NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and the 50 Most Athletic Players

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IJanuary 9, 2011

NBA Power Rankings: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and the 50 Most Athletic Players

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat during the NBA game at Staples Center on December 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Heat defeated the Lakers 96-80.  NOTE TO USER: U
    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    Athleticism doesn't necessarily ensure NBA success, but it surely does help.

    While there have been plenty of incredible athletes that haven't made it to the NBA ranks, these 50 players embody what it means to capitalize on athleticism on the hardwood.

    Now let the fun begin with these power rankings of the 50 most athletic players in the NBA.

50. Mark Hendrickson

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    25 Mar 1998:  Guard Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers in action against forward Mark Hendrickson of the Sacramento Kings during a game at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California.  The Lakers defeated the Kings 114-91. Mandatory Credit: Vincen
    Vincent Laforet/Getty Images

    Hendrickson was a marginal NBA player and he's not a terribly talented Major League Baseball pitcher, either.

    But a guy who plays two sports professionally? He's gotta be one of the most athletic people on the planet.

49. Tyrus Thomas

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07:  Tyrus Thomas #12 of the Charlotte Bobcats reacts to scoring against the Denver Nuggets during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 7, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Thomas is freakishly athletic, but he has never gotten the playing time to really showcase exactly what he's capable of doing.

    He can swat almost any shot and he racks up considerable steals for a big man to boot.

48. Earl Boykins

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 04: Erick Dampier #25 of the Miami Heat guards Earl Boykins #11 of the Milwaukee Bucks during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 4, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloa
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Boykins is pound-for-pound the strongest player in the league.

    And at 5'5", that's pretty darn impressive.

47. James White

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    NEW YORK - MARCH 08:  James White #21 of the Cincinnati Bearcats dishes the ball off in front of Gerry McNamara #3 of the Syracuse Orangemen during the first round of the Big East Men's Basketball Championships at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 2006 in
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    James White on game night is quite an exciting scene.

    Unfortunately, his athleticism is just about the only thing that's NBA-caliber; his game is not.

46. Baron Davis

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 29:  Baron Davis #5 of the Los Angeles Clippers shoots over Deron Williams #8 of the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on December 29, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.    NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by d
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Believe it or not, B-Diddy was once an explosive athlete.

    No, really.

    Davis' athletic ability was on display with every promising drive to the rim, and despite the jokes that surround him now, he still makes the list with ease.

45. JR Smith

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    DENVER - DECEMBER 28:  J.R. Smith #5 of the Denver Nuggets takes a shot against the defense of LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers at Pepsi Center on December 28, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Blazers 95-77. NOTE TO US
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Just one look at some highlights from a Nuggets game and it's easy to see why Smith is so impressive.

    He might be hotheaded at times, but boy can that kid fly.

44. Brent Barry

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    SEATTLE - APRIL 2:  Brent Barry #31 of the Seattle Sonics dunks the ball next to Rick Fox #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game on April 2, 2004 at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington.  The Lakers won 97-86.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Any white guy who wins the Slam Dunk Contest deserves a spot on this list.

    Despite his questionable talents as a television broadcaster, there was no doubting the caliber of his athleticism.

43. Moses Malone

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    Center Moses Malone of the Atlanta Hawks jumps to the basket during a game.
    Joe Patronite/Getty Images

    Malone moved around the court with grace, style and flash not typical of his era.

    This Moses may not have performed any miracles off of the hardwood, but he certainly was something special.

42. Jason Richardson

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 15:  Jason Richardson #23 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at US Airways Center on December 15, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 128-122.  NOTE TO USER: User express
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    J-Rich hangs his head above the rim with regularity.

    A rarity for a perimeter player like Richardson, he has no trouble exploding to the hole if the defense closes out on him too fast outside.

41. Larry Bird

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    Undated:  Forward Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics looks on. NOTE TO USER:  It is expressly understood that the only rights Allsport are offering to license in this Photograph are one-time, non-exclusive editorial rights.  No advertising or commercial use
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Bird's athleticism was the most underrated part of his game.

    Come on, you didn't think his sweet mullet-and-mustache combo was the only thing that propelled him to success, did you?

40. Lamar Odom

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot past David West #30 of the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center on January 7, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 101-97.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Odom is the definition of a point forward.

    Standing 6'10", LO can explode to the hole with ease and crossover dribble like a traditional point guard.

    The only thing that suppresses his incredible skill set is his maddening inconsistency.

39. Gerald Wallace

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07:  Gerald Wallace #3 of the Charlotte Bobcats against the Denver Nuggets during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 7, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Wallace can just about jump out of the building, even if nobody else is in the house to take note.

