75 greatest NBA players ever: The HoopsHype list

75 greatest NBA players ever: The HoopsHype list

Ranking

75 greatest NBA players ever: The HoopsHype list

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In honor of it being the NBA’s 75th season, the league plans to release something it is calling the NBA 75, which will feature a list of the 75 greatest players of all time.

So we had the brilliant idea to do the exact same thing first.

We held a team vote with the opinions of eight HoopsHype staff members, removed the highest and lowest rank for each and awarded points 75-1 for the rest.

There are nine players dropping out from the league’s original 50 Greatest list and 34 new entries – including five players who could have made the 1996 list. (Yes, Dominique Wilkins makes the cut this time).

1
Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

Top accolades: Six NBA titles, six Finals MVPs, five MVPs, 10 All-NBA 1st Team selections, 14 All-Stars, one Defensive Player of the Year award, nine All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 3rd in steals, 5th in scoring, 47th in assists, 121st in blocks, 131st in rebounds

Share of the vote: 99.8 percent of the maximum amount possible

Not a consensus pick, but close to it, as six of our eight voters picked Michael Jordan as the No. 1 player in their ranking. It’s impossible to argue that, too, as Jordan had the highest peak of any of the GOAT candidates and the longest list of top-level achievements (as of now). Jordan was a madman as a competitor, which led to him training as hard as any NBA player ever in order to get his body in elite shape to destroy opponents.

His mid-range game – face-ups, jab-steps, pull-ups, turnarounds, fadeaway, all of it – was second to none, and he was also a freakish athlete who could finish through contact and over length. And then there was the aspect of his clutchness, as Jordan was so often successful in nailing game-winners in the most high-pressure situations imaginable. Oh, and he was a top-tier defender, too.

Jordan was the face of the NBA for a long time, and his star status outside of the basketball world was almost hard to believe, and still sort of is. Overall, he’s still currently the GOAT, according to our voters.

2
LeBron James

LeBron James, LA Lakers

Top accolades: Four NBA titles, four Finals MVPs, four MVPs, 13 All-NBA 1st Team selections, 17 All-Stars, five All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 3rd in scoring, 8th in assists, 13th in steals, 42nd in rebounds

Share of the vote: 98.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

Two out of eight HoopsHype voters put LeBron James in the top spot of their vote. Of course, this is not over for James, who has a legit shot at more titles and historic accolades like top scorer in NBA history. James is already No. 1 in the playoffs in scoring and could be around two seasons away from Kareem’s record.

LeBron came into the NBA with unreal expectations and somehow managed to surpass all of them – and then some. James is clutch, he can score at a ridiculous level despite that not being his best attribute, rebounds well and is a fantastic playmaker, his most impressive trait. Few players have ever matched James’ absurd basketball IQ, one that he’ll use to continue to dominate for the next few seasons as his late prime winds down. If we re-do this exercise in a half-decade, James could very well finish first.

3
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers

Top accolades: Six NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, six MVPs, 10 All-NBA 1st Team selections, 19 All-Stars, five All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 1st in scoring, 3rd in rebounds and blocks, 45th in assists, 105th in steals

Share of the vote: 97.3 percent of the maximum amount possible

The GOAT debate is considered a two-horse race at this point in the NBA, but if there is a strong third candidate, it’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who dominated for almost two decades thanks to his skyhook shot and overall greatness as a scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker. If anything, the longevity argument is still with Abdul-Jabbar, as the all-time big man won his two Finals MVP awards 14 years apart, first in 1971 and then again in 1985. Most players’ careers don’t last anywhere near that long, yet Abdul-Jabbar was dominating at the highest level for that long. Still, Jordan and James are too tough to overcome, despite Abdul-Jabbar’s resume.

4
Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson, LA Lakers

Top accolades: Five NBA titles, three Finals MVPs, three MVPs, nine All-NBA 1st Team selections, 12 All-Stars

NBA rank: 6th in assists, 22nd in steals, 83rd in scoring, 142nd in rebounds

Share of the vote: 95.8 percent of the maximum amount possible

The consensus best point guard in NBA history comes at No. 4 on our list. The leader of one of the finest teams in basketball history, Magic Johnson had flash, pizzazz and any adjective you can think of as a playmaker, often hightailing it down the open floor and making spectacular passes that not many others would have attempted, let alone pulled off as successfully as he did. Magic was also a winner, making iconic plays over and over again in the biggest of stages. Add in his super charismatic personality and you have the complete package as one of the biggest superstars the league has ever seen.

5
Bill Russell

Bill Russell, Boston Celtics

Top accolades: 11 NBA titles, five MVPs, 11, All-NBA selections, 12 All-Stars

NBA rank: 2nd in rebounds, 114th in assists, 154th in scoring

Share of the vote: 92.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

Bill Russell’s record for most NBA titles will never be beaten, as no one has come, or will come close to his 11 career championships. Russell’s resume is actually hurt because many accolades, like Finals MVP or Defensive Player of the Years didn’t even exist in his heyday. What’s more, since blocks weren’t recorded as a stat in his career, there’s no way to know how many Russell had for his career. There’s a chance he would be at the top of blocks standings along with the player coming up next on our ranking. Russell may not have had the longest career, but boy, was that run successful. Just as a curious note: Russell had more MVPs than All-NBA 1st Team selections in his career (three).

6
Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain, LA Lakers

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, one Finals MVP, four MVPs, seven All-NBA 1st Team selections, 13 All-Stars, two All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 1st in rebounds, 7th in scoring, 80th in assists

Share of the vote: 92.7 percent of the maximum amount possible

The most dominant big man offensively in NBA history, though that partially had to do with the level of competition Wilt Chamberlain faced in his era. Still, when you dominate at the level Chamberlain did, who cares who he did it against? Chamberlain did come a little short in the team success department as he was usually better in the regular season than in the playoffs, something that many believe had to do with an unwillingness to get fouled late in close games due to his unreliable free throw.

