Throughout the history in the NBA, there has been MANY controversial best players of all time. We’ve had greats from Elgin Baylor to The Logo, To Bill Russell, we even had the rise of ABA and Rucker Park star Julius Erving, the Wave of Magic Johnson and Larry bird, the Renown GOAT Michael Jordan and his predecessor Kobe Bryant…. And now we have LeBron James….
But who really deserves to be in and on this list of the greats, and if so at what order? Where do these greats stand amongst others? Can anyone top Jordan and be the NEW Renown greatest basketball player of all time?
Today we dive in and see where I place each one of these talented Hoopers. Here are my greatest NBA players ever……
#10 – Oscar Robertson – Guard – Milwaukee Bucks
We kick this list off with the only player EVER to average a triple double, yep that’s right Jordan never did, LeBron hasn’t, Kobe hasn’t, and even Magic didn’t do it; That’s pretty remarkable.
The Big O averaged 25.7 Points Per Game, 9.5 Assists Per Game, and 7.5 Rebounds Per game as a POINT Guard, that’s also a Double-Double per game if you round it.
Oscar racked up 1 NBA Finals ring, 12 All Star Games, 1 NBA MVP and 26710 points which comes in at 11th all-time just outside the top 10.
Big O comes in at #10 because he dominated the game in all aspects at the point guard positions and was one of the early stars in NBA History.
#9 – Shaquille O’Neal – Center – Lakers
The Big SHAQTUS coming it at #9 on our all-time list. Shaq was the best center in the NBA when he played, and it wasn’t even close. Shaq average 23.7 Points Per Game, 10.9 Rebounds Per Game and a pretty good 2.5
Assists per game for a big man at a time where Centers were actually centers, not overgrown point guards. *Takes a quick glance at Karl-Anthony Towns and Looks back at computer*.
As far as accolades, Shaq is one of the most decorated players in the NBA racking up 4 NBA Finals rings, 3 NBA Finals MVPs, 15 All-Star games and 3 All-Star MVPs.
He also Ranks Top 10 in career blocks, Defensive rebounds., Top 15 in Total Rebounds and 7th all-time in total points.
#8 – Hakeem Olajuwon – Center – Rockets
As far as true centers go, Shaq and Hakeem are 1A and 1B and it was pretty hard to decide who was 9 and 8, but Shaq edges him out just a little bit because of the lack of other stars he won his rings with. (Reader quickly scrolls up and see’s huge LeBron James rant at whatever rank he comes in at) Hakeem was dominant in every aspect of the game, he was the modern day big man before Towns, Cousins, Davis and others who later came around and boy was he good at it.
Hakeem averaged a double of 21.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and matched Shaq’s 2.5 assists per game. Hakeem was pretty much unstoppable in the post, NO ONE and I mean NO ONE could guard Hakeem in the post.
Mr. Dream Shake himself comes in at #10 all time in scoring and racking up the accolades of 2 NBA Finals rings while averaging 25.9 Points Per Game and 11.2 Rebounds in the playoffs while being double teamed every time his back went to the basket. Hakeem like Shaq had one NBA MVP, 12 All-Star games and comes in #1 in blocks by over 500. He proudly takes his #8 spot and his spot as the second greatest defending big man of all time.
Shaq even said it himself that Hakeem was better….
#7 – Bill Russell – Center (Not Really) – Boston Celtics
Big Ol’ Bill Russell, the best (not really a big man)big man of all time.
Bill Russell played center, but he only stood at 6’9 which would put him Shorter then KD, Magic Johnson, Ben Simmons and would make him the same height as Larry Legend, and all those players played Small Forward or Guard.
That’s why I always put Bill in my top 10’s but never do I consider him a true big man if I were to do an all time team.
But let’s get into his stuff. Bill averaged more rebounds per game than points, how is that even possible? He had a line of 15.1 PPG, 22.5 RPG and a smooth 4.3 APG which would make him have the most assists of any big man so far.
Russell has the most rings in NBA history with 11, he has 4 MVPs, #2 all time in rebounds, and 5 NBA Finals MVPs. Let’s also keep in mind that Bill Russell is the greatest defender of all time. So Yea, Billy was dominant.
#6 – Kobe Bryant – Guard – LA Lakers
Welp the world must be ending, because Kobe isn’t #2 behind Jordan or at least #3 behind Jordan and someone else, well it’s for good reason but let me get into his accolades and stats first before I explain why he is #6. Kobe is #3 all time in scoring and has a career average line of 25 Points Per Game exactly, 4.7 Assists Per Game and 5.3 Rebounds Per Game as well. Kobe has 1 MVP, 2 Finals MVP’s, 5 Finals Rings 18 All Star games tagged along with 3 All-Star game MVPs. Pretty damn good.
Why Kobe Isn’t Higher: First of all, I’m not doing this for every player because this article would be Brutally longer then it already is. Also, not all my rankings are as controversial as this one and maybe some others.
Kobe only has 1 MVP despite playing 18 Years in the NBA, his counterparts Kareem, MJ and LBJ all have more In fewer years or still a better MVP to years played ratio. Kobe wasn’t as much of a “God” in the playoffs as many think, he averages less than LeBron and Jordan in the playoffs in every major category and fewer points and boards then Kareem.
