Best NBA players of all time: Ranking the 20 best NBA players ever

10. Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets

“The Dream” due to his dunking abilities in college, Olajuwon won NBA Finals MVP in back-to-back championships, earned NBA Defensive Player of the Year Twice and was a 12-time All-Star selection.

9. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs really went from one of the best centers in basketball history to one of the 10 best NBA players of all time. A decade after landing Robinson with the first pick, San Antonio held the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft and took Tim Duncan.

8. Shaquille O'Neal, Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant was right, Shaquille O'Neal would've ranked even higher among the best NBA players ever if the Lakers legend matched Bryant's work ethic.

7. Larry Bird, Boston Celtics

Known as "Larry Legend", Larry Bird is the best Boston Celtics player ever and that's saying something for one of the most storied franchises in NBA history.

6. Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers

Wilt Chamberlain was undoubtedly one of the best NBA players ever as several records of his will never be matched by another player. Chamberlain’s statistical performances are simply incredible.

5. Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers

Wilt Chamberlain was undoubtedly one of the best NBA players ever as several records of his will never be matched by another player. Chamberlain’s statistical performances are simply incredible.

4. Bill Russell, Boston Celtics

Bill Russell is the king of winning NBA championships. While today's players are chasing Michael Jordan's six rings, that's because no one will ever match the 11 NBA championships Russell won with the Boston Celtics.

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks

Kareem Abdul-Jabaar is the best center in NBA history and arguably the best player in Lakers franchise history. The 7-foot-2 big man was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the first pick in the 1969 NBA Draft.

2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers

There will always be a LeBron James vs Michael Jordan debate, with answers often dictated by generations and preferences for style of play. One undeniable thing, James is one of the two best NBA players ever.

1. Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

Michael Jordan is the best NBA player ever. There is a plethora of achievements you can choose from on his resume. He was named to the All-NBA First Team 10 times, made the NBA's All-Defensive First Team nine times, he was a 14-time All-Star and five-time NBA MVP.

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