Best Centers in NBA History

The Top Ten Best Centers in NBA History

1 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 . ...read more.

No one will never ever come close to his records, stamina, strength and dominance. He did things that no one might ever see again. There was really no way to stop him

Please list the other players who have had 60 point/40 rebound games, Wilt had 8 of them. His most amazing outing was a 78 point/43 rebound single game. I'll wait.

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!

2 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.

NBA leading scorer what else perfected the skyhook. Even did it against an aging Wilt Chamberlain who was still 32 when he was drafted

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!

And he also have the most points made in his experience in nba, 38787 point!

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

He could do it all. He was like a perimeter player with the best footwork of all time but was a beast on both ends. Super underrated! Carried Houston in his second year and carried his team to the 1994 and 1995 championship!

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

4 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. He is known for his fun, friendly personality, and is one of the most beloved athletes of all time.

Wilt and Shaq were similar, except that Shaq was shorter, slower, weaker, fatter, had less vertical, and way less stamina than Wilt did. They were equally bad at free throws.

Prime Shaq was scary good and dominant. The Lakers Shaq was too big, strong, and powerful. I know that after Hakeem and Ewing retired, the competition at the five spot was a joke. However, Shaq the man for taking advantage of the lack of talent.

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.

5 Bill Russell William Felton "Bill" Russell is an American retired professional basketball player. Russell played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association from 1956 to 1969.

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

Russell was a true center. He protected the basket better than anyone else, could run the ball up the floor, and didn't need to score much to make his presence felt

6 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

He was real good

7 Moses Malone Moses Eugene Malone was an American basketball player who played in both the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association from 1974 through 1995. The center was named the NBA Most Valuable Player three times and was a 12-time NBA All-Star and an eight-time All-NBA selection. ...read 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

8 Patrick Ewing Patrick Aloysius Ewing (born August 5, 1962) is a Jamaican-American retired Hall of Fame basketball player and current head coach of the Georgetown University men's basketball team.

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

At the "NBA 50 greatest players" ceremony, Wilt Chamberlain is standing next to Ewing, and makes Ewing look like a shrimp.

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

9 George Mikan George Lawrence Mikan Jr., nicknamed Mr. Basketball, was an American professional basketball player for the Chicago American Gears of the National Basketball League and the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBL, the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball Association.

Invented the concept of "Big Man as Center".
RIP.

10 Bill Walton

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

The Contenders

11 Dwight Howard Dwight David Howard is an American professional basketball player for the Washington Wizards 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 Yao Ming Yao Ming is a Chinese basketball executive and retired professional basketball player who played for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association and the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association.

Seriously? he should be on the top 10 list! he shut down shaq on they're ever matchup - dcik

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

13 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

Timmy timmy are not CENTER

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.

He is #2 in the all time block list!

Not in my house

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

Alonzo Mourning was better than Tyson Chandler, even though he is very talented.

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

Ben Wallace should be in this place.

Tru point god

16 Kevin Garnett Kevin Maurice Garnett is an American professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association.

He is a power forward people.

Again he's a freeking POWER FOWARD

I have him at #68 on my list because he only played like 5 seasons as center when he was clearly at the end of his career. - Madpoi

17 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.

Why would someone put him in 19

Who the he'll put this guy at 19!

He is a top 10 player

18 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.

At his peak (in Europe) he may have been the greatest ever

19 Wes Unseld
20 Ben Wallace Ben Camey Wallace is an American retired professional basketball player. A native of Alabama, Wallace attended Cuyahoga Community College and Virginia Union University and signed with the Washington Bullets as an undrafted free agent in 1996. In his NBA career, Wallace played with the Washington Bullets/Wizards, ...read more.

He is the goat#2

21 Bob Pettit Robert Lee Pettit Jr. is an American retired professional basketball player. He played 11 seasons in the NBA.

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.

22 DeMarcus Cousins DeMarcus Amir Cousins is an American professional basketball player for the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association.
23 JaVale McGee JaVale Lindy McGee is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association.

No way - Madpoi

Yep

24 Dave Cowens
25 Joakim Noah Joakim Simon Noah is a professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association.