    One of the most underrated players currently in the league, Wallace would be a perennial All-Star if he could ever stay healthy for a full season.

38. Gerald Green

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    SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 29: Gerald Green #8 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots over Beno Udrih #19 of the Sacramento Kings during an NBA game on November 29, 2008 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Green's athleticism got him drafted early.

    A high-flyer with a lot of potential, GG just never quite got a feel for the NBA game.

    His incredible leaping ability might have been enough to get him into the league, but at the highest level, that alone is not going to get it done.

37. Andre Iguodala

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 27: Andre Iguodala #9 of the Philadelphia 76ers in action during the game against the Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center on October 27, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Iguodala can play point guard, shooting guard, small forward and even power forward.

    He's got insane versatility and he is capable of out-jumping just about anyone else to ever play the game.

    It's a good thing, too, because his jump shot isn't exactly a strong suit.

36. Steve Francis

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    NEW YORK - MARCH 3:  Steve Francis #1 of the New York Knicks shoots against the Chicago Bulls on March 3, 2006 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  Chicago won 108-101.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Stevie Franchise garnered his nickname for a reason.

    Once considered a player to build a perennial championship contender around, Francis used to throw it down like few could, despite his small stature.

35. Rudy Gay

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    PHOENIX - DECEMBER 08:  Rudy Gay #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies slam dunks the ball against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 8, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Grizzlies defeated the Suns 104-98 in overtime.  NOTE TO USER:
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Many were wondering why Rudy Gay was deserving of a max contract and his athletic ability is a big contributing factor.

    Gay's ability to finish at the rim with finesse makes him nearly unguardable.

    With those long arms, it's easy to hang on the rim.

34. Dennis Rodman

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    26 Feb 1999: Dennis Rodman #73 of the Los Angeles Lakers talks to new head coach Kurt Rambis during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 99-83.  Mandatory Credit: E
    Elsa/Getty Images

    No matter what color Rodman's hair was on game day, he was a lock for big-time rebounding numbers.

    He wasn't very impressive on the offensive end, but any guy who could get on the glass like he did at his size deserves serious props.

33. Hakeem Olajuwon

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    17 Mar 1999:  Hakeem Olajuwon #34 of the Houston Rockets looking on during the game against the Denver Nuggets at the McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado. The Rockets defeated the Nuggets 114-103.   Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr  /Allsport
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Hakeem the Dream is arguably the most graceful center of all-time.

    With an arsenal of post moves unmatched by any other player, Olajuwon moved flawlessly up and down the court even though he was usually the biggest one out there.

32. Antonio McDyess

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    PHOENIX - MAY 03:  Antonio McDyess #34 of the San Antonio Spurs is introduced before Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on May 3, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Make no mistake about it: McDyess is one of the more exciting power forwards the NBA has ever seen.

    Regularly pouring in 20 and 10 in the prime of his career, the veteran really knew how to put on a show.

31. Shaquille O'Neal

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    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 05:  Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs tries to take a shot as Shaquille O'Neal #36 of the Boston Celtics attempts to block on January 5, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
    Elsa/Getty Images

    No, this isn't a joke.

    This guy is 7'1", well over 300 lbs, and he can still get out to lead the fastbreak.

    He's 38 years old and still contributing despite the tread on his tires, and there's no arguing with his prolific production.

30. Calvin Murphy

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    March 26, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rocket former player Calvin Murphy laughs before a game against the Sacramento Kings at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Why doesn't Murphy get more love?

    Standing at just 5'9", he's another shorty that makes the list with ease.

    You don't have to be the greatest basketball player in the world to be considered among the most athletic, and Murphy proved that.

29. Muggsy Bogues

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    31 Oct 2000:  Muggsy Bogues #14 of the Toronto Raptors moves with the ball during the game against the Detroit Pistons at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Canada. The Pistons defeated the Raptors 104-95. NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the
    Robert Skeoch/Getty Images

    A better version of the aforementioned Boykins, Bogues could throw it down despite being only 5'3".

    If anyone else out there 5'5" and under that can do it the way he did, let me know, because it's the rarest sight the NBA has ever seen.

28. Amar'e Stoudemire

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 24:  Amare Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks during his game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena on November 24, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    STAT has really shown his athleticism since joining the Knicks, but it was obvious for a long time before that too.

    Amar'e is capable of just about anything and since he's proven his knee troubles to be behind him, the rest of the league is taking notice of exactly that.

27. David Robinson

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    NEW ORLEANS - FEBRUARY 16:  Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, NBA legend David Robinson and WNBA player Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Silver Star pose with the championship trophy after winning the Haier Shooting Stars competition, part of 2008 NBA A
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Admiral was far, far more athletic than many gave him proper credit for.

