50 Greatest NBA Players of All Time: Where Do LeBron James and Kobe Bryant Rank?

Ethan SAnalyst ISeptember 30, 2011

50 Greatest NBA Players of All Time: Where Do LeBron James and Kobe Bryant Rank?

0 of 55

    At the 1997 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland, the league announced the 50th Anniversary Team, representing the top 50 players in NBA history.

    Since that historic season, basketball fans have witnessed several star talents who have had impressive careers. Previously, with the NBA having finished its 64th year of business, I proposed a top-64 team by adding 14 players to the original top-50 team.

    From these 64 players, I am attempting to delve into the ultimate basketball history debate: Where do NBA players rank against each other through the history of the association?

    In this analysis, I rank the top 50 players in NBA history. This number was chosen because it’s a nice even number. With some of the greatest NBA talents in the past 14 years, I was also interested in seeing which original members might be knocked out by recent players. 

    As with all of my analyses on determining the greatness of NBA legends, I use a consistent approach. I judge players by their overall offensive and defensive games, their ability to play and dominate in any NBA era and their ability to win and lead teams to multiple championships. I consider defense to be nearly as important as offense.

    Among things I considered in this analysis are: scoring ability, shooting ability, rebounding, playmaking, defensive ability (both team defense and one-on-one), clutch ability and leadership. I considered All-NBA Team and All-Defensive Team selections, MVP awards and basic statistics among other factors.

    I also took into account NBA rule changes and varying factors between eras. For instance, with the foul lane being six feet and 12 feet wide in the early decades of the league and no three-point line, the game was played closer to the basket allowing big players to potentially have a bigger impact on the game.

    Some eras have experienced significantly higher scoring than the past two decades. For example, from the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, teams scored up to 54 percent more with a similar number of extra possessions compared the modern NBA era. Even the 1980s saw teams score about 15-25 percent more with extra possessions. Such high-scoring eras obviously had an effect on the statistics put up by many players.

    I factored all of these into these rankings.

    As always, I appreciate your feedback. Let me know in the comments where I went right and where I went wrong. Which players deserved to make the list but were left off? Who is ranked too high or too low?

    And without further ado, I present the best 50 players in NBA history.

    (Please note: Statistics marked with an asterisk were not measured during a player’s entire career.)

Honorable Mention: Robert Parish (C)

1 of 55

    14.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.5 bpg, 0.8 spg, 54% FG, 72% FT

    All-Star: Nine times

    All-NBA Team: Second Team once, Third Team once

    Championships: Four

    Robert Parish, nicknamed “The Chief,” helped team with Kevin McHale and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics to form arguably the best frontline ever. Parish was an All-Star nine times and ultimately became the NBA’s all-time leader in games played at 1,611.

    Instrumental at providing tough interior defense for the Celtics, he was known offensively for finishing fast breaks and his signature awkward, high-arching jumper. Opponents often remarked that this shot was almost as difficult to block as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s sky hook shot.

    Parish was on the original top-50 team but barely misses the cut this time around. He currently ranks 19th all-time in points, seventh in rebounds, 13th in field-goals made, 10th in blocks, first in games played and 10th in minutes played.

    Robert Parish highlight video

Honorable Mention: James Worthy (SF)

2 of 55

    17.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.0 apg, 0.7 bpg, 1.1 spg, 52% FG, 77% FT

    All-Star: Seven times

    Finals MVP: One

    All-NBA Team: Third Team twice

    Championships: Three

    James Worthy may be one of the most underrated players in NBA history. During the “Showtime” era for the Los Angeles Lakers, the seven-time All-Star proved himself as perhaps the best finisher of all time on the fast break.

    With a well-rounded offense that included an excellent post-up game, Worthy earned the nickname “Big Game James” by performing well in playoff games. In the postseason, Worthy increased his averages to 21.1 points per game with a .544 field-goal percentage.

    Worthy’s best game came in Game 7 of the 1988 NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons when he tallied 36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists to earn the NBA Finals MVP award.

    James Worthy highlight video

Honorable Mention: Bill Walton (C)

3 of 55

    13.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 3.4 apg, 2.2 bpg, 0.8 spg, 52% FG, 66% FT

    All-Star: Two times

    MVP: One  

    Finals MVP: One

    All-NBA Team: First Team once, Second Team once

    All-Defensive Team: First Team twice

    Championships: Two

    Bill Walton’s career was plagued by injuries, robbing him of the potential to be one of the greatest centers. Walton had the opportunity to display his all-around game during his MVP and championship campaign with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1977.

    Known for being one of the best passing big men of all time, the two-time All-Star would later team with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish in 1986 to help the Celtics win a title. During that season, Bill Walton earned the Sixth Man of the Year award, despite playing only 19 minutes per game.

    Bill Walton highlight video

Honorable Mention: Ray Allen (SG)

4 of 55

    20.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.6 apg, 0.2 bpg, 1.2 spg, 45% FG, 40% 3FG, 89% FT

    All-Star: 10 times

    All-NBA Team: Second Team once, Third Team once

    Championships: One

    Ray Allen has proven himself as one of the best shooters in NBA history. With an underrated all-around game, Ray Allen became the franchise player for the Seattle SuperSonics posting a career high of 26.4 ppg in 2006-2007.

    Following that season, Allen joined forces with veteran players Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to earn an NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics. The 10-time All-Star currently ranks first all-time in three-pointers made and set a finals record for three-pointers made (eight).

    Allen also ranks sixth all-time in free-throw percentage and 24th in total points.

    Ray Allen highlight video

50. Billy Cunningham (F)

5 of 55

    20.8 ppg, 10.1 ppg, 4.0 apg, 0.5 bpg*, 1.2 spg*, 45% FG, 72% FT

    All-Star: Four times

    All-NBA Team: First Team three times, Second Team once

    Championships: One

    Billy Cunningham was one of the top forward players during his era. With his amazing jumping ability, he was nicknamed the “Kangaroo Kid.” The four-time All-Star used his athletic gifts to become a tenacious and effective rebounder, while using a potent slashing offensive game.

    During the 1966-1967 season, Cunningham teamed with Wilt Chamberlain, Chet Walker, Hal Greer and Luke Jackson to post a 68-13 team record en route to an NBA Championship over Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics. That team is still considered one of the greatest teams ever assembled in NBA history.

49. Nate Archibald (PG)

6 of 55

    18.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 7.4 apg, 0.1 bpg*, 1.1 spg*, 47% FG, 22% 3FG, 81% FT

    All-Star: Six times

    All-Star MVP: One

    All-NBA Team: First Team three times, Second Team twice

    Championships: One

    Nate “Tiny” Archibald was a master at dissecting team defenses, using his speed, creativity and ball-handling skills. During the 1973 season, Archibald became the only player to lead the league in both points and assists with 34.0 ppg and 11.4 apg.

    In 1981, Nate Archibald won the All-Star Game MVP award in a stellar performance. The six-time All-Star capped off a brilliant career by winning a coveted NBA Championship with Larry Bird and the Celtics in 1981.

    Archibald currently ranks 20th all-time in total assists and 18th in assists per game.

    Nate Archibald highlight video

48. Paul Arizin (F)

7 of 55

    22.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.3 apg, 42% FG, 81% FT

    All-Star: 10 times

    All-Star MVP: One

    All-NBA Team: First Team three times, Second Team once

    Championships: One

    Paul Arizin was best known as a pioneer of the jump shot. In an era known for low scoring, Arizin averaged over 20 points per game for nine consecutive seasons. Standing only 6’4”, the 10-time All-Star used his offensive weapon to get his shots over taller defenses.

    Nicknamed “Pitchin’ Paul,” Arizin teamed with center Neil Johnston to form one of the best one-two punches at the time to lead the Philadelphia Warriors to the 1956 NBA Championship. In reaching 10,000 career points faster than any player before him, Arizin helped define the early years of the NBA as one of the league’s best.

47. Sam Jones (SG)

8 of 55

    17.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.5 apg, 46% FG, 80% FT

    All-Star: Five times

    All-NBA Team: Second Team three times

    Championships: 10

    Sam Jones ranks second as a player in NBA titles won with 10. Jones was known for being highly effective at taking bank shots. Over his career with Boston, he led the team in scoring three times and held the team’s single-game scoring record (51 points) until Larry Bird broke it.

    The five-time All-Star teamed with K.C. Jones to form a dominant Celtics backcourt. Jones was known as “The Shooter” as he had a seemingly perfected jump shot.

    His teammates also called him “Mr. Clutch.” An example of Sam Jones’ clutch ability was when he shined in Game 7 of the 1962 Eastern Division finals. With the score tied at 107 with two seconds left, he hit a jumper over the outstretched arms of Wilt Chamberlain to win the series.

46. Bob Cousy (PG)

9 of 55

    18.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 7.5 apg, 38% FG, 80% FT

    All-Star: 13 times

    MVP: Once

    All-Star MVP: Twice

    All-NBA Team: First Team 10 times, Second Team twice

    Championships: Six

    Bob Cousy was the first great point guard in the NBA. Throughout his illustrious career, the “Houdini of the Hardwood” was a spectacular showman. People often described his game by saying Cousy made the game of basketball as close to an art form as possible.

