Top 10 Basketball Players of All Time (Plus Honorable Mentions)

Updated on June 15, 2019
dailytop10 profile image

I am a huge fan of basketball and love debating who the best NBA players are.

There are billions of basketball fans worldwide. This is not surprising because basketball has evolved drastically throughout the years; it now belongs at the forefront of sports entertainment. The excitement in the sport never stops growing through the years as new athletic and competitive players are drafted. We have witnessed hundreds of promising basketball talents come and go. But who among them do you think is the best?

This question inspired me to come up with a list of top 10 basketball players of all time. As most of you might have noticed, most of the players included in this list are already retired and are NBA Hall of Famers. I firmly believe that these talented players made a greater impact in the sport compared to most basketball stars today. Although I’m amazed at how the new generation is continuing the exciting and competitive culture of basketball, we still can’t deny the fact that they have a long way to go before achieving what these legends have accomplished. This article will also include some honorable mentions for great players that didn't quite make the cut. I've also added a list of the best basketball players by their respective positions. If you think there is a basketball player who deserves to be on this list, feel free to leave a comment and explain why. Shout out to every basketball fan out there like me! Have a good read everyone!

Top 10 Basketball Players of All Time

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. Magic Johnson
  3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  4. Larry Bird
  5. Hakeem Olajuwon
  6. Wilt Chamberlain
  7. Shaquille O'Neal
  8. Kobe Bryant
  9. LeBron James
  10. Kevin Durant

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Kevin Durant dunks the basketball.Kevin Durant drives while being chased by Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder.Kevin Durant celebrates after making a basket.Kevin Durant making a jump shot.Kevin Durant making a lay up against Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Kevin Durant dunks the basketball.
Kevin Durant dunks the basketball.
Kevin Durant drives while being chased by Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kevin Durant drives while being chased by Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kevin Durant celebrates after making a basket.
Kevin Durant celebrates after making a basket.
Kevin Durant making a jump shot.
Kevin Durant making a jump shot.
Kevin Durant making a lay up against Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Kevin Durant making a lay up against Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans.

10. Kevin Durant

  • Full Name: Kevin Wayne Durant
  • Nickname: "Durantula", "Slim Reaper"
  • Position: Small Forward
  • Height: 6'9"
  • Weight: 240 lbs.
  • Born: September 29, 1988 in Washington D.C.
  • High School: Montrose Christian School in Rockville, Maryland
  • College: University of Texas at Austin
  • Draft: Seattle SuperSonics, 1st round (2nd pick overall), 2007 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: October 31, 2007
  • Accolades: Two-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, NBA MVP, 10-time NBA All Star, two-time NBA All Star Game MVP

Kevin Durant is a one in a million basketball player. He is tall enough to play the center position yet he decided to play his own game. With his long arms, it's almost impossible to block his jump shot as he plays outside the paint. His precise shooting and killer mentality made him one of the most famous basketball players today. Some even say that he already ousted Lebron James as the best player of this era.

Many criticized him for joining the Golden State Warriors, saying that it was a cowardly move. Personally, I believe it was his decision to make. Was he desperate to be in the Finals and grab a ring at that time? That might be the case. But who can blame him for joining an organization that plays as a team and is clearly having fun while doing it? He won two straight NBA Championships after joining the Golden State Warriors and he got his first Finals MVP in the process. Others claim that he still has a lot to prove to be called the best NBA player of this generation. But in the end, Kevin Durant is a legit all-star and a player that any team in the NBA today would love to have on their roster.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lebron James elevates for a slam.Lebron James drives to the hoop while Kevin Durant defends.Lebron James winning the 2016 NBA Finals MVP and Championship.Lebron James jump shot.Lebron James celebrating with the crowd after making a buzzer beater.
Lebron James elevates for a slam.
Lebron James elevates for a slam.
Lebron James drives to the hoop while Kevin Durant defends.
Lebron James drives to the hoop while Kevin Durant defends.
Lebron James winning the 2016 NBA Finals MVP and Championship.
Lebron James winning the 2016 NBA Finals MVP and Championship.
Lebron James jump shot.
Lebron James jump shot.
Lebron James celebrating with the crowd after making a buzzer beater.
Lebron James celebrating with the crowd after making a buzzer beater.

9. LeBron James

  • Full Name: LeBron Raymone James Sr.
  • Nickname: "King James", "Chosen One", "Bron", "Akron Hammer"
  • Position: Power Forward, Small Forward
  • Height: 6'8"
  • Weight: 250 lbs.
  • Born: December 30, 1984 in Akron, Ohio, USA
  • High School: Saint Vincent-Saint Mary in Akron, Ohio
  • Draft: Cleaveland Cavaliers, 1st round (1st pick overall), 2003 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: October 29, 2003
  • Accolades: Three-time NBA Champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, four-time NBA MVP, 15-time NBA All Star, three-time NBA All Star Game MVP

Why is LeBron James in the bottom two?! I know it looks absurd but hear me out. First, LeBron's career is not over yet. He may or may not get more accolades, so I'm giving our legends and hall of famers a bit of bias. Second, he might be a taller and stronger player than Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, yet the latter two impacted basketball during their era in a different level. Although LeBron is making the same effect in the current era, the fact still remains that he is not yet done. Let's wait and see. Maybe he'll be up in the top five of this list after all is said and done.