    The elder half of the feared Twin Towers combination is one of the best centers to ever play the game and one look at his highlight tape can tell anyone exactly that.

26. Monta Ellis

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Monta Ellis #8 of the Golden State Warriors dunks the ball over Courtney Lee #5 of the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena on December 20, 2010 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by d
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    He might not be the brightest player in the league, but this isn't a list about who has the highest IQ.

    Ellis' small stature has proved to be no trouble, as he's a lock to make the SportsCenter Top 10 at least once a week while basketball is in season.

25. Dwyane Wade

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 04:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat shoots over  Andrew Bogut #6 and Ersan Ilyasova #7 of the Milwaukee Bucks during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 4, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges an
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    It wasn't too long ago that Wade was considered overrated and always injured.

    Where did all the haters go?

24. Shannon Brown

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 28:  Guard Shannon Brown #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers at AT&T Center on December 28, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is c
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Let Shannon dunk!

    This high flyer is one of the most exciting players to ever play and his insane vertical leap makes him a spectacle to watch every time he's in the game.

23. Allen Iverson

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    CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 20: Allen Iverson #3 of the Philadelphia 76ers passes the ball under pressure from Ronald Murray #6 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 20, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 122-90. NOTE TO USER:
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Oh A.I., your fall from grace has been so disappointing.

    Before you quit on every team that gave you a chance, you were breaking peoples ankles on the regular and you were so fun to watch play the game that we all love.

    Now? Well, not so much.

22. Kevin Garnett

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    BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 16:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics talks on the bench in the first half against the Atlanta Hawks on December 16, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
    Elsa/Getty Images

    He's played more of a supporting role in the latter stages of his career, but any Timberwolves fan can tell you why Garnett is on this list.

    You don't just achieve what he did on a nightly basis without being special.

21. Walt Frazier

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 28:  Actor/ Director Spike Lee with NBA Legend Walt Frazier at the Miami Heat against the New York Knicks game at American Airlines Arena on December 28, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Another throwback special for the list, Frazier made the opposition look silly with his arsenal of moves.

    Despite his awesome Just for Men commercials, Frazier still doesn't get the attention that he surely deserves.

20. Vince Carter

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    ORLANDO, FL - MAY 16:  Vince Carter #15 of the Orlando Magic dunks against the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 16, 2010 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackno
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Remember when he jumped over a seven-footer at the Olympics and threw it home for an and-one slam dunk?

    So do I.

19. Shawn Kemp

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    Shawn Kemp #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands on the court during a game against the Washington Wizards at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. The Cavaliers defeated the Wizards 111-103.
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Shawn Kemp was Blake Griffin before the rookie even hit middle school.

    He might have had an unconventional jump shot, but his athleticism was absolutely off of the charts.

18. Josh Smith

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26:  Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots the ball over David West #30 of the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on December 26, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Hornets defeated the Hawks 93-86.  NOTE TO USER
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    J-Smoove can fill it up in just about every category.

    With the ability to throw it down tomahawk style or even step out for a three, it's his freakish ability to swat shots away from the rim that ranks him so highly here.

17. Charles Barkley

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    28 Feb 1999: Charles Barkley #4 of the Houston Rockets hangs from the hoop during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California. The Lakers defeated the Rockets 106-90.    Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allspo
    Elsa/Getty Images

    He's the popular butt of jokes these days, but Sir Charles was no laughing matter during his playing time.

    One of the most athletic players of his time, Barkley's big style of play, despite a smallish stature, spoke volumes about his talent.

16. Clyde Drexler

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    HOUSTON - FEBRUARY 18:  Clyde Drexler #22 of the Houston team smiles as he reaches for a ball in the Radio Shack Shooting Stars competition during NBA All-Star Weekend at the Toyota Center on February 18, 2006 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expres
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Drexler was one fun player to watch.

    Even though he fell off noticeably toward the end of his playing career, it was hard to have a week go by without at least a handful of Drexler highlights that left you saying just one thing: Wow.

15. Nate Robinson

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    BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 07:  Nate Robinson #4  of the Boston Celtics celebrates his three point shot in the second half against the Toronto Raptors on January 7, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Raptors 122-102. NOTE T
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Come on, man.

    This guy is 5'6" and has won the Slam Dunk Competition an unbelievable three times.

    NaterTot can fly and he might be a nontraditional point guard, but it doesn't really matter.

    He's just fun to watch.