Are you high. I have him at #42 he only has 3 quality seasons - Madpoi

Pau Gasol is better

2014 DPOTY. Lead the bulls to a 48 win season while Rosé was injured. Best center currently along with Dwight Howard.

Very weird fact: The first time he went back to his original home court (United Center) he had a standing ovation and Derrick Rose didn’t LMAO

26 Steven Adams Steven Funaki Adams is a New Zealand professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association.

Ah if you are being defended all you do is pass the ball to him and he will DUNK THE BALL RIGHT IN THE BASKET! '

Ahh Adams has a good gameplay that any shooters can't pass through it

Ahh you are a good dunker

27 Vlade Divac

He should be number 1 he's much better tan Wilt if you ask me

No he is not

28 Joel Embiid Joel Hans Embiid is a Cameroonian professional basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association.

Not enough games under his belt. When he gets to 174 games played call me - Madpoi

better

29 Primož Brezec

The best and the hottest center in NBA history! Love him!

Are you kidding me the man had 2 quality seasons in 8 seasons - Madpoi

30 Al Horford Alfred Joel Horford Reynoso is a Dominican professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association.
31 Marc Gasol Marc Gasol Sáez is a Spanish professional basketball player for the Memphis Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association.

32? HE IS awesome!

Go grizz

32 Darryl Dawkins Darryl Dawkins was an American professional basketball player, most noted for his days with the National Basketball Association's Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, although he also played briefly for the Detroit Pistons and Utah Jazz late in his career.
33 Pau Gasol Pau Gasol Sáez is a Spanish professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association.

I know some consider him a PF, but the fact that he is not listed in the top 20 is an insult.

34 Nikola Jokic Nikola Jokić is a Serbian professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association.

Best all around center ever!

35 Artis Gilmore

Top 10 center who unfortunately had the misfortune to play against, and be compared with, old Wilt and young Kareem. In retrospect he was huge and awesome.

A Train was very good on both ends of floor. Jabbar always says he played him the toughest. Great that he finally made Hall of Fame.

36 Jermaine O'Neal Jermaine Lee O'Neal is an American former professional basketball player. The 6 ft 11 in, 255 lb forward-center had a successful high school career and declared his eligibility for the 1996 NBA draft straight out of high school.

Hibbert and Noah over o'neal no way. This dude was the most dominate low post defender for a stretch of time with the pacers

Yeah but back on the Pacer he was cold. He was known as a legend. He made 3s, dunks, and lovely double clutch layups. Nowadays he is the known for the GSW and for his shoes.

37 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

Very Very underrated centre

38 Anthony Davis Anthony Marshon Davis Jr. is an American professional basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association.

One he can shoot
two he can rebound almost every time
three can dunk
four just read his stats and every basketball-related thing about him (you will be amazed )

39 Nerlens Noel Nerlens Noel is an American professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association
40 Magic Johnson Earvin "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.

Maybe the best point guard ever but not the greatest center of all time because he did not even play center

He could have played center if he wanted to, he should definitely count. No center can pass, shoot, steal like he can. So even if his official position is PG, he should be among the top Centers in NBA history.

That doesn't even make sense. Magic was point guard.

He's a point guard

41 Roy Hibbert
42 Willis Reed

Seeing him in his prime against the top centers (whether in playoffs or not) should convince anyone of his greatness.

43 Joel Anthony

I do not know who he is

2.2pts 2.8reb 0.2ast. In his career dude stop it. - Madpoi

44 Andrew Bynum Andrew Bynum is an American former professional basketball player. He played the majority of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association.
45 Nate Thurmond Nathaniel Thurmond was an American basketball player who spent the majority of his 14-year career in the National Basketball Association with the Golden State Warriors. He played the center and power forward positions.

Could be the #3 shot blocker of all time, behind Wilt and Bill Russell.

Great center in his prime

RIP big Nate.

46 Bob Lanier
47 Chris Bosh Christopher Wesson Bosh is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association.

He is a power forward for pete sakes

Bosh is the BOSS, will help LeBron in leading the Miami Heat in its 3rd consecutive championships!

48 Manute Bol

He is not in my top 100 - Madpoi

He is not good

Your a dumb ass cause he 7 7

How does a guy who 7'9 not in top 20

49 Walt Bellamy
50 Enes Kanter
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