Chamberlain’s single-season rebounding and scoring records are unassailable. Plus he has the second-best scoring average behind only Jordan. And had MJ played one more year with the Wizards, Chamberlain might actually be No. 1 in that stat. Chamberlain is also the only guy to lead the league in total scoring, rebounds and assists for a season, and retired as the all-time leader in scoring and rebounding at the time.

7
Larry Bird

Top accolades: Three NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, three MVPs, nine All-NBA 1st Team selections, 12 All-Stars

NBA rank: 36th in scoring, 38th in steals, 44th in assists, 54th in rebounds, 159th in blocks

Share of the vote: 90.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

There was a tie between Larry Bird and the next player on our ranking, one that we had to break up by looking at individual votes and seeing which player each voter had higher on their list. Bird may not rank super high in the stat department – a byproduct of a shorter career than normal for NBA superstars and being part of a star-studded team – but there’s no questioning his status as an all-time great, as the legendary swingman filled the stat sheet and possessed a terrific all-around game, as a shooter, overall scorer, rebounder and playmaker.

8
Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers

Top accolades: Five NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, one MVP, 11 All-NBA 1st Team selections, 18 All-Stars, nine All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 4th in scoring, 16th in steals, 31st in assists, 108th in rebounds, 196th in blocks

Share of the vote: 90.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

Not as high a peak as other megastars, but his career is one of amazingly sustained excellence – a result of an almost unparalleled work ethic and devotion to his craft, which helped him develop into an outrageous scorer out of the mid-range and near the rim, and a high-impact perimeter defender. Kobe Bryant was first a sidekick to Shaq before then becoming the man for the Lakers and winning five titles overall, two of which he earned Finals MVPs for. Bryant, who finished his career with more All-NBA 1st Team selections than Jordan (!), also probably turned more people into basketball fans than any player not named Michael (or Earvin).

9
Shaquille O'Neal

Top accolades: Four NBA titles, three Finals MVPs, one MVP, eight All-NBA 1st Team selections, 15 All-Stars, three All-Defensive 2nd Team selections

NBA rank: 8th in scoring and blocks, 15th in rebounds, 214th in assists

Share of the vote: 90.7 percent of the maximum amount possible

The most dominant physical specimen in the NBA since the days of Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal was an absolute freak with his blend of size, strength and unreal explosiveness. During O’Neal’s peak years, teams were making moves with the sole intention of containing the big man. Many ho-hum centers made a killing thanks to that just because they were another huge body to throw at O’Neal.

The fact the Big Artistotle won only one MVP was kind of ridiculous in hindsight, as there were various seasons he was the most dominant player in the league. O’Neal wanting to be a star off the court probably took away a bit of impact on the court a bit, but he was devastating throughout his career regardless, even despite being a porous free-throw shooter.

10
Tim Duncan

Top accolades: Five NBA titles, three Finals MVPs, two MVPs, 10 All-NBA 1st Team selections, eight All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 5th in blocks, 6th in rebounds, 15th in scoring, 102nd in assists

Share of the vote: 90.4 percent of the maximum amount possible

The rare low-maintenance superstar, Tim Duncan was impactful and successful team-wise from the get-go through the end of his career. Duncan anchored the winningest team of the century and did so in a low-key manner, without enough acclaim for his greatness or accomplishments. Don’t believe us? How about the fact that he never won Defensive Player of the Year despite making eight 1st Team All-Defenses, making that slight a major travesty, one that shows how underrated he was even in his prime. There’s even a chance Duncan would be ranked higher in many GOAT lists with a more entertaining off-court persona, but either way, he’s the greatest power forward ever.

11
Hakeem Olajuwon 🇳🇬

Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, one MVP, six All-NBA 1st Team selections, 12 All-stars, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, five All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 1st in blocks, 9th in steals, 12th in points, 14th in rebounds, 212th in assists

Share of the vote: 87.6 percent of the maximum amount possible

The first international player on the list, Hakeem Olajuwon was one of the greatest big men ever, and he competed and produced at an elite level on both ends of the floor with outstanding low-post moves and defensive skills to match. Olajuwon ranks first in blocks on record, though there’s a bit of an asterisk on that because they didn’t keep track of those before 1973-74. Also, he is the only player to rank Top 14 in four different major statistical categories: points, rebounds, blocks and steals.

12
Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson

Top accolades: One NBA title, one MVP, nine All-NBA 1st Team selections, 12 All-Stars

NBA rank: No. 7 in assists, 13th in scoring,75th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 83.6 percent of the maximum amount possible

The first player to average a triple-double in league history, Oscar Robertson was an expert playmaker, rebounder and scorer at the lead guard spot, and a somewhat underrated player historically. He experienced very little team success until he joined forces with Lew Alcindor in Milwaukee, but did eventually win an NBA championship. One of the most well-rounded offensive guards ever.

13
Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, one MVP, six All-NBA 1st Team selections, 11 All-Stars

NBA rank: 26th in scoring, 102nd in blocks, 146th in assists

Share of the vote: 83.1 percent of the maximum amount possible

Scoring comes so easy for him it’s almost ridiculous, as Kevin Durant is a 7-footer with ball-handling, quickness and a pristine jumper that he can hit from legitimately anywhere on the floor. Durant’s also an impactful defender when he needs to be, moving his feet quickly and blocking shots at pivotal moments. Durant should move up a few spots in the rankings yet, but will not be in contention for the top spots due to missed time because of injury.

