The place LeBron, Jordan, Kobe and the sport’s legends test in: Rating the NBA’s seventy fifth Anniversary Staff


NBA All-Star Weekend was a showcase of immediately’s superstars, however it was additionally a celebration of the most effective gamers all through 75 years of league historical past.

Earlier within the 2021-22 season, the NBA unveiled its 75th Anniversary Team, a squad stuffed with iconic gamers representing totally different factors within the evolution of basketball.

However the league by no means ranked them. We did.

ESPN’s NBA knowledgeable panel voted on hundreds of head-to-head participant matchups, making an allowance for the standard and amount of their NBA contributions.

LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan? Kawhi Leonard vs. Gary Payton? Stephen Curry vs. Larry Hen? Kevin Durant vs. Kobe Bryant? Old-fashioned vs. new faculty?

Though they arrive from totally different eras, every of those gamers modified the sport. This is the place the NBA’s best possible test in on our listing, working from No. 76 all the best way to No. 1.

Word: Gamers’ accomplishments within the NBL, the ABA, faculty or worldwide basketball weren’t thought-about through the voting course of. The voting pool included 76 gamers, as there was a tie through the NBA’s voting for its seventy fifth Anniversary Staff.

No. 76: Invoice Sharman

  • 1950-51 Washington Capitols; 1951-61 Boston Celtics

  • 17.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.0 APG

A Corridor of Famer as each a participant and coach, Sharman starred alongside Bob Cousy in Boston’s backcourt within the Nineteen Fifties, profitable 4 championships. He additionally was one of many recreation’s nice early shooters, setting a file without spending a dime throw share (93.2) through the 1958-59 season that lasted practically twenty years. — Tim Bontemps

Lillard has a taking pictures vary that rivals Stephen Curry‘s and has turn out to be one of the crucial clutch gamers within the recreation — his series-ending daggers over the Rockets and OKC come to thoughts. He is so clutch that his efficiency within the last stretches of video games has garnered its personal nickname: Dame Time. And he lets you understand each single time. — Kendra Andrews

No. 74: Dave Bing

  • 1966-75 Detroit Pistons; 1975-77 Washington Bullets; 1977-78 Boston Celtics

  • 20.3 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.8 RPG

Bing’s profession was threatened twice by eye accidents — falling and poking his left eye on a rusty nail as a baby, then struggling a indifferent retina in his proper eye through the preseason in 1971. However Bing did not enable both harm to chop his profession quick. He discovered a approach to make seven All-Star groups and gave the Pistons their first style of success after shifting from Fort Wayne to Detroit. — Jamal Collier

No. 73: Dave DeBusschere

  • 1962-68 Detroit Pistons; 1968-74 New York Knicks

  • 16.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 2.9 APG

For the primary six years the NBA began naming an All-Defensive First Staff, DeBusschere’s title was included on the listing. He was one of many NBA’s all-time nice defenders, a player-coach for the Pistons in simply his third season who then turned a defining member of the Knicks’ championship groups within the Seventies. — Collier

No. 72: Billy Cunningham

  • 1965-72, 1974-76 Philadelphia 76ers; additionally performed two ABA seasons with Carolina Cougars (1972-74)

  • 20.8 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 4.0 APG

A fixture with the 76ers as each a participant and coach, Cunningham was a part of one of the crucial iconic groups in NBA historical past: the 1967 NBA champion Sixers. He was known as the Kangaroo Child due to his leaping potential, and although a knee harm reduce his profession quick, he completed it with a 20-10 common, 4 All-Star appearances and 4 All-NBA groups. — Bontemps

Taking the torch from Kevin Garnett as a close to 7-footer who can utterly dominate a recreation defensively with the offensive ability set to function exterior of the low submit on the opposite finish, Davis continues to redefine what a giant man can do. Nonetheless solely 28, there’s lots extra in retailer for him so long as he stays wholesome. — Dave McMenamin

No. 70: Dolph Schayes

  • 1948-64 Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers

  • 18.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 3.1 APG

Among the best gamers within the NBA’s early years, Schayes was one of many final gamers to make use of a two-handed set shot and was a high-impact middle throughout his 16 seasons with the Nationals and 76ers. Schayes’ shot was so iconic that it even earned its personal nickname: Sputnik, named after the primary satellite tv for pc orbiting the planet. — Bontemps

Coming into the league with a deal with and taking pictures contact of a taking pictures guard however with the peak and broad shoulders of a conventional frontcourt participant, Anthony crammed the position of a stretch-4 earlier than the place turned a staple of each NBA roster. An unapologetic scorer, Anthony is No. 9 on the all-time factors listing. — McMenamin

  • 2008-2019 Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder; 2019-2020 Houston Rockets; 2020-2021 Washington Wizards; 2021-22 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 22.9 PPG, 8.5 APG, 7.4 RPG

Mr. Triple-Double. Westbrook owns the file for profession triple-doubles — 193 — beating out Oscar Robertson’s earlier mark. Westbrook additionally holds the file for consecutive triple-doubles (11 in a row). In actual fact, he owns three of the highest 4 such streaks. — Andrews

The unofficial titleholder for probably the most dominant rebounder in NBA historical past, Rodman led the league within the class for seven consecutive seasons. Rodman received Defensive Participant of the 12 months twice and was a five-time NBA champion as a centerpiece for dynasties in Detroit and Chicago. On the courtroom, his play was relentless. Off it, he was all the time one of many league’s greatest enigmas. — Collier

