Records, individual awards, and championships are some of the reasons these players are the NBA's all time greats. Everybody has their own opinion and we could spend hours debating the best players. The NBA has seen many outstanding players, such as Jerry West, David Robinson, Kevin Garnett, and Karl Malone. Although the previously mentioned are not on this list, we should not forget to mention them.
Some of the players on this list are still currently playing, which means they can still continue to improve their curriculum. With all that said, we present to you the 15 greatest NBA players of all time.
15. Kevin Durant
A physically gifted player and his execellent shooting from behind the arc allow him to play various positions on court.
Kevin Durant has won four NBA Scoring titles and was named the league MVP in 2014. He has been in the All-NBA Team on six occasions and is a 10-time All-Star. Along with all these individual awards, he has won two NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018, and was named the Finals MVP on both occasions.
14. Moses Malone
He was one of the first players to go from high school straight to the NBA. He joined the Utah Stars of the ABA in 1974 where he played until the league folded and would later play for the Buffalo Braves and Houston Rockets. With the Rockets, he would win two league MVPs in 1979 and 1982.
After being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, he would be named the league MVP in his first season and led the team to the NBA Finals. The 76ers would go on to win the NBA championship and he would be named the Finals MVP.
13. Hakeem Olajuwon
He played 17 of his 18 season with the Houston Rockets where he would become an all time great. He helped the Rockets win two NBA titles, being named Finals MVP on both occasions. He also won league MVP in 1994.
In addition, he was named in the All-NBA Team six times and a 12-time All-Star. He is the only player in NBA history to win the league MVP, Finals MVP, and the Defensive Player of the Year award in the same season.
12. Oscar Robertson
In 1962, became the first player to record a triple-double during a season, averaging 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game. It was only his second season and he almost did it again in 1964 and 1965.
He won the league MVP in 1964 and won the championship in 1971 with the Milwaukee Bucks. Additionally, he was included in the All-NBA Team on nine occasions and was a 12-time All-Star.
11. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is one of the best and funniest players to watch. With his remarkable shooting, he has helped the Golden State Warriors reach five straight NBA Finals, winning three of them. Surprisingly, he was never named Finals MVP in any of those championship wins.
He has been named three times in the All-NBA Team and was the league MVP on two occasions. He currently holds the NBA record for most three points made in a season with 402.
10. Kobe Bryant
The "Black Mamba" would win three straight NBA champions alongside Shaquille O'Neal with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2000 to 2002. He would win another two championships in 2009 and 2010 where he would be named MVP in both Finals.
Despite his incredible talent, Kobe would only win one league MVP in his career. However, he was an 18-time All-Star and was in the All-NBA Team on eleven occasions. In 2006, he scored 81 points in a single game, becoming the second player to score the most points in a game behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points.
9. Shaquille O'Neal
One of the most dominant players of his era, he won four NBA championships throughout his career. Three of them came with the Los Angeles Lakers where he was named the MVP in each Final. The other one came with the Miami Heat, which would be the franchise's first ever NBA championship.
On an individual level, he would be named the league MVP in 2000 and was included in the All-NBA Team eight times. He is the eighth player with the most points scored in NBA history.
8. Wilt Chamberlin
Even though he retired in 1973, he still holds more than 70 NBA records, which includes the most points scored in a game with 100. He also managed to average 30 points and 20 rebounds for seven consecutives seasons. No other NBA players have been able to replicate these numbers even for one season.
He won two NBA championships with the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers, and was named the Finals MVP in one of them. In addition, he is a 4-time league MVP and has been name in the All-NBA Team on seven occasions.
7. Tim Duncan
One of the most complete players in NBA history. He played for the San Antonio Spurs for almost 20 years and was a true example both on and off the court.
He helped the Spurs win five NBA championships in which he was named MVP in three of those Finals. Additionally, he was named 10 times in the All-NBA Team and played in 15 All-Star games.
6. Larry Bird
"The Hick From French Lick" played his entire career for the Boston Celtics. During the 1980s, he was always in the conversation for league MVP, winning three consecutive between 1984 and 1986.
With the Celtics, he won three NBA championships and was named MVP in two Finals. He was included in the All-NBA team nine times and was a part of the 1992 gold medal winning Olympic basketball team known as the "Dream Team." He retired in 1992 due to constant cronic problems in his back. Many consider him the greatest small forward in NBA History.
5. Magic Johnson
Ervin "Magic" Johnson was one of those players that people would go to watch. His amazing passes and assists were always fun to see and the Lakers greatly benefited from his performances.
He won five NBA titles, being named Finals MVP on three occasions. Along with this, he would win three league MVPs and was named nine times in the All-NBA Team. If that was not enough, he would be part of the 1992 "Dream Team" that won the Olympic gold medal.
4. Bill Russell
His signing for the Boston Celtics in 1956 would change the history of the franchise and the face of the league. He was Boston's pivatol player as they would win 11 championships in 13 seasons, 8 of them consecutively. Nobody has won more championships than him.
Interestingly, he won his last two championships as a player-manager. On an individual level, he would win five league MVPs and was in All-NBA team on three occasions.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
He played 20 years in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, and he would retire as the player with the most points, blocks, defensive rebounds, and most games played surpassing 65,000 minutes. An NBA legend that would also go on to win a record six league MVPs.
Abdul-Jabbar, once known as Lew Alcindor before changing his name, won six NBA titles and was MVP in two Finals. He was also in the All-NBA Team 10 times and selected to 19 All-Star games, but only played in 18 of them.
2. LeBron James
People continue to compare LeBron with the number one player of our list. Instead of debating, we should just appreciate how great of a player he is and enjoy him while he continues to play. There is no doubt he is one of the NBA's greatest players with all he has done and should continue to do.
He is a 3-time NBA champion, winning two with the Miami Heat and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and was named MVP in each Final. Additionally, he has won four league MVPs and included in the All-NBA Team on 12 occassions. He also played in nine consecutive NBA Finals from 2010 to 2019. Now with the Los Angeles Lakers, he looks to help the organization win their first NBA title since 2010 and continue to grow his name.
1. Michael Jordan
Was there ever a doubt about who is the greatest NBA player of all time? Michael Jordan is the biggest name in basketball and one of the most iconic athletes in all of sports. He is a 6-time NBA champion, being named Finals MVP in each one. However, many believe the Bulls would have won eight straight NBA championships if Jordan had not retired and been out of the league from 1994 to 1996.
On an individual level, he won five league MVPs, was included in the All-NBA Team on 10 occasions, and is a 9-time Defensive Player of the Year winner from 1987 to 1993 and 1996 to 1998. Additionally, he was a part of the "Dream Team" that would win the 1992 Olympic gold medal.