Ever since 1946 since the greatest league in the planet started NBA has bred generations of supreme basketball players worthy of having a statue built to commemorate forever their greatness and the colorful progression they bring in the game that we all love. Top players of each generation with unsurpassed talent they bring to the basketball table in their respective era made today’s level of basketball hiatus possible.
With over 400 games played on NBA’s all time history the league has honed exceptional individuals with unequalled dedication, discipline and utmost love for the sport. Creativity and innovation of basketball moves that the kids copy today would not be possible if it were not for the creative minds and graceful calisthenics of the players that made the game, for the fans and for themselves, “Amazing”.
That hard work, dedication and love is passed on to next generation ballers. Ballers of today take it to the next level with more grace and power like the caliber of games that we are watching at present. The Lebron James, Derek Rose, Blake Griffin, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Steph Curry’s of the world will never be the same if it weren’t for the big guns that shaped and completely turned basketball into a better direction.
In respect and gratitude to the players and the game I came up with a list of my top NBA players of all time. From ten to one these are the players, in my opinion, that gave significant impact in the NBA.
10. Hakeem Olajuwon
Born in January 21, 1963. Hakeem Olajuwon started his NBA career in 1984playing Center for Toronto Raptors and Huston Rockets until 2002. He played a major role in giving Huston Rockets back to back Championship rings back in 1994 and 1995. Standing 6 foot tall Hakeem was coined “The Dream” because of his finesse and cascading style and attitude on and off the court. He was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008 and regarded as one of the greatest Centers of all time to play in the NBA. At the end of his career in 2002 he was the current all time leader in blocks with astronomical stats of 3,830 blocks career high.
9. Wilt Chamberlain
He became famous for playing for the Harlem Globetrotters before playing for Philadelphia 76ers and L.A. Lakers. Like Hakeem Olajuwon Wilt Chamberlain played Center and dominated the game with his skillful mastery of fakes and clever shots inside the paint. Wilt Chamberlain holds a ton of NBA records including scoring a hundred points in one game, nine field goal percentage, seven scoring, titles in rebounding and league assists. He’s also the only player at the time that averages at least 20 rebounds and 30 points per game until the entire duration of his career. Wilt is also known with his nicknames like “Wilt the Stilt”, Goliath and “The Big Dipper” by which he prefer the latter who’s coined by one Philadelphia Sports writer.
8. Lebron James
We all know King James and why he is on this list! He’s the one that is currently making history paving the way of the strong more muscular built players to meet the level of intensity of today’s ball game. Standing 6 foot 8inches and plays power forward this massive bulk of fine specimen leads NBA championships from left to right. Originally from Cleveland Cavaliers He gathered his championship rings in the city of heat, Miami. Awards and recognitions like NBA Finals MVP, NBA rookie of the year, scoring title, all time leading scorer in Cleveland Cavs and Olympic medals as well as his unique style and sheer strength makes him worthy to be on this list.
7. Tim Duncan
Born Timothy Theodore Duncan this 250 pound, 6 foot 11 inches beast plays power forward and center for the San Antonio Spurs since the start of his NBA career up to present. With records of 5 time NBA Champion, 2 time NBA MVP, NBA Rookie of the Year, NBA Finals MVP 3 times, and a 14th time NBA All Star select playing both defensive and offensive tasks he’s a handful in the court. Originally a swimmer, Tim Duncan was destined to ball when Hurricane Hugo totally ruined the only Olympic size pool on his Virgin Island home. Tim Duncan also holds a degree in Psychology and is head of the Tim Duncan Foundation.
6. Shaquille O Neal
Who can dismiss the “Shaq Attack”?! Shaq’s 7 foot 1 inch frame and 300 plus pounds brute physique coins his moniker “Man of Steel”. Paired with Penny Hardaway in Orlando Magic and later to Kobe Bryant in the Los Angeles Lakers Shaq dominated the hard court with his strength inside the paint muscling his way to every defense thrown at his way. He has, four championship rings from different teams, Finals MVP award, 13th overall standing in rebounds, All Star Game MVP Awards, 3rd all time field goal percentage, 6th in all time points scored and other awards under his belt.
5. Larry Bird
Together with the Boston Celtics, where he played his entire basketball career, Larry Bird won 3 championships and awarded MVP awards 3 times in his career. Larry Bird became a household name playing as small forward and power forward for 13 seasons in the NBA. With his unmatched skills and quit wits in the hard court he was admired by his fans as well as team mates and majority of players in the league. He retired in 1992 because of chronic back pains and was later on inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996. He also became the head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to year 2000.
4. Bill Russell
Born William Fenton Russell. He played Center for the Boston Celtics from 1956 to 1969 winning eleven championships in his career. He was awarded NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times and holds the record of North America’s Sports League’s most championships won by an athlete. Standing 6 foot 10 inches his unfazed man-to-man defense and shot blocking skills earn him the respect to be one of NBA’s finest player to walk the court. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and was recently awarded in 2011 the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barrack Obama.
3. Magic Johnson
One of the finer gentlemen who brought color to a Lakers game. Sincere to his name, Magic Johnson brings “magic” to the court with his grace under pressure and exceptional talent hard court talents. Playing as Point Guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons he accumulated 3 Most Valuable Player Awards, 9 Finals appearance, 12 All Star Games, NBA championships and NBA Finals MVP awards during his basketball career. He was inducted as one of 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996 and was placed in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. ESPN named him as the greatest Point Guard of all time in 2007. He was part of “The Dream Team”.
2. Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Playing 20 seasons for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers Kareem Abdul Jabbar, born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, brought the game to a higher notch with his game-changing court talents. Playing as Center he garnered 6 Most Valuable Player Awards, NBA All Star appearance 19 times, All NBA selection 15 times, NBA All Defensive Team member 11 times, and NBA Finals MVP in 1996 in the duration of his career. Honored as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. He was personally coined by his fellow players Isaiah Thomas, Julius Erving and NBA coach Pat Riley as “the greatest player of all time”. And, yes, he also acted as a villain in the Bruce Lee’s kungfu movie “Game of Death”.
1. Michael Jordan
For me, the most influential basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, “His Airness”. Who does not know “Air Jordan”? He is the most celebrated and marketable NBA player of all time because of his sheer creativity and grace to the court. Playing all around defense and offense Michael led the Chicago Bulls to 3 peat with his all time high stats in everything. You can never start to describe how good MJ is. He led the New School of Ballers in the NBA. There will never be Kobe Bryant’s and Lebron James’s of basketball if it weren’t for the level of creativity Michael played during his reign.