No. 66: Paul Arizin

  • 1950-52, 1954-62 Philadelphia Warriors

  • 22.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.3 APG

The bounce shot has turn out to be a necessary a part of the NBA — and particularly immediately’s 3-point-happy model of the game. It was dropped at the NBA 70 years in the past by Arizin, the sweet-shooting ahead from Villanova who went on to turn out to be one of many recreation’s early prolific scorers along with his hometown crew. In 1962, he selected to retire slightly than transfer with the Philadelphia Warriors to San Francisco. — Bontemps

No. 65: Lenny Wilkens

  • 1960-68 St. Louis Hawks; 1968-72 Seattle SuperSonics; 1972-74 Cleveland Cavaliers; 1974-75 Portland Path Blazers

  • 16.5 PPG, 6.7 APG, 4.7 RPG

“Coach, you performed?” Shaquille O’Neal famously requested Wilkens through the 1994 All-Star Weekend. By then, he was higher identified for his prolonged teaching profession. (Wilkens was the one individual chosen each among the many league’s high 75 gamers and high 15 coaches.) Earlier than, nonetheless, Wilkens was a nine-time All-Star as a degree guard who excelled as each a scorer and a playmaker — together with twice as player-coach for the SuperSonics. So, yeah, he positively performed. — Kevin Pelton

No. 64: Hal Greer

  • 1958-73 Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers

  • 19.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG

Greer was overshadowed by spending a big chunk of his profession taking part in alongside the legendary Wilt Chamberlain, however he goes down in historical past as not solely the primary participant to have his quantity retired by the 76ers but in addition remaining because the franchise’s chief in a bunch of classes, together with video games, minutes and factors. — Bontemps

No. 63: Robert Parish

Do not cut back Parish to the trivia of taking part in an NBA-record 1,611 video games over a 21-season profession he capped by profitable a fourth title at age 43 with the Bulls in 1997. Lengthy earlier than that, Parish was a really perfect All-Star complement to the Celtics’ different frontcourt stars due to his abilities and willingness to simply accept — and sometimes deal out — the bodily play within the paint within the Nineteen Eighties. — Pelton

No. 62: Paul Pierce

  • 1998-2013 Boston Celtics; 2013-14 Brooklyn Nets; 2014-15 Washington Wizards; 2015-17 LA Clippers

  • 19.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.3 SPG

Maybe considered one of Pierce’s greatest moments was in 2000-01, when he performed all 82 video games, turned the primary Celtic to attain 2,000 or extra factors since Larry Hen in 1987-88 and averaged over 25 factors in simply his third 12 months within the league. Following his breakout marketing campaign, Pierce made the All-Star crew 10 of the subsequent 11 seasons. — Andrews

No. 61: Dave Cowens

One of the dominant facilities of his period, Cowens averaged a double-double in eight straight seasons. He received Rookie of the 12 months after Boston made him the No. 4 choose within the draft and received an MVP award two years later. Cowens helped lead the Celtics to championships in 1974 and 1976. — Collier

No. 60: Sam Jones

Lengthy earlier than there was “Playoff Rondo,” Jones earned the nickname “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for delivering within the greatest moments. As a five-time All-Star, Jones was hardly ineffective through the common season, however he elevated his scoring common within the playoffs yearly from 1961-62 by way of 1966-67 — peaking at 28.6 PPG in 1965 — because the Celtics received 5 championships throughout that span. — Pelton

No. 59: Nate Archibald

  • 1970-76 Cincinnati Royals/Kansas Metropolis-Omaha Kings/Kansas Metropolis Kings; 1976-77 New York Nets; 1978-83 Boston Celtics; 1983-84 Milwaukee Bucks

  • 18.8 PPG, 7.4 APG, 2.3 RPG

In 1972-73, in simply his third NBA season, the 6-foot-1, 150-pound Archibald averaged 34.0 factors and 11.4 assists per recreation. No different participant in NBA historical past has these scoring and help averages in the identical season (solely Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook additionally had 30-point, 10-assist seasons). His 34.0 factors per recreation that season can also be the very best level whole for a participant at that peak in NBA historical past. — Andrew Lopez

No. 58: Elvin Hayes

  • 1968-71 San Diego Rockets, 1971-72, 1981-84 Houston Rockets; 1972-73 Baltimore Bullets, 1973-74 Capital Bullets, 1974-81 Washington Bullets

  • 21.0 PPG, 12.5 RPG

The “Large E” made a right away affect, averaging 28.4 factors and 17.1 rebounds as a rookie in 1968-69. He would finally win the rebounding title twice and assist future teammate Wes Unseld take the Bullets to 3 Finals appearances, together with the championship in 1978. The Bullets/Wizards have not come near that sort of success since. Identified for his regular turnaround jumper, Hayes is Washington’s all-time main scorer and second in rebounding to Unseld. Hayes missed simply 9 video games over 16 seasons. — Ohm Youngmisuk

  • 1964-74 New York Knicks

  • 18.7 PPG, 12.9 RPG

The legend of Reed’s efficiency in 1970 alone may earn him inclusion on this listing. Within the NBA Finals with the Knicks, Reed tore a thigh muscle that compelled him to overlook Recreation 6 of the collection, however he needed to be on the ground for Recreation 7. The group at Madison Sq. Backyard went wild seeing Reed stroll onto the ground, and though he completed with simply 4 factors and three rebounds, the Knicks received the championship. In 1970, Reed turned the primary participant in NBA historical past to win MVP, All-Star Recreation MVP and Finals MVP in the identical 12 months. — Collier

