The most famous basketball players have rich records, dating back nearly 68 years, full of decorated teams and players. During that time, we’ve seen us. Do any current superstars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James make the cut? Let’s take a look at the ten most famous players in NBA history and find out.
List of Top Ten Most Famous Basketball Players In The World 2016 Ranking
10. Hakeem Olajuwon
Mostly viewed as the most skilled big man in the world of the game, Hakeem Olajuwon’s dominance on the middle was a thing of beauty. He abused many a defender with his trademark “Dream Shake” moves. Olajuwon’s game is so famous that superstars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard have looked to develop their game under his tutelage.
Anger aside, Olajuwon was one of the game’s biggest defenders, partly evidenced by his 3.3 block-per-game average. “The Dream” led a marginally-talented Houston Rockets team to back-to-back NBA Championships, getting two Finals MVPs and one regular season MVP. He is the only player in NBA history to win regular season MVP, Finals MVP and Opposing Player of the Year in the same season (1994).
9. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal was the most famous player of his generation possibly of all time. It was borderline unfair how he brutalized defenders with brute strength. Shaq led the Los Angeles Lakers to three back-to-back NBA Championships in the early 2000s, winning three Finals MVPs in the process. The 2000 regular season MVP winner was too selected to 14 All-NBA Teams in his vocation.
8. Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan is the model of unity. Look through his statistics during the years, and you won’t find too much variation. “The Big Fundamental” led the San Antonio Spurs to four NBA Championships, en route to three Finals MVPs. His perfect Finals record was tarnished last season in a seven-game series loss to the Miami Heat, but four out of five isn’t too bad.
7. Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain is the end I said Shaq was “possibly” the most famous player of all time. Chamberlain’s dominance is accepted, and as time passes, he seems more and more like a mythical figure. In the 1961-62 regular seasons, he averaged 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds.
Had Wilt achieved more in the postseason, he would be closer to No. 1. It looks crazy to expect more from a player who equated 22 and 25, but that’s how it goes when you’re the most dominant.
6. LeBron James
LeBron James joined the league burdened with impossible expectations. Hopes he surely couldn’t live up to, right? The Miami Heat superstar has gotten the championship monkey off of his back two times over and is now chasing history. Just ten seasons into his NBA vocation, he’s already one of the game’s all-time greats.
The statistics and MVP counts speak for themselves. “King James” has developed into a great two-way player, being called to 9 All-NBA and 5 All-Defensive Teams. The next player on the list should not get too comfortable because LeBron could be slowly edging up the list by the end of this coming season.
5. Larry Bird
Derrick Rose gave a very fitting assessment of Larry Bird in an interview with Rappler Sports recently. The bird was never the most athletic player on the court, but he was always dominant. Whatever he lacked in athleticism, he gets up for with his basketball IQ, great skills including that deadly jump shot and fierce competitiveness. The guy led the Boston Celtics to three NBA Championships, collecting three regular season MVPs and 2 Finals MVPs along the way. “Larry Legend” was selected to ten All-NBA and three All-Defense Teams in his 13-year career.
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Before Duncan, there was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, regarding consistency. His energy to maintain such averages while competing for 20 seasons is simply a testimonial to his greatness. Here’s a review of Kareem’s biggest feats: all-time starting scorer in NBA history, most regular season MVP awards (six), 15 All-NBA selections, 11 All-Defense selections, 19 All-Star appearances.
3. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson began his vocation with greatness and never looked back. He won Finals MVP as a rookie when he famously started the center in place of the injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Play 6 of the 1980 players Finals. The Finals were related a second home to Voodoo and the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers, as they made nine trips during his illustrious career. The 6’9″ point guard used his large stage to shred defenses with accuracy. Magic’s 12.3 assists rank first all-time in the playoffs. In his 14-year career, he amassed ten All-NBA selections.
2. Bill Russell
The biggest defender in the game’s history led the Boston Celtics to a record 11 NBA Championships. Russell is an interesting case, as his offensive stats don’t jump out at you, but his influence went far beyond numbers. Russell could flat-out control the game defensively. Still, his career averages are blank to sniff at, and if Finals players were counted throughout his career, he would’ve won plenty of those. Russell is the biggest winner in all of the sports. His 11-championship count may be the safest record in the NBA game.
1. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is widely known as the game’s biggest player and for good reason. “MJ” accomplished all possible in the game, piling up on the stats and awards. On the game’s greatest stage, the NBA Finals Jordan went a perfect 6-for-6, also cleaning Finals MVP in his appearances. The Chicago Bulls story dominated both sides of the ball, amassing 11 All-NBA picks, nine All-Defensive First team selections, and ten scoring titles.
There is plenty of proof to support Michael Jordan’s GOAT status; however, his greatest feat of all might have come before he even won an NBA title. In the 1988 season, he won MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and the NBA’s scoring title. His wild ’88 season went like this: 35 points on 53% shooting, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 3.2 steals, and 1.6 blocks.