The topic of who the greatest basketball players of all time are always a hot one in the NBA community. NBA’s Top 10 All-Time Players! The list is extensive, contentious, and diverse, featuring legendary athletes like Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant. On February 8, 2023, LeBron James, then playing in his 20th NBA season, broke Kareem Abdul-previous Jabbar’s mark of 38,387 points by sinking a 21-foot shot late against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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There are no set standards for determining who is the greatest. Every analyst, player, coach, and supporter has a different perspective. Four thousand three hundred seventy-four players have participated in at least one NBA game. Being a part of the biggest basketball league in the world is, therefore, no joke. Being a member of the elite club is analogous to being in the conservation of the greatest.
No offense intended for the athletes who fell short of the top 10. Let’s examine who wins the title of greatest.
|S. No.||Players||Last Played For|
|1||Michael Jordan||Washington Wizards|
|2||LeBron James||Los Angeles Lakers (Still Active)|
|3||Kareem Abdul Jabbar||Los Angeles Lakers|
|4||Magic Johnson||Magic Great Danes|
|5||Kobe Bryant||Los Angeles Lakers|
|6||Wilt Chamberlain||Los Angeles Lakers|
|7||Bill Russell||Boston Celtics|
|8||Larry Bird||Boston Celtics|
|9||Shaquille O’Neal||Boston Celtics|
|10||Tim Duncan||San Antonio Spurs|
1. Michael Jordan
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Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Finals series. NBA champion six times, Michael Jordan. He also “carried” six MVP honors from the Finals. In 1988, Michael Jordan also won the Defensive Player of the Year award.
“Mr. Air” has won five additional MVP titles during the regular season, and he deserves his status as an icon on and off the basketball court. Jordan played for Washington for two seasons, scoring 20 points on average.
A model of a competitive attitude, the best NBA player of all time also boasts amazing accolades and accomplishments. He was fierce in defense and a master at offense. Michael Jordan gives it his all during practice and games to support himself and his teammates in becoming the best.
Michael Jordan has established himself as the NBA’s standard for success because of his previous accomplishment. The goal of every NBA player is to emulate Michael Jordan. But nobody has yet surpassed MJ’s level.
Defensive player of the year in the NBA
He became the first NBA player to win NBA MVP and NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the same year. On April 16, 2003, Michael Jordan participated in his final NBA game and was given a three-minute standing ovation by his teammates, his rivals, the referees, and the 21,257 spectators.
Jordan owns the records for lifetime scoring averages of 30.1 and 33.4 PPG in the regular season and playoffs. He has won a record 10 scoring titles. He was selected for 10 First Team All-NBA selections and 14 NBA All-Star teams. For his career, Jordan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 and named to the “Dream Team” in 2010.
The most expensive memorabilia in history, Michael Jordan’s jersey from the first game of the 1998 NBA Finals, sold for $10.1 million in September 2022.
2. LeBron James
LeBron James is in his 20th season in the NBA and has not slowed down since his debut. King James is a common reference in discussions about the GOAT. James may overtake the top spot even though he started at number two on our list. One could fill a 200-page book with praise for him and his accomplishments.
After winning back-to-back MVP awards, LeBron joined the Miami Heat in 2010 to create the BIG 3 with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Later, when playing for the Heat, he won two NBA championships, two MVP awards from the Finals, and two MVP awards overall. LeBron James’ consecutive 41-point performances and chase-down block in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals enabled the Cavs to defeat the Warriors 3-1 and win the series.
LeBron participated in 9 consecutive championship games before signing with the Lakers in 2018. After skipping his first year, he won the NBA championship and Finals MVP the following year. James has now been named to 16 All-NBA teams, a record. He has also been an NBA All-Star MVP three times and a 17-time All-Star. James, who ranks #1 among all-time point leaders, is the top scorer in a postseason with 7,631 points. The Lakers legend made history in his 20th NBA season.
On February 8, 2023, he defeated Kareem Abdul-39-year Jabbar’s record of 38,387 points, with a 21-foot shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul ranks third among all-time great NBA players. Among the all-time leading scorers in NBA history is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He was always included in the Top 10 Scorers list for the NBA Playoffs.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played 17 games in his 20-year career with Milwaukee and Los Angeles. Over 13 years, he was a two-time NBA Finals MVP and a six-time winner. He also acquired a spot on the 10-time NBA First Team.
Jabbar holds the record with 5,762 points. In 1974, still against the Bucks, he played his best. After 16 games at the time, he had 515 points. Moreover, Abdul-Jabbar was the defensive player with the most rebounds and blocks in the postseason.
4. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson’s signature smile and love of basketball are well-known among NBA fans worldwide. Magic Johnson was maybe the flashiest player of all time and the other half of the well-known rivalry of the 1980s. With the Showtime Lakers, the greatest point guard in history, wowed the world with his flashy playing style.
Magic Johnson, the coach of the Dream Team, has played a significant role in NBA history. He has won numerous championships and MVP awards while also reviving the league. His passing skills are still unsurpassed. He was a perfect point guard with a record-breaking amount of assists per game, yet he had the build of a center. He is one of the best players of all time.
