Imagine the sports entertainment landscape without basketball: you can’t. The rivalry and extreme competition in the court were enough reasons for young and adult fans to fall deeply into the sports. Ever since the National Basketball Association (NBA) birth in 1946, the world has witnessed the rise of basketball superstars that owned the hardwood throughout their careers. Many of them later became etched in the hearts of minds of fans and forever hailed as basketball legends in their glory.
Fans across the globe would argue as to who are the greatest players of all time. Some even showed rankings of said players based on their performances in the NBA. Each person has his list – no doubt to that. But, despite the personal opinions, we can all agree that every NBA player deserved recognition for bringing NBA to the pedestal. If you don’t have your list yourself, this one might give you a heads up. Here are the greatest basketball players of all time.
1. EARVIN “MAGIC” JOHNSON JR.
As a classic NBA player who dominated the 80s, we can’t forget about Magic Johnson. The man is of the pillars of the NBA and is the league’s best point guard of all time. Magic revolutionized the NBA when he entered the scene in 1979 playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. The friendship he has with his rival Larry Bird of the Celtics, whom he contended with during the 1979 NCAA finals, brought massive interest to the league and drew more viewership. Displaying incredible fast breaks and no-look passes in every game he plays was enough reason to catapult NBA to the global limelight. More and more fans expressed interest in the Finals games, and not soon after, more games were televised to international audiences.
2. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
With his immense physically reeking of a devastating aura, Shaq proved to be the NBA’s best center of all time. Although one may think he can only use his hulk-like stature for defensive play, Shaq is also surprisingly agile and athletic, displaying incredible ball handling and tact to find his way in-and-out the lanes to score or get a score rebound.
His massive power inside the court gives him all the leverage to spice up the game and stand a chance even against powerful NBA dynasties. O’Neal stood against NBA’S most powerful players. One of the best stand-offs was with Michael Jordan himself, where he outplayed and crossed the NBA legend on his way to the basket.
3. BILL RUSSEL
When we talk about NBA Championships, Bill Russel always comes to mind. Russel is the leagues greatest winner – holding the record of winning the most championships in NBA history.; 11 to be precise. Aside from his impressive track record, Russel was also notable for his role as Celtic’s weapon in becoming a defensive juggernaut in the NBA scene. The man also transcended the color barrier in the United States, proving that a man of color like himself could also achieve greatness. Not only he became the first-ever black coach in the league, but he also became the first one to win a championship.
4. KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was also force recognized by his fellow players as soon as he stepped foot in the hardwood. Back in his teens, Kareem has already proven his supremacy, winning 71 consecutive games. Kareem was always known for his “skyhook” shot – a formidable swing lob that always made his opponents defenseless. Throughout his career, the man won six championships and seized six NBA MVP awards. He still holds an impressive record for most rebounds; most points scored, most blocks, most wins, most games played. At age 42, the NBA icon retired from basketball.
5. LEBRON JAMES
The arrival of the 18-year-old LeBron James in the NBA scene made everyone conclude the man was “The Chosen One” – the one who would take after the legendary Michael Jordan. Some fans even argue that LeBron is the greatest player in NBA history, and all for excellent reasons. LeBron was the only player to win NBA Championships with three teams, the Cavaliers, Heat, and Lakers, as the Finals’ NBA.
‘King James’ was a dominator throughout his NBA career, carrying on his own the then crestfallen Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007 to the Finals. He overthrew two of the greatest teams in the league (the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors) on his way to clinch the championship and brought glory back to the Cavaliers. The extraordinary turn of events ended the team’s 52-year championship drought. The man is indeed unlike his fellow NBA players had ever seen. LeBron can ultimately nail every aspect of the game – he can shoot on any given day, get the most rebounds, perform forward passes as no one can.
6. MICHAEL JORDAN
You cannot miss Jordan’s prominence in the NBA, as he is still the most marketed player to date. The name Jordan is synonymous with basketball itself – when talking about the sports, one of the most familiar names we’ll hear is his. Why? Well, it is because Jordan made the most wins than anyone, and he holds an unblemished Finals record.
As the dominator of the 90s NBA scene, Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest player in the league’s history, a debate between his fans and LeBron James’. It was indeed Jordan who put the NBA back to the spotlights, with his formidable prowess in the court – scoring thirty points per game on average, making him the league’s greatest scorer of all time. He took the Chicago Bulls to an incredible 72 victories and a championship, displaying his offensive play and intelligent defensive strategies every time.