14
Karl Malone

Karl Malone

Top accolades: Two MVPs, 11 All-NBA 1st Team selections, 14 All-Stars, three All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 2nd in scoring, 7th in rebounds, 11th in steals, 58th in assists, 67th in blocks

Share of the vote: 80.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

A model of consistency through the years, Karl Malone had a 17-year stretch, just discounting his first and last seasons, where he averaged at least 20 points per game. In that span, he put up 26.0 points and 10.3 rebounds, numbers that most players would love to average for one season, let alone 17. Malone did have some shortcomings in the playoffs, however, at least compared to fellow megastars, and that put him a little lower on the totem pole than he could have been with a ring or two on his resume.

15
Moses Malone

Moses Malone, Philadelphia 76ers

Top accolades: One NBA title, one Finals MVP, three MVPs, eight All-NBA selections, 12 All-Stars, two All-Defensive Team selections

NBA rank: 5th in rebounds, 9th in scoring, 26th in blocks, 134th in steals

Share of the vote: 79.1 percent of the maximum amount possible

Perhaps the most underappreciated superstar ever, Moses Malone was as dominant as it gets at the center spot with physical toughness as a rebounder, leading the league in nightly boards an astounding six times, including once at 17.6 rebounds per game. Malone was also a monster scorer in the paint, using his brute strength to batter smaller foes down low. Many consider Malone the greatest offensive rebounder the league has ever seen, as his timing and instincts to chase boards on offense were second to none.

16
Kevin Garnett

Top accolades: One NBA title, one MVP, nine All-NBA Teams, 15 All-Stars, one Defensive Player of the Year award, nine All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 9th in rebounds, 18th in scoring, blocks and steals, 52nd in assists

Share of the vote: 78.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the first unicorns in the NBA, Kevin Garnett had the size of the center and all-around skills of a guard, even bringing the ball down before big men were really allowed to do that. Garnett took a run-of-the-mill Wolves teams to the playoffs consistently while scoring, rebounding, distributing and defending at an elite level. One could even argue Garnett sacrificed offensive numbers to put all-out effort on defense. Fun fact (except if you’re a Wolves fan): Minnesota made the playoffs in eight of 14 Garnett seasons and only once in the 18 years without him. That’s the kind of impact he had. His championship ring with the Celtics came late, but it was beyond deserved.

17
Jerry West

Jerry West, Los Angeles Lakers

Top accolades: One NBA title, one Finals MVP, 10 All-NBA 1st Team selections, 14 All-Stars, four All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 22nd in scoring, 32nd in assists, 228th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 78.7 percent of the maximum amount possible

No one on this Earth can possibly hate the Celtics as much as Jerry West, having lost to them in the Finals six times out of the six he faced them. Impossible to blame West for those championship defeats, though, as he put up beastly numbers against them on a consistent basis – just as he did against the rest of the NBA. West was a masterful combo guard who performed at a high level thanks to his scoring and playmaking. He was also a great shooter, both off the dribble and with his feet set. He made the All-Star each of his seasons in the league, which only four other players with 10-plus seasons of NBA experience have accomplished.

18
Stephen Curry

Top accolades: Three NBA titles, two MVPs, four All-NBA 1st Team selections, seven All-Stars

NBA rank: No. 69 in assists, No. 70 in scoring, No. 75 in steals

Share of the vote: 78.2 percent of the maximum amount possible

Stephen Curry changed the way the game is played, as now, basically every player on the floor wants to shoot threes, and needs to be able to hit them for your offense to keep up with modern scoring. Curry’s a wizard not only as a shooter, but his playmaking deserves more credit than it receives. The future Hall-of-Famer out of Davidson is already the greatest shooter ever – and it’s not particularly close.

19
Dirk Nowitzki 🇩🇪

Top accolades: One NBA title, one Finals MVP, one MVP, 12 All-NBA selections, 14 All-Stars

NBA rank: No. 6 in scoring, No. 26 in rebounds, No. 52 in blocks, No. 88 in steals, No. 150 in assists

Share of the vote: 76.2 percent of the maximum amount possible

The first European player on the list, Dirk Nowitzki was another revolutionary player thanks to his three-point and off-the-dribble prowess in a 7-foot-tall body. Nowitzki’s elite skill level made the common thinking go from being that big men need to stay in the paint to: If your big men don’t space the floor, you’re at a disadvantage. Nowitzki made a contender, and eventually a champion, out of the Mavericks without star sidekicks for the most part of his career, hoisting the trophy in 2011 and winning Finals MVP for his efforts.

20
Julius Erving

Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers

Top accolades: One NBA title, one MVP, five All-NBA 1st Team selections, 11 All-Stars

NBA rank: 47th in steals, 50th in blocks, 73rd in scoring, 190th in assists, 213th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 73.6 percent of the maximum amount possible

He was 26 by the time he made his NBA debut after years in the ABA, so Julius Erving would rank far higher in the statistical categories had he spent his whole career in the Association. Erving was the most spectacular player to date at the time thanks to his unreal athleticism and ability to fly down the floor in transition to hammer in dunks… and he was a winner, too. Often considered Jordan before Jordan (just without a jumper), Erving was an All-Star every season he played (ABA or NBA).

21
Elgin Baylor

Top accolades: 10 All-NBA 1st Team selections, 11 All-Stars

NBA rank: No. 27 in rebounds, No. 31 in scoring, 151st in assists

Share of the vote: 73.3 percent of the maximum amount possible

With ridiculous scoring and rebounding numbers, especially for a non-big man, Elgin Baylor was one of the first players who would awe fans with impressive athleticism. He never got the championship he deserved, however, and the Celtics largely to blame, as out of his seven Finals losses, six came against Boston. Baylor finished his career with as many All-NBA 1st Teams as Kareem.