  • 1982-94 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 17.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.1 SPG

Personifying the idea of being a star in your position, Worthy’s potential to defend, run the ground and end enabled the Showtime Lakers to be so efficient taking part in the fashion they employed. Whereas Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar get the lion’s share of the credit score for these groups, Worthy’s 1988 NBA Finals MVP distinction tells the story of simply how key he was in L.A.’s success, incomes his “Large Recreation James” nickname for elevating his play when the video games mattered most. — McMenamin

No. 55: Earl Monroe

Monroe’s silky clean recreation earned him the moniker “Earl The Pearl” and turned him into an icon for a complete technology of gamers. Monroe’s recreation had a contemporary aptitude to it, which he honed as a child on the playgrounds in Philadelphia, and the partnership he fashioned with Walt Frazier in New York remains to be the most effective backcourt tandems in NBA historical past. — Bontemps

No. 54: Pete Maravich

  • 1970-74 Atlanta Hawks; 1974-79 New Orleans Jazz; 1979-80 Utah Jazz; 1980 Boston Celtics

  • 24.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.4 APG

Famed for his record-setting scoring taking part in for his father at LSU, Maravich by no means fairly reached those self same heights throughout an NBA profession reduce quick by harm. Nonetheless, he led the league in scoring at 31.1 PPG in 1976-77 whereas taking part in for the New Orleans Jazz, incomes considered one of his 4 All-NBA honors. We’re additionally left to surprise what if Maravich had performed his full profession with the 3-point line, launched throughout his last season. — Pelton

  • 1983-95 Portland Path Blazers; 1995-98 Houston Rockets

  • 20.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.6 APG, 2.0 SPG

“Clyde the Glide” was identified for his high-flying methods, however he was additionally one of many extra dominant rebounding guards in NBA historical past. Drexler’s 2,615 offensive rebounds are probably the most by a participant who primarily performed guard in NBA historical past. Drexler can also be considered one of 4 gamers in league historical past to have no less than 2,000 offensive rebounds and a couple of,000 steals (Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone). — Lopez

  • 1976-85 San Antonio Spurs; 1985-86 Chicago Bulls; additionally performed 4 ABA seasons with Virginia Squires (1972-74) and San Antonio Spurs (1973-76)

  • 26.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.8 APG

The “Iceman” epitomized cool throughout his profession. Gervin glided his approach to buckets, usually with a gold chain or two dangling from his neck, profitable 4 scoring titles en route to twenty,708 factors within the NBA. His well-known finger rolls, an exceptional mix of aptitude and performance, have been so memorable that Nike made them right into a advertising and marketing line lengthy after Gervin hung up his high-tops. — Tim MacMahon

The Pacers’ legend turned one of many best shooters in NBA historical past with one of many quickest releases the sport has seen. However what outlined the Corridor of Famer’s 18 seasons, other than his taking pictures prowess, was his loyalty. He liked being the face of the Pacers and he liked that he performed his complete profession in Indianapolis. He is without doubt one of the final gamers of his period who did not begin ring chasing on the finish of his profession. — Nick Friedell

  • 2009-2012 Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder; 2012-2021 Houston Rockets; 2021-2022 Brooklyn Nets; 2022 Philadelphia 76ers

  • 25.0 PPG, 6.7 APG, 5.6 RPG

Harden could be probably the most polarizing participant of his technology. His partnerships with a number of co-stars have produced disagreeable breakups and no championships, and his fashion of play generates plenty of groans and criticism. However there is not any query that Harden is at or close to the highest of the listing of the most effective isolation scorers within the historical past of the sport. He modified the sport along with his step-back 3 — and the NBA modified the principles attributable to his foul-drawing ways. — MacMahon

No. 49: Nate Thurmond

  • 1963-74 San Francisco/Golden State Warriors; 1974-75 Chicago Bulls; 1975-77 Cleveland Cavaliers

  • 15.0 PPG, 15.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.1 BPG

Thurmond’s profession was outlined partly by the defensive depth he introduced on a nightly foundation. He earned respect from his friends by how onerous he performed and the way robust it was to go towards him. His presence loomed massive by way of 15 NBA seasons as evidenced by the 15 factors and 15 rebounds per recreation he averaged throughout an NBA profession wherein he turned a beloved member of the Warriors’ group. — Friedell

No. 48: Wes Unseld

  • 1968-73 Baltimore Bullets, 1973-74 Capital Bullets, 1974-81 Washington Bullets

  • 10.8 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 3.9 APG

No participant rebounded within the paint in addition to the sturdily-built Unseld. Utilizing his energy, Unseld averaged 13.8 factors and 18.2 rebounds as a rookie for the Bullets, becoming a member of Wilt Chamberlain as the one two gamers to ever win Rookie of the 12 months and MVP in a single season. Unseld is the best Bullet of all time, performed probably the most video games (984) in franchise historical past and was seventh all time in rebounding when he retired. However Unseld wasn’t simply all muscle; he was the most effective outlet passers the NBA has seen. He stays a legend within the D.C. space for delivering the franchise’s solely NBA championship. — Youngmisuk