LeBron James is currently the best player in the NBA. Despite missing the 2019 NBA Playoffs after joining the Los Angeles Lakers, we simply can't push aside what he has accomplished over the past few years. He led the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers to multiple championships. Lebron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers even defeated the 2016 Golden State Warriors, which was regarded back then as one of the greatest teams ever assembled in the history of the NBA. This was done despite being down three games to one.

Are you a LeBron James fan? Share your thoughts why he deserves to be ranked higher on this list. Who knows, you might convince me to edit this article and bring him up there with MJ. In the meantime, you can check out this analysis of LeBron and MJ.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Kobe Bryant making a lay up against Kevin Durant.Kobe Bryant makes his move against Zack LaVine.Kobe Bryant hustles for the rebound.Kobe Bryant's fade away shot.Kobe Bryant dunk.
Kobe Bryant making a lay up against Kevin Durant.
Kobe Bryant making a lay up against Kevin Durant.
Kobe Bryant makes his move against Zack LaVine.
Kobe Bryant makes his move against Zack LaVine.
Kobe Bryant hustles for the rebound.
Kobe Bryant hustles for the rebound.
Kobe Bryant's fade away shot.
Kobe Bryant's fade away shot.
Kobe Bryant dunk.
Kobe Bryant dunk.

8. Kobe Bryant

  • Full Name: Kobe Bean Bryant
  • Nickname: “Black Mamba”
  • Position: Shooting Guard
  • Height: 6'6"
  • Weight: 212 lbs.
  • Born: August 23, 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • High School: Lower Merion in Ardmore, Pennsylvania
  • Draft: Charlotte Hornets, 1st round (13th pick overall), 1996 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: November 3, 1996
  • Accolades: Five-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, NBA MVP, 18-time NBA All Star, four-time NBA All Star Game MVP

Black Mamba surely deserves to be a part of this list. Some might argue that the eight position is a bit low for him but I think it's fair enough considering how great the players higher on this list are. Kobe Bryant is criticized as the poor man's Michael Jordan. Not only is their game similar, but so is their competitive nature. But there's something unique and special about Kobe. He was always ready to give everything he had to win a game. There was even a time when he was fouled and got injured. Most players would immediately leave the game and let a teammate make the free throws. Kobe would not do this. He made the free throws before going out to treat his injury. That's how dedicated and serious he is about the game.

Kobe Bryant's farewell game is probably the best one to date. His team won that game and he scored 60 points. He was on fire during that game, everything he threw would go straight to the bottom of the net, especially in the fourth quarter. Kobe will go down as one of the most competitive, gritty, and passionate NBA players of all time and not just a mere copy of Michael Jordan.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Shaquille O'neal's power dunk.Shaquille O'neal's unstoppable hook shot.Shaquille O'neal talking with his partner Kobe Bryant.Shaquille O'neal leaving his defender behind with a quick turnaround.Shaquille trying to block Derrick Rose.
Shaquille O'neal's power dunk.
Shaquille O'neal's power dunk.
Shaquille O'neal's unstoppable hook shot.
Shaquille O'neal's unstoppable hook shot.
Shaquille O'neal talking with his partner Kobe Bryant.
Shaquille O'neal talking with his partner Kobe Bryant.
Shaquille O'neal leaving his defender behind with a quick turnaround.
Shaquille O'neal leaving his defender behind with a quick turnaround.
Shaquille trying to block Derrick Rose.
Shaquille trying to block Derrick Rose.

7. Shaquille O'Neal

  • Full Name: Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal
  • Nickname: “Shaq”
  • Position: Center
  • Height: 7'1"
  • Weight: 325 lbs.
  • Born: March 6, 1972 in Newark, New Jersey
  • High School: Cole in San Antonio, Texas
  • College: Louisiana State University
  • Draft: Orlando Magic, 1st round (1st pick overall), 1992 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: November 6, 1992
  • Accolades: Four-time NBA Champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, NBA MVP, 15-time NBA All Star, three-time NBA All Star MVP

Shaquille O’Neal boasts strength, size, and height. These physical features alone are more than enough for him to dominate the paint in every game. In the peak of the big man’s career, it would take at least two men to stop him. Despite having a problem in his free throws, Shaq was able to improve on them later on, which proves his dedication towards the sport. The Los Angeles Lakers were unstoppable with Shaq paired up with the highly talented forward Kobe Bryant. Their offensive pattern revolved around this mighty duo, and they rarely failed to deliver. Shaquille O’Neal was also a monster in the defensive end to the point that carelessly shooting within his range would always lead to a powerful block.