22
Dwyane Wade

Top accolades: Three NBA titles, one Finals MVP, eight All-NBA selections, 13 All-Stars, three All-Defensive 2nd Team selections

NBA rank: 30th in scoring and steals, 43rd in assists, 127th in blocks

Share of the vote: 68.2 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the three or four greatest shooting guards ever, Dwyane Wade never won a league MVP award but came close in 2008-09 and 2009-10. He was also a solid playmaker and a plus-defender, especially as a shot-blocker, as he ranks as the player 6-foot-4 or shorter with the most blocks ever. Wade also showed great humility in playing second fiddle to LeBron to chase titles later in his prime.

23
David Robinson

David Robinson dunk

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, one MVP, 10 All-NBA selections, 10 All-Stars, one Defensive Player of the Year award, eight All-Defensive selections

NBA rank: No. 6 in blocks, No. 32 in rebounds, No. 41 in scoring, No. 60 in steals

Share of the vote: 68.0 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the best bodies in NBA history, David Robinson’s physique looked like it was molded out of clay in his prime. He used his frame and strength to torture opponents on both ends for years, doubling as a high-level scorer and freakishly impactful defender, especially protecting the rim. Still, Robinson didn’t get over the hump until Duncan came around, which hurt his spot on this list.

24
Giannis Antetokounmpo 🇬🇷

2020-21 nba finals giannis record setting performance why the bucks won the championship

Top accolades: One NBA title, one Finals MVP, two MVPs, three All-NBA 1st Team selections, five All-Stars, one Defensive Player of the Year award, three All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: No. 156 in blocks, No. 227 in rebounds, No. 248 in scoring

Share of the vote: 68.0 percent of the maximum amount possible

A rags to riches story if there ever was one, Giannis Antetokounmpo went from playing in a semi-professional league to being a 15th-overall pick in the draft to winning multiple league MVP awards and a ring before turning 27. Antetokounmpo is a player who will likely finish far higher on this list if we re-do the exercise in a decade. The Greek forward boasts freakish length and athleticism plus massive work ethic and motor, which help him absolutely dominate despite lacking an outside jumper.

25
Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley, Phoenix Suns

Top accolades: One MVP, 11 All-NBA selections, 11 All-Stars

NBA rank: No. 19 in rebounds, No. 26 in steals, No. 27 in scoring, No. 103 in assists, No. 124th in blocks

Share of the vote: 65.6 percent of the maximum amount possible

The Round Mound of Rebound, Charles Barkley was extremely unique not just for his outspoken personality but for his dominance down low despite being generously listed at 6-foot-6. He was a beast on the glass and as a scorer thanks to his absurd strength and explosiveness in his prime. Barkley never got the ever-elusive ring, but he’s still one of the all-time greats at power forward.

26
Isiah Thomas

Isiah Thomas vs Michael Jordan

Top accolades: Two NBA tiles, one Finals MVP, thee All-NBA 1st Team selections, 12 All-Stars

NBA rank: 9th in assists, 17th in steals, 65th in scoring

Share of the vote: 64.4 percent of the maximum amount possible

Perhaps the best player ever under 6-foot-1, Isiah Thomas combined talent with fierce competitiveness. He could create at an elite level but could also score out of the midrange off the dribble. He was the face of the Bad Boys Pistons who beat Jordan’s Bulls three straight times in the playoffs in the late ’80s. The one thing holding Thomas back on this list is he had a short career for star standards.

27
Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen

Top accolades: Six NBA titles, seven All-NBA selections, seven All-Stars, eight All-Defensive Teams

NBA rank: 7th in steals, 33rd in assists, 62nd in scoring, 87th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 62.7 percent of the maximum amount possible

Arguably the greatest Robin in league history, Scottie Pippen was a fierce defender with freakish physical attributes, including long arms and extremely quick feet, who would absolutely stifle opposing stars. Pippen was at his best as a slasher and transition scorer but could also create for teammates at a high level, making him a point forward ahead of his time.

28
John Havlicek

John Havlicek, Boston Celtics

Top accolades: Eight NBA titles, one Finals MVP, 11 All-NBA selections, 13 All-Stars, five All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 17th in scoring, 35th in assists, 74th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 61.1 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of just four players in league history with eight championships, John Havlicek was a great scorer on the wing, a player who could hit mid-range jumpers or get buckets in transition, and who was always willing to do the dirty work, as evidenced by the legendary “Havlicek stole the ball” moment from the 1965 Eastern Finals.

29
Chris Paul

Top accolades: 10 All-NBA selections, 11 All-Stars, seven All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 5th in assists and steals, 47th in scoring

Share of the vote: 60.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

The Point God, Chris Paul is one of the steadiest floor generals in NBA history, capable of acting as a head coach on the floor, getting teammates into the right spots, destroying opponents out of the pick-and-roll and scoring at a high level when needed thanks to his unreal touch as an off-the-dribble scorer in the midrange. Only thing still missing from his legacy is a ring, but he’s a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer with or without one.

30
Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson

Top accolades: One MVP, seven All-NBA selections, 11 All-Stars

NBA rank: 14th in steals, 25th in scoring, 48th in assists

Share of the vote: 59.3 percent of the maximum amount possible

A cultural icon as well as one of the best lead guards of his era, Allen Iverson has to be one of the most ridiculously explosive athletes the sport has ever seen, especially out of a player generously listed at 6-feet tall. Iverson’s crossover was devastating (just ask Jordan), and his bombastic styler as a scorer made for thrilling viewing throughout his prime.

31
Bob Pettit

Bob Pettit

Top accolades: One NBA title, two MVPs, 10 All-NBA 1st Team selections, 11 All-Stars

NBA rank: 18th in rebounds, 40th in scoring

Share of the vote: 58.7 percent of the maximum amount possible

The first player to reach 20,000 career points, Bob Pettit was a smooth power forward, especially for his era, who would do a ton of damage in transition and as a mid-range scorer. He won Finals MVP in 1958 after exploding for 50 points and 25 rebounds in the deciding game.