No. 47: Ray Allen

  • 1996-2003 Milwaukee Bucks, 2003-07 Seattle SuperSonics; 2007-12 Boston Celtics; 2012-14 Miami Heat

  • 18.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.3 3PG

Earlier than Stephen Curry got here alongside and broke his all-time 3-point file, Allen was thought to be the smoothest taking pictures participant of all time. What set Allen aside wasn’t simply his dominance from the surface, it was the work ethic that helped obtain that stage of basketball greatness. Lengthy after he turned the most effective gamers within the league, Allen maintained the identical mindset that obtained him to that time — exhibiting up hours earlier than his teammates to undergo the identical taking pictures drill he accomplished religiously throughout his Corridor of Fame profession. — Friedell

No. 46: Jerry Lucas

  • 1963-69 Cincinnati Royals; 1969-71 San Francisco Warriors; 1971-74 New York Knicks

  • 17.0 PPG, 15.6 RPG, 3.3 APG

Lucas averaged 15.6 rebounds a recreation throughout his illustrious profession — whereas taking pictures 49.9% from the sector — however what appeared to set Lucas aside was his mind. Nicknamed “Dr. Memory,” Lucas used his thoughts and his recall of opponents’ tendencies to enhance all of his bodily abilities on the ground. — Friedell

No. 45: Bob McAdoo

It did not take lengthy for McAdoo to start out dominating, getting off to the most effective particular person begins an NBA scorer can have. From his second to fourth season, McAdoo received three straight scoring titles, averaging 30.6 factors, 34.5 factors and 31.1 factors, respectively, throughout that span. He had a Rookie of the 12 months and MVP trophy by his fourth season. McAdoo would lastly win two championships as a task participant with the Lakers. — Youngmisuk

  • 1974-79 Portland Path Blazers; 1979-84 San Diego Clippers, 1984-85 LA Clippers; 1985-87 Boston Celtics

  • 13.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 3.4 APG, 2.2 BPG

Each time we speak in regards to the position of well being in profitable MVP, we’re compelled to caveat Walton’s 1977-78 season, when he received the award taking part in simply 58 video games. On the time Walton went down with a damaged foot in February, the defending champs have been 50-10 behind their middle’s rim safety and legendary playmaking. Sadly, Walton was by no means the identical dominant pressure, although he returned to contribute to the 1985-86 Celtics title, profitable the Sixth Man award. — Pelton

No. 43: Jason Kidd

  • 1994-96, 2008-12 Dallas Mavericks; 1996-2001 Phoenix Suns; 2001-08 New Jersey Nets; 2012-13 New York Knicks

  • 12.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 8.7 APG, 1.9 SPG

Kidd managed to be a dominant pressure for nearly twenty years with out ever scoring like a star, ending his profession second all time in each assists and steals. He was mocked as “Ason” early in his profession, when he lacked a bounce shot. He developed into an excellent spot-up shooter after his abilities waned in his twilight, one cause he match so nicely with Dirk Nowitzki because the leaders of the Mavs’ championship crew. — MacMahon

  • 1990-2003 Seattle SuperSonics; 2003 Milwaukee Bucks; 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers; 2004-05 Boston Celtics; 2005-07 Miami Warmth

  • 16.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.8 SPG

Remembered as one of many NBA’s best defenders within the backcourt, “the Glove” teamed up with Shawn Kemp to steer the brash, younger Sonics to 5 consecutive seasons of 55+ wins. In 1995-96, the season Payton turned the newest guard to win Defensive Participant of the 12 months, Seattle pushed the 72-10 Bulls to 6 video games within the NBA Finals. Payton would make 9 consecutive All-Defensive First Groups and completed fourth in profession steals. — Pelton

No. 41: Walt Frazier

  • 1967-77 New York Knicks; 1977-79 Cleveland Cavaliers

  • 18.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 6.1 APG

Generally known as a lot for his inimitable fashion off the courtroom as his play on it, Frazier turned the face of the Knicks’ iconic championship groups within the Seventies, because of his lengthy post-playing profession with the franchise. However he additionally was a dynamic two-way participant, who in Recreation 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals — remembered for Willis Reed taking part in on an injured leg — had 36 factors and 19 assists in one of many best performances of all time to steer the Knicks to their first title. — Bontemps

No. 40: Patrick Ewing

  • 1985-2000 New York Knicks; 2000-01 Seattle SuperSonics; 2001-02 Orlando Magic

  • 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.4 BPG

This Knicks massive man endeared himself to generations of New Yorkers due to his potential to carry out and produce below the brightest of spotlights. Whereas the Knicks by no means received a title throughout his profession, they received plenty of video games as a result of Ewing delivered recreation after recreation and season after season for a rabid fan base that appreciated how the Georgetown nice introduced the storied franchise again to life within the Nineteen Eighties and 90s. — Friedell

This Celtics’ legend is thought to be one of the crucial inventive submit gamers in historical past. McHale all the time appeared to discover a approach to make a play on the blocks and helped lead the storied Larry Hen-led groups with a toughness that outlined his profession. McHale’s potential to play by way of ache and harm made him one of the crucial beloved Celtics gamers of all time. — Friedell

