There have been a lot of players to take the court in the NBA. Few, however, manage to stand at the top of the mountain when their careers are over. Who stands a cut above the rest? Here are some of the greatest NBA players to ever do it.
How can you talk about the greatest to ever do it and not start with the man of the 1990s? Jordan was on another level, one that could not be measured statistically. His sheer dominance of will helped lead the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships in the 1990s. Jordan had six Final MVPs under his belt when he hung it up following the 1998 playoffs.
When talking about the greatest to ever do it, the debate tends to come down to two names: Jordan and James. Statistically speaking, James may be superior to Jordan as an all-around player. He went to a stunning 9-straight NBA Finals as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, capturing the NBA championships. There may be no more dominant player in recent memory than James.
Before MJ and King James, there was no one quite like Kareem. He had 19 All-Star appearances, 15 All-NBA selections, 11 All-Defensive team appearances, won six NBA titles, six MVPs (most ever), and finished as the league’s all-time leading scorer. Not a bad resume to say the least.
Erving “Magic” Johnson
There were a couple of players who epitomized the 1980s NBA scene. Boston’s Larry Bird was one. The other? Magic himself. The 1980s Los Angeles Lakers have some of the most revered teams in NBA history and the battles against those Bird-led Boston Celtics teams are the stuff of legends.
Johnson, meanwhile, was the catalyst. Five NBA titles with three Final MVPs under his belt. He averaged nearly a triple-double throughout his career and was a perennial all-star. Injuries and an AIDS diagnosis cut his Hall of Fame career shorter than it otherwise may have been.