The 10 Greatest Basketball Players All Time

The 10 Greatest Basketball Players All Time

You might be thinking, there are hundreds of the best NBA players but why only the 10 greatest basketball players all time right? Here’s why we’ve chosen only 10 players as the greatest basketball players of all time.

LeBron James overtook Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s leading point scorer in February 2023. Michael Jordan obviously every NBA fan knows why he is the greatest NBA player of all time ever played in the league. Magic Johnson, won five NBA championships while playing for Los Angeles Lakers, and was the NBA’s tallest point guard with 6’9 ft height.

We advise the readers not to take anything on this list personally because it has been created for general knowledge purposes. If you agree with me, then this was the most insightful thing we’ve ever written.

Continue reading to know who is the greatest basketball player of all time?

1. LeBron James

LeBron James - The 10 Greatest Basketball Players Of All Time

King LeBron James is one of the greatest players to ever step up on a court, even though many NBA fans believe he is overrated. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who held the record for the NBA’s leading point scorer for more than three decades, was surpassed by LeBron James in February 2023. He was the most dynamic guard in basketball from the first dribble if you watched him play as a young player with limited playing skills at the time up till now. He also had to deal with the immense pressure of being crowned.

LeBron has only lived up to the great expectations that were placed on him ever since he graduated from high school in Akron, Ohio. LeBron exceeded expectations in addition to living up to the hype. People who criticized him for his lack of championship success in his early career failed to mention that, at the age of just 22, he nearly single-handedly led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2007 NBA Finals despite the team’s obvious disadvantages.

Of course, he has since won four NBA championships and continuously improved his technique to address the perceived weaknesses in his game. He rose to a higher level of basketball greatness in the past and was a member of the league’s 75th-anniversary team. The reality is that despite having impressive numbers, LeBron has not been recognized for his scoring skills for most of his career. Let’s not overlook everything LeBron has accomplished throughout his career off the court. His book isn’t complete yet, and he may add a few more titles along the line.

2. Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan - Greatest Basketball Players All Time

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball players all time. He has won three NBA championships in a row, left NBA to play baseball, then joined to Chicago Bulls to win three more NBA Championships in a row again. In total Michael Jordan played fifteen seasons in the NBA, winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. Later he came back to the league one more time to create another piece of history and was one of the oldest NBA players in history to average 20 PPG and to score 40-plus points in a game. Michael Jordan The GOAT, no questions asked and no answers given.

Who is the most famous NBA player of all time? Michael Jordan, without a doubt. His Airness the man’s desire to be the best is legendary, as evidenced by five MVP awards, All-Star appearances in each full season he played, and his status as possibly the best defender ever. In addition, his 30.1 points per game are the highest career-scoring average in the NBA. The Last Dance on ESPN did its best to capture Michael Jordan’s tight grip on the basketball world, but it fell short. No guard has ever dominated the NBA league as much as he has, which helps his case when he is at the top of everyone’s list. Michael Jordan will never be replaced.

3. Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson - Greatest Basketball Players All Time

Let’s speak about the best point guards in NBA history. Magic Johnson, one of the greatest personalities to ever play in the NBA, was a big influence in the league’s tremendous surge in popularity throughout the 1980s. But he was far more than that. Magic Johnson created the groundwork for the “Showtime” L.A. Lakers teams that won five championships during his 13-year career with the team. Magic Johnson (6’9″) is the NBA’s tallest point guard. Magic Johnson had one of the best careers in league history, winning five NBA titles, three MVP awards, nine selections to the All-NBA first team, and being named to the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team.

4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - Greatest Basketball Players All Time

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s second-highest career point-scoring leader is on 4th? Yes, he is on the 4th of the list of greatest basketball players all time. During his two decades of dominance, he created the sky hook, one of the most beautiful shots the game has ever seen. He was an incredible force in the League. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 38,387 points in his career. But LeBron James overtook Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s leading point scorer in February 2023.

Every accolade a great NBA player could win was given to him, but his six MVP awards stand out in particular. Despite his club not making the playoffs, he is still the only player in league history to win the MVP title. Six MVP awards were also more than Michael Jordan and Bill Russell with 5 MVPs each. His selection to the NBA 75 team was inevitable. While playing for the Bucks and the Lakers alternately, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won three MVP awards and five of his six rings. Having been an All-Star for 19 years and finishing 15 times in the top 5 in the MVP voting. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the best NBA center with a track record, and that is all you really need to remember.

5. Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain - Greatest Basketball Players All Time

You will never see another Wilt Chamberlain, and no one will ever be able to match his supremacy since he holds records that no player, living or dead, will ever come close to matching. Who else will average 50.4 points per game for an entire season as Wilt Chamberlain did in 1961–1962? Do you think anyone else will achieve a career average of 22.9 RPG as Wilt Chamberlain? No one will ever surpass Wilt Chamberlain’s feat of 100 points in a game.

Wilt Chamberlain has the four greatest all-time NBA single-season scoring averages, with 23,924 more career rebounds than Bill Russell and more minutes played per game than any other player in league history (45.8).

6. Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson - Greatest Basketball Players All Time

Oscar Robertson was a point guard who appeared in the NBA and was a 12-time All-Star, an 11-time member of the All-NBA Team, and a one-time MVP award winner. Robertson had a 14-year NBA career with the Milwaukee Bucks and Cincinnati Royals, scoring 26,710 points and dishing out 9,887 assists. In 1960-61, he led for a season and finished as the league’s all-time assist leader, averaging a triple-double of 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game.

