Greatest Ever: Basketball: Top Ten Basketball Players Of All Time

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IOctober 8, 2008

The 19th installment of Barney Corkhill's Greatest Ever series is here!

In this series I will look at the greatest talents to grace various sports. This I look at the top ten basketball players of all time!

Here is my top ten:

10. Tim Duncan

At 6'11 and 260 lb, Duncan burst on to the scene in the late 90's. In 1997 he won two College Player of the Year awards, and also bagged the John Wooden award. The following year he won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

Playing mainly at power forward or center, Duncan has won been named the NBA's MVP twice, and three times NBA Finals MVP. He has been an NBA Champion four times, in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007.

In addition to this he has been voted into ten All-Star games, 11 All-NBA teams, and 11 All-Defensive teams.

9. Julius Erving

Erving was one of the most revolutionary basketball players ever, helping to launch the modern style of play of leaping and playing above the rim. Throughout his career, he recorded 30,026 points (the fifth highest ever), 2,272 steals, and 10,525 rebounds.

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As a small-forward, Erving was a one-time NBA Champion, and was named NBA MVP in 1981. His best years came in the ABA, however, where he won the championship twice, and was named the MVP three times.

He was a seven time All-NBA team member, and a five time All-ABA team member.

8. Oscar Robertson

"The Big O" overcame much adversity to become one of the greatest players the game has even seen. He was plagued by racism throughout his career, but did his talking on the court, scoring 26,710 points, 7,804 rebounds and 9,887 assists playing mainly at point guard.

He is a one time NBA Champions and one-time NBA MVP, as well as a 12 time All-Star and 11 time All-NBA team member. He won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1961.

Oscar Robertson remains the only player in NBA history to have averaged a triple-double for a whole season. If you were to round some of his figures up, he would have achieved this feat four times.

7. Allen Iverson

At just 6ft 0in and 180 lbs, Iverson surprised and defied all his critics by becoming one of the all time greats of the sport. He is one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, with a career scoring average of 27.7 points per game, third of all time.

He is a one-time NBA MVP, and was named the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1997. He is a six time All-NBA team member, and an eight time All-Star member.

Iverson's underdog status and lack of size coupled with these impressive statistics are enough to give him a place in the top ten.

6. Bill Russell

The most decorated player in basketball history, you don't guide your team to eleven NBA Championships without being something special. Playing at centre, Russell was noted more for his excellent defence than his attack.

Despite this, he still managed to rack up 14,522 points, as well as 21,620 rebounds, including more than fifty in one game, and 4,100 assists. In addition to being an 11 time NBA Champion, he is a five time NBA MVP, 12 time NBA All-Star and 11 time All-NBA team member.

No-one has won more championships than Russell in any sport in a North American sports league.

5. Larry Bird

Bird was one of the most dominant players in the NBA throughout the 80s, playing at small-forward for the Boston Celtics. In his career he managed 21,791 points, 5,695 assists, and 1,556 steals.

He is a three time NBA Championship winner, and was named the NBA's MVP three times in a row between 1984 and 1986. He was included in the All-Star team for all of his 12 full seasons in NBA, and was named in 10 All-NBA selections.

In 1980 he was named NBA Rookie of the Year, just beating the great Magic Johnson to the award.

4. Magic Johnson

"Magic" is an appropriate nickname for Johnson. A five time NBA Champion with the LA Lakers, he retired from the game three times in total. He recorded 17,707 points, 6,559 rebounds, and 10,141 assists in his distinguished career.

Magic Johnson is also a three time NBA MVP, a 12 time All-Star member and a ten time All-NBA team member. He remains the NBA's all-time leader in assists per game with an average of 11.2.

After retiring in 1991 due to the discovery of his HIV, he attempted a comeback in 1996, which had limited success.

3. Wilt Chamberlain

At 7ft 1in and, at times, over 300 lbs, Wilt Chamberlain was an imposing and intimidating figure on the basketball court. He scored 31,419 points in his career, one of only five players to have passed the 30,000 mark, as well as recording 23,924 rebounds and 4,643 assists.

Chamberlain is a two time NBA Champion and four time NBA MVP. In 1960 Chamberlain was named Rookie of the Year, and went on to be named in 13 All-Star teams, and ten All-NBA teams.

He holds many records, including most points averaged by a single player in a season (50.4), Most points by a player in one season (4,029), and most points by a player in one half (59). He is perhaps most famous for his 100-point-game, which increasingly looks like an unbeatable record.

He is also one of the best re-bounders in NBA history.

2. Kareem Abdul Jabbar

7ft 2in Jabbar was probably the greatest points scorer in NBA history. His career total of 38,387 is the most totalled by any player by quite a way. One of his most potent weapons was his "Skyhook" shot, which was nigh-on impossible to block.

In addition to his record breaking points tally, Jabbar also recorded 17,440 rebounds and 3,189 blocks. He is a six time NBA Champion, and holds the record for amount of NBA MVP awards won with six.

He was named in the All-Star team 19 times, and the All-NBA team 15 times. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1970.

1. Michael Jordan

There is little debate over who the greatest is. Chamberlain and Jabbar provide some competition, but no-one scaled the heights quite as high as Jordan. Voted Sportsman of the Century by more than one organisation, he doesn't just have a claim to be the greatest basketball player ever, but the greatest sportsman as well.

Nicknamed "Air Jordan" for his phenomenal jumping ability, he broke all kinds of records in basketball. As well as being as very dangerous attacker, Jordan is considered one of the best defensively as well.

He scored 32,292 points, and recorded 6,672 rebounds and 5,633 assists. He is a six time NBA Champion, a five time NBA MVP, a 14 time All-Star team member and an 11 time All-NBA member.

He has been named Rookie of the Year and was included in nine All-Defensive First teams. He holds many records, most notably the highest career points per game with 30.1 ppg.

I am in no doubt that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time!

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