As far as advanced stats go, Kobe only ranks 18th all time in total win shares with 172, fewer win shares in again more years then LBJ, Jordan and again a worse Win Shares average per year then Kareem, Kevin Garnett, and others. Another statistic to look at is he has just about the same true shooting percentage as Carmelo Anthony, someone who is known for shooting and missing a High Volume of shots.
#5 – Magic Johnson – Guard – LA Lakers
We are now entering the Top 5, the most controversial section in this whole list. Magic comes in at #5 because he is the most dominant Point guard of all time and was one of the best leaders ever. Magic averaged 19.5 Points Per Game, 11.2 Assists and 7.5 Rebounds per game while fighting with Kareem, James Worthy and others for those stats. Magic took the prize in five seasons winning the NBA Finals 5 times, while earning 3 NBA MVPs and 4 Finals MVPs. Magic’s career was ended early because of an illness he encountered,(Aids) but he was nothing short of dominant in his career.
#4 – Kareem Abdul Jabbar – Forward/Center – LA Lakers/MIL Bucks
This is where it gets fun, what a player Kareem was and you can make a serious case for him being #3 or even higher, but I think #4 is respectable. Kareem Revolutionized the game with his sky hook, and he never looked back. Kareem averaged 24.6 Points Per Game, 11.2 Rebounds Per Game and 3.6 assists every night he stepped on the floor, pretty remarkable for a big man. Kareem also averaged a whopping 2.7 Blocks per game and .9 steals.
As far as accolades go, Kareem has them all. Abdul-Jabbar won 6 NBA MVPs, 2 NBA Finals MVPs, 19 All-Star game appearances, and was a 4 time NBA Blocks leader. As we all know, Kareem also comes in #1 with the most points all time, by a lot.
#3 – Larry Bird – Forward – Boston Celtics
Larry Legend….. That pretty much describes it all. Larry was the LeBron before the LeBron, he could do it all; Fantastic shooter, great finisher, amazing rebounder, solid defender, team leader and a Point Forward. Larry played all of his career in beantown, and enjoyed his success as one of the best in NBA History.
In his 13 year career, Larry appeared in 12 all-star games, and was not selected for one because he missed the whole year due to injury. He averaged a double-double of 24.3 points and 10.0 rebounds exactly.
He was also a phenomenal passer averaging exactly 6 assists per game.
As far as accolades go, Larry has racked up 3 NBA Finals Rings, 2 Finals MVPs, and 3 NBA MVPs. Like LeBron, Larry was a leader and made his teammates 100% better and that’s why he comes in at #3 on this list.
#2- Michael Jordan – Guard – Chicago Bulls
World War 3 has started……. Like Kobe let us get into Jordan’s greatness first before I defend my argument. Jordan, widely considered the greatest player of all time is the second most headed player in NBA history behind #4 on this list, Kareem.
Jordan made the all-star game in all 15 of his seasons and won 3 All-Star game MVPS. Jordan is 4th on all time NBA scoring list with 32,292 career points which brings him to a career average of 30.1 Points Per Game, a absolutely remarkable number.
Jordan averaged 6.2 Rebounds and 5.3 assists in the process of getting his 30 a night so he just wasn’t a scorer as many think, although getting assists was pretty easy with his roster but I digress. As we all know, MJ has 5 NBA MVPs, 6 NBA Finals Rings, 6 NBA Finals MVPs and was 10x scoring champion. Pretty easy to put him in at #1 right? Well, let’s hear my argument on why he is #2.
Why He Isn’t #1: Compared to our #1, Jordan had it easy. When MJ was drafted he had the legendary George Gervin as his mentor on the roster as someone he could learn things from in practice and on the court.
Jordan was also blessed with the Best Coach of all time, Best Defending Small Forward of all time, Best Rebounder of all time, two top 5 defenders of all time in Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.
Let’s also not forget Jordan was 1-9 with ZERO Rings without Pippen in his career.
My #1 led his team to a Finals appearance without another superstar and made the playoffs 5/7 seasons without another superstar. My #1 has also never lost in the first round of the playoffs, Jordan has. Lastly, my #1 is on pace to be Jordan in everything besides Rings and MVPs.
#1 – LeBron James – Forward – Miami Heat/Cleveland Cavs
A child basketball prodigy from Akron, Ohio with the weight to change a city and a franchise, and he did. Like no one else on this list, Mr. James did not step foot on a college campus, nor have a Hall of Famer mentor, he went straight from high school algebra 2 classes to being the best player in the NBA and in NBA history. LeBron James has the most wear and tear of ANY player in NBA history and still continues to perform as the BEST player in the NBA.
Averaging 27.2 Points Per Game, 7.2 Rebounds Per Game and 6.9 Assists Per Game is as good as it gets. L-Beezy has also racked up 12 All-Star Game appearances while winning 2 All-Star Game MVPs.
LeBron is also the only active player on this list who will be playing next year so he will have a chance to add to all of this.
LBJ has 4 NBA MVPs, 2 NBA Finals rings, 2 NBA Finals MVPs, 6 Finals Appearance, has played on the WORST roster of any player on this top 10 that has more than one ring, and that’s not even a debate.
LeBron is 13th in all time points but only needs to average 23.7 points over the next 246 games (3 Years) to pass Jordan. LeBron James also only needs to average about 30 points over his next 8 years ( to make 20 years, the amount of time Kareem player) to be all time minutes leader. LeBron James defines greatness and that’s why he comes in at #1.