Although taller players have started entering the league, Shaq managed to stay on top. For him, it’s not just about being the biggest or tallest. Shaq knows more about achieving optimum position inside the paint compared to every center during his time. Outrebounding Shaq was close to impossible. Leaving him with a weak guard would most likely result in a monstrous dunk that would pump up not only his teammates but the crowd as well.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wilt Chamberlain's amazing dunk.Wilt Chamberlain's power rebound.Wilt Chamberlain against multiple defenders.Wilt Chamberlain fixing his shoelace.Wilt Chamberlain boasts his 100 score achievement.
Wilt Chamberlain's amazing dunk.
Wilt Chamberlain's amazing dunk.
Wilt Chamberlain's power rebound.
Wilt Chamberlain's power rebound.
Wilt Chamberlain against multiple defenders.
Wilt Chamberlain against multiple defenders.
Wilt Chamberlain fixing his shoelace.
Wilt Chamberlain fixing his shoelace.
Wilt Chamberlain boasts his 100 score achievement.
Wilt Chamberlain boasts his 100 score achievement.

6. Wilt Chamberlain

  • Full Name: Wilton Norman Chamberlain (Wilt, Wilt the Stilt, the Big Dipper)
  • Nickname: “Wilt the Silt”, “The Big Dipper”, "Goliath"
  • Position: Center
  • Height: 7'1"
  • Weight: 275 lbs.
  • Born: August 21, 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Died: October 12, 1999
  • High School: Overbrook in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • College: University of Kansas
  • Draft: Philadelphia Warriors, 1959 NBA Draft (territorial selection)
  • NBA Debut: October 24, 1959
  • Accolades: Two-time NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP, four-time NBA MVP, 13-time NBA All Star, NBA All Star Game MVP
  • Hall of Fame: Inducted as an individual in 1979

Wilt Chamberlain was one of the most infamous basketball players during his era and is among the reasons why the sport spread worldwide. He was known for being a highly reliable scorer. In fact, he managed to score 100 points in just one game against a formidable team. Aside from his height, Chamberlain’s offensive arsenal relied on his athleticism. He was able to maneuver in mid-air despite being so tall. His dunks and rebounds made him an unstoppable force inside the paint. Opposing teams found it nearly impossible to control him once he gained momentum. Though only a few today remember his name, Wilt Chamberlain surely deserves a spot on this list.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hakeem Olajuwon's mighty dunk.Hakeem Olajuwon preparing for a drive.Hakeem Olajuwon with the NBA Championship Trophy.Hakeem Olajuwon's fade-away shot fan art.Hakeem Olajuwon fighting for the rebound.
Hakeem Olajuwon's mighty dunk.
Hakeem Olajuwon's mighty dunk.
Hakeem Olajuwon preparing for a drive.
Hakeem Olajuwon preparing for a drive.
Hakeem Olajuwon with the NBA Championship Trophy.
Hakeem Olajuwon with the NBA Championship Trophy.
Hakeem Olajuwon's fade-away shot fan art.
Hakeem Olajuwon's fade-away shot fan art.
Hakeem Olajuwon fighting for the rebound.
Hakeem Olajuwon fighting for the rebound.

5. Hakeem Olajuwon

  • Full Name: Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon
  • Nickname: “The Dream”
  • Position: Center
  • Height: 7'0"
  • Weight: 255 lbs.
  • Born: January 21, 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria
  • High School: Muslim Teachers College in Lagos, Nigeria
  • College: University of Houston
  • Draft: Houston Rockets, 1st round (1st pick overall), 1984 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: October 27, 1984
  • Accolades: Two-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, NBA MVP, 12-time NBA All Star
  • Hall of Fame: Inducted as an individual in 2008

Hakeem Olajuwon kept his team, the Houston Rockets, dreaming. This is probably why he gained the nickname of “The Dream”. With his exceptional skills, Olajuwon created a seemingly impossible rally and made his team a force to be reckoned with. No one referred to the Houston Rockets as a formidable team until Olajuwon came alongside with Charles Barkley. With them inside the paint, the Rockets dominated the NBA for years. Olajuwon is tall and muscular, so he found it very easy to gain position and grab rebounds. His perimeter shooting was also considered to be one of his major assets. It would require at least two big men to completely silence him. Otherwise, he would easily get inside his comfort zone and pull of a devastating dunk.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Larry Bird dribbling all the way towards the basket.Larry Bird's sensational three-point shot.Larry Bird positioning for a rebound.Larry Bird anticipating the ball movement.
Larry Bird dribbling all the way towards the basket.
Larry Bird dribbling all the way towards the basket.
Larry Bird's sensational three-point shot.
Larry Bird's sensational three-point shot.
Larry Bird positioning for a rebound.
Larry Bird positioning for a rebound.
Larry Bird anticipating the ball movement.
Larry Bird anticipating the ball movement.

