skills, then that is a different subject all together. The overall skill level of the game has certainly changed over the last couple of decades, but, some good, and some maybe not so good. The game was first played with much more physical play, and in most cases the player had more rules that restricted much of the modern day displays of athleticism, no doubt. But back to the main quest for who was the most dominant individual player of the game. There are only two names that stand out above all others, Statistically that should go to Wilt Chamberlain, but when you look at the ultimate goal for playing the game, it was to win a championship, and no one, not even M. J. , nor Kobe, came even close to the overall domination of the entire sport itself. Also ...more - CRUISERJ

As long as the Celtics had Russell, they kept winning. I remember Red Auerbach saying that the year after Russell left (1970) and the team went dowhill. Russell blocked shots and kept the ball in play. His defense won games. He played against WIlt Chamberlain and except for 1967, when WIlt's team won, the Celtics won every year and beat out WIlt. Russell has a record nobody will ever achieve again- 11 championships in 13 years. Today, the game has changed. There are more big men and we now have essentially two centers. One is the traditional center and the other is the power forward. Kevin Garnett is a Russell-type shot blocker, but he plays power forward. It is much harder today for a center to dominate a game because there are two "centers" or big men per team. Russell made the Celtics world champions 11 of 13 seasons he played. I don't believe Russell could be this dominant in today's game. He was an intellectual player and basketball is an intellectual game. He was a ...more - basketballer

Most opinions that I read about come from people who use stats. They simply are very misleading. And how does one define "best" basketball player? Is it the one with the best overall skills? Russell was not too good at dribbling or shooting.

But in a team game, I think it makes more sense to talk about how "valuable" a player is. In other words, what would occur if the team lost that player? How easy would it be to replace that player's skills with someone else?

If we look at it that way, then russell is a clear first. No one is even close. Russell was the Boston Celtic fast break, possibly the most dominating aspect that basketball has ever seen.

Russell got the rebound, turned, made his outlet pass, and the ball was near half-court by the time russell hit the ground. No wonder he was not scoring many points. Chamberlain, on the other hand, rebounded, shook his body, then handed off to his guard (hal greer most of the time).

When ...more

I think Bill Russell should be first

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9Shaquille O'NealShaquille Rashaun O'Neal, nicknamed Shaq, is a retired American professional basketball player who is currently an analyst on the television program Inside the NBA.

He gave the NBA a lot more image and he has a lot of NBA Championships he is an important part of the Greatest NBA players of all time - noahhurrle

Can't see any better center other than O'neal. I think people are just being stupid by voting for lebron instead of oneal oneal should have been in top 5

Shaq has it all - Now that he is retired, his stats will be known more and he will jump up to #1. No reason for LeBron or Kobe to be higher than the Shaq!

You're the best man

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10Oscar RobertsonOscar Palmer Robertson, nicknamed "The Big O", is an American retired National Basketball Association player who played for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks.

Um honestly don't jump on me MJ fans but he is the greatest Player to ever step foot on the hardwood he has over 180 career Triple-Doubles That wouldn't be impressive if it was a double double with an assists and points but he rebounded as well and he was 6'5 who else can do that well there are a few that can do that lie LeBron, D-Wade and maybe Jason Kidd but the Big 0 should be the best or at least top 3 only trailing to SHAQ Wilt and maybe MJ but he is the best all round player ever there's no doubt about that he averaged a triple double for an entire season enough said

You guys do realize that he is the only player 2 average 27 points, 6 boards, and 6 assists a game for more than 3 strait seasons an HE DID IT 8 YEARS IN A ROW. If that's not being a complete player I don't know what is.

You can not seriously be rating the best players of all time without the "BIG O" in the top 10... come on. You have been brainwashed by the media dominated by the coasts.

He did his playing without four steps to the basket caring the ball on his hip no three point shot line and under threats for his life is the greatest basketball player ever play the game

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The Contenders

11Tim DuncanTimothy Theodore "Tim" Duncan is an American professional basketball player who has played his entire career for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association.

Are you kidding me?! 18? Tim Duncan is in the Top Ten at the very least. I sense a bit of Spurs hating on this list. The guy is a perennial All-Star, League MVP Winner, Finals MVP Winner, Rookie of the Year all NBA etc... And possesses the traits that all true champions have, the ability to modify his game over time as needed. Duncans entry into the league was marked with moves and grace the likes of which hadn't ever been seen at the Power Forward position and will from here on out be the standard by which other Power Forwards will be judged. As he got older he continued to find ways to remain relevant, even if he was no longer dominant. His basketball IQ is through the roof and his mere presence on the floor makes his team better while simultaneously frustrating his opponents and making them worse. I'm not sure why you have so many players ahead of Tim that have not won as many championships if they even won one at all. I'm sorry, but this Hall of Fame player deserves to be way ...more

Who the hell made this list obviously no one over 40 which means their going on hearsay about players from the 60s and 70s and are not old enough to have watched the NBA in the 90s when Tim Duncan stood up against arguably the eras greatest ball players in history and proved beyond all measure his place in the NBA a top 10 legendary hall of famer who by the way was voted by the players this last season and awarded the best team mate honors with a trophy...If you think Shaq LeBron Rose Wade Durant any of those guys are better than the big Fundamental your a teenager or in denial...SCORE BOARD...BABY...check the stats and count the...RINGS...