32
John Stockton

John Stockton

Top accolades: 11 All-NBA selections, 10 All-Stars, five All-Defensive 2nd Team selections

NBA rank: 1st in assists and steals, 49th in scoring

Share of the vote: 57.8 percent of the maximum amount possible

John Stockton’s assists and steals record will never be beaten, as the Jazz legend finished his career with 15,806 assists (3,715 more than the second-highest player) and 3,265 steals (581 more than anyone else). Was he ever the best point guard in the NBA? Perhaps not. But the longevity speaks for itself, and Stockton was excellent for a very long time.

33
Steve Nash 🇨🇦

Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns

Top accolades: Two MVP awards, seven All-NBA selections, eight All-Stars

NBA rank: 3rd in assists, 89th in scoring, 227th in steals

Share of the vote: 57.3 percent of the maximum amount possible

Along with Mike D’Antoni and the Seven-Seconds-or-Less Suns, Steve Nash moved basketball forward thanks to his pick-and-roll wizardry and ability to shoot off the dribble, including from beyond the arc, something that wasn’t as common in his era. Nash’s two MVP awards were quite controversial, but there’s no discussing he’s one of the finest players of his generation.

34
Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, five All-NBA selections, five All-Stars, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, seven All-Defensive selections

NBA rank: 169th in steals

Share of the vote: 56.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

Kawhi Leonard owns the distinction for having the highest winning percentage in NBA regular-season history. Leonard was a secondary character in his first title run (until the 2014 Finals, at least) but led the Raptors to the mountaintop on his back. Always steady, even in the highest of pressure situations, and the King of Load Management.

35
Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing

Top accolades: Seven All-NBA selections, 11 All-Stars, three All-Defensive 2nd Team selections

NBA rank: 7th in blocks, 23rd in scoring, 25th in rebounds, 118th in steals

Share of the vote: 54.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the legendary big men of the ’90s, Patrick Ewing was a beastly shot-blocker who had great size and strength down low, but who also had soft touch as a scorer in the post and out of the mid-range. Was never able to win a title, however, due mostly to the Rockets and Bulls.

36
Rick Barry

Rick Barry

Top accolades: One NBA title, one Finals MVP, five All-NBA 1st Team selections, eight All-Stars

NBA rank: 71st in scoring, 117th in assists, 129th in steals

Share of the vote: 53.1 percent of the maximum amount possible

An excellent scorer on the wing, Rick Barry may be best remembered these days for his granny-style free-throw shooting, but he was so much more than that, as he could handle the ball at 6-foot-7, shoot off the dribble or around the rim and do a bit of everything else well, including rebound and create for others.

37
Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics

Top accolades: Six NBA titles, one MVP, 10 All-NBA 1st Team selections, 13 All-Stars

NBA rank: 20th in assists, 98th in scoring

Share of the vote: 52.7 percent of the maximum amount possible

The original floor general, Bob Cousy was the first star player who did everything a modern point guard should do, be it dribble, give quality passes, direct teammates or shoot jumpers. Cousy was called the Houdini of the Hardwood because of his ballhandling skills and creativity.

38
Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd

Top accolades: One NBA title, five All-NBA 1st Team selections, 10 All-Stars, nine All-Defensive selections

NBA rank: 2nd in assists and steals, 57th in rebounds, 87th in scoring

Share of the vote: 52.0 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the greatest point guards ever, Jason Kidd could make the flashy pass or the simple play with the best of them while also loving to hightail it in transition to wear opponents down in transition. Also used his ridiculous basketball IQ to rack up steals and defend at a high level. He even became an adept outside shooter later on in his career, which really added to his longevity.

39
James Harden

James Harden

Top accolades: One MVP, six All-NBA 1st Team selections, nine All-Stars, one Sixth Man of the Year award

NBA rank: 33rd in scoring, 42nd in assists, 64th in steals

Share of the vote: 51.6 percent of the maximum amount possible

James Harden already has a Hall-of-Fame resume thanks to his unreal scoring ability and playmaking. His crossover and stepback jumper make him impossible to slow down when he gets going, as does his strong shoulder on drives to the rim. Harden has a chance to add to his legacy in a major way over the coming years.

40
Elvin Hayes

Elvin Hayes

Top accolades: One NBA title, six All-NBA selections, 12 All-Stars, two All-Defensive 2nd Team selections

NBA rank: 4th in rebounds, 11th in scoring, 24th in blocks

Share of the vote: 51.3 percent of the maximum amount possible

An old-fashioned big man who was really strong and aggressive, especially on defense. Elvin Hayes also had a masterful post game with a trademark turnaround jumper that he’d go to when he was defended by taller players. Hayes was called the Bionic Man because he was relentless, rarely missing a game until he was 38.

41
Gary Payton

Gary Payton, Seattle SuperSonics

Top accolades: One NBA title, nine All-NBA selections, nine All-Stars, one Defensive Player of the Year award, nine All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 4th in steals, 10th in assists, 35th in scoring, 238th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 45.1 percent of the maximum amount possible

Perhaps the greatest point guard defender of all time, Gary Payton had unnatural strength for his size, quick feet and elite hands and timing to help him lock down foes one-on-one as well as rack up the steals. He was also an excellent playmaker and a solid scorer, who used a solid mid-range game to get buckets.

42
Dominique Wilkins

Dominique Wilkins

Top accolades: Seven All-NBA selections, nine All-Stars

NBA rank: 14th in scoring, 61st in steals, 102nd in rebounds

Share of the vote: 44.2 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the most explosive players of all time, Dominique Wilkins was more than just a dunker. He could score with the best of them, using his physical advantages and unreal athleticism to torture opponents in the deep-to-short mid-range area.

