The 7 Most Successful NBA Players of All Time|
It should come as no surprise that ranking the best NBA players isn't simple. No matter who you select or where you place them, the results are bound to be questioned by some hardcore fans.
There are those who say Shaquille O'Neal was in a class of his own, unlike anything the court has ever seen. But others would argue that Kobe Bryant won more rings and should therefore stand higher on the podium. Then we have the legendary point guards, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. Who gets the nod when there's only room for one?
Perhaps the fairest ranking would go purely by the numbers. Maybe it makes more sense to favour those who displayed sustained excellence throughout their career. What about players with extraordinary accomplishments? Fortunately, there is a solid middle ground to stand on here.
To make the list as fair as possible, each of the player's accolades and key playoff stats will be considered, including their PPG (points per game), RPG (rebounds per game), BPG (blocks per game) and in certain cases APG (assists per game). This makes it not so much about who was the best, but rather who was the most successful. Let's get into it.
Tim Duncan21.9 PPG
With a total of four NBA titles, three finals MVPs, two regular season MVPs and 15 All-Star games, the San Antonio Spurs legend, Tim Duncan, is one of basketball's greatest forwards. The Big Fundamental led his team to four championships and did so with the least amount of variation, making him a model for consistency in the sport.
Wilt Chamberlain22.5 PPG
Wilt the Stilt might have an impressive 22.5 PPG average for his career, but it's the astronomical 50.4 PPG he attained in the 1961-1962 season that truly stands out. That's not even mentioning his unbroken record of 23,924 career rebounds.
This Lakers legend is one of the few players whose dominance is debatable over that of Shaq. And as the years go by, his early career accomplishments have come to seem more and more mythical. With his influence on the game and ability to redefine what's possible, it's fair to say that Chamberlain is one for the books.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar24.3 PPG
Before the reign of Duncan, there was Lakers superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. A king of consistency, he maintained astounding averages throughout his career, all while competing for a grand total of 20 seasons. Aside from his absurd 38,387 career points, Abdul-Jabbar was also the inventor of the skyhook - the Association's most deadly shot.
Let's not forget that there's a 14-year gap between Kareem's first and final MVP award, as well as the fact that he earned a total of six NBA titles. Among his other accomplishments are 15 All-NBA selections, 19 All-Star appearances and the most scores in NBA history.
Nobody is as skilled at making deposits and withdrawals through teams quite like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It's no wonder that he features in online games where you can also be making deposits and withdrawals the way this legend did. The linked site can help you find the best site to play basketball-themed games.
Larry Bird23.8 PPG
Despite lacking the usual degree of athleticism, three-time NBA title holder, Larry Bird, was a master of court dominance and dexterity. In his relatively short career, Larry passed through 10 All-NBA and three All-Defence teams. The Celtics MVP stood out for his fierce competitiveness and unrivalled skillset, best highlighted by that deadly jump shot.
Magic Johnson19.5 PPG
The proud owner of five NBA titles, three Finals MVPs and three regular season MVPs, acclaimed and admired Lakers player, Magic Johnson, stands among the top players in many rankings. Of course, this is for good reason, as Johnson is known to have changed the game when he hit the scene from Michigan State in 1979.
In his very first season, the record holder dropped 42 points after starting at center in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Don't forget that in said game, he played all five positions and led his team to their first title in years. And that was just the beginning for Magic, who went on to accumulate a rare nine All-NBA First Team selections.
LeBron James28.1 PPG
You would be far from the only fan to put LeBron James in the number one position on your personal list of best players. Even if he isn't your favourite, chances are that "greatness" is the first word to come to mind when you think of the Ohio native. While the Jordan vs James debate might never cease, the fact that LeBron has come this far is good enough.
There are many stats to reference here, from his two NBA titles and two Finals MVPs, to his four regular season MVPs, nine All-NBA and five All-Defense Teams accolades. However, there's really no need to illustrate further than that, for at this point, the Lakers player's name speaks for him enough.
LeBron has reached a different level of basketball that only the likes of the final entry in our list can occupy.
Michael Jordan33.4 PPG
Who else could take the top spot other than The GOAT himself? Michael Jordan has accomplished just about everything you can in the NBA, earning all the awards, titles and top statistics possible. Nobody can forget his perfect 6-for-6 in the Finals where he swept the Finals MVP, or his winning of the NBA's scoring title in 1988.
When it comes to accomplishments, there's more to say about Jordan than perhaps any other player. At the same time, you probably don't need to be reminded about why he is the greatest of all time.
Do you agree with the list? How would you change it? Who should and shouldn't be in the rankings?