4. Larry Bird

  • Full Name: Larry Joe Bird
  • Nickname: “Larry Legend”, “The Hick from French Lick”
  • Position: Small Forward, Power Forward
  • Height: 6'9"
  • Weight: 220 lbs.
  • Born: December 7, 1956 in West Baden, Indiana
  • High School: Springs Valley in French Lick, Indiana
  • College: Indiana State University
  • Draft: Boston Celtics, 1st round (6th pick overall), 1978 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: October 12, 1979
  • Accolades: Three-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, three-time NBA MVP, 12-time NBA All Star, NBA All Star Game MVP
  • Hall of Fame: Inducted as an individual in 1998

Tall players usually excel in rebounding and scoring inside the paint. Larry Bird defied this rule by being one of the best three point shooters of all time in the NBA. Aside from his prowess in shooting beyond the three-point line, he was also a proficient dribbler. He was one of the few tall men who could carry a ball from one side of the court to another effortlessly amidst a tight defense. Larry Bird’s talent in basketball also extended in driving swiftly towards the basket, which he usually did with a fake to confuse his defender. Bird’s reliable three pointers were lifesavers and led the Celtics towards numerous championships during his career.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Kareem Abdul-jabbar's signature move.Kareem Abdul-jabbar showing his immense talent in rebounding.Kareem Abdul-jabbar asking for the ball.Kareem Abdul-jabbar's unstoppable layup.Kareem Abdul-jabbar's simple yet powerful one-handed dunk.
Kareem Abdul-jabbar's signature move.
Kareem Abdul-jabbar's signature move.
Kareem Abdul-jabbar showing his immense talent in rebounding.
Kareem Abdul-jabbar showing his immense talent in rebounding.
Kareem Abdul-jabbar asking for the ball.
Kareem Abdul-jabbar asking for the ball.
Kareem Abdul-jabbar's unstoppable layup.
Kareem Abdul-jabbar's unstoppable layup.
Kareem Abdul-jabbar's simple yet powerful one-handed dunk.
Kareem Abdul-jabbar's simple yet powerful one-handed dunk.

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

  • Full Name: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Nickname: “Lew”, “Cap”
  • Position: Center
  • Height: 7'2"
  • Weight: 225 lbs.
  • Born: April 16, 1947 in New York, New York
  • High School: Power Memorial in New York, New York
  • College: University of California, Los Angeles
  • Draft: Milwaukee Bucks, 1st round (1st pick overall), 1969 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: October 18, 1969
  • Accolades: Six-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, six-time NBA MVP, 19-time NBA All Star
  • Hall of Fame: Inducted as an individual in 1995

There were high hopes for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar because of his size. Nonetheless, he proved everyone else that he was much more than a player with insane height. His infamous hook shot was impossible to block and its accuracy was almost 100%. This meant two points were all but assured once Kareem leapt and stretched one of his hands. His dedication to the sport was second to none. This was seen by how much effort he exerted, regardless if the game was crucial or not. He uplifted the standards of the NBA like no other player in the history. Though his contribution to the sport is undeniable, Kareem’s feet were always on the ground. Hs humility and sportsmanship on and off the court made him even more of a lovable icon.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Magic Johnson's sensational passing amazed the whole world.Magic Johnson jumped for a layup.Magic Johnson competing against Larry Bird.A fan-art illustrating Magic Johnson's infamous pass.Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made an unstoppable duo.
Magic Johnson's sensational passing amazed the whole world.
Magic Johnson's sensational passing amazed the whole world.
Magic Johnson jumped for a layup.
Magic Johnson jumped for a layup.
Magic Johnson competing against Larry Bird.
Magic Johnson competing against Larry Bird.
A fan-art illustrating Magic Johnson's infamous pass.
A fan-art illustrating Magic Johnson's infamous pass.
Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made an unstoppable duo.
Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made an unstoppable duo.