43
Clyde Drexler

Clyde Drexler

Top accolades: One NBA title, five All-NBA selections, 10 All-Stars

NBA rank: 8th in steals, 32nd in scoring, 34th in assists, 130th in rebounds, 172nd in blocks

Share of the vote: 44.0 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the best 2-guards ever, Clyde Drexler was a fantastic scorer, rebounder and playmaker for his position, while also using his athleticism well defensively.

44
George Gervin

George Gervin

Top accolades: Five All-NBA 1st Team selections, nine All-Stars

NBA rank: 42nd in scoring, 184th in blocks, 203rd in steals

Share of the vote: 44.0 percent of the maximum amount possible

A smooth operator on the wing as a scorer, George Gervin could fill it up with the best of them despite lacking much of a three-point shot. He is best remembered for his beautiful finger-roll layup, still one of the nicest moves in any player’s arsenal ever.

45
George Mikan

George Mikan

Top accolades: Five NBA titles, six All-NBA 1st Team selections, four All-Stars

Share of the vote: 40.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

The first truly dominant NBA big man, George Mikan used his massive size to his advantage along with the unusually soft touch he had for a player of his era. Mikan could finish ably with either hand in the paint. There’s a reason the Mikan Drill is still used to this day.

46
Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis, LA Lakers

Top accolades: One NBA title, four All-NBA 1st Team selections, eight All-Stars, four All-Defensive selections

NBA rank: 49th in blocks, 192nd in scoring, 194th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 38.2 percent of the maximum amount possible

A player who could move up this list in a major way as his career progresses, Anthony Davis already has Hall-of-Fame credentials despite having a lot of his prime still to go. Davis is extremely skilled for his size, able to shoot and dribble, as well as being ridiculously mobile, which, coupled with his otherworldly length, make him an elite defender.

47
Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook

Top accolades: One MVP, nine All-NBA selections, nine All-Stars

NBA rank: 22nd in scoring, 32nd in assists, 228th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 36.2 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the most energetic players the NBA has ever seen, Russell Westbrook is absolutely tenacious every minute he’s on the floor, often fighting off bigger opponents for rebounds and flying down the floor in transition to throw down monstrous dunks.

48
James Worthy

Top accolades: Three NBA titles, one Finals MVP, one All-NBA 3rd Team, seven All-Stars

NBA rank: 107th in scoring, 204th in blocks

Share of the vote: 35.3 percent of the maximum amount possible

A 3/4 hybrid, James Worthy had the quickness to get by larger, slower defenders and the size to score over small opponents. Worthy was especially terrific in transition as a member of the Showtime Lakers.

49
Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

Top accolades: Six All-NBA selections, 10 All-Stars

NBA rank: 10th in scoring, 85th in rebounds, 100th in steals, 177th in assists, 217th in blocks

Share of the vote: 32.4 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the smoothest scorers in the wing the league has ever seen, Carmelo Anthony has become renowned for his jab step in the mid-range, but he had many more moves than that. Melo also likes to bully smaller defenders and hit them with turnaround fadeaways.

50
Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce

Top accolades: One NBA title, one Finals MVP, four All-NBA selections, 10 All-Stars

NBA rank: 16th in scoring, 20th in steals, 78th in assists, 84th in rebounds, 166th in blocks

Share of the vote: 30.4 percent of the maximum amount possible

Paul Pierce has become underrated by younger fans due to his post-playing days media career, but make no mistake: Pierce was a beastly scorer in his prime, one who could fill it up from all three levels and score on even the most elite of defenders. Pierce was also quite clutch, hitting a ton of big shots in his day.

51
Bob McAdoo

Bob McAdoo

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, one MVP, two All-NBA selections, five All-Stars

NBA rank: 65th in blocks, 66th in scoring, 71st in rebounds

Share of the vote: 27.8 percent of the maximum amount possible

A monster-scoring big man who led the league in scoring three consecutive seasons, including once at 34.5 points per game, Bob McAdoo had a pristine mid-range jumper and a plethora of post moves to torment opponents with.

52
Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard

Top accolades: Six All-NBA selections, six All-Stars

NBA rank: 88th in assists, 101st in scoring

Share of the vote: 27.1 percent of the maximum amount possible

Of course, like with any active player on this list, Damian Lillard could see himself outperform his ranking depending on how the rest of his prime goes. Even as is, however, Lillard is one of the best score-first point guards ever, with outstanding shooting ability and clutch shots galore on his resume already.

53
Wes Unseld

Top accolades: One NBA title, one Finals MVP, one MVP, one All-NBA 1st Team selection, five All-Stars

NBA rank: 13th in rebounds, 135th in assists

Share of the vote: 26.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

Despite standing just 6-foot-7, Wes Unseld was one of the most physically imposing centers ever thanks to his incredible strength and stout frame. Unseld was one of the best rebounders in NBA history, averaging 14.0 for his career and leading the league in boards in 1974-75, and was extremely efficient at finishing down low.

54
Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller celebrates

Top accolades: Three All-NBA 3rd Team selections, five All-Stars

NBA rank: 21st in scoring, 48th in steals, 113th in assists

Share of the vote: 26.4 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the finest shooters ever, Reggie Miller ranks third in league history in made three-pointers (2,560). He was also extremely clutch about his shot-making, with a career highlight tape featuring multiple game-winning threes from high-pressure postseason contests.

55
Kevin McHale

Kevin McHale

Top accolades: Three NBA titles, one All-NBA 1st Team selection, seven All-Stars, six All-Defensive selections, two Sixth Man of the Year awards

NBA rank: 29th in blocks, 90th in scoring, 105th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 26.2 percent of the maximum amount possible

Celtics legend Kevin McHale was known for putting opponents in something called the torture chamber, which basically meant when McHale would post up, it was torture for foes to defend due to his sharp elbows, long arms and ridiculous array of moves in the paint. Few historically can match McHale’s mix of post-up moves, including up-and-unders, step-throughs and drop-steps galore.

