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50 Greatest NBA Players

The 50 greatest NBA players is more then a number. It represents something more. It represents excellence, dedication, and a drive to succeed. The 50 greatest NBA players are in this category for a reason.

Their natural born talent combined with an amazing work ethic drove these players to perform better then the majority of the best players in the world. In a league where everyone is good, these players were even better.

They were class acts, dedicated to winning, and left no option but to succeed. They handled themselves off the court with class and respect.

NOTE: Even though 25 players are marked with “bold”, that doesn’t mean ANYTHING. It’s just for the purpose of making every second player “in bold”.

The 50 Greatest NBA Players are…

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Nate Archibald
Paul Arizin
Charles Barkley
Rick Barry
Elgin Baylor
Dave Bing
Larry Bird
Wilt Chamberlain
Bob Cousy
Dave Cowens
Billy Cunningham
Dave DeBusschere
Clyde Drexler
Julius Erving
Patrick Ewing
Walt Frazier
George Gervin
Hal Greer
John Havlicek
Elvin Hayes
Magic Johnson
Sam Jones
Michael Jordan
Jerry Lucas
Karl Malone
Moses Malone
Pete Maravich
Kevin McHale
George Mikan
Earl Monroe
Hakeem Olajuwon
Shaquille O’Neal
Robert Parish
Bob Pettit
Scottie Pippen
Willis Reed
Oscar Robertson
David Robinson
Bill Russell
Bill Sharman
John Stockton
Isiah Thomas
Nate Thurmond
Wes Unseld
Bill Walton
Lenny Wilkens
James Worthy
Jerry West
Dolph Schayes

These players were voted on by various former greats and media members. Ask anybody and they will likely find a tough explanation for why one of any of these 50 former NBA players does not belong on the list. The NBA’s 50 greatest players of all-time, represents a lifetime of memories and excellence.

While I was only born in 1986, the 22 short years I have lived on this earth have provided memories and favorite moments in the NBA. Here’s a list of my favorite players from the 50 greatest NBA players list:


Michael Jordan


If you like basketball, you like Michael Jordan. Plain and simple! Jordan was the NBA and his six titles in eight years more then speaks for itself. Jordan was a legacy because he dominated the game both individually and within a team. While I only caught the later of his career, it was enough to print a lasting memory in my head.


Charles Barkley


Barkley’s career ended in my early years, so I relied mostly on highlights and other accounts on this great player’s career. Barkley was a personal favorite because he played hard and became one of the greatest rebounders of all-time at an undersized 6’7. Barkley also spoke his mind and wasn’t afraid to say what he wanted, which is why I still love tuning into TNT’s half-time show.


“Pistol” Pete Maravich


Long before my time, “Pistol” Pete Maravich was a scoring icon which is why I identify to his game. He was a master with the ball because he did what he wanted with it, when he wanted to. The guy was a scoring machine, and his scoring record in college will never be broken.


Larry Bird


Again, another player that I only learned about through highlights and personal accounts, but a player I nonetheless really respect. Anybody who loves basketball should read his auto-biography. No player in the NBA worked as hard as Larry Bird did and hard work eventually paid off despite a severe lack of natural talent and athleticism..


Shaquille O’Neal


While most of the NBA’s dominant big-men played long before my time, I had the pleasure of watching one very dominant one during my era. Shaquille O’Neal, in his prime, was maybe the best center ever. Nobody could guard him within five feet of the basket. The man was just to strong, powerful, and talented.


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