2. Magic Johnson

  • Full Name: Earvin Johnson Jr.
  • Nickname: “Magic”
  • Position: Point Guard
  • Height: 6'8"
  • Weight: 215 lbs.
  • Born: August 14, 1959 in Lansing, Michigan
  • High School: Everett in Lansing, Michigan
  • College: Michigan State University
  • Draft: Los Angeles Lakers, 1st round (1st pick overall), 1979 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: October 12, 1979
  • Accolade: Five-time NBA Champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, three-time NBA MVP, 12-time NBA All Star, two-time NBA All Star Game MVP
  • Hall of Fame: Inducted as an individual in 2002, inducted as a member of the Dream Team in 2010

Magic Johnson’s name is not just for show. He seemingly does magic on the court with his brilliant passes. He may not have absurd leaping abilities or strength like most famous basketball players, but Magic dominated the game through a unique approach. Instead of scoring, he let his teammates do the job by drawing the defense towards him. Once he attracted at least two defenders, he would then pass the ball behind his back to an open teammate. This strategy might seem very predictable, but it was never easy to counter if Magic did it. His passes could come from out of nowhere, so predicting when, where, and how they were done seemed impossible. Magic Johnson is living proof that basketball is not just about individual greatness but how every team member can work together to achieve victory.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Michael Jordan's athleticism is second to none. Michael Jordan was an NBA dunk contest champion for a reason.Michael Jordan's famous dunk where he seemed like flying.A buzzer-beater Michael Jordan made to steal a win against their rival team, Utah Jazz.Michael Jordan can penetrate even the tightest defense to score particularly during crunch time.
Michael Jordan's athleticism is second to none.
Michael Jordan's athleticism is second to none.
Michael Jordan was an NBA dunk contest champion for a reason.
Michael Jordan was an NBA dunk contest champion for a reason.
Michael Jordan's famous dunk where he seemed like flying.
Michael Jordan's famous dunk where he seemed like flying.
A buzzer-beater Michael Jordan made to steal a win against their rival team, Utah Jazz.
A buzzer-beater Michael Jordan made to steal a win against their rival team, Utah Jazz.
Michael Jordan can penetrate even the tightest defense to score particularly during crunch time.
Michael Jordan can penetrate even the tightest defense to score particularly during crunch time.

1. Michael Jordan

  • Full Name: Michael Jeffrey Jordan
  • Nicknames: “Air Jordan”,”MJ”
  • Position: Shooting Guard
  • Height: 6'6"
  • Weight: 195 lbs.
  • Born: February 17, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York
  • High School: Emsley A. Laney in Wilmington, North Carolina
  • College: University of North Carolina
  • Draft: Chicago Bulls, 1st round (3rd pick overall), 1984 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: October 26, 1984
  • Accolades: Six-time NBA Champion, six-time NBA Finals MVP, five-time NBA MVP, 14-time NBA All Star, three-time NBA All Star Game MVP
  • Hall of Fame: Inducted as an individual in 2009, inducted as a member of the Dream Team in 2010.

Michael Jordan is a living legend in basketball. Every time he had the ball, audiences were all on the edge of their seats since they knew something great would surely happen. And of course, Air Jordan rarely failed his countless fans worldwide. Michael Jordan is an all-around player. He defied the laws of gravity by launching way off the usual distance while making a dunk. He is also infamous because of his fadeaway shot, which was virtually impossible to block. Michael Jordan manifested exceptional talent in handling the ball and driving straight towards the basket despite being guarded by some of the best defenders in the NBA.

He played a big role during the Chicago Bulls NBA domination. Probably one of the best features of Michael Jordan aside from his innate talent in basketball is his attitude towards the game. He will always play at full gear in every game. Michael Jordan exerts every possible effort he can give just to achieve his goals. This above all made him deserving to be considered as the best NBA player of all time.

Michael Jordan's Basketball Career Highlights!

Honorable Mentions

The following is a list of NBA stars who just barely missed out on making the list. There are some current players here, so it is possible that they can make the top 10 in the future.

  • David Robinson
  • Karl Malone
  • Patrick Ewing
  • Stephen Curry
  • Allen Iverson

Click thumbnail to view full-size
David Robinson's monstrous dunk.David Robinson's famous perimeter shot.David Robinson receiving an award.David Robinson with teammate Tim Duncan winning NBA championship.David Robinson and Michael Jordan having a great time back in the court.
David Robinson's monstrous dunk.
David Robinson's monstrous dunk.
David Robinson's famous perimeter shot.
David Robinson's famous perimeter shot.
David Robinson receiving an award.
David Robinson receiving an award.
David Robinson with teammate Tim Duncan winning NBA championship.
David Robinson with teammate Tim Duncan winning NBA championship.
David Robinson and Michael Jordan having a great time back in the court.
David Robinson and Michael Jordan having a great time back in the court.