56
Ray Allen

Ray Allen vs. Tim Duncan

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, two All-NBA selections, 10 All-Stars

NBA rank: 24th in scoring, 53rd in steals, 94th in assists, 237th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 25.1 percent of the maximum amount possible

Had his peak come 20 years later, it’s fascinating to ponder what Ray Allen’s numbers might have looked like, as his bombastic style of play consisting of shooting a ton of threes would have fit wonderfully in today’s NBA. Still, Allen carved out a Hall-of-Fame career in his era anyway as one of the best shooters ever, and arguably owns the biggest shot in league history under his belt from Game 6 of the 2013 Finals.

57
Pau Gasol 🇪🇸

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, four All-NBA selections, six All-Stars

NBA rank: 21st in blocks, 28th in rebounds, 39th in scoring, 124th in assists

Share of the vote: 23.3 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the greatest international NBA players of all time, Pau Gasol was a menace in his heyday, a supremely skilled big man who could shoot, dribble a bit, pass and create for teammates, and use his long limbs well when tasked with protecting the rim.

58
Walt Frazier

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, four All-NBA 1st Team selections, seven All-Stars, seven All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 65th in assists, 127th in scoring

Share of the vote: 22.0 percent of the maximum amount possible

Walt Frazier, remembered partly by his cool nickname Clyde, was one of the smoothest point guards of his era, one who could also take over the bulk of the scoring load for the Knicks. Frazier was also one of the best point-guard defenders ever, making a ridiculous seven 1st Team All-Defenses in his career.

59
Robert Parish

Top accolades: Four NBA titles, two All-NBA selections, nine All-Stars

NBA rank: 8th in rebounds, 10th in blocks, 28th in scoring, 86th in steals

Share of the vote: 20.8 percent of the maximum amount possible

The starting center on those legendary Celtics teams of the 1980s, Robert Parish was a great complement to the likes of Bird and McHale, willing to do all of the dirty work down low while still providing a solid scoring punch in the paint. Parish ranks in the Top 10 in both career rebounds and blocks.

60
Willis Reed

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, one MVP, five All-NBA selections, seven All-Stars, one All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 63rd in rebounds

Share of the vote: 19.6 percent of the maximum amount possible

Best-known for limping out onto the court for Game 7 of the 1970 Finals for New York and hitting his first two shots on a bad thigh, Willis Reed is now widely considered one of the greatest Knicks of all time, a big man slightly short on stature but not on talent and sheer will. Reed was a monster rebounder and shot-blocker despite standing just 6-foot-9.

61
Dolph Schayes

Dolph Schayes

Top accolades: One NBA title, six All-NBA 1st Team selections, 12 All-Stars

NBA rank: 29th in rebounds, 69th in scoring, 211th in assists

Share of the vote: 19.3 percent of the maximum amount possible

A big man far ahead of his time, Dolph Schayes was one of the first power forwards who would space the floor and shoot jumpers from the deep mid-range, something he did quite well in the late ’40s, ’50s and early ’60s. Schayes could also dribble past opponents and drive to the hoop on hard closeouts. Schayes paved the way for the modern stretch-4.

62
Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers

Top accolades: One NBA title, five All-NBA 1st Team selections, eight All-Stars, three Defensive Player of the Year awards,  four All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 11th in rebounds, 13th in blocks, 59th in scoring

Share of the vote: 18.4 percent of the maximum amount possible

At one time, Dwight Howard was the best big man in the NBA, an era that lasted for multiple seasons during his time with the Magic. Howard was an awe-inspiring athlete for his size, who would often sky for rebounds, to block shots or to finish alley-oops. Now in the late stages of his career, Howard is approaching Top 10 in NBA history in both rebounds and blocks, an incredible feat for the future Hall-of-Famer.

63
Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman

Top accolades: Five NBA titles, two All-NBA 3rd Team selections, two All-Stars, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, seven All-Defensive 1st Team selections

NBA rank: 24th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 17.1 percent of the maximum amount possible

Arguably the greatest rebounder in NBA history, Dennis Rodman didn’t just have a great nose for knowing where a ball was going to go after hitting the rim, he was also absolutely relentless, refusing to let anyone get in his way to secure a board. Rodman was also an elite defender of multiple positions using absurd strength to bully opponents trying to body him. An underrated passer, his mind games destabilized many a team… including his own sometimes.

64
Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, one All-NBA 2nd Team selection, 11 All-Stars

NBA rank: 81st in rebounds, 95th in scoring, 111th in blocks

Share of the vote: 15.3 percent of the maximum amount possible

Chris Bosh’s accolades are impressive enough, and that’s with his career tragically being cut short due to issues with blood-clotting. Bosh went from being a No. 1 option with the Raptors to willingly playing third fiddle to James and Wade in the Big 3 era in Miami, and did so as an excellent safety valve, one who could hit open jumpers at a high level, as well as attack in isolation when needed.

65
Nate Archibald

Top accolades: One NBA title, three All-NBA 1st Team selections, six All-Stars

NBA rank: 26th in assists, 104th in scoring

Share of the vote: 14.9 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the hardest-to-stop players of his era thanks to ridiculous quickness and speed, Tiny Archibald tormented opponents in the ’70s and early ’80s when attacking the basket. Archibald was also a very solid playmaker and could hit jumpers from the short midrange area.

66
Pete Maravich

Pete Maravich

Top accolades: Four All-NBA selections, five All-Stars

NBA rank: 117th in scoring, 155th in assists

Share of the vote: 12.7 percent of the maximum amount possible

“Pistol” Pete Maravich was one of the flashiest players ever, with a highlight package filled with behind-the-back, no-look passes and stop-on-a-dime shooting prowess, one that impresses to this day. The NBA’s leading scorer in 1976-77, Maravich’s legacy is negatively affected by losing more games than he won in his career and only playing 17 playoff games in his prime, 26 in total.

