Discover the top basketball players of all time with our comprehensive list, including summaries and sources for each player.
Greatest Basketball Players of All Time
- Michael Jordan – Widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and five MVP awards during his illustrious career. His scoring prowess and ability to dominate games made him a cultural icon, and his impact on the game of basketball is immeasurable. Source: ESPN
- LeBron James – With four NBA championships and four MVP awards, LeBron James is one of the most dominant players in NBA history. Known for his all-around game and ability to play multiple positions, James has been a perennial All-Star and one of the league’s most popular players since entering the league in 2003. Source: NBA.com
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – A six-time NBA champion and six-time MVP, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Known for his signature skyhook shot and his longevity in the league, Abdul-Jabbar played 20 seasons in the NBA and scored a record 38,387 points. Source: Bleacher Report
- Magic Johnson – A five-time NBA champion and three-time MVP, Magic Johnson was one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. Known for his ability to make his teammates better and his electrifying style of play, Johnson helped revolutionize the game of basketball during his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Source: NBA.com
- Bill Russell – A 12-time NBA champion and five-time MVP, Bill Russell is considered one of the greatest defenders in NBA history. His leadership and defensive prowess helped lead the Boston Celtics to multiple championships during the 1950s and 1960s, and his impact on the game of basketball cannot be overstated. Source: NBA.com
- Wilt Chamberlain – One of the most dominant players in NBA history, Wilt Chamberlain holds numerous records and achievements, including the NBA record for most points scored in a game (100). A four-time MVP and two-time NBA champion, Chamberlain’s size and athleticism made him a force to be reckoned with during his career with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Lakers. Source: ESPN
- Larry Bird – A three-time NBA champion and three-time MVP, Larry Bird was one of the greatest shooters and passers in NBA history. His ability to score from anywhere on the court and his basketball IQ made him one of the most cerebral players of his era, and his rivalry with Magic Johnson helped elevate the game of basketball to new heights. Source: NBA.com
- Shaquille O’Neal – A four-time NBA champion and three-time Finals MVP, Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dominant centers in NBA history. Known for his size and strength, O’Neal was virtually unstoppable in the paint, and his combination of power and finesse made him a fan favorite during his career with the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, and Miami Heat. Source: NBA.com
- Kobe Bryant – A five-time NBA champion and one of the greatest scorers in NBA history, Kobe Bryant was a fierce competitor who played with a relentless passion and intensity. His ability to score from anywhere on the court and his clutch performances in big games made him a fan favorite, and his tragic death in 2020 sent shockwaves through the basketball world. Source: NBA.com
- Tim Duncan – A five-time NBA champion and three-time Finals MVP, Tim Duncan was one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history. Known for his consistency and his unselfish play, Tim Duncan was one of the greatest players ever.