    Cousy led the NBA in assists for eight consecutive seasons from 1953 to 1960, made the All-NBA First Team 10 consecutive seasons from 1952 to 1961 and made 13 consecutive All-Star appearances as a member of the Celtics. Bob Cousy was also the 1957 NBA MVP and won the All-Star Game MVP twice.

    Teammate Tommy Heinsohn once said, “What Russell was on defense, that’s what Cousy was on offense—a magician.” Simply put, Cousy was the engine that made the Celtics’ fluid offense run.

    Bob Cousy highlight video

45. Paul Pierce (SF)

10 of 55

    22.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.8 apg, 0.6 bpg, 1.5 spg, 45% FG, 37% 3FG, 81% FT

    All-Star: Nine times

    Finals MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: Second Team once, Third Team three times

    Championships: One

    Paul Pierce, nicknamed “The Truth,” has slowly built up an impressive career as one of the all-time Celtics greats. What makes Pierce stand out from other players is his all-around game of excelling in scoring, shooting, defense and clutch ability.

    Pierce is a good outside shooter, currently ranked ninth all-time in three-pointers made. Along with his signature step-back jumper, he has been named to nine All-Star teams and led the Boston Celtics to an NBA title in 2008 by earning an NBA Finals MVP Award.

    His stellar career is even more remarkable in that he barely survived a stabbing incident, where he was inflicted 11 times in the face, neck and back on September 25, 2000.

    In his last few years in the NBA, he will likely only build on his career accomplishments. Currently, Pierce ranks 30th in NBA history in points scored and may soon surpass Larry Bird in that category to fall only behind John Havlicek for Celtics’ scorers.

    Paul Pierce highlight video

44. George Mikan (C)

11 of 55

    23.1 ppg, 13.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 40% FG, 78% FT

    All-Star: Four times

    All-Star  MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team six times

    Championships: Five

    George Mikan was the NBA’s first big man, towering above all other players during his era. With his versatile skills, including his signature ambidextrous hook shot, Mikan became the first star of the NBA.

    Mikan won five championships in six years with the Minneapolis Lakers, a feat no other player outside of the great Boston dynasty teams of the 1960s has been able to accomplish. The one year Mikan didn’t win in that stretch, he played the postseason with a broken leg.

    These championships do not count the two he won in the National Basketball League (NBL) prior to when the Lakers joined the BAA. While the BAA and NBL would later merge to become the NBA, the NBL was actually known to have better talent.

    George Mikan played in the first four All-Star Games played in the NBA. Had the NBA given out MVP and Finals MVP awards during his era, Mikan would have won about four or five of each.

    Numerous rules were changed by the NBA to slow Mikan down, such as establishing goaltending from the rim and widening the foul lane. He was just too dominant. And his popularity helped the fledgling young league survive, leading to the NBA that we have today.

    George Mikan highlight video

43. Pete Maravich (SG)

12 of 55

    24.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5.4 apg, 0.3 bpg*, 1.4 spg*, 44% FG, 82% FT

    All-Star: Five times

    All-NBA Team: First Team twice, Second Team twice

    Championships: Zero

    “Pistol Pete” Maravich was a player ahead of his time. Maravich possessed a creativity that led to awe-inspiring skills worthy of rivaling moves at a Harlem Globetrotters game.

    The five-time All-Star led the NBA in scoring in 1977. While Maravich played for very few good teams during his career, he helped make the league more popular during the 1970s, as fans would pack the arenas to watch him play.

    While some knock him for not being a winner, he said that being a basketball showman and entertaining fans was what he wanted to be remembered for. While it’s unfortunate that Pete Maravich died young at the age of 40, his legacy will live on.

    Pete Maravich highlight video

42. Dave Cowens (C)

13 of 55

    17.6 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 3.8 apg, 0.9 bpg*, 1.1 spg*, 46% FG, 78% FT

    All-Star: Seven times

    MVP: Once 

    All-Star MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team once, Second Team three times

    All-Defensive Team: First Team once, Second Team twice

    Championships: Two

    Dave Cowens, known as “Big Red,” was one of the most active and talented centers of all time. The seven-time All-Star was an integral part of the two title teams for the Celtics in the 1970s. Cowens was an ultimate team player, as he was a great passer and would chase guards down the floor and block their layups.

    Cowens had an awkward outside jumper, but it was an effective part of his offensive arsenal. As a constant leader in rebounds, Cowens currently has the eighth-best rebounding average in NBA history.

    Dave Cowens proved to have an excellent all-around game both on offense and defense. In fact, he is one of only four NBA players to lead his team in all five major statistical areas (points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals), which he accomplished in the 1977-78 season.

    One of the crowning achievements of Cowens’ career was outplaying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1974 NBA Finals. In addition, Cowens won both the NBA MVP and All-Star Game MVP in 1973.

    Dave Cowens highlight video

41. Alex English (SF)

14 of 55

    21.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.6 apg, 0.7 bpg, 0.9 spg, 51% FG, 22% 3FG, 83% FT

    All-Star: Eight times

    All-NBA Team: Second Team three times

    Championships: Zero

    Alex English was one of the best offensive players of all time. He was the first player ever to string together eight straight 2,000-point seasons and ended the 1980s as the decade's leading scorer.

    English had his best years while playing for the Denver Nuggets where he led the franchise to nine consecutive playoffs. In addition to making eight All-Star teams, English also led the league in scoring in 1983.

    During those years, the Nuggets were known as a high-scoring team that fed off of Alex English's style. He liked playing in an up-tempo style that was described as smooth and elegant.

    What's especially amazing was that English accomplished all this scoring while playing in the Mile High City, where players often struggle due to the lower oxygen levels. After leading a great basketball career, English currently ranks 13th all-time in NBA history in total points.

    Alex English highlight video

40. Steve Nash (PG)

15 of 55

    14.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 8.5 apg, 0.1 bpg, 0.8 spg, 49% FG, 43% 3FG, 90% FT

    All-Star: Seven times

    MVP: Twice

    All-NBA Team: First Team three times, Second Team twice, Third Team Twice

    Championships: Zero

    Steve Nash is simply one of the best of all time at playmaking, ball-handling skills and shooting. He currently ranks sixth all-time in total assists, ninth in assists per game, eighth in three-point field-goal percentage, 10th in three-pointers made and second in free-throw percentage in NBA history.

    He has put up five seasons of shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point territory and 90 percent from the charity stripe. Only three other players have hit the 50-40-90 club: Larry Bird, Reggie Miller and Mark Price. As far as pure shooters go, Nash may be the best in NBA history.

    While not one of the premier scorers in league history, the seven-time All-Star has proven to be one of the best pure point guards with excellent decision-making skills.

    About the only weakness in his game is his one-on-one defensive ability. Still, Steve Nash has proven to be a smart team defender who uses plenty of savvy veteran tricks to try to create an advantage.

    Steve Nash has a few years left of his career. While leading a championship team would move him up the all-time rankings, his career is still a legacy in the making.

    Steve Nash highlight video

39. Kevin McHale (PF)

16 of 55

    17.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.7 bpg, 0.4 spg, 55% FG, 26% 3FG, 80% FT

    All-Star: Seven times

    All-NBA Team: First Team once

    All-Defensive Team: First Team three times, Second Team three times

    Championships: Three

    Kevin McHale was one of the best power forwards of all time, nearly unstoppable in the low post. He led the league in field-goal percentage twice in 1987 and 1988. In 1987, he became the first player in NBA history to shoot over 60 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free-throw line in the same season.

    McHale started his career by dominating other teams as one of the NBA’s best sixth men, winning the Sixth Man of the Year award twice. The seven-time All-Star teamed with Larry Bird and Robert Parish to win three NBA Championships in the 1980s.

    McHale boasted a wide array of moves, including jump hooks, up-and-under scoop moves and fadeaway jumpers. Many of his back-to-the-basket moves are legendary and should be mandatory training for young NBA centers.

    In addition to his dominating offense, McHale was also a defensive stalwart, making the All-Defensive Team six times.

    Kevin McHale highlight video

38. Dominique Wilkins (SF)

17 of 55

    24.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.5 apg, 0.6 bpg, 1.3 spg, 46% FG, 32% 3FG, 81% FT

    All-Star: Nine times

    All-NBA Team: First Team once, Second Team four times, Third Team twice

    Championships: Zero

    The Human Highlight Film, Dominique Wilkins, was one of the faces of the NBA during the 1980s. Known for his high-flying act and signature windmill dunks, he twice captured the slam dunk title. 

    His battle with Michael Jordan in the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest is legendary. Yet, Dominique Wilkins was one of the premier scorers of his generation with a reliable mid-range jump shot. The nine-time All-Star also led the NBA in scoring in 1986 and put together a string of 10 consecutive years of averaging at least 25.9 ppg.