David Robinson

  • Full Name: David Maurice Robinson
  • Nickname: “The Admiral”
  • Position: Center
  • Height: 7'1"
  • Weight: 235 lbs.
  • Born: August 6, 1965 in Key West, Florida
  • High School: Osbourn Park in Manassas, Virginia
  • College: United States Naval Academy
  • Draft: San Antonio Spurs, 1st round (1st pick overall), 1987 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: November 4, 1989
  • Accolades: Two-time NBA Champion, NBA MVP, 10-time NBA All Star
  • Hall of Fame: Inducted as an individual in 2009, inducted as a member of the Dream Team in 2010

David Robinson gained the title “The Admiral” because of his time serving in the US Navy. He was one of the best centers during his time. Along with his partner Tim Duncan, he led his team to two NBA championships. Thanks to his height, Robinson can overpower almost anyone inside the paint. The way he positioned himself was genius as it allowed him to outrebound players who were even taller than him. With both power and speed to boast, his presence on the court was noticeable. Any team that dared to ignore this mighty force surely paid the price. Aside from being the best rebounder in his time, Robinson was also known for having a very good attitude on and off of the court, which made him even more amazing.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Karl Malone soaring high for a gigantic dunk.Karl Malone with his most trusted teammate John Stockton.Karl Malone bathing with sweat.Karl Malone discussing matters with Utah Jazz coach.Karl Malone struggles against Chicago Bull's tight defense.
Karl Malone soaring high for a gigantic dunk.
Karl Malone soaring high for a gigantic dunk.
Karl Malone with his most trusted teammate John Stockton.
Karl Malone with his most trusted teammate John Stockton.
Karl Malone bathing with sweat.
Karl Malone bathing with sweat.
Karl Malone discussing matters with Utah Jazz coach.
Karl Malone discussing matters with Utah Jazz coach.
Karl Malone struggles against Chicago Bull's tight defense.
Karl Malone struggles against Chicago Bull's tight defense.

Karl Malone

  • Full Name: Karl Anthony Malone
  • Nickname: “The Mailman”
  • Position: Power forward
  • Height: 6'9"
  • Weight: 250 lbs.
  • Born: July 24, 1963 in Summerfield, Louisiana
  • High School: Summerfield in Summerfield, Louisiana
  • College: Louisiana Tech University
  • Draft: Utah Jazz, 1st round (13th pick overall), 1985 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: October 25, 1985
  • Accolades: Two-time NBA MVP, 14-time NBA All Star, two-time NBA All Star Game MVP
  • Hall of Fame: Inducted as an individual and a member of the dream team in 2010

Karl Malone is one of the major reasons why the Utah Jazz became the rival of the Chicago Bulls for many years. He was called “The Mailman” because he always delivered, particularly in critical moments. Malone’s moves were less fancy compared to Jordan's. Nevertheless, he never failed to cheer up every team member when it seemed like there was no hope. He was a true leader on the court and was highly effective in both offense and defense. Karl Malone often relied on his power, so stopping him after gaining a good position inside the paint was almost impossible.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Patrick Ewing one-handed dunk.Patrick Ewing shooting a free-throw.Patrick Ewing perimeter shot.Patrick Ewing fade-away shot.Patrick Ewing's amazing rebound.
Patrick Ewing one-handed dunk.
Patrick Ewing one-handed dunk.
Patrick Ewing shooting a free-throw.
Patrick Ewing shooting a free-throw.
Patrick Ewing perimeter shot.
Patrick Ewing perimeter shot.
Patrick Ewing fade-away shot.
Patrick Ewing fade-away shot.
Patrick Ewing's amazing rebound.
Patrick Ewing's amazing rebound.

Patrick Ewing

  • Full Name: Patrick Aloysius Ewing
  • Position: Center
  • Height: 7'0"
  • Weight: 240 lbs.
  • Born: August 5, 1962 in Kingston, Jamaica
  • High School: Cambridge Rindge & Latin in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • College: Georgetown University
  • Draft: New York Knicks, 1st round (1st pick overall), 1985 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: October 26, 1985
  • Accolades: 11-time NBA All Star
  • Hall of Fame: Inducted as an individual in 2008, inducted as a member of the Dream Team in 2010

During his career, Patrick Ewing was the heart of the New York Knicks. Though he suffered from several injuries in the early years of his career, he still managed to lead his team to countless victories. He was a rebound specialist. His height, strength, and amazing leaping ability made Ewing an unstoppable force inside the paint. Goaltending violations were common with him around since he wouldn't let any shot go unchallenged. But what made Ewing a great player was his leadership. Everyone on his team got fired up whenever he made a monstrous dunk or a rebound amidst countless opponents surrounding him. Ewing’s ability to influence inside the court was also one of the main reasons why the New York Knicks was a team that was feared for many years.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Stephen Curry making a lay-up.Stephen Curry shoots over James Harden of the Houston Rockets.Stephen Curry driving to the basket while Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers defends.Stephen Curry high fives his teammate Kevin Durant.Stephen Curry celebrating after making a three-point shot.
Stephen Curry making a lay-up.
Stephen Curry making a lay-up.
Stephen Curry shoots over James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
Stephen Curry shoots over James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
Stephen Curry driving to the basket while Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers defends.
Stephen Curry driving to the basket while Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers defends.
Stephen Curry high fives his teammate Kevin Durant.
Stephen Curry high fives his teammate Kevin Durant.
Stephen Curry celebrating after making a three-point shot.
Stephen Curry celebrating after making a three-point shot.