He also had a significant impact on the NBA’s introduction of free agency when, in 1970, he filed a lawsuit against the organization, questioning the legality of the league’s proposed merger with the ABA, the value of the draft, and the reserve clause that barred players from signing with any team they chose.

7. Bill Russell

Bill Russell - Greatest Basketball Players All Time

The greatest NBA player in league history was Bill Russell. In 12 of his 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics, he won a league championship with the exception of two. Even though there were only 8 to 14 teams in the NBA at the time, Russell’s historic wins are not diminished by the fact that winning championships was statistically easier for a single team. He contributed to the invention of the fast break with his trademark play, passing the ball to a teammate. Back then, blocks and stealing weren’t recorded, but according to some experts, Russell averaged 10 to 12  blocks every game. Before Russell joined the team, the Celtics had played for a decade without ever making it to the championship final. Bill Russell, though, drastically altered the franchise’s direction in his first season and made the Celtics the NBA’s most successful franchise.

8. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most famous basketball players in history. He won Rookie of the Year, MVP, three Finals MVP titles, and four NBA championships. In 2016, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The beauty of Shaq’s dominance is that you could tell your kids that he is the greatest of all time, but even if you knew he was one of the biggest personalities ever played in the league, due to his big personality you wouldn’t be able to block him. Once there, he’d finish with a slam, a tried-and-true strategy that saw Shaq O’Neal lead the NBA in field-goal percentage ten times in his career. He was one-of-a-kind and easily one of the most entertaining players in NBA history, both on and off the court.

9. Larry Bird

Larry Bird - Greatest Basketball Players All Time

The most effective basketball player of all time, Larry Bird, won three consecutive MVP awards in the 1980s. During his 13-year playing career, he averaged 24.3 PPG and 10.0 RPG. The legend of Hick from French Lick will live on forever. Bird was a 12-time All-Star and the league’s Most Valuable Player three times in a row (1984–86). In the late 1970s, Bird assisted in the rebuilding of a Boston Celtics team that had been filled by subpar performance and low attendance. The Celtics won three NBA championships and 10 Atlantic Division titles with Larry Bird as their star player and leader of a balanced team. He has three championship rings in addition to that.

10. Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan - Best NBA Playoff Players Of All Time

Tim Duncan is regarded as one of the greatest players in NBA history. He was a five-time champion, three-time Finals MVP, two-time regular-season MVP, 15-time All-Star, 15-time All-NBA, and All-Defensive team selection later. Duncan, nicknamed “The Big Fundamental,” played all 19 seasons in San Antonio and consistently put up numbers like a robot in his prime. Duncan was a four-year member of the Wake Forest team who earned the Naismith Award, the Rupp Trophy, and the Wooden Award and was named the NABC Defensive Player of the Year four times.

In 2003, Duncan took Robinson’s place as the Spurs’ captain after Robinson retired. San Antonio won their third championship in the 2004–05 season by defeating the Detroit Pistons, the reigning champions. He had a 19.9 PPG and 11.0 RPG average in 251 playoff games. Duncan stands out among today’s more skilled power forwards out there in the league. At the time when he announced his retirement, his career totals combined points (26496), rebounds (15091), and blocks (3020), placing him among the top 15 NBA players of all time. After the 2019–20 NBA season, he returned to the Spurs as an assistant coach.

Top 50 NBA Players Of All Time

Top 50 NBA Players Of All Time
  1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  2. Nate Archibald
  3. Paul Arizin
  4. Charles Barkley
  5. Rick Barry
  6. Elgin Baylor
  7. Dave Bing
  8. Larry Bird
  9. Wilt Chamberlain
  10. Bob Cousy
  11. Dave Cowens
  12. Billy Cunningham
  13. Dave DeBusschere
  14. Clyde Drexler
  15. Julius Erving
  16. Patrick Ewing
  17. Walt Frazier
  18. George Gervin
  19. Hal Greer
  20. John Havlicek
  21. Elvin Hayes
  22. Magic Johnson
  23. Sam Jones
  24. Michael Jordan
  25. Jerry Lucas
  26. Karl Malone
  27. Moses Malone
  28. Pete Maravich
  29. Kevin McHale
  30. George Mikan
  31. Earl Monroe
  32. Hakeem Olajuwon
  33. Shaquille O’Neal
  34. Robert Parish
  35. Bob Pettit
  36. Scottie Pippen
  37. Willis Reed
  38. Oscar Robertson
  39. David Robinson
  40. Bill Russell
  41. Dolph Schayes
  42. Bill Sharman
  43. John Stockton
  44. Isiah Thomas
  45. Nate Thurmond
  46. Wes Unseld
  47. Bill Walton
  48. Jerry West
  49. Lenny Wilkens
  50. James Worthy

FAQs about the greatest basketball players all time

Who is the king of basketball in history?

Wilt Chamberlain is regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time because, on March 2, 1962, he set an NBA record by scoring an incredible 100 points in a single game, making him the king of the sport.

Is MJ the greatest of all time?

Michael Jordan is considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time. He has won six-time NBA Finals MVP, 14-time All-Star, and six-time NBA championships.

Read also: Best NBA Playoff Players Of All Time


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Chethan HC

Hello, I am a passionate and dedicated writer with a deep love for Basketball. With years of experience in both creative and technical writing, I have sharpened my skills and developed a unique representative that resonates with readers. I am constantly seeking out new opportunities to challenge myself and grow as a professional writer. In my free time, you can find me lost in a good book, traveling to new and exciting places, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature. I hope you find my blogs informative. Have a nice time ahead, Thank you...!

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