    He was not a premier defender and never led his teams to an NBA title. However, his constant appearances on SportsCenter's highlights made him one of the most popular players during an era when the NBA was starting to become a global brand.

    Wilkins currently ranks 11th all-time in total points, 13th in scoring average and 10th in field-goals made in NBA history.

    Dominique Wilkins highlight video

37. Dwyane Wade (SG)

18 of 55

    25.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 6.3 apg, 1.0 bpg, 1.8 spg, 49% FG, 29% 3FG, 77% FT

    All-Star: Seven times

    Finals MVP: Once

    All-Star  MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team twice, Second Team twice, Third Team once

    All-Defensive Team: Second Team three times

    Championships: One

    Dwyane Wade has only played seven years but already he has built himself a legacy with the Miami Heat. Capable of playing both guard positions, Wade has a great all-around game. He has proven to be one of the premier scorers, help defenders and clutch players in the league. 

    The seven-time All-Star is one of the best at drawing fouls and earning trips to the line, as well as converting difficult layups.

    Like other great players, he has been able to improve different parts of his game over the years, such as his post-up game and outside shooting.

    Wade's career highlight so far was his dominant performance in the 2006 finals. He also led the 2008 US Olympic team in scoring, despite coming off the bench.

    Currently, Wade ranks 10th in the NBA in scoring average. In teaming with LeBron James and Chris Bosh, he will have the opportunity to lead his team to a few more championships before he retires. Doing so will only move Dwyane Wade up to a higher all-time ranking.

    Dwyane Wade highlight video

36. Rick Barry (SF)

19 of 55

    23.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 5.1 apg, 0.5 bpg, 2.0 spg, 45% FG, 33% 3FG, 90% FT

    All-Star: Eight times

    Finals MVP: Once

    All-Star  MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team six times, Second Team once

    Championships: One

    Rick Barry had a career exemplifying one of the best pure small forwards in NBA history. He remains the only player to lead the NCAA, ABA and NBA in scoring for a season. His offensive repertoire included a reliable outside jump shot and a two-handed finger roll that was near impossible to block.

    Barry averaged 40.8 ppg in the NBA Finals, a scoring average only eclipsed by Michael Jordan. Perhaps he is best remembered by his signature underhanded free throws, a technique that led him to be the third-most accurate free-throw shooter in NBA history.

    A gifted passer, the eight-time All-Star also held his own on the defensive end and led the league in steals in the 1974-1975 season.

    The highlight of his career was being named Finals MVP en route to winning the 1975 NBA Championship with the Golden State Warriors. His strong clutch play was a consistent part of his game.

    With his all-around game and his relentless will to win, Rick Barry was certainly one of the all-time greats.

    Rick Barry highlight video

35. Willis Reed (C)

20 of 55

    18.7 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 bpg*, 0.6 spg*, 48% FG, 75% FT

    All-Star: Seven times

    MVP: Once  

    Finals MVP: Twice

    All-Star MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team once, Second Team four times

    Championships: Two

    Willis Reed is one of the New York Knicks’ greatest legends. The franchise has won two championships and Reed was the Finals MVP for both of those title teams.

    His entrance onto the Madison Square Garden court during Game 7 of the 1970 finals, after suffering a severe thigh injury, inspired his team to earn the franchise’s first championships. This classic moment ranks as one of the greatest moments in NBA history.

    The seven-time All-Star had a decent jumper, having an unusual combination of a delicate touch and amazing strength. Reed was a master at using an array of head fakes, double-pumps and drives to get around taller centers like Wilt Chamberlain and Lew Alcindor.

    Reed ranks as one of only a few players to win all three MVP awards in a single season, as he accomplished this feat in 1970. During that season, Willis Reed had many standout games where he outplayed other top centers like Chamberlain and Wes Unseld.

    Teaming with players like Walt Frazier, Dave DeBusschere, Earl Monroe, Bill Bradley and Phil Jackson, his Knicks squads are one of the most celebrated teams in history. Each player worked well within the system of making the right passes and playing rough, rugged defense. And there was no doubt that Reed was the leader of those great Knicks teams.

    Reed’s career was cut short by injuries, as he only played in 650 games. If he could have maintained his stellar career over a longer period, he would likely rank higher among the all-time greats.

    Willis Reed highlight video

34. Elvin Hayes (PF)

21 of 55

    21.0 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 1.8 apg, 2.0 bpg*, 1.0 spg*, 45% FG, 67% FT

    All-Star: 12 times

    All-NBA Team: First Team three times, Second Team three times

    All-Defensive Team: Second Team twice

    Championships: One

    Elvin Hayes is a player that many modern fans seem to forget about. “The Big E” had a long and consistent career, currently ranking in NBA history eighth all-time in scoring and fourth in rebounding.

    An amazingly durable player, Hayes never played in fewer than 80 games in his 16 seasons. The 12-time All-Star was known for his unorthodox turnaround jumper where he would spin the opposite way of most players of his generation, creating enough space to get a fadeaway jumper off.

    Hayes was also a master of using the backboard, as the bank shot was an accurate weapon in his offensive arsenal. He also had an effective 18-foot jumper on either baseline.

    The best players in history have found a way to become winners. While teamed with Wes Unseld, Hayes helped lead the Washington Bullets to three NBA Finals during the 1970s, while winning a title in 1978 over the Seattle SuperSonics.

    Few players were as dominant as Hayes was over his first 12 seasons. For all of his career accomplishments, Elvin Hayes ranks as one of the best power forwards in NBA history.

    Elvin Hayes highlight video

33. Bob Pettit (PF)

22 of 55

    26.4 ppg, 16.2 rpg, 3.0 apg, 44% FG, 76% FT

    All-Star: 11 times

    MVP: Twice

    All-Star MVP: Four times

    All-NBA Team: First Team 10 times, Second Team once

    Championships: One

    Bob Pettit dominated the NBA’s frontcourt players when George Mikan left the NBA. He was given the NBA’s first MVP award and would go on to be the first NBA player to reach 20,000 career points.

    After dominating college basketball, Pettit changed his game by developing an effective outside shot. The 11-time All-Star quickly became known for his signature one-handed jumper and his domination on the offensive boards. 

    Pettit led the St. Louis Hawks to the NBA Finals four times in five years beginning in 1957. After the first two went the Celtics’ way in the overtime of the seventh game, Bob Pettit finally beat Bill Russell and the Celtics. Along the way, he scored 50 points in the decisive sixth game.

    After a legendary career, Bob Pettit ranks seventh in points per game and third in rebounds per game in league history. He is also one of only four players to average at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a season. And besides Alex Groza (who only played two seasons), Pettit is the only player to average more than 20 ppg in each season played.

    There would be many other players to put up monster statistics in the NBA’s history, but Bob Pettit was the first of these legends.

    Bob Pettit highlight video

32. Allen Iverson (SG)

23 of 55

    26.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.2 apg, 0.2 bpg, 2.2 spg, 43% FG, 31% 3FG, 78% FT

    All-Star: 11 times

    MVP: Once

    All-Star MVP: Twice

    All-NBA Team: First Team three times, Second Team three times, Third Team once

    Championships: Zero

    Allen Iverson is perhaps the best scorer ever among small players. Standing only six feet tall, Iverson used his speed and skill to score around bigger and taller players throughout his career. 

    "The Answer" came into the league as a sensation, displaying his killer crossover move on premier defenders including Michael Jordan.

    Iverson's career perhaps peaked in 2001 when he was named the league's MVP and took the 76ers to the NBA Finals. The 11-time All-Star also would go on to claim four scoring titles and lead the NBA in steals three times.

    Like many great players who couldn't lead a team to an NBA Championship, Iverson became a journeyman over the last few years of his NBA career.

    While Iverson ranks sixth in points per game and ninth in steals per game in NBA history, he fails to rank higher on the all-time greatest player list because of his inability to win, including as a member of the sole US Team with NBA players that failed to win gold at the Olympics.

    Allen Iverson highlight video

31. George Gervin (SG)

24 of 55

    26.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.8 apg, 0.8 bpg, 1.2 spg, 51% FG, 30% 3FG, 84% FT

    All-Star: Nine times

    MVP: Once

    All-Star MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team five times, Second Team twice

    Championships: Zero

    George Gervin translated a successful ABA career into a dominating one in the NBA. Known as “The Iceman,” Gervin was known for his finger-roll shot, which he mastered using in dozens of offensive moves.

    The nine-time All-Star would lead the NBA in scoring four times, including in 1978 when he narrowly beat out David Thompson by scoring 73 points in the final game of the season.

    The scoring title would be the first of three consecutive from 1978 to 1980, an accomplishment matched only by Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.

    Besides popularizing the finger-roll shot, George Gervin perhaps more importantly led the San Antonio Spurs in a successful transition from the ABA to the NBA.

    Gervin currently ranks eighth in points per game in league history. Although he ultimately failed to win an NBA Championship, he will be remembered as one of the greatest offensive players in NBA history.