5. Kobe Bryant
The late Kobe Bryant was regarded as the greatest Laker of all time for the first 20 years of his playing career. He is a role model for the athletes around him. Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality” enabled him to achieve everything in his career and he is well entitled to participate in the GOAT discussion.
From 2000 to 2002, Kobe led the Lakers to a three-peat while partnering with Shaquille O’Neal. Afterward, he won the scoring title in 2006 and 2007. Kobe has 33,643 career points, which places him fourth among NBA’s top scorers all-time. He led the league with the greatest points average in the league (35.4 PPG) in the 2005–06 season.
When playing the Raptors in 2006, Kobe had the second-highest point total in a game with 81. Similarly, he scored 60 points against the Jazz in his most recent game, which was a record for any player.
True MVP Of The Game
Kobe won the first and only MVP award of his career in 2008. Then, in 2008, he guided the USA’s “Redeem Team” to two gold medals in the Olympic Games in Beijing and London. Bryant was awarded Finals MVP both years while leading the Lakers to back-to-back championships in 2008 and 2009.
Kobe Bryant was honored with a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction in 2021. Kobe Bryant, 41, died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020, along with his daughter Gianna, six close friends, and the pilot.
Subsequently, in 2020, the NBA renamed the Kobe All-Star MVP award in Bryant’s honor. That is an appropriate honor for an all-star starter who has started a record 18 times and shared the MVP award four times. According to the announcement from the auction company, it was the most expensive piece of Bryant’s memorabilia ever sold at auction, according to CNN.
6. Wilt Chamberlain
Basketball player Wilt Chamberlain paved the path for the rise of the NBA players of the present. He didn’t have a lot of chances in college to brag. Yet, before beginning his NBA career, Wilt Chamberlain was a vital part of the fabled Harlem Globetrotters for a year.
Wilt Chamberlain, who had an ideal height of 2.1 meters, dominated the NBA at its height. Being the only player to average 100 points per game, he cemented his position in history. He is also the first NBA player to score 30,000 points.
7. Robert Russell
No one can dispute this man’s greatness, and with 11 NBA titles won throughout 13 playing seasons, he is included in our ranking of the best 5 NBA players. He created defensive strategies and ensured that defense was treated equally in a league emphasizing offense.
His 11 NBA titles are likely the safest record in history, and he is recognized as the best defensive player ever. At a period when it was challenging to be an African-American in Boston, he also won five MVP trophies. Bill Russell was successful in life as well as basketball.
8. Larry Bird
Larry Bird, a small forward frequently regarded as the greatest Celtics player of all time, is next on our list of the “top NBA players.” Because of his intelligence, tenacity, and versatility on the court, he is one of the NBA’s most admired players. Bird is renowned for both his strong passing and defensive skills.
One of the first players to fully utilize the newly created 3-pointer. In addition to his playing technique, Bird outclassed rival players with his swagger and confidence. Bird coached the Celtics to three NBA titles in his 13-year tenure. He also earned league MVP for three straight seasons, a feat only Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell have accomplished.
Bird has two Final MVP awards, 12 NBA All-Star selections, and nine All-NBA First Team honors. He was honored with a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction in 1998. Subsequently, in 2010, he was reinstated to the Hall of Fame as a “Dream Team” member.
Towards the end of the 2000 season, he gave up his post as head coach. Larry remained with the Pacers as an advisor and did so until July 2022; he then withdrew from his ongoing involvement with the Indiana Pacers.
9. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal is one of the other top NBA players in league history. The greatest basketball player the NBA has ever produced is Shaq O’Neal. While playing, O’Neal dominated the space under the basketball because of his 2.16 m height and 147 kg weight.
O’Neal was selected first overall by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft. O’Neal quickly became a household name in his debut season because of his averages of 23.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game. In 1993, he won the Rookie of the Year award. After Michael Jordan participated in the All-Star game in 1985, he was the first Rookie to do so.
Playing with the Los Angeles Lakers alongside the late Kobe Bryant was the pinnacle of O’Neal’s career. The Los Angeles Lakers’ ability to win three consecutive NBA championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002 was greatly aided by the Hall of Fame center. In addition, Shaq O’Neal won the league MVP award in each of the three NBA titles.
10. Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan is the tenth on our list, arguably the greatest power forward of all time. For 20 years, Duncan, also known as “The Big Fundamental,” dominated both sides of the court with his textbook basketball abilities, including his mid-range bank jump jumper and precise defensive posture.
He had only ever played for the San Antonio Spurs during his NBA career. The team won 1,001 games during the regular season under Duncan’s leadership, which is the most wins for a player on a single team in the history of the NBA.
Also, he has been a 15-time All-Star, a two-time NBA MVP, and a three-time Finals MVP on his resume. He is also the only NBA player chosen for the All-NBA and All-Defensive teams for 13 straight years (1997 to 2010).
Duncan joined the Spurs as an assistant coach for the 2019–2020 season after leaving the NBA, and he left on November 12, 2020. Duncan was admitted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 17, 2021.
Michael Jordan is the top player on our ranking of the greatest NBA players of all time. Nonetheless, the GOAT discussion never ends.
Anybody might dethrone Jordan in the future because there are still current players with careers to end, like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, as well as young players entering the league, like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic.