Out of the Ordinary: The 14 Most Unique Players in NBA History
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is currently one of the NBA's most unique players. No, not because he's the game's top center (sorry, Yao Ming fans), but because of his ability to make others laugh and his rare athleticism for a big man.
The 6'11", 265-pounder has an impressive 40-inch vertical leap. In 2008, Howard won the Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend, which is an event that usually isn't won by a player of his size.
Another one of the league's most unusual players is Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest. He's been known for his outspokenness, interesting hair cuts, and audacity to leave the court to go jump into the stands to fight fans.
Here is a look at the NBA's 14 most unique players of all time.
Dennis "The Worm" Rodman, little Muggsy Bogues, giant Manute Bol (R.I.P.). Don't worry, they're all here.
Well, let's begin.
14. Jack Sikma
When you think of a player who leads the league in free throw percentage, names like Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, and Mark Price likely come to mind.
You know, guys who are non-centers.
However, a center by the name of Jack Sikma led the league with 92.2 percent during the 1987-88 season.
He averaged about 85 percent from the charity stripe for his career and also knocked down over 200 three pointers.
While his accurate shooting was quite unusual for a center, he led the league in defensive rebounds twice.
13. Rick Barry
Barry makes this list simply because of his unorthodox free throw technique.
Using an underhand toss called the "granny shot", the eight-time All-Star forward currently sits third on the NBA's all-time free throw percentage list with a tad under 90 percent.
The legendary Wilt Chamberlain tried the shot for a little while with not much success.
12. Darryl Dawkins
The NBA world has seen 6'11" players who could throw it down with the best of 'em, but not many who would nickname their own dunks.
After shattering the backboard during a game in 1979, Dawkins dubbed the famous dunk "The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump Roasting, Bun Toasting-Wham-Bam-I-Am Jam."
Other dunks include "The Go-rilla", "Dunk You Very Much", "Yo Mama", and "Spine Chiller Supreme."
In addition, Dawkins, known as "Chocolate Thunder", claimed he was an alien from the fictional planet Lovetron. Interesting.
11. Spud Webb
Webb was considered unique because of his ability to dunk the ball despite being only 5'7".
The former Atlanta Hawks point guard possessed an amazing 42-inch vertical leap which aided him in winning the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest in his hometown of Dallas.
Webb was never an All-Star during his 12-year NBA career, however his name often pops up in the "greatest dunkers of all-time" conversation.
10. Gary Payton
A point guard has won the Defensive Player of the Year Award only once in NBA history: Gary Payton in 1996.
That's pretty unique.
Payton had the ability to post up any point guard in the league, get his teammates involved, hit the jumper, and dominate any game with his tenacious defense.
The NBA has never seen a better lock-down defending point guard than Payton.
9. Dirk Nowitzki
Nowitzki, maybe the NBA's greatest European player ever, is a seven-footer who shoots the ball like a 6'5" shooting guard. He is probably more feared from the outside than inside the paint.
The longtime Dallas Mavericks' franchise player and 2007 MVP winner may not be one of the game's toughest bangers, but he can definitely burn defenders with his lethal fadeaway jumper.
Nowitzki will one day be enshrined into the Naismith Hall of Fame.
8. Shaquille O'Neal
Usually a NBA player who stands over seven-feet tall and weighs well over 300 pounds cannot move very fast. However when he was in his prime, O'Neal had the ability to quickly get by his defenders before throwing down a monstrous dunk.
His amazing quickness for a player of his size isn't the only reason to consider O'Neal unique. He has always been known to have a colorful personality.
Shaq has given himself several nicknames throughout his career such as Diesel, Shaq Daddy, The Big Aristotle, and Shaq-tus.
7. Manute Bol
At 7'7", the late Manute Bol is tied with Gheorge Muresan as the tallest player in NBA history.
Bol is also the only player to ever record more blocked shots (2,086) than points (1,599).
It's not at all surprising that he is one of the league's greatest shot blockers off all time. If you're 7'7", you should be able to swat a ton of shots, but what is surprising was his ability to shoot from downtown.
Bol hit 20 of his 91 three-point attempts during the 1988-89 season as a member of the Golden State Warriors.
6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
NBA stars have owned famous signature moves throughout history. Michael Jordan had his unstoppable fadeaway jumper, Tim Hardaway was known for his killer crossover dribble, and you can't forget about George "The Iceman" Gervin's finger roll.
But perhaps the most unforgettable signature move ever belongs to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Hall of Fame center used his legendary "sky-hook" to help him become a six-time MVP and the league's all-time leading scorer.
What makes Abdul-Jabbar so unique is that his sky-hook has never and may never be duplicated by another player ever again.
5. Muggsy Bogues
The 5'3" Bogues is the shortest player in NBA history.
You would think that a player that short wouldn't be able to last long in the league, however he managed to stick around for 14 seasons due to his leadership, passing ability, and quickness.
Bogues is 16th all-time in assists with 6,726 and averaged at least 10 assists per game two different seasons.
He may very well hold the shortest player record forever.
4. Allen Iverson
Iverson has been an extremely rare commodity since he's a 6'0" shooting guard. NBA shooting guards typically stand between 6'3" and 6'7".
The once lightning-guick All-Star is the shortest player in history to win a MVP award and a scoring title. He has impressively won four scoring titles over his spectacular career.
Back in his superstar days, Iverson, only weighing about 160 pounds, would get fouled hard often, but continue to light up the league on a nightly basis.
3. LeBron James
"I haven't seen anybody like him. It's like Karl Malone out at the point running a team. Are you kidding me?"
That was a quote from Hall of Famer Julius Erving speaking about LeBron James.
James has perhaps one of the most unique skill sets in sports history. He is blessed with Michael Jordan-like athleticism, can dish the rock like Magic Johnson or John Stockton, and has the body of a modern day power forward.
Every night, the two-time NBA MVP blows past the opposition with ease and does something special that gets him into a SportsCenter highlight.
No 6'8" 250-pound player should be able to do the things LeBron can do on basketball court. It just isn't fair.
2. Dennis Rodman
If you look up the word "different" in a dictionary, the name "Dennis Rodman" just might appear.
Rodman's many brightly-colored hairdos and crazy off the court antics made him unusual, but one thing that really stands out is that he managed to win seven rebounding titles even though he's 6'7".
He actually averaged at least 17 rebounds per game in three different seasons, a feat that might never be accomplished again.
Rodman also married himself once. We probably won't see something like that happen again either.
1. Magic Johnson
Magic tops the list because he is the tallest point guard in NBA history (6'9") and could play all five positions.
Johnson dazzled fans his rookie year, 1979-80, by moving from the point to center in the Finals to replace the injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He went off for 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists in Game Six of the series, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to the title.