    George Gervin highlight video

30. Clyde Drexler (SG)

25 of 55

    20.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 5.6 apg, 0.7 bpg, 2.0 spg, 47% FG, 32% 3FG, 79% FT

    All-Star: 10 times

    All-NBA Team: First Team once, Second Team twice, Third Team twice

    Championships: 1

    Clyde “The Glide” Drexler gained fame and attention in the NBA with his aerial exploits. With his magnificent leaping ability, Drexler rivaled Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan as one of the best dunkers in the NBA during the 1980s and 1990s.

    Regarded by many as the best player in Portland Trail Blazers’ history, Clyde Drexler developed one of the best all-around games among shooting guards. He was a premier ball-handler, playmaker and defender year after year.

    Coach Phil Jackson once described Drexler as being the player who came closest to Michael Jordan in the 1990s in terms of talent.

    Although bested by Jordan’s Bulls in the 1992 finals, Drexler would redeem himself in winning a title in 1995 with former college teammate Hakeem Olajuwon.

    As a member of the Houston Rockets, Drexler formed a Big Three with Olajuwon and Charles Barkley.  Although that team fell short of a title, Drexler left the game as a winner and one of the best shooting guards of all time.

    Clyde Drexler highlight video

29. Walt Frazier (PG)

26 of 55

    18.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 6.1 apg, 0.2 bpg*, 1.9 spg*, 49% FG, 79% FT

    All-Star: Seven times

    All-Star MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team four times, Second Team twice

    All-Defensive Team: First Team seven times

    Championships: Two

    Walt “Clyde” Frazier is one of the few point guards in NBA history that could control the game on both ends of the court. Helping to lead the New York Knicks to the team's only two championships, Frazier has become an icon in the New York sports world.

    While Frazier was the catalyst of the Knicks offense, it was his work on the defensive end that garnered the most praise. Frazier is probably the reason that steals became an official NBA statistic.

    For instance, in one game against Atlanta in 1969, Walt Frazier had 15 steals in a game (an unofficial statistic as steals were not recorded). If steals were always kept, Frazier might be the league’s leader in both total steals and steals per game.

    In addition to defense, the seven-time All-Star was equally adept on the offensive end, using his patented head and shoulder fakes to gain an advantage over opponents.

    Like many legends of the game, Frazier found ways to shine in big games. In Game 7 of the 1970 finals, Walt Frazier tallied 36 points and 19 assists to lead the team to its first championship. No doubt, Walt Frazier was one of the top point guards in NBA history.

    Walt Frazier highlight video

28. Jason Kidd (PG)

27 of 55

    13.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 9.1 apg, 0.3 bpg, 2.0 spg, 40% FG, 35% 3FG, 78% FT

    All-Star: 10 times

    All-NBA Team: First Team five times, Second Team once

    All-Defensive Team: First Team four times, Second Team five times

    Championships: One

    Jason Kidd is one of the most complete players in the history of the game. One of the best rebounding point guards, his versatility has led to a career total of 105 triple-doubles, third-most in NBA history.

    Although not a premier scorer in the league, Kidd has been one of the best pure point guards—simply one of the best ever at setting his teammates up.

    As part of his all-around game, the 10-time All-Star has excelled on the defensive end and is constantly among the leaders in steals. His 6'4", 210-pound frame allows him to defend both point guards and shooting guards effectively.

    Perhaps one of the most telling stats is that while playing with Team USA, Jason Kidd's record is 56-0. 

    Kidd had his best years as a member of the New Jersey Nets where he took his team to two consecutive NBA Finals before falling short. However, like a good Hollywood story, Kidd finally earned his first title in his 17th season in the league in 2011.

    Although he was no longer the star of his team, his defense of premier players, playmaking and leadership skills were crucial in helping Dallas secure the championship.

    Currently, Kidd ranks seventh in assists per game, second in total assists, 16th in steals per game, third in total steals and third in three-pointers made in NBA history.

    Jason Kidd highlight video

27. Gary Payton (PG)

28 of 55

    16.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 6.7 apg, 0.2 bpg, 1.8 spg, 47% FG, 32% 3FG, 73% FT

    All-Star: Nine times

    All-NBA Team: First Team twice, Second Team five times, Third Team two times

    All-Defensive Team: First Team nine times

    Defensive Player of the Year: Once

    Championships: One

    The player nicknamed "The Glove" was simply one of the best point guards of all time. Gary Payton was best known for his defense, being the only guard since Michael Jordan to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.

    Along with Jordan, he has the most selections on the All-Defensive First Team with nine.

    At 6'4", he was great at posting up opposing point guards. His most dominant years were during the 1990s leading the Seattle SuperSonics to multiple 60-win seasons. During that reign, the nine-time All-Star formed one of the top duos in the league with forward Shawn Kemp.

    Payton had a tremendous work ethic and seemed to step up in big games, including hitting some clutch shots in pursuit of Miami's 2006 championship. 

    Some critics point out that Gary Payton did not lead any of his teams to an NBA Championship. Perhaps he could have silenced his critics if a guy named Jordan wasn't around in 1996. 

    He acted as a journeyman towards the end of his career, playing for Milwaukee, Boston and the LA Lakers. While in LA, he teamed with Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant to form a formidable collection of future Hall of Famers. 

    While Payton struggled to fit into the triangle offense and injuries led to the team's eventual defeat to Detroit in the finals, he was able to play a key role and redeem himself while playing for Miami.

    Payton currently ranks eighth in total assists and fourth in steals in NBA history.

    Gary Payton highlight video

26. Patrick Ewing (C)

29 of 55

    21.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.9 apg, 2.4 bpg,1.0 spg, 50% FG, 74% FT

    All-Star: 11 times

    All-NBA Team: First Team once, Second Team six times

    All-Defensive Team: Second Team three times

    Championships: Zero

    Patrick Ewing was the first pick in the inaugural NBA draft lottery in 1985. After winning the Rookie of the Year award, Ewing carved out a legendary career with the New York Knicks.

    He was a premier defender in the middle while possessing one of the best mid-range jump shots of any big man in league history. Despite his on-court productivity, Ewing found it difficult to win over the New York press and fans unfortunately did not always appreciate him. Although fans expected him to deliver an NBA Championship, Ewing came up short in two separate trips to the finals.

    After holding many of the team records for the Knicks, Ewing was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics and would later finish his career with the Orlando Magic. To this day he is considered one of the best NBA players to have never won a championship.

    Currently, Patrick Ewing ranks 16th in points scored, 24th in rebounds, 12th in field goals, 23rd in free-throws made, 12th in blocks per game and sixth in total blocks in NBA history.

    Patrick Ewing highlight video

25. Dirk Nowitzki (PF)

30 of 55

    23.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.0 bpg, 0.9 spg, 48% FG, 38% 3FG, 88% FT

    All-Star: 10 times

    MVP: Once

    Finals MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team four times, Second Team five times, Third Team twice

    Championships: One

    Dirk Nowitzki is the best shooting big man of all time. Never before has the NBA seen a seven-footer able to make three-pointers with such ease.

    Nowitzki has had a memorable career, breaking many Dallas Mavericks records while becoming the first European player to win the NBA MVP award and score 20,000 points.

    The 10-time All-Star has proven to be a difficult matchup for most forwards because he moves quickly like a small forward, yet is tall enough to shoot over most other forwards.

    Critics have assailed Nowitzki for blowing a comfortable lead in the 2006 finals and then having the top-seeded Dallas suffer a first-round loss to the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors. However, he more than made up for it by having one of the most impressive postseason runs en route to the 2011 NBA Championship.

    Currently, Nowitzki ranks 23rd in points scored and 13th in free-throw percentage in NBA history.

    Dirk Nowitzki highlight video

24. Isiah Thomas (PG)

31 of 55

    19.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 9.3 apg, 0.3 bpg, 1.9 spg, 45% FG, 29% 3FG, 76% FT

    All-Star: 11 times

    Finals MVP: Once

    All-Star MVP: Twice

    All-NBA Team: First Team three times, Second Team twice

    Championships: Two

    Few point guards have been as productive on the court as Isiah Thomas. As the best player in Detroit Pistons history, Thomas led the team to three consecutive finals and two championships. He still ranks as the Pistons' leader all time in points, assists, steals and games played.

    Among the NBA’s small players, he may be the best there ever was. Although listed at just 6’1”, Thomas was a dominant scorer, playmaker and defender.

    He also gained a reputation as a clutch player throughout his career, highlighted by scoring 25 points in a single quarter in Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals. To this day, that mark is still an NBA record. Even more impressive is that his scoring barrage came after severely spraining his ankle.

    Thomas loved the pressure of big games and cherished the opportunities to outwit other top players. He currently ranks fifth in assists per game, seventh in total assists, 22nd in steals per game and 14th in total steals in NBA history.

    Isiah Thomas highlight video

23. John Havlicek (SF)

32 of 55

    20.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.8 apg, 0.3 bpg*, 1.2 spg*, 44 % FG, 82% FT

    All-Star: 13 times

    Finals MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team four times, Second Team seven times

    All-Defensive Team: First Team five times, Second Team three times

    Championships: Eight

    During his career, John Havlicek revolutionized the role of the NBA’s sixth man. Known for his hustle play, Havlicek (known affectionately as “Hondo”) helped energize his Boston Celtics teams.