Because the Spurs play together so well that no one stands out like a Dwayne Wade or Kobe Bryant who have the ball a lot of the time in any game. The Spurs share the ball and everyone has a chance of making a basketball. That is why Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are often overlooked.

Greatest power forward ever

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12Kevin DurantKevin Wayne Durant is an American professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association.

Kevin Durant is amazing. As a player and as a person. He dominates and scores more points then Lebron and Kobe. In the summer he's the one who calls up his teammates to go up to the gym and shoot. Great leader. And the reason he wears the #35 Jersey is because his HS coach was murdered at the age of 35. Humble.

the best to play basketball period better than derrick rose he is not the mvp durant should of got that award

Up to Top 10... he got the most points in 2010-2011. Yao Ming only played just a tiny bit of games but ahead of Kevin Durant. Are you kidding me?! Dude, he's an all arounder!

No rings no loyalty

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13Hakeem OlajuwonHakeem Abdul Olajuwon, formerly known as Akeem Olajuwon, is a Nigerian-American retired professional basketball player.

Watch The Dream's dream shake vs. David Robinson. That is all you gotta see to realize that he was the most phenomenal player of any generation. All time blocks leader. Two rings. That's 2 more than nash, tmac, stockton, malone, james, and ai. Did it single handedly. Only had drexler half the season in 95. The Dream did it all. Double-double, triple-double, quadruple-double, you name it.

Watch the games that this man played Jordon, Shaq, Duncan, Robinson; he schooled them. Because he wasn't in one of the popular teams, he wasn't watched. You have no idea how good this player was. (white, 60 year-old lady that watched basketball because of him)

Do these guys know Hakeem Olajuwon? He is clearly a top 10 player. He is underrated. He can rebound, steal, block the most in nba history. Oh yeah he is equipped with a dangerous weapon the nba has ever seen. THE DREAM SHAKE! Shaq, Ewing, Mourning, Barkley, Robinson, Malone what do these guys have in common? They are humiliated by Hakeem's Dream Shake!

Are you kidding me? Durant above Olajuwon?

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14Allen IversonAllen Ezail Iverson is an American retired professional basketball player who played for 14 seasons in the National Basketball Association.

Allen Iverson compares with 3 different players when you talk about individual offensive achievements. Or there are 3 players who compare with him. Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James. Go look up stats in games, seasons, and playoffs most importantly. Iverson and LeBron only players with at least 40 points 15 assists and 5 steals in a game. Most 50 point games in the playoffs: Michael Jordan (8) Wilt Chamberlain (4) Allen Iverson (3). And Iverson played much fewer games because he had no talent around him. Allen Iverson is 2nd in playoff Points Per Game in NBA History at 29.73. Only Michael Jordan averaged more with 33+ per game. Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan only players to be Top 10 in Scoring and Steals All-Time. Only 2 Players in NBA history have scored at LEAST 50 Points twice in the same Playoff Series: Michael Jordan 1988 Playoffs vs. The Cleveland Cavaliers with 50 & 55 points AND Allen Iverson 2001 Playoffs vs. The Toronto Raptors with 52 & 54 points. Only TWO ...more

The dude's only 6'1" if he stands on the New York telephone book: he IS the GREATEST scorer of all time; arguably the greatest all around player, as well.

Six more inches and A.I. would have flew past Jordan... Key Statement: he did it amidst great opposition.

They should call ai amazing iverson

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15Dwyane WadeDwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association.

Wade? How could he not be in top 10? His shots are almost perfect.

Dwyane Wade bar none is one of the 3 best basketball players on the planet today. His averages right now may not stun you, but when this guy retires and you look back on his career, there's no doubt he'll be considered one of the greatest of all time. He's a champion, an all-star and has had many MVP worthy seasons even though he hasn't won the award yet. In my opinion, by the time he gets in to the hall of fame, he'll be one of the top 15, maybe top 10 players of all time. If top 15, probably only behind Jordan, Magic, Russell, Bird, Wilt, Kareem, Big O, Kobe, Duncan, Shaq, Olajuwon, Mailman, Jerry West and LeBron.

