Dwight Howard and the 7 Greatest Centers in NBA History
It isn't even draft day yet. The NBA Finals just wrapped up last week. NBA fans are facing a long offseason with the possibility of a lockout.
While owners and players squabble over contracts, let's look back at the players that have made this league a must-watch since its inception. Here is my list of the seven greatest centers of all time. What's yours?
Honorable Mention: Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard isn't an all-time great center yet, but he's still only 25 years old. This guy should dominate the center position for at least another five years and that is plenty of time to add to an already impressive resume, which includes three back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards and five All-Star appearances.
He's in a class of his own at the center position right now. Also, do you know how hard it is to be that buff at an NBA-listed height of 6'11"?
7. David Robinson
Two-time NBA champion
One MVP award, 10-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year award
Robinson did everything well. He was a great basket defender with the offensive game to match. He spent his entire 14-year career with the San Antonio Spurs. Once out of the Navy, Robinson helped the Spurs win 35 more games than they had the previous year without him.
David Robinson was finally able to win a championship with the help of Tim Duncan after the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season. They'd win again after the 2002-2003 season and that would be Robinson's last year in the league.
6. Moses Malone
One-time NBA champion, No. 7 all-time scorer, No. 5 all-time rebounder
Three MVP awards, 12-time All-Star, one Finals MVP award
Moses Malone was a rebounding machine. He averaged 12.2 a game in his long career. He was a great offensive weapon as well. Malone was never afraid of contact and is second in made free throws behind only Karl Malone.
Moses Malone wasn't the biggest center in the league at 6'10", but he made his presence felt with a combination of grit and a high basketball IQ.
5. Shaquille O'Neal
Four-time NBA champion, 15-time All-Star, three Finals MVP awards, No. 5 all-time scorer
One MVP award, three-time Finals MVP, Rookie of the Year
The most recent retiree on this list, Shaq dominated the center position for almost 20 years. With one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time, he made an immediate impact on the game and never looked back.
Shaq is one of the most physically talented players to ever play in the NBA. Always outspoken, Shaq has said that he's looking for work as an NBA commentator. I'm sure we all can't wait until then. Kobe probably can.
4. Wilt Chamberlain
Two-time NBA champion, 13-time All-Star, No. 1 all-time rebounder, No. 4 all-time scorer
Four MVP awards, one Finals MVP, Rookie of the Year
The numbers don't tell the whole story but they don't lie either. He holds a number of the most unbreakable records in NBA history. He even led the league in assists once.
3. Hakeem Olajuwon
Two-time NBA champion, 12-time All-Star, No. 9 all-time scorer
One MVP award, two-time Finals MVP
Hakeem Olajuwon had some of the most spectacular post moves we've ever seen. He played MVP-caliber basketball at both ends of the floor. He's the all-time leader in blocked shots for a reason.
He rose to the occasion and played his best basketball in the playoffs, that and Michael Jordan's retirement helped Olajuwon and the Rockets win two NBA championships in the mid-'90s.
2. Bill Russell
11-time NBA champion, 12-time All-Star, No. 2 all-time rebounder
Five MVP awards
Bill Russell has more championship rings than he has fingers. Russell and the Celtics dominated the league. They won 11 championships in 13 years. He was a defensive monster first and foremost. Russell patrolled the paint with an authority.
Russell spent his entire career with the Celtics. He was a player who wanted to win and had the size, basketball IQ and will to do so. Russell even went on to win two championships as a coach in the league.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Six-time NBA champion, 19-time All-Star, No. 1 all-time scorer, No. 3 all-time rebounder
Six MVP awards, one Finals MVP
When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stepped out on the court, other players knew it was coming. They just couldn't do anything about it. Abdul-Jabbar's skyhook was a masterpiece and it helped him score the most points in NBA history.
He also holds the record for most All-Star appearances and most MVP awards. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar deserves his statue at Staples Center and the spot as the greatest center of all time.