    It is fitting that his most memorable play came when he stole Hal Greer's pass in the 1965 Eastern Conference championship game, as he was known as a tenacious defender.

    He was known as an all-around player who could rebound and make plays. In addition, he was quite effective as a scorer, and currently ranks 12th all-time in scoring and ninth in field-goals made in NBA history.

    More importantly perhaps, for the team with the most NBA Championships, Havlicek is the greatest scorer of them all.

    John Havlicek highlight video

22. John Stockton (PG)

33 of 55

    13.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 10.5 apg, 0.2 bpg, 2.2 spg, 52%, FG, 38% 3FG, 83% FT

    All-Star: 10 times

    All-NBA Team: First Team twice, Second Team six times, Third Team three times

    All-Defensive Team: Second Team five times

    Championships: Zero

    When it comes to pure point guards, John Stockton may be the best in NBA history. He leads all players in total assists and steals by a considerable margin and was definitely a pass-first point guard.

    Along with teammate Karl Malone, Stockton perfected the pick-and-roll and the ability to deliver precise passes to where teammates wanted the ball. Most impressively, Stockton led the league in assists for nine consecutive seasons, including setting the record for most assists in a season in 1991.

    Stockton was also a premier shooter and clutch player, hitting a buzzer-beater three-pointer in Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference finals against Houston to propel the Utah Jazz into the franchise’s first finals series. As a spot-up shooter, Stockton was deadly with the ball.

    On the other end of the court, Stockton was a tough defender who led the league in steals a couple of times. Some people claimed that Stockton played “dirty," mentioning that he would have been suspended if he was bigger and setting the picks that he did.

    Despite his inability to win a championship, Stockton remains as one of the very best in NBA history, currently ranking second in assists per game, third in games played and ninth in steals per game.

    John Stockton highlight video

21. Scottie Pippen (SF)

34 of 55

    16.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 5.2 apg, 0.8 bpg, 2.0 spg, 47%, FG, 33% 3FG, 70% FT

    All-Star: Seven times

    All-Star MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team three times, Second Team twice, Third Team twice

    All-Defensive Team: First Team eight times, Second Team twice

    Championships: Six

    Scottie Pippen is thought of by many as just “Michael Jordan’s sidekick,” but that is a gross understatement. Pippen revolutionized the role of point-forward and was one of the greatest all-around players in NBA history.

    During the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s, Pippen usually guarded the opposing teams' best perimeter players. His defense on Magic Johnson in the 1991 finals was masterful and was one of the deciding factors that led to Chicago winning. Along with his dominant help defense, Pippen may be the best perimeter defender of all time.

    His best individual season came in 1993-1994, when he led the Bulls without Michael Jordan to 55 wins—just two fewer than the year before when Jordan was with the team. That season, Pippen led the team in all five major statistical areas (points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals), as well as leading the entire league in steals.

    Overall, Pippen ranks 16th all-time in steals per game and sixth in total steals in NBA history.

    Scottie Pippen highlight video

20. Kevin Garnett (PF)

35 of 55

    19.5 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.5 bpg, 1.3 spg, 50% FG, 28% 3FG, 79% FT

    All-Star: 14 times

    MVP: Once

    All-Star MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team four times, Second Team three times, Third Team twice

    All-Defensive Team: First Team nine times, Second Team twice

    Defensive Player of the Year: Once

    Championships: One

    Kevin Garnett changed the game when he entered the NBA. Jumping straight out of high school and having considerable success, he paved the way for other players that were drafted out of high school.

    The best part of Garnett's game is his versatility, equally adept at both offense and defense. Regarding defense, he is currently tied with the most selections to the All-Defensive First Team with nine. Few big men in NBA history have had as complete a game as Kevin Garnett.

    One of his signature moves is his turnaround jumper in the post. He remains as one of only a handful of players to have averaged at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game in a season—a feat Garnett accomplished six times.

    Capable of playing any of the frontcourt positions, Garnett has also proven effective during his career at defending all five positions on the floor.

    After spending most of his career in Minnesota and unable to find considerable playoff success, the 13-time All-Star was traded to Boston where he finally won his coveted title in 2008.

    His intensity, team play and defensive focus have had a profound effect on his Celtics team. Although not the leading scorer on the team, Garnett has proven to be a franchise player for Boston, being the catalyst of one of the league’s toughest defenses.

    Currently, Garnett ranks 20th in points scored, 16th in rebounds, 24th in steals and 19th in blocks in NBA history.

    Kevin Garnett highlight video

19. Charles Barkley (PF)

36 of 55

    22.1 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 3.9 apg, 0.8 bpg, 1.5 spg, 54% FG, 27% 3FG, 4% FT

    All-Star: 11 times

    MVP: Once

    All-Star MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team five times, Second Team five times, Third Team once

    Championships: Zero

    Pound-for-pound and inch-for-inch, Charles Barkley may be the most dominant power forward in NBA history. Listed at 6’6” but probably closer to 6’4”, Sir Charles Barkley became one of the most dominant low-post scorers and rebounders for over a decade in the NBA.

    While shorter than most power forwards, Barkley found a way to lead the league in rebounding in 1987 and led the NBA in offensive rebounds for three consecutive years. In fact, he is the shortest player ever to lead the league in rebounding.

    He was known as a hybrid player, able to rebound the ball, dribble up the court and finish with a thunderous dunk. He had a strong low-post game using his lower body weight to gain an advantage over taller opponents. In addition, he had a decent mid-range game and his quick hands made him effective on defense.

    While on the 1992 Dream Team squad in the Olympics, some people may remember that it was Barkley who led the team in scoring. Many regard that team as the greatest basketball talent ever assembled.

    Along with Kevin Garnett, Barkley is one of just five players in history to compile at least 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists. In NBA history, he currently ranks 27th in scoring average, 18th in points scored, 20th in rebounding average, 17th in rebounds, 19th in steals, 11th in free-throws made, 23rd in field-goals made and 21st in field-goal accuracy.

    Charles Barkley highlight video

18. Elgin Baylor (SF)

37 of 55

    27.4 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 4.3 apg, 43% FG, 78% FT

    All-Star: 11 times

    All-Star MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team 10 times

    Championships: Zero

    Before the NBA games were televised prominently around the world, Elgin Baylor was the first superstar to elevate his game above the court. While being a dominant shooter and rebounder, Baylor became known for his acrobatic moves through the air.

    With his signature hanging jump shot, Baylor dominated the league for over a decade. His 61 points in Game 5 of the 1962 NBA Finals is still a record for most points scored in a finals game, as well as most playoff points scored in regulation.

    Baylor’s 19.8 rpg during the 1960-1961 season has only been exceeded by five players in history—all of whom were at least four inches taller.

    With his superior athletic ability and all-around game, Baylor was said to have saved the Minneapolis Lakers franchise from going bankrupt as he helped the team to pack the stadiums.

    Overall, Baylor ranks fourth in scoring average, 22nd in scoring total, 19th in field goals made, 19th in free throws made and ninth in rebounds per game.

    Elgin Baylor highlight video

17. Julius Erving (SF)

38 of 55

    22.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.5 bpg, 1.8 spg, 51% FG, 26% 3FG, 78% FT

    All-Star: 11 times in the NBA (five times in the ABA)

    MVP: Once in NBA (three times in ABA)   

    All-Star MVP: Twice

    All-NBA Team: First Team five times in NBA (four times in ABA), Second Team twice in NBA (once in ABA)

    Championships: One

    While Elgin Baylor might have been “First in Flight” in the NBA, Julius "Dr. J" Erving took aerial acrobatics to new heights over the court. With his amazing vertical leaping ability, Erving seemed to invent new moves every night.

    He became famous throughout his years in the ABA and NBA for his dunking ability, including his signature dunks from the foul line. Erving is perhaps most remembered for his famous behind-the-backboard shot during the 1980 finals

    After losing to the Lakers in the 1980 and 1982 championship series, Erving would go on to win a title in 1983. While teaming with Moses Malone, Erving and the 76ers had one of the most dominant postseason runs in NBA history with the team going 12-1.

    When counting both NBA and ABA All-Star appearances, only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has more than Erving’s 16 selections. If combining both NBA and ABA statistics, Erving would also rank fifth all-time in scoring. In addition, Erving currently ranks 30th in NBA history in scoring average.

    Julius Erving highlight video

16. LeBron James (SF)

39 of 55

    27.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 7.1 apg, 0.8 bpg, 1.7 spg, 48% FG, 33% 3FG, 74% FT

    All-Star: Seven times

    MVP: Twice

    All-Star MVP: Twice

    All-NBA Team: First Team five times, Second Team twice

    All-Defensive Team: First Team three times

    Championships: Zero

    Few players in NBA history have had the all-around statistics as LeBron James. Along with the hype of the media coming out of high school, LeBron James was said to have the scoring ability of Michael Jordan and passing ability of Magic Johnson.