No. 38: Rick Barry

  • 1965-67 San Francisco Warriors; 1972-78 Golden State Warriors; 1978-80 Houston Rockets; additionally performed 4 ABA seasons with Oakland Oaks (1968-69), Washington Capitols (1969-70) and New York Nets (1970-72)

  • 23.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.1 APG

Barry was an eight-time NBA All-Star, six-time All-NBA choice, an NBA champion and a scoring champion, however he could be greatest identified for a transfer that has by no means been replicated within the league. His signature, but funky, underhand free throw routine caught individuals’s consideration, however it was additionally practically computerized. Barry drained 90% of his NBA free throws, fourth greatest all time. — Andrews

No. 37: Steve Nash

  • 1996-98, 2004-12 Phoenix Suns; 1998-2004 Dallas Mavericks; 2012-14 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 14.3 PPG, 8.5 APG; 42.8 3P%

Nash pushed the tempo — and the NBA into the trendy period of up-tempo play — and it is form of a disgrace he did not play on this technology. He was the final word pass-first level guard — profitable 5 assists titles, together with each of his MVP seasons — who additionally possessed one of many recreation’s purest bounce pictures. Nash, a profession 42.8% 3-point shooter, admits he wonders what may have been if he had the shot-hunting mentality of a few of immediately’s elite level guards. — MacMahon

  • 1982-94 Atlanta Hawks; 1994 LA Clippers; 1994-95 Boston Celtics; 1996-97 San Antonio Spurs; 1999 Orlando Magic

  • 24.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.3 SPG

It would not get extra elite than Wilkins’ dunking abilities. The person they name “The Human Spotlight Movie” was one of many best dunkers of all time. He received the dunk contest in 1985 and 1990 (and possibly 1988 in the event you ask just a few individuals) and took part in 5 contests general. He additionally offered an inspiration for gamers getting back from Achilles accidents. After rupturing his in January 1992, Wilkins was prepared for the next 12 months and averaged 29.9 factors. — Lopez

No. 35: Bob Pettit

  • 1954-55 Milwaukee Hawks, 1955-65 St. Louis Hawks

  • 26.4 PPG, 16.2 RPG, 3.0 APG

Pettit was the primary participant in NBA historical past to achieve 20,000 factors and was a dominant pressure all through his 11 seasons. Pettit was named to the All-NBA first crew in every of his first 10 seasons and was an All-NBA second-team choice in his last 12 months. After averaging 20.4 factors as a rookie, he did not common fewer than 22.5 factors in any season. He additionally averaged no less than 12.4 rebounds in each season. — Lopez

No. 34: Bob Cousy

  • 1950-63 Boston Celtics; 1969-70 Cincinnati Royals

  • 18.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 7.5 APG

Cousy helped outline the purpose guard place along with his terrific passing abilities. He led the league in assists for a file eight consecutive seasons; his aptitude and playmaking helped usher in a brand new period of the game after the shot clock was instituted within the mid-Nineteen Fifties. He would go on to win six championships with the Celtics, was a 12-time All-NBA choice and a 13-time All-Star. — Bontemps

  • 2011-2018 San Antonio Spurs; 2018-2019 Toronto Raptors; 2019-22 LA Clippers

  • 19.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.8 SPG

With a few of the greatest palms the NBA has ever seen, Leonard has hauled in two NBA championship rings, two Finals MVP trophies (he is the second-youngest to ever win one) and two Defensive Participant of the 12 months awards. And he is not performed. Maybe the best two-way participant of his technology, Leonard dissects defenses with robotic midrange precision whereas disrupting offenses along with his lengthy arms and bodily protection. A person of few phrases, Leonard’s legacy speaks volumes already for serving to ship the primary NBA championship to Canada. — Youngmisuk

No. 32: Scottie Pippen

  • 1987-98, 2003-04 Chicago Bulls; 1999 Houston Rockets; 1999-2003 Portland Path Blazers

  • 16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2.0 SPG

Pippen carved out a profession for himself with unbelievable consistency on each ends of the ground. Pippen grew into his offensive recreation through the years, however his defensive tenacity was all the time extremely regarded by his teammates and coaches. Other than his play on the ground, Pippen is routinely introduced up as considered one of his former teammates’ favourite individuals to play with. Gamers trusted Pippen and so they all the time understood he was a extra full participant than he was given credit score for as a result of he performed in Michael Jordan’s gigantic shadow all through their time in Chicago. — Friedell

  • 1996-2006, 2009-10 Philadelphia 76ers; 2006-08 Denver Nuggets; 2008-09 Detroit Pistons; 2009 Memphis Grizzlies

  • 26.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.2 APG, 2.2 SPG

A cultural icon as a lot as he was a basketball participant, Iverson impressed a technology of prospects who adopted him in sharing their true, genuine self — slightly than an airbrushed company picture — as soon as they made it to the massive time. Whereas AI first made a splash along with his crossover dribble, his recreation got here to be outlined for the grit and tenacity he confirmed as a 6-foot, 165-pound guard placing his physique on the road amongst giants. — McMenamin

No. 30: Dwyane Wade

  • 2003-16, 2018-19 Miami Warmth; 2016-17 Chicago Bulls; 2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers

  • 22.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.5 SPG

The best participant in Warmth historical past, Wade did all of it with aptitude, toughness and clutch play. If there is not any D-Wade in Miami, there aren’t three championship banners hanging simply off Biscayne Bay Boulevard. With out Wade, there’s in all probability no Shaq, no LeBron and no Heatles in South Seashore. Wade gave Warmth Tradition its championship pedigree whereas incomes a Finals MVP and main the league in scoring (2008-09 when he averaged 30.2 factors per recreation). Wade all the time performed greater than his 6-foot-4 peak, blocking extra pictures than any guard in historical past, playoffs included. — Youngmisuk

  • 2005-2011 New Orleans/Oklahoma Metropolis Hornets; 2011-2017 Los Angeles Clippers; 2017-2019 Houston Rockets; 2019-2020 Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder; 2020-22 Phoenix Suns

  • 18.2 PPG, 9.5 APG, 4.5 RPG, 2.1 SPG

Nonetheless going robust in his seventeenth season, Paul turned the primary participant in NBA historical past to achieve 20,000 profession factors and 10,000 profession assists. He is additionally fifth all-time in steals (2,440) and will cross Michael Jordan for third place (2,514) subsequent season. Paul additionally holds the NBA file for consecutive video games with a steal (108), a streak that took half over three seasons (April 13, 2007, to Dec. 23, 2008). — Lopez

No. 28: George Mikan

  • 1948-49 (BAA), 1949-54, 1956 Minneapolis Lakers

  • 23.1 PPG, 13.4 RPG, 2.8 APG

The NBA’s first large, Mikan was an NBA pioneer. He ushered within the period of dominant massive males. The 6-foot-10 Mikan was so imposing inside, the league needed to widen the lane from 6 to 12 ft, aka the “Mikan rule.” Together with his hook shot, Mikan led the league in scoring in his first three seasons. The primary in a protracted lineage of dominant Lakers massive males, Mikan received 5 championships and was an envoy for the sport. — Youngmisuk

No. 27: Isiah Thomas

  • 1981-94 Detroit Pistons

  • 19.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 9.3 APG, 1.9 SPG

One of many NBA’s best level guards and one of many leaders of the “Unhealthy Boy” Pistons, Thomas was the most effective gamers of the Nineteen Eighties. He was an All-Star in his first season within the league, which started a 12 months of 12 straight appearances. He performed his total profession in Detroit and received back-to-back championships in 1989 and ’90, profitable Finals MVP in 1990. — Collier

  • 1962-78 Boston Celtics

  • 20.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.2 SPG

Havlicek, who received eight championships throughout his legendary profession with the Celtics, was one of many first gamers to popularize the position of sixth man. He additionally was one of the crucial full gamers ever, able to taking part in a number of totally different positions in addition to being an excellent two-way participant. — Bontemps

  • 1989-2003 San Antonio Spurs

  • 21.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 3.0 BPG

The Admiral was a defensive pressure who owns considered one of simply 4 quadruple-doubles in NBA historical past, when he had 34 factors, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 blocks towards the Pistons on Feb. 17, 1994. It stays the one 30-point quadruple double in NBA historical past. His 71-point effort within the regular-season finale in 1994 to win the scoring title trails solely Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant and David Thompson in all-time single-game scoring efforts. — Lopez

There was nothing flashy about Stockton, from his quick shorts to his sound fundamentals. He missed a complete of twenty-two video games in 19 seasons, all with the Jazz, and set profession assists and steals data that appear to be unbreakable. The Jazz’s area sits on the intersection of Stockton and Malone, honoring the duo that is virtually synonymous with the pick-and-roll. — MacMahon

No. 23: Karl Malone

  • 1985-2003 Utah Jazz; 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 25.0 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.4 SPG

“The Mailman” is probably the most embellished ringless participant in NBA historical past, incomes 14 All-Star nods and two MVPs and rating because the second all-time main scorer with 36,928 profession factors. However Malone had the misfortune of matching up with Michael Jordan’s Bulls in each of his NBA Finals appearances. — MacMahon

No. 22: Charles Barkley

  • 1984-92 Philadelphia 76ers; 1992-96 Phoenix Suns; 1996-2000 Houston Rockets

  • 22.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.5 SPG

Regardless of being listed at 6-foot-6 his total profession, and finally admitting he was shorter, Barkley was a rebounding machine. They did not name him the “Spherical Mound of Rebound” for nothing, proper? When he averaged 14.6 rebounds in 1986-87, he turned the shortest rebounding champion in NBA historical past within the shot-clock period (since 1954-55). — Lopez

No. 21: Kevin Garnett

  • 1995-2007, 2015-16 Minnesota Timberwolves; 2007-13 Boston Celtics; 2013-15 Brooklyn Nets

  • 17.8 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.4 BPG

Garnett was the primary highschool participant to go straight to the professionals in additional than twenty years when he was drafted fifth general by the Timberwolves in 1995, opening the doorways for the prep-to-pro pipeline that ensued. And as soon as within the NBA, Garnett helped modernize the best way massive males play the sport. He performed like a swingman, taking pictures midrange pictures and turning into simply considered one of three gamers in NBA historical past to have no less than 20,000 profession factors, 10,000 profession rebounds and 5,000 profession assists. Garnett performed with legendary ardour and a present of trash speak that rivaled the best within the recreation. — Youngmisuk

  • 1958-60 Minneapolis Lakers, 1960-72 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 27.4 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 4.3 APG

