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Top 10 NBA Players of All Time

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Christopher S Lozano
Script written by Christopher Lozano Nothing stirs up a heated discussion like a good old fashioned sports debate. From Tim Duncan, to Shaquille O’Neal, to Bill Russell, these NBA players are some of the best and brightest of all time. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 NBA Players of All Time. Special thanks to our user Tyreke Andrei Irreverre for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+NBA+Players+of+All-Time.

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Script written by Christopher Lozano

Top 10 NBA Players of All Time

Nothing stirs up a heated discussion like a good old fashioned sports debate. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our Top 10 NBA Players of All Time.

For this list, we’ll be looking at all the great guards, forwards and centers who dominated the National Basketball Association. These high-flying, backboard-breaking, three point-shooting players are the greatest ever.

#10: Tim Duncan

The Big Fundamental left the league the same way he entered it; humbly and quietly. Often called the greatest power forward of all time, Tim Duncan was selected to both All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams in each of his first 13 seasons. With the Spurs, he won 5 NBA championships and was a three-time Finals MVP and two-time league MVP. Impressively, he accomplished all this during the Kobe and then LeBron eras. Or maybe it was the Tim Duncan era this whole time.

#9: Shaquille O’Neal

Originally drafted by the Orlando Magic, Shaq rose to championship level dominance with the Los Angeles Lakers. As part of one of the greatest duos of all time, along with Kobe Bryant, O’Neal would win 3 straight NBA championships. All 3 times he was the Finals MVP. He was also selected to 15 All-Star Games, where he picked up 3 All-Star MVPs as well. After a rift developed between him and Laker’s management, he was traded to Miami where he won another Championship. Many wonder how many more he could have won if he had stayed in L.A. with The Black Mamba, but our guess is: all of them.

#8: Bill Russell

One of the greatest centers ever, Russell played his entire career with the Boston Celtics, and was instrumental in maintaining the Celtics dominant dynasty during the 60s. As a 5-time NBA Most Valuable Player, Russell was known for his excellent defense and shot-blocking. For four different seasons, he led the entire league in rebounds. To this day, he remains the second best of all time when it comes to both rebounds per game and total rebounds. He is also one of just seven players in history to have an NBA Championship, NCAA Championship, and a gold medal from the Olympics. That’s quite the exclusive club.

#7: Wilt Chamberlain

Legendary for different reasons off the court, Chamberlain was possibly the most dominant center to ever play the game. A two time NBA Champion with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers, Chamberlain measured in at 7 feet 1 inches and weighed between 275 and 300 pounds. Wilt held several NBA records in scoring and rebounding and won several titles for both, due to his being the only player to obtain an average of 30 points and 20 rebounds a game, while also scoring the most points ever in a single game with 100.

#6: Kobe Bryant

Michael Jordan was the undisputed greatest player until The Mamba arrived. Kobe was legendary for his work ethic and intensity; several players of the era were known to wilt under the pressure and expectations Kobe put on his teammates. Playing his entire career with the Lakers, he won 5 NBA championships, an MVP, and scored over 33,000 points. His will to win and dominate his opponents was legendary. Oh, and he once scored 81 points, putting him right behind Wilt Chamberlain for most points scored in one game. Put Kobe on a team with any other player besides Jordan, and there will be no question who the king of the court is.

#5: Larry Bird

Playing his entire career with the Celtics, The Bird is probably the best forward ever. Along with Magic Johnson, and later Michael Jordan, Larry was instrumental in bringing the NBA into the national spotlight. The rivalry between Larry’s Celtics and Magic’s Lakers was legendary. Bird was named an NBA All-Star 12 times and the NBA league’s Most Valuable Player for three consecutive seasons. He was also a part of the U.S. Olympic “Dream Team” and won three NBA Championships. But more than that, Larry Bird was known as a defensive force and one of the league’s toughest players.

#4: Magic Johnson

The greatest point guard ever, at least until Lonzo Ball, Magic led the Showtime Lakers from 1979 to 1991. In his first NBA season, he won both an NBA Championship and an MVP. Over his playing career, the NBA awarded him three MVPs, twelve All-Star appearances, and ten total All-NBA First and Second team nominations. He was a member of the Olympic “Dream Team” and won 5 NBA championships in total. In 1991, he abruptly retired after announcing he had contracted HIV, leaving many to wonder how great Magic could have been if he hadn’t retired so early.

#3: Kareem Abdul-Jabar

In a league full of great centers, Kareem was maybe the best. Originally drafted by Milwaukee, he won one championship with the Bucks and then went on to win 5 more with Magic and the Showtime Lakers. He was the arch nemesis of Wilt Chamberlin and his legendary skyhook was nearly un-blockable. When he retired, he was the league’s all-time leader in scoring with 38,387 points. He was also an all-time leader in minutes played, made field goals, blocks, and rebounds. Outside of Jordan and Bryant, there aren’t many players who come close to his level of greatness.

#2: LeBron James

LeBron James came to the NBA as perhaps one of the most hyped players ever, and he lived up to the hype and went on to be one of the most physically gifted athletes to ever play as a small forward. But, James put himself at the center of controversy when he decided to leave his hometown team and join Dwyane Wade’s Miami Heat to form a super team. It's a move that resulted in two championships, and LeBron would win a third after returning to Cleveland. James has also played for 14 NBA All-Star teams, while earning three All-Star MVPs, in addition to his four NBA MVPs, and 3 Finals MVPs.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Hakeem Olajuwon

Charles Barkley

Julius Erving

#1: Michael Jordan

Were you really expecting anyone else? His Airness was a member of 6 championship teams, achieved two three-peats, and won 5 MVP awards. He was a 10-time All-NBA First Team, 9-time All Defensive First Team, and a 14-time All-Star selection. He briefly retired in 1994 to try his hand at baseball, but returned in 1995 and won three more titles with the Chicago Bulls. Jordan led his Bulls to a then-record 72 regular season wins. He also holds the NBA’s record for all time regular season scoring percentage and highest career playoff scoring average. Air Jordan is easily the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball.

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