Naming the best basketball player ever lived is a pretty difficult task and is something that we can’t take lightly. That’s why we decided to put our big boy pants and ventured into the realms of listing down some of the best NBA players that set foot on the hardwood.
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without any guidance coming from the experts from ESPN who placed huge investments of resources to come up with all the information that we need. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our compilation of top-ranking NBA players in the history of the sport.
30.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 2.3 SPG
- Chicago Bulls 1984-1993, 1995-1998
- Washington Wizards 2001-2003
People call Michael Jordan as the G.O.A.T when it comes to basketball and for those who are not familiar with the term, it simply means the greatest of all time! He managed to bring home six NBA championships and six season MVP trophies in his house protected by a top-notch home security system. After his final retirement from the game, he went on and bought a portion of the ownership of an NBA team situated in North Carolina called the Charlotte Bobcats which is now known as Hornets.
27.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.6 SPG
- Cleveland Cavaliers 2003-2010, 2014-2018
- Miami Heat 2010-2014
- Los Angeles Lakers 2018-2020
LeBron James is one of those players that only comes once in every generation. Most people describe his physical body paired with his abilities as nothing that they have seen before. He showcases his talent in playing at both ends of the floor. James’ offensive talents are well above the leagues of others while his defensive skill is considered top-notch. King James still has plenty of gas left in his tank and he’s still not showing any signs of slowing down.
24.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.6 APG
- Milwaukee Bucks 1969-1975
- Los Angeles Lakers 1975-1989
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a scoring beast on the hardwood during his heyday. He spent twenty years in the league with six championship credits and has six league MVP awards under his belt. However, these numbers can’t be compared to the record that he set while playing the game. For those who are not in the loop, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the all-time leader when it comes to points scored by a longshot. As of the time of writing, the only active player that could possibly match or even come close to his numbers is LeBron James with more than 34,000 points he made in the last seventeen years in the league as opposed to Kareem’s 38,387 points inside his two-decade run in the NBA.
15.1 PPG, 22.5 RPG, 4.3 APG
- Boston Celtics 1956-1969
Bill Russell is considered one of the biggest winners in basketball history. He was part of the core group of the legendary Boston Celtics that won eight straight NBA titles from 1959 NBA season up until 1966 and was instrumental in getting eleven NBA championships in his thirteen years in the league. He also won two NCAA titles for the University Of San Francisco men’s basketball team. On top of that, Russell was the team captain of the United States national basketball team that brought home the gold medal back in 1956. His success on that hardwood didn’t reflect on the investments he put up over the years and most of the businesses he established either went into bankruptcy or had a lackluster performance.
19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 11.2 APG, 1.9 SPG
- Los Angeles Lakers 1979-1991, 1996
The 1980s Los Angeles Lakers were one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA and they revolutionized the game with their fast-pace and flashy offense that dominated the league. He is one of the greatest point guards that ever played the game and probably the most unique as well. Johnson’s physique made him a one of a kind point guard in the league. On top of that, Magic was listed at 6’9” making him one of the tallest guards in the league. He has five championship credits under his wing and three league MVPs.
30.1 PPG, 22.9 RPG, 4.4 APG
- Philadelphia Warriors 1959-62
- San Francisco Warriors 1962-1965
- Philadelphia 76ers 1965-1968
- Los Angeles Lakers 1968-1973
When we are talking about raw numbers and sheer dominance, without a doubt Wilt Chamberlain is always on the top of the conversation. For those who don’t know, he’s the current holder of the NBA all-time record of points in a single game at 100 and from the looks of things, his record will stand the test of time.
Aside from earning a huge amount in his basketball career, he also made a truckload of money as a coach of an ABA team. He later retired after one season as a coach and pretty much lived on the investments he made during his prime.
24.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG
- Boston Celtics 1979-1992
Basketball became a global phenomenon during the 80s and 90s. One of the reasons why the game became a worldwide success was this guy right here, Larry Bird. He is considered one of the legends of the game and many look at him as their inspiration.
During his collegiate year, he was never worried about student loans and such after receiving full-scholarship coming from Indiana State University. In return, he’ll have to give his talent and play for the men’s basketball team. It also set the stage for one of the biggest rivalries in the game.
19.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.2 BPG
- San Antonio Spurs 1997-2016
Starting from the get-go, the big man from Wake Forest already made a huge impact on the game of basketball with his unique skill set that was not common to any big men around the league. After earning his degree in his collegiate years, he went on to the NBA as the first overall pick of the 1997 draft class.
As we all know, centers and power forwards playing in the NBA usually use their huge and bulky bodies to power their way towards the rim. However, Tim Duncan strived using only his wits and his masterful fundamental moves, earning the nickname “The Big Fundamental.”
25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG
- Los Angeles Lakers 1996-2016
No one can argue that Kobe Bryant might be one of the most competitive athletes of all-time. His intense drive for making a better version of himself made him one of the top players of all-time. In fact, Bryant is always at the top of that conversation. He accumulated five championship rings including a three-peat while playing alongside Shaq.
Kobe also showed a great deal of money management skills over the course of his career and he was able to build up a vast amount of fortune that can rival any of the biggest names in the world of sports. His legacy will always be remembered.
23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.3 BPG
- Orlando Magics 1992-1996
- Los Angeles Lakers 1996-2004
- Miami Heat 2004-2008
- Phoenix Suns 2008-2009
- Cleveland Cavaliers 2009-2010
- Boston Celtics 2010-2011
Without any shadow of doubt, the Big Diesel was one of the most physically-imposing players of all-time. His powerful body paired with all the athletic abilities he had was his main selling point why he became a four-time champ, three-time Finals MVP and a fifteen-time All-Star. He also made a truck-load of fortune during his time with the NBA and we are pretty sure he kept his financial advisors as busy as a beaver.