The NBA has been an institution in world sport and seen some of the greatest athletes of all time play in the league. Its fast pace and exciting style draws in crowds for each game, while having viewers from all over the world.
Over the past 20 years different sides have reached their peaks and new players have come into the league to challenge for the attention and recognition as being one of the greats.
The LA Lakers, Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors have had their times as the top sides. Milwaukee Bucks are the current reigning champions, while the latest NBA odds predict the Phoenix Suns to go one better from last season and take home the title in 2022.
This season there are stars aplenty, as usual, and below we look at the top 10 players of all time to play in the NBA.
10. Hakeem Olajuwon
One of the greatest defensive players to play the game started playing at 15 in Nigeria. He came to the United States to play for the University of Houston and was selected by the Houston Rockets in the 1994 NBA Draft ahead of Michael Jordan.
9. Bill Russell
Russel won 11 titles in 13 years, five MVP awards and 11 All NBA selections. He helped create the most dominant Boston Celtics side built of their defensive power. Playing for the Celtics from 1956 to 1969, Russel’s statistics weren’t fully recorded as the NBA didn’t record block statistics until the 70’s, though he is one of, if not the best in history.
8. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant defined the early 2000s in the NBA with his incredible athleticism and killer instinct. Nicknamed the black mamba for being deadly on the court, Bryant won five NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards amongst numerous other awards.
7. Tim Duncan
Selected first by the San Antonio Spurs in 1997, Duncan went on to play his entire 19-year career with the Texan side winning five NBA championships. The “Big Fundamental” has been regarded as the best power forward of all time and was the league MVP twice in 2002 and 2003.
6. Shaquille O’Neal
At 7’1’’ and weighing around 325 pounds, Shaquille O’Neal as a beast of a man who dominated the NBA with his power and size. He was an unstoppable force playing center where he was immense on offense and defense. An Olympic Gold winner in 1996, he also won four NBA Championships and was the 2000 NBA MVP.
5. Earvin Johnson Jr
Magic Johnson was an icon of 80s NBA after being drafted first overall in 1979 by the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a point guard who ran the offense to perfection and created the greatest dynasty era of the LA Lakers earning them the nickname “Showtime Lakers” for their fast-paced, exciting offense. He won five NBA Championships and three NBA MVP awards in his career amongst many other titles.
4. Larry Bird
The Celtics had the rival to Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird was another who excelled on both sides of the ball. Drafted in 1978 he played his entire career in Boston and won three NBA championships, played in 12 all-star games as well as was a three-time league MVP for 1984-1986.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The ‘skyhook’ shot became a signature move for Abdul-Jabbar who, winning six championships, became one of the greatest of all time to play in the NBA. He won six MVP awards which is still a record that stands today. He is the all-time leading points scorer in the NBA with 38,387.
2. Michael Jordan
Jordan ties with Abdul-Jabbar with six NBA championships. He was the six-time NBA final MVP as well as five-time league MVP. His ‘Airness’ brought success to the Chicago Bills who had gone so long in poor form. He is one of the most notorious and well recognized names to ever come out of the NBA, while also having a short career in Baseball as well as acting.
1. LeBron James
Fresh out of high school at 18 years of age, LeBron James was the first overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He won the rookie of the year award in 2004 before going on to win four NBA championships and four league MVP awards. James, currently at the LA Lakers, is the only players that sits in the top 10 for both points scored and assists.
This year, Steph Curry will look to carry on his fine form and challenge the likes of the Phoenix Suns, aiming to win his fourth NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors. The Point Guard is the best paid player in NBA history a two-time league MVP. He is considered to be one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, a real threat from three-point range. This ability to shoot from anywhere on the court opened the game up once again and gave it a new dynamic which continues to excite fans from around the world. Read more articles on viralsant.com
Leave a Reply