14. Russell Westbrook

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    NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 22:  Raymond Felton #2 of the New York Knicks collides with Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at Madison Square Garden on December 22, 2010 in New York City.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees th
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Some call Westbrook a point guard trapped in a shooting guard's body, but his length aids his game rather than hinders it.

    His insane length gives him the ability to really maneuver around the court in any fashion he'd like, and although he's still very young, his stock is only on the rise.

13. Bill Russell

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    LAS VEGAS - FEBRUARY 17:  NBA legend Bill Russell and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers laugh on the sidelines during the Haier Shooting Stars Competition during NBA All-Star Weekend on February 17, 2007 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Russell could play in today's NBA and absolutely dominate.

    Think I'm kidding? Just look at his game film. He would've made any All-Star team in any generation.

12. Spud Webb

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    INGLEWOOD, CA - 1989:  Spud Webb #4 of the Atlanta Hawks listens to teammate Dominique Wilkins #21 during a NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California in 1989.  (Photo by Ken Levine/Getty Images)
    Ken Levine/Getty Images

    Webb made it possible for short guys to pursue a basketball career, and boy did he do it with style.

    He served as an inspiration to Muggsy Bogues, Nate Robinson and a whole lot of other guys who will never sniff this list.

11. Dominique Wilkins

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    WASHINGTON - MARCH 31:  Dominique Wilkins #21 of the Orlando Magic points during the game against the Washington Wizards at MCI Center on March 31, 1999 in Washington, D.C.  The Wizards won 84-73.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    It's too bad Wilkins doesn't get the love he should from the Atlanta community.

    Wilkins' show-stoppping athleticism was truly astounding and left people's jaws on the floor after he elevated off the ground and well above the rim.

10. Blake Griffin

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers goes up for a dunk during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on December 20, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers defeated the Timberw
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Yeah, he's that impressive.

    Griffin makes the top 10 despite playing less than a full regular season of games.

    If you haven't watched a Clippers game this season, now is a really good time to hop on the BG bandwagon.

9. Derrick Rose

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 28: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls looks for an open lane against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center on December 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 90-77. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledge
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Rose is as quick as a cheetah and he's improved with every year he's been in the league.

    He can take it to the rack on anyone and explodes past any defender the opposition tries to stick on him.

    With an improving jump shot and basketball IQ, Rose is going to be a very dangerous player for several years to come.

8. Wilt Chamberlain

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    INGLEWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 16:  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain sit on the court during Earvin 'Magic' Johnson's retirement ceremony from the Los Angeles Lakers on February 16, 1992 at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood,
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    One hundred points in a single game and the best mustache in basketball.

    The ultimate ladies' man, Chamberlain scored with the females almost as often as he did on the opposition.

7. Julius Erving

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 21:  NBA Legend Julius Erving looks on during the game between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on October 21, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Dr. J should be the NBA logo.

    No disrespect to Jerry West intended, but Dr. J was a high-flyer before the term was even invented.

    Slam dunks were a regular part of his attack and if you weren't willing to challenge him near the rim, it was best you stayed out of his way.

6. Oscar Robertson

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 18:  NBA legend Oscar Robertson attends the game between the Long Beach State 49ers and the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion on December 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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    He was the only guy in NBA history to ever average a triple-double.

    It's as simple as that.

5. Dwight Howard

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    ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 18:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic attempts a shot during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Amway Arena on December 18, 2010 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downl
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Dwight slapped a sticker atop the backboard in the dunk contest.

    He's already 6'10" with the most massive shoulders and biceps in the game. And with that leaping ability?

    It might not be long before he's considered one of the most dominant centers to ever play the game.

4. Kobe Bryant

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    PHOENIX - JANUARY 05: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers pumps his fist after a fould was called against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on January 5, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Kobe used to fly around like he had springs in his shoes.

    While he's not the young buck that he once was, Bryant's got plenty of explosion left in his legs and his impressive wingspan aids him greatly when he hangs in the air forever to finish near the cup.

3. Magic Johnson

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Earvin 'Magic' Johnson hugs general manager Mitch Kupchak after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USE
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    A 6'9" point guard who also started a game at center?

    There was a reason they called him Magic.

2. Michael Jordan

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 19:  Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan sits in the stands during Game Four of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 19, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    His Airness wasn't a royal nickname given to him by NBA lore.

    It's his rightful title.

1. LeBron James

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 04:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat waits on the scorers table during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Arena on January 4, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    LeBron could dominate in any sport with that freakish, athletic frame, but thankfully for all of us, he chose basketball.

    Everything about his game is impressive from a purely athletic standpoint, and one look at him in the open court is enough to validate his ranking as No. 1 on this list.