Earlier than the slam dunk turned synonymous with the game, Baylor — a clean, 6-foot-5 ahead with a knack for scoring — made a behavior of respiration the uncommon air above the rim. One in every of simply six gamers to drop 70 or extra in a recreation, and the proprietor of the highest-scoring recreation in Finals historical past with 61 factors, Baylor raised the bar for what a wing participant may accomplish. — McMenamin

  • 1960-74 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 27.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.7 APG

When you’re the emblem of the NBA, it means you will have performed one thing particular in your profession. However West actually did do every little thing: He was named an All-Star in all 14 seasons he performed, has 5 All-Defensive crew honors, a scoring title and an NBA championship (1972). In 1969, he turned the one participant in NBA historical past to win Finals MVP on a shedding crew. West can also be the definition of being loyal to a franchise, working with the Lakers as a participant, coach and front-office member. — Andrews

  • 2013-22 Milwaukee Bucks

  • 21.6 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 4.6 APG, 1.3 BPG

A relative unknown as an 18-year-old from Greece on draft evening in 2013, Antetokounmpo has reworked into one of the crucial dominant gamers of his technology. Contemplate the {hardware} he has collected since getting into the league: MVP (twice), Defensive Participant of the 12 months, Most Improved Participant and Finals MVP. It is clear why he’s a part of this listing at age 27. — Collier

No. 17: Dirk Nowitzki

  • 1998-2019 Dallas Mavericks

  • 20.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.3 3PG

Nowitzki revolutionized the sport as a 7-foot shooter and shattered the “mushy Euro” stereotype. He delivered the 2011 title to Dallas because the lone All-Star for the Mavs, who defeated the Warmth’s superteam within the Finals, avenging a loss in 2006. Nowitzki spent his total 21-year profession in Dallas, setting a file for size of a tenure with one franchise, and is the highest-scoring worldwide participant in NBA historical past. — MacMahon

No. 16: Stephen Curry

  • 2009-22 Golden State Warriors

  • 24.3 PPG, 6.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 42.8 3FG%

Earlier than Dec. 14, Curry was hesitant to name himself the best shooter of all time regardless of having modified the sport of basketball. However now that he has that file, he is fantastic with that title. Not solely has Curry hit 3,083 3s (and counting), he broke Ray Allen’s file in practically 500 fewer video games. By the point he hangs up his jersey, he can have obliterated the file. — Andrews

  • 1976 Buffalo Braves; 1976-82 Houston Rockets; 1982-86, 1993-94 Philadelphia 76ers; 1986-88 Washington Bullets; 1988-91 Atlanta Hawks; 1991-93 Milwaukee Bucks; 1994-95 San Antonio Spurs; additionally performed two ABA seasons with Utah Stars (1974-75) and Spirits of St. Louis (1975-76)

  • 20.6 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 1.3 BPG

Malone’s stellar profession included a feat that he, and he alone, has completed: profitable back-to-back MVPs with two totally different groups. He received with the Rockets in 1982 after which was traded to the 76ers the place he received the MVP, the championship and the Finals MVP in 1983. — McMenamin

  • 1976-87 Philadelphia 76ers; additionally performed 5 ABA seasons with Virginia Squires (1971-73) and New York Nets (1973-76)

  • 22.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.9 APG

Dr. J took dunking from one thing massive males did across the basket and turned it into an artwork kind. He threw down a few of the most memorable dunks in NBA historical past, however one of many performs he is remembered for many is a layup. Within the 1980 Finals, his reverse baseline scoop layup towards the Lakers turned a staple of spotlight reels. — Lopez

No. 13: Hakeem Olajuwon

  • 1984-2001 Houston Rockets; 2001-02 Toronto Raptors

  • 21.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 3.1 BPG

“The Dream” is probably probably the most expert and polished submit scorer to name for the ball on the block. His footwork was phenomenal — many gamers since have gone to him within the offseasons to be taught — and Olajuwon additionally had energy, athleticism and contact. He was arguably much more dominant as a defender, twice profitable Defensive Participant of the 12 months and setting a file for blocks in a profession which may by no means be challenged. — MacMahon

  • 2007-08 Seattle SuperSonics, 2008-16 Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder; 2016-19 Golden State Warriors; 2019-22 Brooklyn Nets

  • 27.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.1 BPG

Durant’s transfer to the Warriors in 2016 dramatically shifted the league’s steadiness of energy. Including the previous MVP to a crew that had gone 73-9 the 12 months earlier than created arguably the best crew in NBA historical past, with Durant shining brightest towards LeBron James within the NBA Finals to win Finals MVP back-to-back years. After an Achilles harm ended his third Finals run with Golden State, Durant has come again nearly as good as ever in Brooklyn. — Pelton

No. 11: Shaquille O’Neal

  • 1992-96 Orlando Magic; 1996-2004 Los Angeles Lakers; 2004-08 Miami Warmth; 2008-09 Phoenix Suns; 2009-10 Cleveland Cavaliers; 2010-11 Boston Celtics

  • 23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.3 BPG

When Shaq arrived on the scene with the Magic in 1992, the league had by no means seen a middle transfer up and down the ground with the energy and pace that O’Neal possessed. He turned the face of a technology of massive males and was dominant down low as he helped push the Lakers to 3 straight NBA titles from 2000 to 2002. His mobility and physicality modified the expectations for modern-day massive males. — Friedell

