National Basketball Association's 50 Greatest Players in NBA History

Posted May 3, 2011
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  1. Michael Jordan
    #1

    Michael Jordan

    370,794 views

    Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials, MJ, is an American former professional basketball player. He is also a businessman, and principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets. Jordan played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. His biography on the NBA website states: "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.


  2. Shaquille O'Neal
    #2

    Shaquille O'Neal

    171,212 views

    Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal (/ʃəˈkl/ shə-KEEL; born March 6, 1972), nicknamed Shaq (/ˈʃæk/ SHAK), is an American retired professional basketball player who is currently an analyst on the television program Inside the NBA. Standing 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) tall and weighing 325 pounds (147 kg), he was one of the heaviest players ever to play in the NBA. O'Neal played for six teams throughout his 19-year NBA career.


  3. Wilt Chamberlain
    #3

    Wilt Chamberlain

    29,219 views

    Wilton Norman "Wilt" Chamberlain (August 21, 1936 – October 12, 1999) was an American basketball player. He played for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA); he played for the University of Kansas and also for the Harlem Globetrotters before playing in the NBA. The 7 foot 1 inch Chamberlain weighed 250 pounds as a rookie before bulking up to 275 and eventually to over 300 pounds with the Lakers. He played the center position and is widely considered one of the greatest and most dominant players in NBA history.


  4. Larry Bird
    #4

    Larry Bird

    27,028 views

    Larry Joe Bird (born December 7, 1956) is an American retired professional basketball player who played for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Since retiring as a player, he has been a mainstay in the Indiana Pacers organization, currently serving as team president. Drafted into the NBA sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in 1978, Bird started at small forward and power forward for thirteen seasons, spearheading one of the NBA's most formidable frontcourts that included center Robert Parish and forward Kevin McHale. Bird was a 12-time NBA All-Star and was named the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP) three consecutive times (19841986). He played his entire professional career for Boston, winning three NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards.


  5. Magic Johnson
    #5

    Magic Johnson

    27,421 views

    Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. (born August 14, 1959) is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 13 seasons. After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had contracted HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years, but returned in 1996, at age 36, to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time.


  6. Charles Barkley
    #6

    Charles Barkley

    25,966 views

    Charles Wade Barkley (born February 20, 1963) is an American retired professional basketball player and current analyst on the television program Inside the NBA. Nicknamed "Chuck", "Sir Charles", and "The Round Mound of Rebound", Barkley established himself as one of the National Basketball Association's (NBA's) most dominating power forwards. He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 5th pick of the 1984 NBA draft. He was selected to the All-NBA First Team five times, the All-NBA Second Team five times, and once to the All-NBA Third Team. He earned eleven NBA All-Star Game appearances and was named the All-Star MVP in 1991. In 1993, he was voted the league's Most Valuable Player and during the NBA's 50th anniversary, named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games and won two gold medals as a member of the United States' "Dream Team". Barkley is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, being inducted in 2006 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the "Dream Team".


  7. Scottie Pippen
    #7

    Scottie Pippen

    16,713 views

    Scottie Maurice Pippen (born September 25, 1965) is a retired American professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association. Nicknamed "Pip", he is most remembered for his time with the Chicago Bulls, with the team he won six NBA titles and their record 1995–96 season of 72 wins. Pippen, along with Michael Jordan, played an important role in transforming the Bulls team into a championship team and for popularizing the NBA around the world during the 1990s.


  8. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    #8

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    13,382 views

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr.; April 16, 1947) is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. During his career as a center, Abdul-Jabbar was a record six-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), a record 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection, and an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team member. A member of six NBA championship teams as a player and two as an assistant coach, Abdul-Jabbar twice was voted NBA Finals MVP. In 1996, he was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. NBA coach Pat Riley and players Isiah Thomas and Julius Erving have called him the greatest basketball player of all time.


  9. Julius Erving
    #9

    Julius Erving

    8,396 views

    Julius Winfield Erving II (born February 22, 1950), commonly known by the nickname Dr. J, is a retired American basketball player who helped popularize a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and playing above the rim. Erving helped legitimize the American Basketball Association (ABA) and was the best-known player in that league when it merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA) after the 1975–76 season.