67
Tony Parker 🇫🇷

Top accolades: Four NBA titles, one Finals MVP, three All-NBA 2nd Team selections, six All-Stars

NBA rank: 19th in assists, 53rd in scoring, 148th in steals

Share of the vote: 10.7 percent of the maximum amount possible

Tony Parker, surely the best European guard the NBA has seen, dominated opposing backcourt players with quickness, a tight crossover and a beautiful tear-drop floater in the lane. He changed the game for guards trying to reach the NBA from overseas.

68
Dave Cowens

Dave Cowens

Top accolades: Two NBA titles, one MVP, three All-NBA 2nd Team selections, eight All-Stars, one All-Defensive 1st Team selection

NBA rank: 35th in rebounds, 191st in scoring, 234th in assists

Share of the vote: 10.4 percent of the maximum amount possible

Florida State legend Dave Cowens is one of just two players ever to win league MVP in a season they weren’t voted 1st Team All-NBA along with another Celtics legend, Bill Russell. He was a bundle of energy in his prime, one who was a monster rebounder, averaging 15.2 rebounds over his eight-year prime.

69
Vince Carter

Vince Carter, Toronto Raptors

Top accolades: Two All-NBA selections, eight All-Stars

NBA rank: 19th in scoring, 76th in assists, 138th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 10.0 percent of the maximum amount possible

Aside from being one of the most explosive dunkers in league history, Vince Carter was a productive player for 22 years – something that not many could have expected considering how reliant on athleticism he was during his prime.

70
Paul Arizin

Paul Arizin

Top accolades: One NBA title, three All-NBA 1st Team selections, 10 All-Stars

NBA rank: 110th in scoring, 168th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 9.1 percent of the maximum amount possible

A champion with the Philadelphia Warriors in 1955-56, Paul Arizin was one of the first players to use the jump shot to his full advantage, becoming a very effective shooter from that area during the NBA’s infancy.

71
Alex English

Top accolades: Three All-NBA 2nd Team selections, eight All-Stars

NBA rank: 20th in scoring, 95th in assists, 143rd in rebounds and blocks, 145th in steals

Share of the vote: 8.0 percent of the maximum amount possible

The highest-scoring player of the ’80s, Alex English was ahead of his time as a 6-foot-8 swingman with an elite nose for scoring the basketball smoothly around the rim. Even without a reliable three-pointer, English averaged 26.0 points in the 1980s, all as a member of the Denver Nuggets.

72
Bernard King

Top accolades: Two All-NBA 1st Team selections, four All-Stars

NBA rank: 54th in scoring, 241st in assists, 250th in steals

Share of the vote: 7.8 percent of the maximum amount possible

Injuries in his prime really hurt his place on this list, as Bernard King blew out his knee the year he earned the second 1st Team All-NBA of his career, missing the entire following season and never regained his explosiveness after that. Even so, King, the NBA’s leading scorer in 1984-85, was one of the smoothest high-scoring wings of his era.

73
Tracy McGrady

Top accolades: Seven All-NBA selections, seven All-Stars, one Most Improved Player award

NBA rank: 72nd in scoring, 111th in assists, 147th in blocks, 235th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 7.1 percent of the maximum amount possible

A more impressive playoff career (he never made it out of the first round in his prime) could have greatly changed where Tracy McGrady finished in this ranking, as could have more longevity. But at his peak, McGrady was one of the most explosive and productive do-everything wings in basketball, one who would have dominated in the modern NBA.

74
Hal Greer

Hal Greer

Top accolades: One NBA title, seven All-NBA 2nd Team selections, 10 All-Stars

NBA rank: 37th in scoring, 86th in assists, 206th in rebounds

Share of the vote: 6.2 percent of the maximum amount possible

One of the best and underrated guards of the 1960s, Hal Greer was an All-Star 10 times that decade and an All-NBA 2nd Teamer seven times, helping lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a championship in 1966-67 alongside Chamberlain in what was one of the most slept-on guard-big duos in league history.

75
Lenny Wilkens

Lenny Wilkens

Top accolades: Nine All-Stars

NBA rank: 16th in assists, 80th in scoring

Share of the vote: 6.2 percent of the maximum amount possible

A Hall-of-Famer four times over (three-time Naismith inductee – one as a player, one as a coach and one as an assistant for the Dream Team – and a College Basketball Hall-of-Famer), ’60s and ’70s floor general Lenny Wilkens put together a fantastic career, being named the All-Star Game MVP in 1971 and leading the NBA in assists in 1969-70.

Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES

Bill Walton, Earl Monroe, Artis Gilmore, Draymond Green, Nikola Jokic, Kyrie Irving, Nate Thurmond, Adrian Dantley, Klay Thompson, Paul George, Chris Webber, Sam Jones, Dikembe Mutombo, Jerry Lucas. Dave Bing, Manu Ginobili, Bob Lanier, Dennis Johnson, Joe Dumars, Jamaal Wilkes, Alonzo Mourning, Bobby Jones, Derrick Rose and Bill Sharman

DROPPING OUT FROM NBA’S OFFICIAL 50 GREATEST LIST

Bill Walton, Earl Monroe, Nate Thurmond, Sam Jones, Jerry Lucas, Dave Bing, Bill Sharman, Billy Cunningham and Dave DeBusschere

NEW ENTRIES

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett, Stephen Curry, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Chris Paul, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Kidd, James Harden, Gary Payton, Dominique Wilkins, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce, Bob McAdoo, Damian Lillard, Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Dennis Rodman, Chris Bosh, Tony Parker, Vince Carter, Alex English, Bernard King and Tracy McGrady

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