Best Centers in NBA History


The Top Ten

1 Wilt Chamberlain Wilt Chamberlain Wilton 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 . more.

Anyone who thinks Chamberlain wasn't the greatest basketball player of all time not just center simply hasn't checked the numbers. Bill Russell who supposedly had Wilt's number managed to hold him to 40 points 28 rebounds who knows how many blocks they didn't count them and 12 assists avg. in their games. He would've fouled shaq out in the first quarter. He'd have averaged a triple double for a career if not quadruple if they kept all the stats.

Wilt is not the greatest big because of his 100 point game! Whoever makes that argument is dumb. He's the best due to the overall impact on the game. The widening of the lane, goaltending, free throw line rule, blocks being recorded as stats, etc all because of his dominance. The NBA and all of basketball wouldn't be what it is now if Wilt didn't exist!

Everyone who says that Shaq is the most dominant ever - hello! The nba changed the rules because of wilt! 100 points in one game, 55 rebounds (against Bill Russell! ), 50.4 per game for one season and holding more than 90 records after 40+ years of retiring. Simply the best center ever and the second best player of all time. If he played against Shaq, the Big Dipper would CRASH him!

Wilt was a lot like Shaq, except that Wilt was taller, stronger, faster, and had way more vertical and stamina.

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2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Kareem 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.

Kareem had the most unstoppable shot in NBA history, the Sky Hook. Kareem hit many big shots over his illustious career, including game-winning shots against their bitter rival, the Boston Celtics. Kareem is also the NBA's All-time leading scorer. In his prime, nobody could even come close to stopping him. He is a true basketball legend.

WHAT! Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the GREATEST center ever. Actually he was the greatest player ever too! What the heck is he doing at number 5. When I was young I used to think mj was the greatest. Then I thought it was Wilt The Stilt. But now I Know it was inventor of the SKY HOOK KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR!

I thnk Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the second greatest player to ever play in the NBA after Michael Jordan and definitely the greatest center to play the game... And what is Magic Johnson doing on the list?!?! Sure he played center once or twice when Kareem wasn't there but he's a POINT GUARD! And Tyson Chandler is NOT the 12th best center ever!

He is so amazing espcialy when he played for the Milwaukee bucks he led them to a championship he is unstoppable he is truly a great center and a G.O.A.T.

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

He improved in the playoffs, while Wilt and Kareem got worse statistically.

He outplayed all HOF centers during his prime in the post season, including Kareem 86', Parish 86', Ewing 94', Robinson 95' and Shaq 95'.

He is better than better than Russell defensively because he was a much better stealer, man defender (Wilt regularly destroyed him) and perimeter defender.

Russell also has an inflated defensive presence, due to favorable rules, like a smaller lane to patrol, no three second rule, stacked teams, lesser competition (athletically, skill-wise and economically) shorter playoff runs to a championship and one of the greatest coaches of all time in Red Auerbach. Olajuwon had no such advantages and is still close to Russell in defensive presence, which is why he is better overall.

He is the greatest two way center of all time and has absolutely no weakness in his game.

Few players have skills worthy of being the best at their position BOTH offensively and defensively. Virtually undefendable, won two championships with teams where one can barely remember who his teammates were. Also when has one superstar EVER dominated another superstar one on one to the extent that Olajuwon did to David Robinson immediately after Robinson was named MVP. Look at the lists of Scorers, Rebounders, Blocked shots. Then look at the list of steals - out of the top 20 in steals only one center on the list - Olajuwon.

1 on 1, he'd beat Wilt with his quickness and his basketball IQ, He'd beat shaq(i'm not going to explain why, just watch the 94 finals. ) He destroyed David Robinson, and I believe he'd beat Kareem. The only other player who might match him in defense, is Russell, in Offense, it's over. In my opinion he's 2nd in defense and 2nd in offense as a center. Wilt would be 1st in Offense and 3rd in d; far in 3rd, though. Russel would be like.. I don't know far in Offense but number 1 in D. With Hakeem close second in d and a near first in Offense (nobody touches Wilt in the regard) I'd put him overall number one. Check his Quadruple doubles

I can't put into words just how great Hakeem was. He was able to stand out by himself in the famous 1984 NBA Draft, the same draft class featuring Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton and more. His team took steps for the worse, as Lewis Lloyd and Mitchell Wiggins were suspended for cocaine and Ralph Sampson's career was ruined by injuries. Hakeem Olajuwon would go onto win his first MVP in 1994 and make a cinderella run by taking his team, which Hakeem won his first ring by being a championship team that didn't have a single All-Star or single future Hall of Famer. He outplayed Patrick Ewing in the 1994 NBA Finals in hard fought 7 game series which he won. In 1995, he outplayed legendary big men such as David Robinson, Karl Malone, Dennis Rodman, Dikembe Mutombo, Shaquille O'Neal and legendary non-big men such as Penny Hardaway, John Stockton, Jeff Hornaceck and more. Alongside Clyde Drexler (old), Robert Horry (overrated) and Kenny Smith, as a 6th seed, they overcame ...more

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

Shaq was the most dominant center in NBA history. No one could beat him. View move a man of 330 lbs like him was amazing. There were centers like Olajuwon that were better than Shaq moving their feet and technically but nobody could defend this man

If every NBA player in their primes lined up, and you could get the first pick to put one person on your team, you'd be a fool not to pick Shaquille O'Neal. No better teammate in the history of basketball. Who would you be more comfortable hitting the court with and being yourself, playing your game, knowing a guy like Shaq has your back... Nobody.

