For all basketball fans, here is a list of Top 10 Greatest NBA Players/Legends of history; till the time I am writing this post. Basketball is a 5-per-side, mainly indoor game, where a player has to dribble the ball with any one of his/her hand and dunk it to other team’s post.
NBA basketball league is richest Sports league on this entire planet. There are many Great Legends in this game’s history. Some of these NBA Basketball Legends are listed below.
10. Shaquille O’Neal:
Shaquille O’Neal is a retired NBA basketball player, former actor, rapper and currently a sports analyst. He is one of the heaviest persons to play in NBA ever, weighing no less than 147 Kg. During his 19-year career, he played for six different clubs including Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Phoenix suns.
This 3-time MVP All-star game award winner, also has Rookie of the year award (1993), MVP award (2000) and Best male athlete of the year (2005) among many others, in his trophy cabinet. Apart from NBA, he has also released 4 rap-albums. His first album “Shaq Diesel”, certified platinum.
9. Magic Johnson:
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr. is a retired NBA player, who played for Los Angeles Lakers for 13 years. Along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell, he is one of the early greats of NBA. His total career achievements include three MVP awards, twelve All-star games, ten All-NBA first and second team nominations and nine NBA final appearances.
He has a well–noted friendship with Boston Celtics rival Larry Bird. He was also an important part of 1992 Summer Olympics winner USA Basketball Team. Since his retirement (1996), Johnson has been an entrepreneur, philanthropist and broadcaster. In 2009, he was ranked as US’ most influential black businessman.
8. Larry Bird:
Larry Joe Bird, is a former Boston Celtics’ player. He formed one of the most formidable attacks that included Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. He was awarded MVP for three consecutive years from 1984- 86 and also a 12-time NBA All-Star winner. He had the ability to hold his nerves in the most crucial moments of the game.
Such were his steel nerves that MJ(Micheal Jordan) was once asked who he would want to take a shot with the game on the line, other than himself. Before the question could be finished, Jordan quickly responded “Larry Bird.” Apart from NBA career, he has also acted in three Hollywood movies, playing himself.
7. Kobe Bryant:
Kobe Bean Bryant is a current NBA Basketball player, playing for Los Angeles Lakers. He has spent his entire career playing for the Lakers. Alongside LeBron James, he is probably the greatest rising stars in this sport. After feud with Kobe, Shaquille O’Neal left the Lakers in 2003. Since then, he has become a central force for the Lakers.
His personal achievements include NBA MVP award in 2008, 3-times NBA All-Star MVP and NBA All-Star defensive team, Bill Russell NBA finals Most Valuable Player in 2009 and 2010. Last but not the least! he was also named ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Award winner in 2008 and 2010.
6. Tim Duncan:
Timothy Theodore “Tim” Duncan is an American Basketball player, who plays for San Antonio Spurs. The 6′ 11” forward is a 2-time MVP, 3-times NBA finals MVP, NBA rookie of the year and also 5- time NBA championship winner. He is the only player to have been selected for both All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams for his first 13 consecutive years.
He is continuously billed as the most efficient player of his generation, by Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Sports journalist Kevin Kernan admired his ability to relax and stay focused, stating that having a degree in psychology, Tim often not only outplay, but also psych out his opponents.
5. LeBron James:
LeBron James is a current professional basketball player for NBA team Cleveland Cavaliers. He is one of few players in this list that are currently playing. Until now, this 29 year old superstar has won four MVP awards, two MVP final awards, two NBA championships aside being an all-time leading scorer for Cleveland.
If that is not astonishing, add two Olympics Gold medals, a place in six All-defensive, ten All- star and ten All-NBA teams, into your list. There is nothing left that can elude him, though he has many years left. He is often touted as the most influential athlete in USA. Apart from all this, he has also hosted Saturday Night Live.
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:
Born as Lew Alcindor, this man was the great giant of 70s. Standing at 7′ 2”, even his ten-year junior couldn’t compete with him. When he retired from the game in 1989, he had a ton of records with him. Some of them were highest total points by a player, maximum blocks by a player, highest number of MVP awards, etc. Very few people in Basketball have excelled more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
In his early career, people didn’t admire him that much, but during the twilight of his illustrious career, Miami Heat’ Coach Pat Riley who coached Kareem for eight seasons during his time in Lakers, told Sports Illustrated:
Why judge anymore? When a man has broken records, won championships, endured tremendous criticism and responsibility, why judge? Let’s toast him as the greatest player ever.
3. Bill Russell:
William Felton “Bill” Russell is a retired professional player from US. During his career from 1956 to 1969, Russell played for Boston Celtics. He holds the record for winning the most championship by an athlete in North America Sports League. He influenced many of his teammates to raise their game standards. Along with Wilt Chamberlain, he is one of the two players to grab more than 50 rebounds in a game.
Russell also scored 14522 points in his career. His other personal accomplishments include NBA MVP award in 1962, 1963 and 1965, All-NBA star team in 1959, 1963 and 1965, NBA All-Star game MVP in 1963 and Sportsman for the year in 1968. He was the first black to attain superstar status in NBA.
2. Hakeem Olajuwon:
Hakeem Olajuwon is a retired NBA player, of Nigerian-American Ancestry. He only played for Houston Rockets, except his last season of professional Basketball when he opted to play for Toronto Raptors. Combining with 7’4” Ralph Sampson, they formed a deadly combo, known as “Twin Towers”. As of now, he is one and only player in NBA history to win MVP award, Defensive player of the year and Finals MVP awards in a same season.
According to many experts, Hakeem along with his other competitors was the main force behind in popularizing of NBA in 80s. He ended his career with 3380 blocks (a record indeed!). Raised as a practicing Muslim, due to this he changed his name from “Akeem” to “Hakeem”.
1. Michael Jordan – MJ:
Michael Jeffrey Jordan or simply MJ, is unarguably the best NBA basketball player of all time. What he did to Basketball, is the same what Sir Donald Bradman did in Cricket. He won six championships when there were other competitors like Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and Hakeem Olajuwon, etc.
He stayed with Chicago Bulls for the most of his career, and was a complete scorer and defender combined. He is third on the list of all time steal and all time points in NBA history. After his retirement, he had been included in hall of fame. Apart from this, he is also the 2nd richest athlete after Tiger Woods. He has also enjoyed his Hollywood stint for association with child cartoon Looney Toons.
So that was our list of Ten Most Famous NBA Basketball Legends of all time. Obviously some very prominent players like Wilt Chamberlain are left out. But again, this is only a top ten list and we can’t put all those players in one single damn list! Do you think someone was not in that list of Top 10 NBA basketball Legends, who should be? Tell us in comments.