No. 10: Kobe Bryant

  • 1996-2016 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.4 3s PG

Identified for his unyielding work ethic and full-fledged dedication to grasp his craft above all else, Bryant and his “Mamba Mentality” set the usual for scores of gamers hoping to make a mark on the sport. From the 5 championships to the 81 factors towards the Raptors and the 60-piece in his sendoff, few to lace them up have had extra legendary careers than Bryant. — McMenamin

No. 9: Oscar Robertson

  • 1960-70 Cincinnati Royals; 1970-74 Milwaukee Bucks

  • 25.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 9.5 APG

The “Large O” was the participant who initially outlined the triple-double. Robertson crammed up stat sheets as a 6-foot-5 level guard, a mannequin lots of the stars of the present NBA have adopted. Robertson averaged a triple-double for a complete season in 1961-62 and completed with what was then a file variety of profession triple-doubles, performances that will not be matched till Westbrook’s current peak. — Collier

No. 8: Tim Duncan

  • 1997-2016 San Antonio Spurs

  • 19.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.2 BPG

Duncan dominated for a technology whereas hardly ever exhibiting any emotion, other than shock when he was whistled for a foul. He was, to place it merely, a winner. Duncan received 5 championships over three many years, incomes Finals MVP thrice. He performed in 1,158 victories, together with the playoffs, greater than anybody in NBA historical past aside from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Spurs had a profitable file and made the playoffs in each single season of Duncan’s 18-year profession. — MacMahon

No. 7: Larry Hen

  • 1979-92 Boston Celtics

  • 24.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG

The mix of Hen and Magic Johnson arriving within the NBA within the Nineteen Eighties helped usher within the league’s golden age, kicking off a brand new spherical of battles between the Celtics and Lakers, whereas Hen’s all-around offensive prowess made him one of many recreation’s all-time nice gamers. — Bontemps

No. 6: Invoice Russell

Russell was one of many best defenders — if not the best — of all time. He is the most effective rebounders in NBA historical past (second in whole rebounds and second in profession rebounding common behind solely Wilt Chamberlain). He was a five-time MVP, together with profitable three in a row from 1960 to ’62. His 11 NBA championships stand alone as probably the most for a participant all time. In 2009, then-NBA commissioner David Stern introduced the Finals MVP award can be named after Russell. — Lopez

No. 5: Wilt Chamberlain

  • 1959-62 Philadelphia Warriors, 1962-65 San Francisco Warriors; 1965-68 Philadelphia 76ers; 1968-73 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 30.1 PPG, 22.9 RPG, 4.4 APG

There are only a few gamers who maintain a file that can most definitely by no means be damaged. Chamberlain is considered one of them, amassing 100 factors in a single recreation on March 2, 1962, towards the Knicks. In actual fact, “Wilt the Stilt” has six of the very best 11 single-game level totals in NBA historical past and 7 scoring titles, together with a legendary 50.4 PPG in 1961-62. — Andrews

No. 4: Magic Johnson

  • 1979-91, 1996 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 11.2 APG, 1.9 SPG

Including Magic, the highest choose of the 1979 draft, catalyzed the Lakers’ dynasty. Johnson helped the crew to a championship as a rookie, filling in for the injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar within the clinching win. Behind Magic’s unparalleled playmaking at 6-foot-9, the Lakers received 4 extra titles, eclipsing the rival Celtics within the decade as Johnson received each MVP and Finals MVP thrice earlier than an HIV analysis compelled him to (largely) retire at age 32. — Pelton

No. 3: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

  • 1969-75 Milwaukee Bucks; 1975-89 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 24.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.6 APG

Earlier than MJ and LeBron, Kareem dominated basketball. His résumé stands the check of time with six championships, six MVPs, two Finals MVPs, the scoring file and 15 All-NBA choices. His skyhook was an unstoppable weapon, turning into one of the crucial iconic pictures the sport has ever seen. However his legacy is a lot extra than simply basketball. Off the courtroom, Kareem has stood taller than his imposing stature, preventing for racial and spiritual equality. — Youngmisuk

No. 2: LeBron James

  • 2003-10, 2014-18 Cleveland Cavaliers; 2010-14 Miami Warmth; 2018-22 Los Angeles Lakers

  • 27.1 PPG, 7.4 APG, 7.5 RPG, 1.6 SPG

Lengthy earlier than participant empowerment entered the vernacular, James blazed a path to have his endorsements turn out to be partnerships, his standing as a participant turn out to be that of a stakeholder, his public persona to incorporate a component of social activism. Whereas James’ particular person accomplishments will put his profession close to the very high of all to have ever performed the game, the blueprint he created will give others an opportunity to maximise their expertise as knowledgeable athlete. — McMenamin

No. 1: Michael Jordan

  • 1984-93, 1995-98 Chicago Bulls; 2001-03 Washington Wizards

  • 30.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 2.3 SPG

The rings. The MVPs. The scoring titles. The sneakers. The GOAT.

Jordan is extensively thought to be the best basketball participant of all time — he modified so many alternative sides of the league — however possibly most of all, he confirmed gamers they may develop themselves into a world model on and off the ground with stellar play and the appropriate advertising and marketing machine behind all of it. Jordan revolutionized the best way gamers may broaden their company portfolios — and dominate nicely after their taking part in careers finish. Oh yeah: Alongside the best way, he was a six-time NBA Finals champ, six-time NBA Finals MVP, five-time NBA MVP and 14-time NBA All-Star. — Friedell

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