  10. Kevin McHale
    #10

    Kevin McHale

    7,095 views

    Kevin Edward McHale (born December 19, 1957) is an American retired professional basketball player who played his entire professional career for the Boston Celtics. He is also a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, and since May 2011 the head coach of the Houston Rockets. McHale began working for the Minnesota Timberwolves immediately following his retirement in 1993 (until 2009), at different times, as a TV analyst, general manager, and finally head coach. McHale then worked as an on-air analyst for NBA TV and Turner Sports's popular NBA on TNT studio show. McHale is of Irish and Croat origin.


  11. Karl Malone
    #11

    Karl Malone

    4,259 views

    Karl Anthony Malone (born July 24, 1963) is an American retired professional basketball player. Nicknamed "The Mailman", Malone played the power forward position and spent his first 18 seasons (1985–2003) in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Utah Jazz and formed a formidable duo with his teammate John Stockton. Malone also played for the Los Angeles Lakers. Malone was a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a 14-time NBA All-Star, and an 11-time member of the All-NBA first team. He scored the second most career points in NBA history (36,928), and holds the records for most free throws attempted and made, in addition to co-holding the record for the most first team All-NBA elections in history (tied with Kobe Bryant). He is considered among the greatest power forwards in NBA history.


  12. Bill Russell
    #12

    Bill Russell

    3,704 views

    William Felton "Bill" Russell (born February 12, 1934) is an American retired professional basketball player. Russell played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1956 to 1969. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a twelve-time All-Star, he was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty, winning eleven NBA championships during his thirteen-year career. Along with Henri Richard of the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens, Russell holds the record for the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. Before his professional career, Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA championships (1955, 1956). He also won a gold medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics as captain of the U.S. national basketball team.


  13. Bill Walton
    #13

    Bill Walton

    3,612 views

    William Theodore "Bill" Walton III (born November 5, 1952) is an American retired basketball player and television sportscaster. Walton achieved superstardom playing for John Wooden's powerhouse UCLA Bruins in the early '70s, winning three successive College Player of the Year Awards, while leading the Bruins to two Division I national titles. He then went on to have a prominent career in the National Basketball Association (NBA) where he was a league Most Valuable Player (MVP) and won two NBA championships. His professional career was significantly hampered by multiple foot injuries. Walton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 10, 1993 and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame that same year. He is the father of former professional basketball player Luke Walton.


  14. Isiah Thomas
    #14

    Isiah Thomas

    3,244 views

    Isiah Lord Thomas III (/ˈz.ə/; born April 30, 1961) is a retired American basketball player who played professionally for the Detroit Pistons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 12-time NBA All-Star was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Thomas has also been a professional and collegiate head coach, a basketball executive, and a broadcaster.


  15. Clyde Drexler
    #15

    Clyde Drexler

    2,950 views

    Clyde Austin "The Glide" Drexler (born June 22, 1962) is an American retired professional basketball swingman. During his career, he was a ten-time All-Star, and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Drexler won an Olympic gold medal in 1992 as part of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team ("The Dream Team") and an NBA Championship in 1995 with the Houston Rockets. He is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (being inducted 2004 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the "Dream Team") He currently serves as a color commentator for Rockets home games.


  16. John Stockton
    #16

    John Stockton

    2,239 views

    John Houston Stockton (born March 26, 1962) is an American retired professional basketball player. He spent his entire professional playing career as a point guard for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA), from 1984 to 2003. Stockton is regarded as one of the best point guards of all time, holding the NBA records for most career assists and steals by considerable margins. He is a ten-time NBA All-Star, and a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (in 2009 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team ("Dream Team"). He was also inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame as a member of the "Dream Team" in 2009.


  17. Patrick Ewing
    #17

    Patrick Ewing

    2,554 views

    Patrick Aloysius Ewing, Sr. (born August 5, 1962) is a Jamaican-American retired Hall of Fame basketball player. He played most of his career with the NBA's New York Knicks as their starting center and played briefly with the Seattle SuperSonics and Orlando Magic. He is currently the associate head coach of the Charlotte Hornets, working under Steve Clifford.


