Top 10 Number 1 NBA Draft Picks Of All Time
The NBA has had some fantastic players shine in the drafts. But to be picked first also comes with a lot of pressure. We can expect the same stress to affect the March Madness odds this season as unexpected teams start to surge through to top spots.
As we wait for the games to begin, we should turn back to the past. Maybe looking at the previous impressive number one NBA picks can guide us on the games to come.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - Center - Milwaukee Bucks
Abdul-Jabbar was picked first in the 1969 drafts, and he had to take the top spot due to one particular undefeated title. He is the NBA's all-time scorer.
When Adbul-Jabber was picked, his team was the fresh-faced Bucks. They had only played one season before Kareem's introduction, and yet with this rookie on board, they managed to pick up their first NBA Championship just 3 years later.
Adbul-Jabber set the record for the most Most Valuable Person awards in history, having won the title 3 times. After that unheard-of feat, he just kept going until he achieved an unforgettable 6 MVP awards.
2. Magic Johnson - Point Guard - Los Angeles Lakers
Just 10 years after Adbul-Jabbar entered into the scene, Johnson tried to take his thunder. Known as the best Point Guard of all time, Johnson claimed his first NBS title in his rookie season. He was also the only rookie at the time to be named the Finals Most Valuable Player.
Throughout his start and stop career, Johnson played for 13 seasons with the Lakers. He won 4 more championships before his first attempt at retirement. His retirement was forced upon him when Johnson announced he was diagnosed with HIV. In a time of judgment and miss-information, HIV was known as the "gay disease." With homophobia in most parts of the country, it didn't matter that HIV would harm anyone - he was shunned.
If we were allowed more court time with this legend, we could have seen even more fantastic skill.
3. LeBron James - Small Forward - Cleveland Cavaliers
This couldn't have been a real list without LeBron James near the top. He was the first pick in 2003, snapped up by the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2004 he won the title Rookie of the Year and was instantly recognized as one of the best players on the court. In total, he was dubbed Most Valuable Player 4 times throughout his career, and that career isn't over yet!
4. Shaquille O'Neal - Center - Orlando Magic
O'Neal was drafted in 1992 and was named Rookie of the Year instantly. Throughout his career, he jumped from team to team, finding the right match for him at any given time. This strategy worked, as he earned 3 All-Star Game MVP awards, 3 All-Defensive Team awards, 2 championship titles, and 3 Finals MVP awards too.
Looking at his stats from all time, O'Neal ranked 8th for the highest points scored in all time, 6th in field goals, and 8th in blocks!
5. Tim Duncan - Power Forward - San Antonio Spurs
Ducan was nicknamed "The Big Fundamental" in his time on the court due to his amazing power forward play. If you were to ask anyone who the best power forward of all time was, you'd get high odds on the answer being Tim Duncan.
Throughout his career, Duncan earned 5 NBA titles, 2 MVP titles, and 3 Finals MVP titles. He is also the only player to ever be selected for the All-Defensive Teams and the All-NBA teams for 13 seasons in a row.
6. Hakeem Olajuwon - Center - Houston Rockets
Olajuwon is definitely one of the best centers of all time. Born in Nigeria, Olajuwon was the first non-American to play in the All-Stars games. He was also the first non-American to win the title of NBA MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year awards.
And regardless of nationality, Olajuwon is the only player (so far) to win NBA Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals Most Valuable Player in the same season.
7. Elgin Baylor - Small Forward - Minneapolis Lakers
Baylor has always been known as a gifted shooter, an on-point passer, and a strong rebounder. But he was most well known for his hanging jump shots.
Rafted in 1958, Baylor earned the Rookie of the Year award, which was just the start of his amazing career. By the time he left the courts, he had received 11 NBA All-Star positions, was part of the Al-Star first team 10 times, and was named the NBA All-Star MVP in 1959, the same year as his rookie year.
8. David Robinson - Center - San Antonio Spurs
Nicknamed "the Admiral," Robinson was in the U.S Navy before turning into an NBA champion. He earned the title 2 times and became an Olympic gold medalist twice. Surprisingly he only won the Most Valuable Player award once in his 14-year career, but he was an All-Star 10 times.
His journey from the U.S Navy to NBA star is the true American dream, unmatched by any other.
9. Oscar Robertson - Point Guard - Cincinnati Royals
Known as "The Big O," Robertson earned the Rookie of the Year award, kicking his career off to an amazing start; however, he only made it to the MVP award once. That doesn't mean a thing, though, as Robertson was the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double by the end of the season.
10. Elvin Hayes - Power Forward - Minneapolis Lakers
Picked first in the 1968 drafts, Hayes has only become an NBA Champion once years after his pick. However, he was an NBA All-Star 12 times and earned the title of scoring champion in 1969.
There are so many amazing players in the NBA, all of which have a ton of pressure on their shoulders to perform well. But these amazing stars not only had the pressure of first pick, but they held on strong to their skill and delivered amazing games for us all to enjoy.