As some basketball players’ prestigious careers come to an end by the end of a decade, new names emerge and are heralded by the people every decade. Similarly, in the 1990s, the limelight was taken away from Larry and Magic and shone brightly on Michael Jordan during the renowned ‘Golden Era’ of basketball. Apart from Michael Jordon, there were many other popular basketball players in the 90s, but let’s start with the number one and his achievements in this decade.
1. Michael Jordon
In the 1980s, a somewhat young Michael had astonished players like Kareem with his achievements and score averages in the first five seasons. The 1990s were all about the supremely talented Michael Jordon, who was unbeatable. His team, Chicago Bulls, remained unbeatable in six of the eight seasons that he played.
His achievements in this decade were six times NBA Champion, six times NBA Finals MVP, four times NBA MVP, seven times NBA All-Star, two times NBA All-Star Game MVP, seven times NBA Scoring Champion, two times NBA Steals Champion, seven times All-NBA First Team and seven times NBA All-Defensive First Team. His average was 30.8 points per game, 5.1 assists per game, 6.3 rebounds per game and 2.3 steals per game.
2. Hakeem Olajuwon
The powerhouse Hakeem, also named ‘the Dream’ by his fans and other co-players, is best known for taking advantage of Jordon’s break from the league in 1994 and 1995 when the Houston Rockets won the titles.
His average was 23.9 points per game, 11.6 rebounds per game, and 3.5 blocks per game, while his achievements were two times NBA Champion, two times NBA Finals MVP, 1994 NBA MVP, seven times NBA All-Star, three times All-NBA First Team and three times NBA All-Defensive First Team. Olajuwon played in ten seasons of this decade and showed the swift jaw-dropping moves to carry the ball to the hoop.
3. David Robinson
David Robinson, the ‘Admiral’ of the San Antonio Spurs, was famous for his discipline, bodybuilder type looks and an innate ability to lead. He believed in actions more than words, and this is what he did in the court. Due to his focused nature, he was able to bag 1999 NBA Champion, 1995 NBA MVP, 1992 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, eight times NBA All-Star, four times NBA All-Star, four times NBA All-Defensive First Team, 1990 NBA Rookie of the Year and 1990 NBA All-Rookie First Team.
Robinson’s double figured average scores were 24.4 points per game, 11.5 rebounds per game, 3.1 blocks per game and 3.0 assists per game. These scores led him to the Hall of Fame.
4. Karl Malone
Karl Malone was a consistent man who gave his opponents the toughest time. He took the Utah Jazz to the playoff rounds in the 1990s. It was unfortunate of the ‘Mail Man’ to not win a title in this era, but he still managed to keep his points per game above 20, which led him to an average of 24.4 points per game.
His rebounding, blocking and assisting skills were also up to the mark, i.e. 11.5 rebounds per game, 3.1 blocks per game and 3.0 assists per game. On the other hand, he achieved two times NBA MVP, nine times NBA All-Star, ten times All-NBA First Team, three times NBA All-Defensive First Team and 1993 NBA All-Star Game MVP.
5. Charles Barkley
The ‘The Round Mound of Rebound’ was one of the top performers of the 1990s, with God gifted skills to take a toll on the opponent’s mind. In this decade, he played in ten seasons for Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets but could never win a title.
His average scores were 22.4 points per game, 11.6 rebounds per game, 4.2 assists per game and 1.5 steals per game. The cheery, relentless and unforgettable Barkley’s achievements include 1993 NBA MVP, eight times NBA All-Star, two times All-NBA First Team and 1991 NBA All-Star Game MVP.
6. Scottie Pippen
One of Michael Jordon’s partners in six victories of the Chicago Bulls in this decade, Pippen played ten seasons. He performed his best when Jordon took a leave for two years from the basketball. By the end of the decade, he was a part of the Houston Rockets, maintaining his averages to 19.2 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, 5.9 assists per game and 2.2 steals per game.
The backbone of the Bulls had achieved six times NBA Champion, seven times NBA All-Star, 1994 NBA All-Star Game MVP, three times NBA All-First Team and eight times NBA All-Defensive First Team.
7. Shaquille O’Neal
The young boy of L. A. Lakers came into the NBA in 1992. The man dominated two decades, the 1990s and 2000s. O’Neal had an impressive average of 27.1 points per game, 12.2 rebounds per game and 2.6 blocks per game this decade. His accomplishments in the 1990s were the clear predictors that he would rule the 2000s as he had received six times NBA All-Star, 1995 NBA Scoring Champion, 1998 All-NBA First Team, 1993 Rookie of the Year and 1993 NBA All-Rookie First Team.
8. John Stockton
John Stockton was a Utah Jazz star who took his team to the finals of two seasons but lost against the Bulls or, more specifically, Jordon. He was the best in assists in the first seven years of the 1990s, which later declined. This an incredible shooter and unapologetically fine defender played ten seasons in this decade, keeping his average at 14.9 points per game, 11.9 assists per game and 2.3 steals per game. His achievements included eight times NBA All-Star, 1993 NBA All-Star Game MVP, two times All-NBA First Team and seven times NBA Assists Leader.
9. Clyde Drexler
Clyde Drexler was the man who saw the talent in Michael Jordon and gave him a chance to show his skills on a bigger platform. He was famous for his style of moving around the entire court. He was a pure all-rounder who knew exactly how to bring downfall on the opponent, though he could only win one title with the Rockets during this decade.
Drexler retired in 1998, leaving behind the average of 20.9 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, 5.7 assists per game and 1.8 steals per game in the 1990s only. He played nine seasons in this glorious era taking 1995 NBA Champion, seven times NBA All-Star and 1992 All-NBA First Team with him.
10. Patrick Ewing
Patrick Ewing was the leading figure of the New York Knicks that made appearances in the finals twice in the 1990s. The beast of Knicks was undoubtedly a legend who could never win a title. Patrick was famous for his innate leading abilities and was a terrific player on both sides of the ball. He was a part of all the ten seasons in the 1990s and had an average of 24.1 points per game, 11.0 rebounds per game and 2.7 blocks per game. His achievements in this decade were eight times NBA All-Star and 1990 All-NBA First Team.
Popular basketball players in the 90s left behind a legacy that basketball fans still remember and cherish. The basketball players of the 90s set a benchmark for performance, skill, and perseverance that newcomers in the field are measured against till today.