  18. Elgin Baylor
    #18

    Elgin Baylor

    2,443 views

    Elgin Gay Baylor (born September 16, 1934) is a retired American basketball player, coach, and executive. He played 13 seasons as a forward in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Minneapolis / Los Angeles Lakers, appearing in eight NBA Finals. Baylor was a gifted shooter, strong rebounder, and an accomplished passer. Renowned for his acrobatic maneuvers on the court, Baylor regularly dazzled Lakers fans with his trademark hanging jump shots. The No. 1 draft pick in 1958, NBA Rookie of the Year in 1959, and an 11-time NBA All-Star, he is regarded as one of the game's all-time greatest players. In 1977, Baylor was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.


  19. David Robinson
    #19

    David Robinson

    2,000 views

    David Maurice Robinson (born August 6, 1965) is an American former professional basketball player, who played center for the San Antonio Spurs in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for his entire career. Based on his prior service as an officer in the United States Navy, Robinson earned the nickname "The Admiral".


  20. Hakeem Olajuwon
    #20

    Hakeem Olajuwon

    2,491 views

    Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon (/ɵˈləwɒn/; born January 21, 1963), formerly known as Akeem Olajuwon, is a Nigerian-American retired professional basketball player. From 1984 to 2002, he played the center position in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors. He led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Listed at 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) (but closer to 6 ft 10 in (2.08m) by his own admission), Olajuwon is considered one of the greatest centers ever to play the game. He was nicknamed "The Dream" during his basketball career, for his grace on and off the court.


  21. Oscar Robertson
    #21

    Oscar Robertson

    1,623 views

    Oscar Palmer Robertson (born November 24, 1938), nicknamed "The Big O", is an American retired National Basketball Association player who played for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks. The 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m), 220 lb (100 kg) Robertson played the shooting guard and point guard position, and was a 12-time All-Star, 11-time member of the All-NBA Team, and one-time winner of the MVP award in 14 professional seasons. He is the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. He was a key player on the team which brought the Bucks their only NBA title in the 1970–71 NBA season. His playing career, especially during high school and college, was plagued by racism.


  22. Pete Maravich
    #22

    Pete Maravich

    1,332 views

    Peter Press "Pistol Pete" Maravich (June 22, 1947 – January 5, 1988) was an American professional basketball player of Serbian descent. He was born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area and raised in the Carolinas. Maravich starred in college at Louisiana State University (LSU) and played for three NBA teams until injuries forced his retirement in 1980. He is still the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with 3,667 points scored and an average of 44.2 points per game. All of his accomplishments were achieved before the three-point line and shot clock were introduced to NCAA basketball and despite being unable to play varsity as a freshman under then-NCAA rules. One of the youngest players ever inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Maravich was cited by the Hall as "perhaps the greatest creative offensive talent in history". In an April 2010 interview, Hall of Fame player John Havlicek said "the best ball-handler of all time was Pete Maravich."


  23. Robert Parish
    #23

    Robert Parish

    1,325 views

    Robert Lee Parish (born August 30, 1953) is a retired American basketball center. He was known for his strong defense and jump shooting, and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003. In 1996, Parish was also named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. His nickname was The Chief, after the fictitious Chief Bromden, a silent, giant Native American character in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. According to Parish, former Celtics forward Cedric Maxwell gave him this nickname because of his stoic nature. He played an NBA-record 1,611 regular season games in his career.


  24. Walt Frazier
    #24

    Walt Frazier

    1,999 views

    Walter "Clyde" Frazier (born March 29, 1945) is an American former basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). As their floor general, he led the New York Knicks to the franchise's only two NBA Championships (1970 and 1973), and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987. Upon his retirement from basketball, Frazier went into broadcasting; he is currently a color commentator for telecasts of Knicks games on the MSG Network.


  25. Jerry West
    #25

    Jerry West

    680 views

    Jerry Alan West (born May 28, 1938) is an American retired basketball player who played his entire professional career for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His nicknames include "Mr. Clutch", for his ability to make a big play in a clutch situation, such as his famous buzzer-beating 60-foot shot that tied Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the New York Knicks; "The Logo", in reference to his silhouette being incorporated into the NBA logo; "Mr. Outside", in reference to his perimeter play with the Los Angeles Lakers; and "Zeke from Cabin Creek", for the creek near his birthplace of Chelyan, West Virginia. Playing the small forward position early in his career, West was a standout at East Bank High School and at West Virginia University, leading the Mountaineers to the 1959 NCAA championship game, earning the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player honor despite the loss. He then embarked on a 14-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and was the co-captain of the 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal team in Rome, a squad that would be inducted as a unit into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.


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