Top 10 Best NBA Players Ever All Time In 2023. Who is the greatest NBA player of all time? The answer to this question is endless and controversial because many players have shown their potential in the NBA, if not the best, the best. There is no set standard for saying one is the greatest. Every analyst, player, coach and fan has his or her own opinion. In the NBA, 4374 players have played at least one game. So, playing in the NBA is not a joke. In the same way, being part of the exclusive club in the protection of the greatest.
The NBA has been around since 1946 and during that time we saw some of the best athletes of all time on the court. There are different styles of play that have crossed different eras. Today, shooters dominate the sport, but only a few decades ago the center position drove the game. We’ve seen athletes like defensive dominance, sharpshooting snipers from behind three-point lines, tactical slashers and Gods all around.
With all these varied skills, differences in style of play, and levels of athletes, skills and coaching. It is difficult to determine who is the best player of all time. Arguments can be made for players like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Karim Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell and all of them can be considered great for a variety of reasons. When looking at the whole picture. We must determine the statistics, the praise, what the era has given at that time. And what strengths and weaknesses each player had, to determine who is truly the best. This article will cover my top 10 players who I believe are the best of all time.
Top 10 Best NBA Players Ever All Time List
1. LeBron James
LeBron James is the best player of all time. He has dominated the NBA since rejoining the league at the age of 18. When James joined the league, he was seen as “The Chase One” who would take over from Jordan, and he did. LeBron has done something no other player has done before him. He led the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers to the final. James has beaten not one but the top two dynasties in the league for the championship at San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. He also brought a championship to Cleveland after a 52-year championship drought.
Not only did James accomplish great things, he played at a higher and better level than anyone in history. James can do it all. He can score any night, he can rebound the ball and he is the greatest passing forward in the history of the league. James is currently the only player in league history to score in the top 10 for points and assists. He also sits in the top 50 of all-time rebound.
He is the only player to have recorded more than 34,000 points. 9,000 assistance, and 9,000 rebounds. James recently finished playing in his 17th season, and is still arguably the best player in the league and undoubtedly in the top five. He has dominated in his youth, his chief and now in his later years. When the game is on the line, even if he can’t win, he’s going to be the best player on the court.
2. Michael Jordan
I know what you’re thinking, Michael Jordan Blasphemy at # 2. His “airness” revived the basketball game when its ratings were at their lowest point. By placing the Jordan brand on a pedestal that has not yet been reached, he was well-marketed. Jordan is synonymous with basketball. When people think of sports, they usually think of Jordan. However, he is still sitting in second place for me. Jordan is the biggest scorer in the history of the game. He was not born with the strength of a spinach or the size of a cream, and yet no player on the court could stop him. He has won the league scoring title 10 times in his career, and it depends on the win.
Jordan has won more than anyone else. He set a season-winning record with the Bulls in 1996 when he led the team to 72 wins and a championship, a feat that has not been broken in 20 years. He also has two separate three-time championship runs and a perfect 6-0 final record. Jordan was aggressively God-like and also a great defender. Jordan led the league three times and made nine all-defensive selections! He also led the postseason twice and led the postseason in scoring 10 times. Jordan had an irresistible strength throughout his entire league career, even with two separate retirements in his career.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
At the age of 24, born NBA icon Ferdinand Lewis Alexander Jr. converted to Islam and took the name Karim Abdul-Jabbar, meaning “great man, slave of the Almighty.” Karim has been an influential basketball player ever since he set foot on the court. In high school, Karim has won 61 games in a row. Since joining UCLA, he has won three NCAA Championships in a row, earning the tournament MVP in three years, a record that still stands today. He was first drafted overall by Milwaukee Box in 1969. He played six seasons at Milwaukee before ending his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Karim became one of the best scorers and all-round players in the league.
He used his signature “Skyhook” shot, an unblocked swing lobe, to dominate his opponent. In his career, Karim led his team to the final 10 times, winning 6 championships. He has also won six MVP awards, a record that still stands. When Karim retired at the age of 42, he held the record for most points scored, most rebounds, most blocks, most games and most wins. Karim was one of the focal points of the greatest Lakers dynasty in the history of the franchise. He led the team, later known as “The Showtime Lakers”, in a fast-paced offense that left the team in the dust. The team capitalizes on quick breaks, quickly goes up and down the court, and quickly scores goals. Despite his offensive prowess, he was also an incredible defender, winning 11 all-time defensive picks.
4. Shaquille O’Neal
Shakil “Shaq” O’Neill is the most influential player in NBA history. He has played for the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat, the Phoenix Suns, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics. Shaq was also known as “Diesel” because he was a human Hulk. He stood at 7’1 “and weighed about 325 pounds. Despite his huge size and strength, he was much more than an irresistible force because of his size. To score goals outside and grab rebounds. He famously played Michael Jordan one-on-one and crossed Jordan on the way to the basket. Shaak dominated the court, both offensively and defensively.
In his career, he scored 28,596 points; This currently gives him an 8th all-time record for career points. He also took 13,099 rebounds, which puts him in 15th place for an all-time record. Defensively, he also blocked 2,732 shots, placing him 8th all-time in that division. So not only did Shaq score a goal, he also rebounded and defended best. Shaq also went on to make a great career for himself outside of basketball. It’s rare to find a person who doesn’t know who he is, even if they don’t see him play.
He is an actor, spokesperson, rapper and much more. His influence on the game and pop culture is incomparable, and his play is often forgotten or dismissed as “great because of its size”. The truth remains that Shaq was the perfect GOAT in his position and because of his exemplary play he is a four-time champion and MVP. That’s why he’s one of the best ever.