    Although James is an excellent scorer and playmaker, he has a ways to go to match the level of those two legends. Yet, through likely just half of his career, James has won two MVP awards and has improved remarkably on the defensive end of the court the past few seasons.

    One memorable moment came during the 2007 Eastern Conference finals when James scored his team’s final 25 points, including a game-winning layup against the Pistons in Game 5. That win helped propel James to his first championship series.

    Now teamed with superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, James has a golden opportunity to win a few titles. In order to do so, however, he’ll have to step up his game after his first two finals appearances. If James can continue to dominate the league and find a way to win multiple championships, he has a chance of jumping up a couple of places on this list.

    Overall, James currently ranks third all-time in scoring average in the NBA.

    LeBron James highlight video

15. Moses Malone (C)

40 of 55

    20.6 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.3 bpg, 0.8 spg, 49% FG, 77% FT

    All-Star: 12 times

    MVP: Three times  

    Finals MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team four times, Second Team four times

    All-Defensive Team: First Team once, Second Team once

    Championships: One

    Before there was Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and LeBron James jumping from prep to pro basketball, there was Moses Malone. After high school, Malone spent two years in the ABA before playing 19 seasons in the NBA.

    Along the way he became known as one of the best centers of all time. He was known mainly for his dominant scoring and rebounding, becoming the first player to lead the NBA in rebounding for five consecutive years.

    At the beginning of the 1983 playoffs while with his new team the Philadelphia 76ers, Malone was asked how the playoffs would fare. He famously answered “fo, fo, fo,” meaning that Malone thought the 76ers would sweep all three rounds and win a championship.

    Although his 76ers would lose one game in the Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Malone would go on to win his sole championship by winning the matchup against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    Currently, Malone ranks seventh in scoring total, 15th in field-goals made, second in free-throws made, 22nd in blocks, 16th in rebounds per game and fifth in total rebounds in NBA history.

    Moses Malone highlight video

14. David Robinson (C)

41 of 55

    21.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 3.0 bpg, 1.4 spg, 52% FG, 74% FT

    All-Star: 10 times

    MVP: Once           

    All-NBA Team: First Team four times, Second Team twice, Third Team three times

    All-Defensive Team: First Team four times, Second Team four times

    Defensive Player of the Year: Once

    Championships: Two

    David Robinson is widely regarded as one of the best centers in NBA history as he proved to be a winner while dominating on both ends of the court.

    Early in his career, Robinson cared less about winning but still managed to post impressive numbers, relying on his amazing athletic ability to dominate opponents. Over the first five years of his career, Robinson won a rebounding, blocks and scoring title while earning the Defensive Player of the Year award in just his third season.

    In order to secure his scoring title, Robinson scored an amazing 71 points on the last day of the season against the Clippers, besting Shaquille O’Neal’s average while breaking the franchise record of 63 points by George Gervin. Robinson was effective as an offensive weapon mainly by his play around the basket, his drives to the hoop and his accurate mid-range jumper.

    One criticism of Robinson (which is why he does not rank higher on this list) is that he was unable to win in the playoffs before teaming up with Tim Duncan in the late 1990s. While he won two championships with the Spurs, he was not the leading player on either of those teams.

    As of today, Robinson ranks 29th in rebounds, 15th in free-throws made, fifth in blocks and fourth in blocks per game in NBA history.

    David Robinson highlight video

13. Bill Russell (C)

42 of 55

    15.1 ppg, 22.5 rpg, 4.3 apg, 44% FG, 56% FT

    All-Star: 12 times

    MVP: Five times

    All-Star MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team three times, Second Team eight times

    All-Defensive Team: First Team once

    Championships: 11

    Many consider Bill Russell to be the greatest player in NBA history. Yet, because of not being as well rounded as Larry Bird (due to his mediocre offensive game), he is actually not even the best player in Celtics’ franchise history.

    If you are “shocked” or “stunned” by daring to rank Russell out of the top 10, I encourage you to read an article I previously wrote on the subject discussing why Russell was a great but overrated player. Honestly, does anyone think he would come close to averaging 23 rebounds per game in today’s league or win 11 titles?

    However, on the positive side and in tribute to Russell, being ranked 13th is still quite an honor and one of the very best of all time. Although the Boston Celtics had plenty of star power, it was Russell who seemed to be the missing ingredient.

    With his rebounding and defensive dominance, he formed the foundation for the greatest winning dynasty in NBA history. By instilling a superior and intimidating defensive strategy and making a name for himself during an era that was highly prejudiced against the play of African Americans, Russell overcame the odds and set a new standard for players to follow.

    In the end, Russell ranks as the greatest team winner among North American professional athletes and due to the current salary cap rules and structure of the NBA, it is doubtful that any player will ever come close to matching his 11 championships.

    Currently, Russell ranks second in rebounds per game and total rebounds. If blocks were always counted in the NBA, it is possible that he would rank in the top five of that category as well.

    Bill Russell highlight video

12. Karl Malone (PF)

43 of 55

    25.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.6 apg, 0.7 bpg, 1.4 spg, 52% FG, 27% 3FG, 74% FT

    All-Star: 13 times

    MVP: Two times            

    All-Star MVP: Two times

    All-NBA Team: First Team 11 times, Second Team twice, Third Team once

    All-Defensive Team: First Team three times, Second Team once

    Championships: Zero

    Karl Malone ranks as the greatest player in NBA history to never win an NBA Championship. Nicknamed “The Mailman” because he consistently delivered dominant performances, Malone would team with John Stockton to form one of the best duos in league history.

    With their patented pick-and-roll, Malone was nearly unstoppable with his accurate mid-range fadeaway jump shot and strong drives to the basket.

    He was also no slouch on defense, earning a reputation as one of the best defenders in the frontcourt, able to muscle around opponents and slap the ball away with his quick hands.

    Unfortunately, the only time Malone failed to deliver was during his trips to the NBA Finals. His two appearances with the Jazz fell short against Michael Jordan’s Bulls.

    Malone had one last chance with the LA Lakers in 2004 while teamed with Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Gary Payton. However, Malone injured his right knee and played hurt throughout the first four games of the NBA Finals before sitting out the final game.

    Nevertheless, Malone was the complete package as a frontcourt player and still ranks as the greatest scoring power forward in league history.

    Currently, Malone ranks second all-time in NBA points scored, 12th in scoring average, second in field-goals made, sixth in rebounds, 10th in steals and first in free-throws made.

    Karl Malone highlight video

11. Oscar Robertson (PG)

44 of 55

    25.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 9.5 apg, 49% FG, 84% FT

    All-Star: 12 times

    MVP: Once    

    All-Star MVP: Three times

    All-NBA Team: First Team nine times, Second Team twice

    Championships: One

    Oscar Robertson (nicknamed “The Big O”) was a statistical phenomenon during his time. Following one of the most successful collegiate basketball careers at the University of Cincinnati, Robertson would go on to accomplish things in the NBA that no player since has come close to.

    Robertson seemed to define the triple-double, recording 181 throughout his career. That far outpaces Magic Johnson who resides in second place at 138. Many basketball fans know that he averaged a triple-double in his second season: 30.8 ppg, 12.5 rpg and 11.4 apg. Yet, over his first five years in the league, Robertson also averaged a triple-double with the following statistics: 30.3 ppg, 10.4 rpg and 10.6 apg.

    There was little that Robertson could not do on the court. He led the league in assists seven times (second only to John Stockton) and is one of three players to average 30 points per game at least six times (the others being Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain).

    In addition, Robertson is also given credit for inventing the head fake and fadeaway jump shot and was the first guard to dominate with his size over others in the post.

    If looking at plain statistics, Robertson might be ranked as one of the top two or three players in NBA history. However, similar to the stories of other legends during the 1960s, he benefited from faster game paces that surely inflated his stats. For instance, in 1962 the average NBA team had 152 possessions per game compared to 90 to 100 today.

    An extra 50 percent of possessions surely helped to boost Robertson’s scoring, rebounding (due to more missed shots) and assists. It is probably fair to make the assumption that if playing today (not considering that Robertson would give up his physical advantage over other guards), Robertson’s averages would be adjusted downward about 20 percent.

    Robertson also barely misses the top 10 because when he was most dominant, he did not lead his teams to any substantial playoff success. During his lone title run in 1971, Robertson in fact played second fiddle to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    Nevertheless, Roberston’s place in the record books is impressive. Currently, he ranks ninth in scoring average, 10th in total scoring, 14th in field-goals made, third in free-throws made, fourth in assists per game and fifth in total assists.

    Oscar Robertson highlight video

10. Jerry West (SG)

45 of 55

    27.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 6.7 apg, 47% FG, 81% FT

    All-Star: 14 times

    All-Star MVP: Twice

    Finals MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team 10 times, Second Team twice

    All-Defensive Team: First Team four times, Second Team once

    Championships: One

    Jerry West (aka “Mr. Clutch”) was one of the best all-around players in NBA history. Possessing one of the best jump shots in the game, West became one of the most dominant scorers in the league.