Dwayne wade is the best basketball player sorry lebron but he's good

He is a complete beast

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16Julius Erving

Dr J was Dr Dunk. His move over Kareem was monumental... Remember the under the basket hang time it was forever... Or his famous dunk from the free through line... Now there is history!

Earned an NBA championship ring, won an NBA MVP award, went to 11 NBA all star games and took home the all star MVP twice... And that doesn't even count the two ABA titles, two ABA MVP awards and 6 ABA all star games. Dr. J was the dominant player of his era and completely changed the way the game is played today.

Doc is the Best thing to happened to the game since the BALL! Erving won only 1 title in the NBA, but all fail to remember that he led a garbage team in 80 and 82 to finals to loss in 6 against the 7 all star Lakers and the sixers had no one, but the Doc! Also greatest flyer, dunker and hang timer Ever! Class act.

One of the best athletes of all time. Watch his ABA highlights...Wow.

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17Derrick RoseDerrick Martell Rose is an American professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association.

DERRICK ROSE CAN DO EVERYTHING HE CAN SHOOT, DRIVE IN THE BALL BETTER THAN ANY BODY I've EVER SEEN I MEAN HE IS THE COMPLETE PACKAGE FOR A POINT GUARD.

Derrick Rose is amazing, he is the player who get the attention of the crowd from his unbelievable moves and no one can stop him inside the court. The best point guard I've ever seen. Derrick Rose is the best.

GO BULLS! DERRICK ROSE IS THE BEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME. WELL AFTER MICHAEL JORDAN. BUT IF DERRICK ROSE GETS MORE MVP'S HE WILL BE BETTER THAN HIM BY A LONG SHOT. EITHER WAY THEY ARE BOTH IN BULLS SO THEY ARE ALREADY THE BEST OF ALL TIME.

What are you talking bout? Who ever posted Derrick is gonna be the best of all time is way off! Your obviously a bull lover. Kyrie should be ahead of Derrick rose! I hate curry and I'm still saying he is better then rose! Rose is number 25 I think. But still rose is really good

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18Pistol Pete Maravich

Nobody can realistically challenge his creativity, well-honed talent and flair which was WAY ahead of it's time. If he were playing in today's game, he'd still accomplish the things that he did in his day. Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of Pete was his athleticism. Great combination of speed, jumping ability, height and quickness.

Best player to ever play the game. The other nba players hated Pete for his money. He made 400, 000.00 per year and other guys made 40 thousand. No one mentions he could light up a crowd like a match to gasoline. Who else could do that. How about being another player and everyone is coming to see this guy the Pistol? Tough to swallow. God made this man special and he did it all missing a ventrical out of his heart. HATERS only says this guy was not the best. There is not one guy in the NBA right now that could beat him 1 on 1. Would never happen. If you think so ask Walt Frazier (the best nba defender) why he hung 68 points in his face? Walt was trying to switch defenders and his teamates refused. Walt is one of the best defenders to play the game. How fitting. Hate if you will, no one will ever be the complete basketball player he was. Now he plays for GOD. How many will get that?

Averaged 44 points per game three years in a row at LSU!

He gave his life to the game! Way ahead of his time.

His socks would flop a lot. He would take the ball, put it on his back, take it from the other hand, and go for a basket. It's sad he passed away so suddenly in 1988 due to heart failure. He was only 40 years old. Plus, right before he died, he was playing a pickup basketball game.

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19Jerry WestJerry Alan West is an American retired basketball player who played his entire professional career for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association.

Greatest player- NBA symbol- admired by all NBA greats and only 6' 2" - "Mr. Clutch" -at a time they called traveling, three seconds in the key, and no three point lines. When basketball was real basketball!

Any list without Jerry West in the top 10 is stupid. This list must have been made by 15 year olds because most of the all time greats are not here. Vince Carter as number 19. No Baylor...no West. You're kidding...right!

If Jerry West had been blessed with the three point line he would be among the top five without question. The NBA should use their computer systems to check West's shots made for a year and give him an extra point for every three pointer he made. No question, Jerry West would be right there with Michael Jordan as the greatest player ever. Even without the three point shot, West holds the scoring record for a series. Move Jerry to second at the least.

A very cool player and a total pleasure to watch. He should be in the top ten for his role model qualities alone.

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20Dirk Nowitzki

He's got the skills, basketball height and knows how to use his body parts for offense and defense! Why is this guy underrated? After they win the 2011 finals, everybody will know the real Dirk! Go Dirk!

Even Magic Johnson is saying, on ESPN, that he is probably one of top ten best players in NBA History, perhaps even in the top five!

Dirk is 7'0 and is a beast. He can shoot, drive to the hole and does the greatest post moves ever! Although a lot of times compared to larry bird he is better and should ranked higher

Dirk top ten player of all time

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List StatsUpdated 27 Aug 2016

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1. Michael Jordan
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