Top 10 NBA Players of All-Time

By Patrick Kiley, May 5th 2015

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1. Michael Jordan

Very few people argue where Michael Jordan ranks on the list of greats because what he did for the game of basketball was insurmountable. He was able to cement his legacy as the all-time great during his 13 years of iconic play for the Bulls. While traveling to Barcelona for the 1992 olympic games, everyone from all over the world lined up to see Jordan. When on the court, no one had a greater will to win than Michael Jordan. After winning six championships and five MVPs, it is safe to say that there will never be another player like MJ.

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2. Magic Johnson

Along with having one of the most exuberant personalities in NBA history, Magic Johnson dominated the basketball court in his 12 years of play. Magic lead the "Showtime" L.A. Lakers with his incredible ability to distribute the basketball and get his teammates involved. Although Magic won five championships and three MVPs, he could have won more if he didn't share the 80s with Larry Bird. The great Lakers vs. Celtics battles of the 80s are what saved the NBA. Magic Johnson leading a fast break is one of the most beautiful things in NBA history.

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3. Bill Russell

Bill Russell is the most decorated athlete in the history of the NBA. He won a championship in eleven out of his thirteen seasons as a Boston Celtic. Russell paved the way for a Celtics team that had never even been to a championship before he came along. Bill Russell is one of the most forceful defenders that the association has ever seen.

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4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem may have played in the NBA for twenty seasons but his contribution did not falter at any point during that span. He was able to score a whopping 38,387 points during his career which made him the NBA's all-time leading scorer. Early on in Kareem's career, he was the best player in the association, winning five MVPs while playing for the Milwaukee Bucks. Later on, Kareem was a vital part of an unstoppable Lakers team that won five titles during the 80s. Kareem's signature shot, (pictured above) the sky hook, was one of the most iconic things that this game has ever come across.

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5. Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain's statistics express why he was one of, if not, the most dominant basketball player of all time. Wilt led the league with 11 rebounding titles, 7 scoring titles, and 4 MVP awards. Wilt Chamberlain put up 100 points in a single game in 1962 which is an incredible record that will never be broken. The only reason that he did not win more than 2 championships is that he had a weak supporting cast. The fact that he was able to win 2 titles without the team that Bill Russell had, speaks about how great Wilt really was.
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6. Larry Bird

Larry Bird is the purest shooter that this game has ever seen. Whatever he lacked in athletic ability, he made up for with his shooting stroke and basketball IQ. He won three straight MVP awards and was an All-Star for 12 seasons before a devastating back injury. Larry Bird's defenders often knew that his shot was going in shortly after released. He was a fierce competitor that had some of the greatest moments in NBA history while battling the "Showtime" L.A. Lakers and the Bad Boys in the playoffs.
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7. Oscar Robertson

Although the Big O doesn't have the MVPs or the titles that other greats have, he is still is one of the game's greatest. He is known for his all-around amazing performances in NBA games and seasons. In his sophomore season, Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double for a season with 30.8 ppg, 12.5 rpg, and 11.8 apg. He did it many more times in his career and finished with nearly 200 triple-doubles for his career. This record is one that is likely to be set in stone.
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8. Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal was an overwhelming force while in the low post around the basket. He would use his body as an advantage and play bully ball in order to will the basketball into the rim. Shaq "Diesel" was the engine of a Lakers team that won three NBA titles in three consecutive seasons. O'Neal not only overpowered his opponents, but he also had a soft touch that allowed him to be dominant in many aspects.
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T-9. Kobe Bryant

Many view Kobe as a sidekick to Shaquille O'Neal who was just along for the ride, but he was much more than that. Through tough conditioning and practicing, Bryant was able to be successful in the league and create an image for himself as a professional. Kobe won three championships with Shaquille O'Neal but it wasn't until Kobe was able to win without him, that he was placed on this list. Kobe won two more championships in '09 & '10 in which he was finally the best player on a championship team.
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T-9. Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan, The Big Fundamental, is one of the most reliable players in the history of the NBA. While playing for the San Antonio Spurs for his entire career, he was able to win five championships and two MVP awards. Duncan is known for his quiet, laid-back demeanor. He is the reason that the San Antonio Spurs are always playing during May in deep playoff runs. Tim Duncan led the Spurs to an NBA championship in three different decades - an amazing feat.
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10. LeBron James

Many people say that it is too early in LeBron's career to be in the top 10, LeBron's game says otherwise. LeBron does things on the court that aren't physically possible. While driving to the basket, he is like a freight train. He is a large body but plays as if he is a guard because of his ability to be quick and decisive with his actions. LeBron has won two championships and four MVP awards, making him the best basketball player on the planet. The only reason that LeBron hasn't won more MVP awards is because everyone is used to him playing at such a high level. LeBron is an all-around player that puts up stat-lines comparable to Oscar Robertson.

LeBron grew up in Ohio and was drafted straight out of high school by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He played many seasons with the Cavs in which he didn't have a strong enough team to win a championship for his hometown. In the 2009 playoffs against the Detroit Pistons, LeBron James put on a Jordan-esque performance in which he scored 25 straight points for the Cavaliers. After not being able to win a championship in Cleveland after 8 seasons, he went on to play for the Miami Heat. Following LeBron's departure from his hometown, his jerseys were burned and the whole city ended up despising him. James went on to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh en route to four straight Finals appearances and two championship rings. After losing to Tim Duncan's Spurs in the 2014 Finals, LeBron declared he would return to Cleveland and keep his promise of bringing a title to a snakebitten town. In my opinion, if LeBron were to bring a title to Cleveland, it would solidify his legacy and put him in the conversation with some of the other All-Time Greats.