    He earned a reputation for being clutch by hitting several last-second shots and stepping up his game in the playoffs. His 29.1 playoff scoring average currently ranks third all-time. One of his most impressive performances came during the first round of the 1965 playoffs, when West made up for the absence of Elgin Baylor by averaging 46.3 ppg in the series, a mark that still stands as an NBA record.

    Although defensive stats weren’t kept for most of his career, West was one of the premier ball thieves in the NBA and was reported to even have a game with 10 blocks. Although the All-Defensive Teams weren’t introduced until he was 32 years old, West was selected to the first five teams.

    West ranks slightly higher than Oscar Robertson because of his superior defensive ability and the fact that West won an NBA Finals MVP award. More often than not, West was leading his teams to the finals and hence, proved to be the more consistent winner.

    Currently, West ranks fifth all-time in scoring average, 15th in points scored, fifth in free-throws made and 17th in field-goals made.

    Jerry West highlight video

9. Hakeem Olajuwon (C)

46 of 55

    21.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, 3.1 bpg, 1.8 spg, 51% FG, 71% FT

    All-Star: 12 times

    MVP: Once

    Finals MVP: Twice

    All-NBA Team: First Team six times, Second Team three times, Third Team three times

    All-Defensive Team: First Team five times, Second Team four times

    Defensive Player of the Year: Twice

    Championships: Two

    While Hakeem Olajuwon may not be the most dominant center of all time, he may be the most talented as far as possessing pure basketball skills. When one considers posting and shooting abilities, footwork, rebounding, playmaking and defense, there may be no other center in history that was so well rounded.

    By using skills developed from earlier soccer playing days, Olajuwon developed masterful moves in the post and mastered a patented play called the “Dream Shake.”  In this series of moves, Olajuwon would use pump fakes and spin moves to misdirect, freeze or shake off opponents to get easy looks at the basket.

    Olajuwon remains the only player in NBA history to average at least 200 steals and blocks in the same season, as well as the only player to win the MVP, Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same year.

    An impressive feat about Olajuwon’s two championships is that he outplayed two of the best centers in Patrick Ewing and Shaquille O’Neal in order to win.

    As of now, Olajuwon ranks ninth in points scored, 26th in rebounding average, 11th in total rebounds, seventh in field-goals made, 21st in free-throws made, eighth in steals, third in blocks average and first in total blocks in NBA history.

    Hakeem Olajuwon highlight video

8. Tim Duncan (PF)

47 of 55

    20.6 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.3 bpg, 0.7 spg, 51% FG, 69% FT

    All-Star: 13 times

    MVP: Twice

    All-Star MVP: Once

    Finals MVP: Three times

    All-NBA Team: First Team nine times, Second Team third times, Third Team once

    All-Defensive Team: First Team eight times, Second Team five times

    Championships: Four

    Tim Duncan has remarkably been one of the most consistent players in NBA history. By sticking to smart fundamental moves (hence, his nickname “The Big Fundamental”), Duncan became the first player to make the All-NBA and All-Defensive Team in each of his first 13 seasons in the league.

    With his superb post footwork and signature bank shot, Duncan has continually been one of the best scorers in the NBA. While teaming with David Robinson, the 13-time All-Star led the Spurs to the first of four titles in just his second season. That historic run was capped by the first of three Finals MVP awards.

    Duncan has also proved himself in the clutch. Besides being the focal point for all four championships in San Antonio’s history, his playoff averages exceed his regular-season stats.

    Due to his dominance on both ends of the floor and his ability to lead his teams to championships, Tim Duncan is widely regarded as the best power forward in the history of the game.

    Currently, Tim Duncan ranks 28th in total points, 21st in rebounding average, 21st in total rebounds, 24th in field-goals made, 14th in blocks per game and ninth in total blocks in NBA history.

    Tim Duncan highlight video

7. Shaquille O’Neal (C)

48 of 55

    23.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 2.5 apg, 2.3 bpg, 0.6 spg, 58% FG, 53% FT

    All-Star: 15 times

    MVP: Once

    All-Star MVP: Three times

    Finals MVP: Three times

    All-NBA Team: First Team eight times, Second Team twice, Third Team four times

    All-Defensive Team: Second Team three times

    Championships: Four

    Shaquille O’Neal gave himself many nicknames throughout his career, but the one that may most accurately describe him is “Most Dominant Ever.” At 7’1” and weighing between 300 and 350 pounds, O’Neal was a behemoth that proved nearly unstoppable in the low post.

    There were times when two or three players would be surrounding Shaq and holding on to him and he would still jump up and dunk the ball through the basket. Even against legend Wilt Chamberlain, figure that O’Neal would still have about 50 to 75 pounds on him to pound his way through the paint.

    O’Neal led the league in field-goal percentage 10 times, breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s old record of nine. By using his speed and strength, O’Neal used a variety of moves to get himself slam dunks which helped raise his field-goal percentage. In addition, Shaq averaged at least 26 points per game for 10 consecutive years.

    He was also an intimidator on the defensive end with his presence and ability to block shots. About the only weakness in O’Neal’s game was hitting free throws, which caused many teams to intentionally foul him late in games (known as the “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy).

    Along with Michael Jordan and Willis Reed, Shaq remains one of just three players to earn all three MVP awards in a single season. The 15-time All-Star was also a proven winner and put together some of the most dominant finals series in NBA history between 2000 and 2002.

    When Shaq retired last season, he ranked 19th in scoring average, fifth in points scored, 28th in rebounding average, 12th in total rebounds, second in field-goal percentage, fifth in field-goals made, 17th in free-throws made, third in free-throw attempts, 14th in blocks per game and seventh in total blocks in league history.

    Shaquille O’Neal highlight video

6. Wilt Chamberlain (C)

49 of 55

    30.1 ppg, 22.9 rpg, 4.4 apg, 54% FG, 51% FT

    All-Star: 13 times

    MVP: Four times

    All-Star MVP: Once            

    Finals MVP: Once

    All-NBA Team: First Team seven times, Second Team three times

    All-Defensive Team: First Team twice

    Championships: Two

    Open up any NBA record book and Wilt Chamberlain’s name dominates the pages. His scoring feats are legendary, being the only player to score 100 points in an NBA game. He is also the only person to ever average over 40 and 50 points per game throughout an entire season.

    Of the 62 60-point games in league history, Wilt had 32 of them. Not surprisingly, Wilt led the league in scoring over his first seven seasons, never averaging fewer than 33 points per game.

    Chamberlain also led the NBA in rebounds a record 11 times and is the only center to lead the league in assists. If blocks were recorded during his career, he might have ranked first in that category as well. And in case these accomplishments were not enough, Chamberlain never fouled out of an NBA game.

    Many think of Wilt’s scoring and rebounding accomplishments as the most unbreakable records, but perhaps the one that no player will ever touch may be when he averaged 48.5 minutes per game in just his third season.

    Statistics are usually the starting point in ranking players and if they compared like apples to apples, Wilt Chamberlain would be universally declared as the greatest player in NBA history. However, there are a few reasons why he ranks out of the top five.

    First, we must take into account the same reasons that penalized West, Baylor, Robertson and Russell. The pace of the game was much quicker during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Combined with a smaller lane and closer shots being taken (yielding shorter rebounds), Wilt’s scoring and rebounding numbers were obviously inflated compared to if he played in today’s league.

    In his highest scoring years, there were only four players in the league standing at least 6’8” and Russell and Chamberlain were two of those four. Going against taller and stronger opponents today would affect his output.

    There is little doubt that Wilt would be one of the best big men in the game today, but there are several reasons why no player in the past few decades has come close to matching his scoring and rebounding numbers.

    Second, Wilt Chamberlain was a poor free-throw shooter and like Shaq, he proved to be a liability late in games. All of the players who rank above Wilt did not have such a glaring weakness in their game.

    Third, it must be noted that Wilt “only” won two championships whereas those who rank higher have won more. While Wilt’s two championship teams (the 1967 Philadelphia 76ers and 1972 Los Angeles Lakers) are among the greatest NBA teams of all time and many of his losses could be attributed to Bill Russell’s stacked Celtics teams, he also missed some golden opportunities to win, such as in 1969.

    Still, Wilt Chamberlain is a mountain of a legend. In league history, he currently ranks second in scoring average, fourth in total points, first in rebounds per game, first in total rebounds, 22nd in field-goal percentage, third in field-goals made, 14th in free-throws made, second in free-throw attempts and first in minutes played per game (with an incredible 45.8).

    Wilt Chamberlain highlight video

5. Larry Bird (SF)

50 of 55

    24.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 6.3 apg, 0.8 bpg, 1.7 spg, 50% FG, 38% 3FG, 89% FT

    All-Star: 12 times

    MVP: Three times

    All-Star MVP: Once  

    Finals MVP: Twice

    All-NBA Team: First Team nine times, Second Team once

    All-Defensive Team: Second Team three times

    Championships: Three

    With all of his accomplishments and using the criteria of these rankings, Larry Bird stands out as the best small forward in NBA history. As one of the smartest players in the league, his court vision was among the best ever seen. In combining his shooting touch, rebounding ability and playmaking skills, Bird was one of the most well-rounded players.