I think no center was dominant as shaq in lakers era early 2000, I doubt chamberlain could defend him, he was maybe quicker but not powerful enough to stop him, olajuwon got more skills easily but none can defend shaq in his prime! got to be number 1

Hakeem over Shaq what is this!?

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5 Bill Russell Bill Russell

Russell should be #1 because he was way more committed to the game than Wilt and Shaq ever will be. His defense would slaughter Kareem and would match up well with Hakeem. He was a very elite defensive leader and, unlike Shaq and Wilt, cared more about his team than the media. Russell wasn't known for his offense but could score in the post if he wanted to. - bishop.moore07

he got 11 rings in 13 years he was the best shot blocker and rebounder... just sayin

You people underestimate the skill of Bill Russell. He was the best shot blocker in NBA history and he has the most rings in NBA history. He is so much better than Kareem and Shaq. Russell should be in the top 3

Should be number 1

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6 David Robinson David Robinson David Maurice Robinson is an American former professional basketball player, who played center for the San Antonio Spurs in the National Basketball Association for his entire career.

More speed and agility than people gave him credit for. Absolutely dominant on both ends of the court. Excellent on and off the court.

Love his game, and I'm not even a Spurs fan! No one brings up his name into conversation when debating the best bigs of all time, such a SHAME!

Best all around center on and off the court

Wrong he is not better then Patrick ewing

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7 Patrick Ewing Patrick Ewing

I have to say but this guy has a good three point shot that pretty much accurate, he's just missing a championship ring. But he so close against Olajuwon in 1994. He was owned by the Dream Shake

Ewing was awesome. Very underrated. Carried a very offensively mediocre team on his back for 15 years. Took the Knicks to the 2nd round or further 9 years in a row (maybe 10).

Very productive big and I liked his jumper it was probably the best from a center! He played with the knicks and never won a title, which prevents him from being top 5 in most peoples eyes

He never won a championship or a mvp

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8 Moses Malone Moses Malone more.

Moses won many times jabbar johnson don't forget 4-0 1983

Moses Malone is one of the greatest to play in nba.

Always overlooked (three time MVP) he was a complete player

Greatest rebounder ever

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9 Tim Duncan Tim Duncan Timothy 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.

He is a power forward for God's sake

In the discussion for G.O.A.T.! A career and approach to the game that may never be matched by a player of the same position

With 4 rings he show lots of talent

I love the spurs and he is a powerforward

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10 George Mikan

The Newcomers

? Brook Lopez
? Karl-Anthony Towns Karl-Anthony Towns

The Contenders

11 Dwight Howard Dwight Howard Dwight David Howard is an American professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association.

He's one of my favorite players right now

He shouldn't be in the top 10

This guy isn't good at all. He averages only 12 rebounds per game which is 1st in the league now but back then it would've been 10th. AND HE can't PLAY WITH OTHER GOOD PLAYERS

He is the best
He could shoot threes
He is the best three point shooter in the world
He is the goat

12 Kevin Garnett Kevin Garnett Kevin Maurice Garnett is an American professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association. V 2 Comments
13 Bill Walton

Injuries (foot) were the bane of this phenom; Kareem once referred to him as Dr Scholl

14 Dikembe Mutombo

Defensively he was a god like Hakeem and Bill Russell!
4 time defensive player of the year baby!

He was a beast in his prime, but not that good after.

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15 Tyson Chandler Tyson Chandler Tyson Cleotis Chandler is an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association.

Are you kidding me, he's not better than Alonzo Mourning!

Ben Wallace should be in this place.

Tru point god

He is not better than mount mutumbo. Alonzo mourning or bill walton

16 Bob Pettit

One of the earlier stars, Russell had placed him on his all time team

Power forward. What's with you people - mccabek

Who is this guy.

17 Yao Ming

He was a beast but got lost due to injuries

Yao Ming is such a great player. See him play against other tall centers, he can dominate.

Three words 7 foot 5

Hell ya Ming Yao

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18 Alonzo Mourning

Because he's behind bums like Tyson Chandler, Yao Ming and Bill Walton. Those guys aren't better than the ZO. Nor are they better than Dikembe.

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19 Robert Parish

I see 5 or 6 guys listed ahead of chief that should not be he was a champion more often than most of the centers listed ahead of him. He may have been 3rd option on offense but made big contributions during the the years the Celtics won titles he faced many of the top centers in history when he played and held his own

The chief did everything well great at the goal defender and was dependible scorer in the post. Would have had better stats if not for bird and mchale he made the perfect celtic

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20 Arvydas Sabonis

If not cold war and injuries he would've been the best off the best...

Best European center of all time.

A shooting guard in a body of a centre. Best centre of ever stepped Europe.

I think he is the best in the world... he had super feeling where is his teammates and he passed the ball incredably... he wasnt a "point making machine" he was a "gamemaker"

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List Stats

1,000 votes
57 listings
9 years, 229 days old

Top Remixes (34)

1. Wilt Chamberlain
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Bill Russell
1. Hakeem Olajuwon
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Shaquille O'Neal
1. Wilt Chamberlain
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Hakeem Olajuwon

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