Stephen Curry

  • Full Name: Wardell Stephen Curry II
  • Nickname: "Baby-Faced Assassin", "Chef Curry", and "Splash Brothers" alongside Klay Thompson
  • Position: Point Guard
  • Height: 6'3"
  • Weight: 190 lbs.
  • Born: March 14, 1988 in Akron, Ohio
  • High School: Charlotte Christian in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • College: Davidson College
  • Draft: Golden State Warriors, 1st round (7th pick overall) 2009 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: October 28, 2009
  • Accolades: Three-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA MVP

Stephen Curry has changed how basketball is played with his three-point shooting. The way he shoots the ball beyond the three point line is simply amazing as it not only provides massive points but also electrifies the audience. In 2016, he rallied with the Warriors and got the best all-time regular season record with 73 wins. That performance cemented his place as one of the elite guards in the current era, possibly even as the very best. Although he failed to win the championship that year, the Warriors bounced back the year after and won the championship for two consecutive seasons. As of the writing of this article, the Warriors are now facing the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals. Winning this year's championship would mean adding a three-peat to his long list of basketball achievements.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Allen Iverson squares up against Kobe Bryant in the 2001 NBA Finals.Allen Iverson receives the MVP Trophy.Allen Iverson making a jumpshot.Allen Iverson dunking the basketball.Allen Iverson hang time.
Allen Iverson squares up against Kobe Bryant in the 2001 NBA Finals.
Allen Iverson squares up against Kobe Bryant in the 2001 NBA Finals.
Allen Iverson receives the MVP Trophy.
Allen Iverson receives the MVP Trophy.
Allen Iverson making a jumpshot.
Allen Iverson making a jumpshot.
Allen Iverson dunking the basketball.
Allen Iverson dunking the basketball.
Allen Iverson hang time.
Allen Iverson hang time.

Allen Iverson

  • Full Name: Allen Ezail Iverson
  • Nickname: "The Answer", "AI", "Bubba Chuck"
  • Position: Shooting Guard, Point Guard
  • Height: 6'0"
  • Weight: 165 lbs.
  • Born: June 7, 1975 in Hampton, Virginia
  • High School: Bethel in Hampton, Virginia
  • College: Georgetown University
  • Draft: Philadelphia 76ers, 1st round (1st pick overall), 1996 NBA Draft
  • NBA Debut: November 1, 1996
  • Accolades: NBA MVP, 11-time NBA All Star, two-time NBA All Star MVP
  • Hall of Fame: Inducted as an individual in 2016

Any basketball fan from the 90s knows Allen Iverson. He was as exciting as a basketball player could be. He was known for his fancy crossovers and competitive nature. Iverson did not back down from any challenge. Many doubted him as the new face of the Philadelphia 76ers because of his size but he proved them all wrong. He even carried his team to the 2001 NBA Finals against all the odds, including off the court distractions. Their team was convincingly defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers that were led by Kobe Bryant and Shaq, but they managed to steal one win where Iverson scored 48 points. Iverson was regarded by many as the second coming of Michael Jordan and there was a point in his career that he almost deserved such a title.

Best Basketball Player by Position

There are many great NBA legends beyond this list that excelled at their position. Whether they were shooting guards with excellent accuracy or power forwards that could score and block in the paint, here are some of the best basketball players by their respective positions. The stats in this list will cover the career average of points per game (PPG), rebounds per game (RPG), and assists per game (APG) respectively. Here are some additional players that are the best at their position.

Best Point Guards

  • Magic Johnson: 19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 11.2 APG
  • John Stockton: 13.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 10.5 APG
  • Isaiah Thomas: 19.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 9.3 APG

Best Shooting Guards

  • Michael Jordan: 30.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG
  • Kobe Bryant: 25 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG
  • Dwyane Wade: 22 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.4 APG

Best Small Forwards

  • Julius Erving: 24.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 4.2 APG
  • Scottie Pippen: 16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.2 APG
  • James Worthy: 17.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG

Best Power Forwards

  • Tim Duncan: 19.0 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.1 APG
  • Karl Malone: 25 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.6 APG
  • Charles Barkley: 22.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 3.9 APG

Best Centers

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 24.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.6 APG
  • Shaquille O'Neal: 23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.5 APG
  • Hakeem Olajuwon: 21.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.5 APG

Who Deserves to Be a Part of the Top 10 Players of All Time?

See results

Who Do You Think Is the Best Bastketball Player of All Time?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • Who has the most double double NBA?

    You mean the player with the most uncalled walk? That would be James Harden!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      antonio vasquez 

      2 years ago

      Were is steph curry he's #2

    • profile image

      Gary 

      4 years ago

      You missed one of the all time best- Oscar Robinson - Average a triple double his first six years in the NBA, 30 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assist much better that Jordan.