    Besides his basketball IQ, his shooting touch was the strongest part of his game. Bird was the first player to make the 50-40-90 club, a feat he accomplished twice. He also was one of the best in the clutch as well. Not only did he make several crucial shots throughout his career, but often he would tell his opponents exactly where he would hit them.

    In similar fashion, he asked his competitors in a three-point contest who was coming in second, only to go on to win the contest.

    There was little that Bird could not do on the basketball court. In being among the leaders in scoring and rebounding and being able to lead his team in making plays, Bird set a strong precedent for the point forward role that NBA greats Scottie Pippen and LeBron James would later emulate.

    However, there are a few areas that hold Bird back from being ranked higher. First, Bird won three NBA titles as a star player whereas those ranked higher have won at least five. Second, while he was a good defender, he was not a standout defender like most of those higher on this list.

    Nevertheless, “Larry Legend” stands out as the best player from the Boston Celtics, the team that has won the most NBA Championships. He currently ranks 16th in scoring average, 27th in total points, 20th in field-goals made, 10th in free-throw percentage and 28th in steals. 

    Larry Bird highlight video

4. Kobe Bryant (SG)

51 of 55

    25.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.7 apg, 0.5 bpg, 1.5 spg, 45% FG, 34% 3FG, 84% FT

    All-Star: 13 times

    MVP: Once

    All-Star MVP: Four times

    Finals MVP: Twice

    All-NBA Team: First Team nine times, Second Team twice, Third Team twice

    All-Defensive Team: First Team nine times, Second Team twice

    Championships: Five

    When it comes to NBA legends, few have accomplished more than Kobe Bryant. With his amazing scoring ability and his stellar defense, Kobe Bryant has a similar well-rounded game like most at the top of this list.

    Kobe ranks as one of just four players with at least five championships and two Finals MVP awards (along with Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson—if you have been keeping track, you will realize that these are the only players who rank higher). In addition, Bryant is one of only two players to have at least nine First Team selections to both the All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams (along with Jordan).

    Bryant has had many standout moments throughout his career, such as when he scored 81 points against the Raptors in 2006 and became the only player in NBA history to outscore an entire team through three quarters (62-61 against the Mavericks).

    He remains the only player to have scored 30 points in a quarter twice, as well as the only player to have scored at least 60 points twice while playing fewer than 40 minutes in a game. In addition, Bryant holds the modern NBA record for most game-winning shots.

    While Kobe Bryant is usually one of the most controversial NBA players when it comes to rankings, his accomplishments and all-around game lead to his deserved ranking within the top five. Furthermore, he ranks higher than Larry Bird because of his defensive abilities (which is only half of the game of basketball) and for dominating the game over a longer period.

    However, Kobe will have to accomplish a bit more in his career (which is still possible) if he wants to take the title of “best Lakers player of all time.”

    Kobe Bryant currently ranks 18th in steals, sixth in free-throws made, 18th in three-pointers made, 11th in field-goals made, 11th in scoring average and sixth in total points.

    Kobe Bryant highlight video

3. Magic Johnson (PG)

52 of 55

    19.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 11.2 apg, 0.4 bpg, 1.9 spg, 52% FG, 30% 3FG, 85% FT

    All-Star: 12 times

    MVP: Three times

    All-Star MVP: Twice

    Finals MVP: Three times

    All-NBA Team: First Team nine times, Second Team once

    Championships: Five

    As the greatest point guard in NBA history, Magic Johnson also ranks a bit higher than Kobe Bryant, making him the “greatest Lakers player of all time” for now.

    Like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson had a brilliant all-around game as evidenced by his 138 triple-doubles. In just his third season, Magic averaged 9.6 rpg and 9.5 apg. Had he played in the faster-paced era of the early 1960s in which Oscar Robertson played, Magic also would have had a season averaging a triple-double (especially considering there were only two players taller than Magic during that period in the NBA).

    Perhaps no player in NBA history was better at “threading the needle” with his passes and making players around him better than Magic Johnson. Being the only 6’9” point guard in history, Magic was able to see over the opposing defenses, giving him an advantage over other players.

    Like most of the top players in NBA history, Magic Johnson was also known to elevate his game during the postseason. Despite posting impressive statistics, Magic became known for making buzzer-beating shots.

    Magic ranks higher than Bird because his Lakers teams beat the Celtics two out of three matchups and Magic has two more titles and one more Finals MVP award. Although Magic never made any All-Defensive Teams but unlike Bird, he did lead the league in steals twice. Defense was never his forte, but Magic was a decent help defender like Bird. So the tie-breaker between these two incredible players seems to be the fact that Magic more often got the better of Bird.

    Magic Johnson’s career numbers are certainly impressive as he ranks first in assists per game, fourth in total assists, 22nd in steals per game and 15th in total steals.

    Magic Johnson highlight video

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (C)

53 of 55

    24.6 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 3.6 apg, 2.6 bpg*, 0.7 spg*, 56% FG, 72% FT

    All-Star: 19 times

    MVP: Six times       

    Finals MVP: Twice

    All-NBA Team: First Team 10 times, Second Team five times

    All-Defensive Team: First Team five times, Second Team six times

    Championships: Six

    When it comes to all the great centers in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest. There have been a lot of great scorers in league history but none have scored more points than Kareem. Much of his scoring success was attributed to his signature sky hook, an accurate shot that proved to be perhaps the most unstoppable shot in league history.

    Like all of the great centers throughout history, Kareem excelled on the defensive end, making the All-Defensive Team 11 times. He also was a gifted passer and hit his free throws at a respectable rate for a center. In other words, Kareem had no weakness in his game.

    Along the way he earned more MVP awards than any other player and became one of two players to have won at least six titles and two Finals MVP awards (the other being Michael Jordan).

    While he stood 7’2”, Abdul-Jabbar used excellent footwork and finesse moves to score at ease around opponents. He was quick enough to run Magic Johnson’s “Showtime” offense as he was well conditioned, playing into his 40s. Over the years he also proved to perform well in the clutch

    One of the most impressive accomplishments of Kareem’s career was his longevity. In his 20 seasons in the NBA, he made 19 All-Star teams which is an NBA record.

    If blocks were recorded over the first four years of Kareem’s career, it is likely he would be the all-time leader in that category. As it is, he currently ranks third in total blocks to go along with his record total points scored (38,387). Additionally, Kareem ranks eight in blocks per game, second in games played, first in minutes played, ninth in free-throws made, fifth in free-throw attempts, first in both field-goals made and attempts, 12th in field-goal percentage, 24th in rebounds per game, third in total rebounds and 15th in scoring average.

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar highlight video

1. Michael Jordan (SG)

54 of 55

    30.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.3 apg, 0.8 bpg, 2.4 spg, 50% FG, 33% 3FG, 84% FT

    All-Star: 14 times

    MVP: Five times      

    All-Star MVP: Three times       

    Finals MVP: Six times

    All-NBA Team: First Team 10 times, Second Team once

    All-Defensive Team: First Team nine times

    Defensive Player of the Year: Once

    Championships: Six

    Michael Jordan’s place as the greatest player of all time in NBA history should hardly surprise anyone. Besides Kobe Bryant, Jordan is the only other player in NBA history to excel at all the criteria used in these rankings including his abilities in scoring, shooting the ball, defense, playmaking, winning, leadership and performing in the clutch.

    On the offensive end, there was little that Jordan could not do, as he still ranks as the NBA’s all-time leader in scoring average for both the regular season and playoffs. Jordan was most famous for his signature drives and dunks at the basket, as well as his accurate fadeaway jumpers later in his career. Surely, his 10 scoring titles will be tough for any future player to overcome.

    Along with Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan is one of just four guards who were able to dominate the game in the post. It is truly remarkable that Jordan was able to win six championships with his teams lacking a big man who was dominant in the post as well.

    On the defensive end, he became just one of three guards to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. Jordan shares the record with Bryant for most All-Defensive First Team selections, but he reigns at the top as being the only player with at least six championships, five MVP awards and six Finals MVP awards. In fact, no other player has won six rings and three Finals MVPs.

    Playing against the tough Boston Celtics team of 1986, Jordan set a playoff record by scoring 63 points. It was playoff performances like this along with the “flu game” in 1997 that helped define his ability to raise his game during the postseason.

    Along with his records in NBA scoring, Jordan currently ranks third in total points, fourth in field-goals made, fourth in free-throws made, second in total steals and fifth in steals per game.

    Between the statistics, all-around dominance and awards, it will be a difficult task for any NBA player to surpass Jordan. Don’t expect it to happen any time soon.

    Michael Jordan highlight video

    If you liked this article, please feel free to check out these other articles by Ethan S.:

    Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Which Is the NBA's Greatest Franchise?

    Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers: Their Top 15 Current Myths

    NBA Lockout: Should We Side With The Players or Owners?