Shaquille O'Neal and the NBA's Top Centers of All Time
Obviously Shaq's retirement brought on this list. Where does he rank among centers the game has ever seen? Before being bashed on the order of this short list and who's included, Tim Duncan is a power forward. Remember San Antonio's best years? They were when a guy named David Robinson was residing at that position. Duncan can be labeled a center today, but he's still not one. Anyway, here's the list.
1. Wilt Chamberlain
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
People will always say Bill Russell dominated him in head to head match ups. Well, after looking at the stats, this is not true. It is simply because Russell's team was superior. Chamberlain's averages were nothing short of insane. He once led the league in assists for a season. I'm sure we all know of his scoring and rebounding abilities. If Wilt were to be playing in today's NBA, I'm not convinced he wouldn't dominated similar to the way he did back when he played. With the amount of women he slept with, he would be advertised as the world's most interesting man and it would actually be true. By the way, Wilt still has two titles attached to his name.
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Mike Powell/Getty Images
Jabbar's longevity at the center position is incredible. The NBA's all time leading scorer may now be old and grumpy, but the same attitude helped him dominate high school ball in LA, college basketball at UCLA and the NBA level with the Lakers. Kareem recently said in one of his now frequent rants that Wilt was the best scorer ever while Bill Russell was the best player in NBA history. He's entitled to his opinion, and so am I.
3. Hakeem Olajuwan
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
The hardest decision here was putting The Dream over Shaq. The asterisk for Hakeem: he won his two rings in the absence of "His Airness". However, he's got a couple defensive player of the year awards as well as two Finals MVP awards for his rings. He also dominated Shaq in a four game sweep in one of those Finals. He had footwork unlike any other big man. His dream shake may be the most notable signature move of any player to ever set foot on the hard court.
4. Shaquille O'Neal
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images
Another LA big man with a very different career path. While Shaq may not have had many years in his prime, his prime was unlike anything ever witnessed before. It's sad that Kobe will historically go down as the greater player, but that's the result of the determination of Kobe and the overall passiveness of this big guy over the long haul.
5. Bill Russell
Getty Images/Getty Images
Whoever I put at the bottom of this list, one can make the case that they were slighted. 11 rings for Russell, but only eight teams were in the league when he was winning them. He averaged around 16 points for his career, but only 44 percent from the field. All of the names above had a much better field goal percentage than 44.
There is something to be said for his winning more titles than anyone else as well as being the first black coach in the game. That means he's significantly higher than the No. 6 player on this list, which would probably be David Robinson.