It’s a debate that’s been had ever since the beginning of the NBA – who are the NBA’s greatest players of all time. There are plenty of players in the long history of the NBA who have found great success during their careers on the hardwood, but only a handful have earned the honor of being in contention of the top 10. So, without any further ado, here’s our take on the top 10 NBA greatest players of all time.

10. Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan may not be an extremely flashy pick for this top 10 list, but when has the man known as The Big Fundamental ever been known for flash? In his 19 years of playing basketball, all with the San Antonio Spurs, Duncan earned five NBA championships while winning NBA Finals MVP honors three times. Duncan was also the NBA MVP twice and was named an NBA All-Star 15 times.

9. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal created a larger than life persona both on and off the court. During his prime, O’Neal was a force to be reckoned with, averaging 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds while also making a name for his defense around the rim. O’Neal won four NBA championships, three Finals MVPs, one NBA MVP and 15 All-Star nods in his 19 years in the Association.

8. Kobe Bryant

For 20 seasons, Kobe Bryant dazzled fans donning the purple and gold of the Los Angeles Lakers. An 18-time All-Star and two-time NBA scoring champion, Bryant led the Lakers to five championships with two Finals MVP awards. Bryant will likely go down as one of the most beloved and successful Lakers in the franchise’s storied history.

7. Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain set many records, including scoring and rebounding records, becoming the only player so far to average more than 30 points and 20 rebounds throughout his career, which included 13 All-Star team selections and four NBA MVP awards. Chamberlain is also the only player in NBA history to score 100 points in a game.

6. Larry Bird

Larry Bird led the Boston Celtics to three NBA titles and winning two NBA Finals MVP awards and three NBA MVPs. Bird has also had a solid post-playing career in basketball, becoming the only player in the NBA to ever be named Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year.

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5. Magic Johnson

One of the greatest point guards of all time, Magic Johnson led the Showtime Lakers to five NBA championships, three NBA MVP awards, three NBA MVP awards and 12 All-Star Game nods. 

4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took his teams to six NBA titles, earning two Finals MVP awards along the way. Abdul-Jabbar also racked up six NBA MVP awards and was named to 19 All-Star teams during his 20-year career.

3. Bill Russell

If winning championships defines greatness, then Bill Russell is one of the greatest. Russell played for 13 years and won 11 championships. Russell also won five NBA MVP awards and was named to the All-Star team 12 times, finishing his career with averages of 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game.

2. LeBron James

LeBron James has earned a spot in the top 10 list having won three NBA championships and three Finals MVPs, including one for his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, along with four NBA MVP awards and an All-Star nod in every one of his seasons so far. James also took his team to the NBA Finals in eight consecutive seasons from 2011 to 2018. Now on the Los Angeles Lakers and at just 34 years old, it’s not hard to see James continue to pad his resume in the second half of his career.

1. Michael Jordan

Who else? During his 15 years in the NBA, Michael Jordan made his claim for the best basketball player of all time, leading the Chicago Bulls to six championships (and six NBA Finals MVPs). Jordan also earned five NBA MVP awards and 14 All-Star game appearances and nine NBA All-Defensive First Team selections. Jordan redefined the role of the superstar in the NBA while dominating the rest of his peers on the court. When the debate is around “Who is the next Jordan,” that means you’re the best.

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