    • profile image

      Manny 

      5 years ago

      Worst to best

      10:Tim Duncan

      9:Kareem

      8:Isaiah Thomas

      7:Patrick Ewing

      6:magic Johnson

      5:Larry bird

      4:bill Russell

      3:Kobe

      2:Michael Jordan

      1:?????

      Honerable mentions - Tracy, lebron, Ray Allen, and bill Walton

      Soon to be considered one of the greats- Carmelo Anthony, Allen iverson, Paul peirce, Kevin Garnett and al Jefferson.

    • profile image

      Tax Lawyer 

      6 years ago

      Wow! Who hired you to write this column? Ever heard of Bill Russell? I thought 11 rings meant something. Your number 1 Jordan has half of those rings. An.d he has two NCAA championships for a sorry-assed U of San Francisco. David Robinson and Patrick Ewing? Sabonis and Maravich had shortened careers but were much better players. And no Dr. J? You didn't include one guard--John Stockton omitted and Ewing included--you have vision problems and can only see centers?

      I can understand omitting Kobe and LeBron, but the omission of Bill Russell, THE greatest player of all-time indicates to me that maybe you should be covering hockey.

    • profile image

      ashrafula mim 

      6 years ago

      Sports watch basketball sports,sports NCAA Basketball,Football sports,Hockey sports,sports golfvery easy now a day. Beacouse You have HIGH speed internet so you can watch see recent sports.

    • EJ Lambert profile image

      EJ Lambert 

      6 years ago from Chicago, IL

      This is a good list but I think Ewing, for as great as he was, doesn't deserve to supplant Bill Russell who beat Chamberlain in every meaningful game they ever played against each other. You also can't forget Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, and Dr. J. Still a good list.

    • Hikapo profile image

      Seet 

      6 years ago from California

      GOAT MJ...The Living Legend!

    • profile image

      danny 

      6 years ago

      NO RUSSELL!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      raja azhar hayat 

      6 years ago

      MICHEL JORDEN , WHAT an amazing player of d world ? really matchless

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 

      6 years ago

      dailytop10,

      really nice article on the best basketball players

      very interesting and i learned something i did not know before

      voted up

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      6 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      This is a very well-written and illustrated hub. Now I can understand how you have been able to get 50 k hits in only three months with only a few hubs. You have some great players on your top ten list; however, I think that both Bill Russell of the Celtics and Oscar Robinson should be included. Lew Alcindor aka Kareen Abdul Jabbar and the Bucks wouldn't have been champs in 1971 if it wasn't for the play and leadership of the Big "O." Russell was also responsible for the Celtics winning so many championships in the 50s and 60s. Hub shared with followers.

    • doctorspaceman6 profile image

      doctorspaceman6 

      6 years ago

      Great writeup but terrible list. Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, and Kobe are all top 10 locks. I'd have Duncan and LeBron up there too.

    • profile image

      Jonno 

      6 years ago

      oh wait nvm Bird has been mentioned but Ewing over Russell? Don't think that's right

    • profile image

      jonno 

      6 years ago

      umm..Bill Russell? Larry Bird? Man you must hate the Celtics

    • dmccray7 profile image

      dmccray7 

      6 years ago from Merrimack NH

      Any top ten list which doesn't have Bill Russell is a joke

    • profile image

      JC 

      6 years ago

      WHERE IS THE BOSS....... KOBE

    • profile image

      chriswalczyk55 

      6 years ago

      My bad, Wilt's on the list.

    • profile image

      Chris 

      6 years ago

      This list is extremely out of order, and whoever forgot to put Wilt Chamberlain in the 'top 10" lacks basic basketball intelligence.

    • profile image

      jferg 

      6 years ago

      not a great list....where is bill russell? tim duncan? kobe bryant?....cmon now

    • dailytop10 profile imageAUTHOR

      dailytop10 

      6 years ago from Davao City

      Thank you.

    • Miller2232 profile image

      Sinclair Miller III 

      6 years ago from Florida

      Awesome Hub.

    • hoov45 profile image

      Terry Hoover 

      6 years ago from Denham Springs, Louisiana

      Nice list but some old school guys are being left out here, namely Pete Maravich. Still, it's tough to narrow it down with so may good players.

    • dailytop10 profile imageAUTHOR

      dailytop10 

      6 years ago from Davao City

      Thanks. I'm glad my list pleased you. Happy holidays!

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      6 years ago

      You did a great job .I loved the great athletes you have mentioned.

    • dailytop10 profile imageAUTHOR

      dailytop10 

      6 years ago from Davao City

      Thank you for liking it. Merry Christmas!

    • profile image

      lesliebyars 

      6 years ago

      Great hub and hard to argue against, Jordan can't be touched. Voted up my friend.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)