5. Larry Bird
There is nothing harder than deciding who is better, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The two have the biggest rivalry in the history of basketball, and probably in any sport. Bird was ranked sixth by the Boston Celtics in the 1978 NBA Draft. He started his entire 13-year career as a short forward and power forward for the Celtics. Bird excelled in all aspects of the game, especially in shooting, but he was also defensive and strong in his passing games. Bird became the first player in NBA history to shoot 50% of field goals, 40% of three-point shots and 90% of free throws in a single season. He has done this twice in his career. Larry also won three consecutive three-point shooting competitions. He even practiced shooting three-pointers with his eyes closed.
Bird’s craft and practice was one thing that led to his perfection and dominance. Bird would dribble throughout the Celtics court, one that has its original Tennessee oak wood still in place to this day, to find the difference in each board. It was known that the old floor had “dead spots” where the ball wouldn’t bounce quite as high; Bird learned the location of every one of them. He would defend players in the direction of these areas and use the spots to aide him in stealing the ball. This, among other things, is one of the examples of amazing practices that gave Bird the nickname “Larry Legend.”
6. Earvin Johnson Jr.
Earwin “Magic” Johnson Jr. was one of the pillars of the NBA in the 80’s. He was first drafted overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1979 draft. The same year he was drafted, won the Magic Rookie of the Year award and won the NBA Championship. He was also the final MVP that year. As a point guard, it was his job to run the offense, and he did so entirely because he led the league in assists four times in his career.
Her winning streak at Magic College began when she led the Michigan State Spartans to the NCAA Championship, for the first time, against her career rival Larry Bird. The Magic Bird was able to overcome, winning the most outstanding player in the Final Four. Their rivalry will continue in the NBA, where Magic and Bird have met three times in the final. Magic and Lakers have topped the list twice.
Magic and the Lakers were part of the Lakers’ greatest dynasty of all time. They became known as the “Showtime Lakers” because of their speed, running and gun style offenses. With Magic’s passing ability and Karim Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring skills, the Lakers and Magic were able to win five rings when they reached the final nine times.
7. Tim Duncan
Team “The Big Fundamental” is the greatest force ever to play in Duncan NBA history. He was first selected overall by the San Antonio Spurs in 1997 and will play with the Spurs for his entire 19-year career. Duncan was not a flamboyant player but he was incredibly skilled both offensively and defensively. Under the guidance of coach Greg Popovich, Duncan was able to become the head of a lasting dynasty for almost two decades. In his career, he has twice won five championships over elite players such as LeBron James, Ben Wallace, Jason Kidd and others.
Duncan was known for his skill, but his defensive skills made him a really great player. To this day, he ranks third in all-time NBA defensive skills. Although he never won the Defensive Player of the Year award, he was a 15-time all-defensive pick and a 2-time MVP. Duncan was able to play a solid, basic form of basketball. He made the right passes and games to win the game with players like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, who would be relatively unknown if not successful under Duncan’s leadership.
8. Bill Russell
Bill Russell currently has the most 11 championships in NBA history. In fact, he has failed to win a championship in 2 of his 13 seasons at the NBA. Russell also won at other levels, winning the NCAA Championship twice, in 1955 and 1956. He also won a gold medal for the United States at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Russell is mostly known for his ring, but he should be known as one of the best rebounders and defensive men in NBA history. Although Russell was not the main focus of the Celtics of the dynasty, he was influential in other ways.
Russell has rebounded better than anyone, leading the league in 5 rebounds and averaging 20 rebounds in a game 10 times in his 13-year career. He is one of seven players to have won the NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship and an Olympic gold medal. Russell also helped fill the color barrier in the United States. Although he was not the first black player to play basketball, he was the first to become a superstar. He was also a Celtics player-coach towards the end of his career, making him the first black coach in the NBA and the first black coach to win a championship.
9. Hakeem Olajuwon
Judge “The Dream” Olajuon is one of the best defensive players in NBA history. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, where he began his basketball career before moving to the United States to play for the University of Houston. Although he never played basketball until he was 15, he dominated wherever he played. While in college, he led the Houston Cougars to three Final Four appearances in the NCAA Division One National Tournament. In 1984, the Houston Rockets selected Olazuon through the first overall pick, choosing him from other bests such as Michael Jordan, John Stockton and Charles Berkeley.
Olazhou has become one of the NBA’s most powerful forces. He was an incredible rebounder who was unmatched in defense. Olajuon has led the league twice in rebounds and three times in blocked shots. In fact, he still leads the NBA in the all-time list of blocked shots for more than 500 blocks, a total of 3,830. Due to this incredible achievement, he has become the defensive player of the year twice.
10. Kobe Bryant
Kobe defines “The Black Mamba” as Bryant’s 2000s. Charlotte Hornets was ranked 13th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft and was expelled directly from high school. The Los Angeles Lakers made a deal the day before the picks from the Hornets, allowing them to take Bryant. His Rocky deal with the Lakers was for 3.5 million. He was the greatest scorer of all time which created fear in his opponents. Bryant earned his nickname for being as deadly as a poisonous black mamba in court. He has played in the NBA for 20 years, winning 5 championships along the way, including 3 in a row.
To date, Bryant has been one of the coldest blooded shooters of all time, with 17 game-winning shots and 7 more game-tying shots in his career leading to victory overtime. Kobe Bryant was known for his incredible athleticism and clutch shots. You can find highlight tapes of evil dunks and game winners without leaving any time on the clock. A highlight relay that cannot be seen is the focus and mental power of the laser.
Kobe was fluent in many languages, including English, Spanish and Italian. Kobe is famous for learning French so he can talk to Tony Parker. He hacked Luka Donsik from the sidelines into his native Slovenian. Bryant’s mind was as dangerous as his physical prowess in any sport in his career.
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