The NBA has nearly 68 years of history. During that time, hundreds of legendary basketball players have stepped onto the court. Meta.reviews compiled its ranking of the best players, which takes into account not only sports records, but also achievements in public life, the film industry, and even the fight for human rights.
5. Oscar Robertson
Oscar Robertson is a master of the triple-double. It is his record (181) that Russell Westbrook is trying to break.
But Robertson has more than just fantastic stats (25.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists per career average). He has earned numerous awards and invented such technical tricks as the head fake and the fadeaway jump shot, which are still widely used by all basketball players in the world.
4. Bill Russell
For 13 years of his career, Russell became the champion 11 times. This is fantastic. He was not Boston’s leader on points, but he was known for his great defensive play and incredible rebounds. Bill Russell averaged 22.5 rebounds per game. After finishing his career, he permanently retained a place on the list of the best NBA rebounds in history (21,620).
Since 2009, the NBA Finals MVP award has been named after him. In 2011, Russell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his service to civil rights on and off the playing field.
3. Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to have his jersey retired by three teams: the Lakers, Philadelphia, and Golden State. Playing for each of these clubs, Chamberlain had incredible stats: 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists per game average.
He won the Association Championship twice with Philadelphia and the Lakers and was named NBA MVP four times. He holds two amazing records: 100 points in one game and 23,924 career rebounds.
2. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan could have easily earned the No. 1 spot on this list. He has won six NBA championships with Chicago and has always been the Finals MVP. Jordan is a two-time Olympic champion. He also won NBA Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. He has an incredible collection of other titles as well.
And yet we gave Jordan second place. No one doubts his legendary status, but his human qualities were not so clear-cut. Michael himself was 5’9″, broad shoulders, a thin waist, impressive in his game, and gave 100% of his life to the game. But he was often disrespectful to other players: he called his opponents’ names, bullied his teammates, brought them to tears, and lost confidence in himself (you can read about the importance of mental health on Centreforum.org). It is known that the smallest player in NBA history Muggsy Bogues and the 1st 2001 draft pick Kwame Brown suffered from Michael’s words.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the league’s top players for years. Over 20 seasons in the NBA, he became the top scorer in the history of the Association (38,387 points), six-time MVP (a record), six-time All-American with the Bucks and Lakers, and has been called up to the All-Star Game (19 times). He is one of the top three NBA players in rebounds (17,440) and blocks (3189).
Kareem ended his career only at the age of 42. After that, he often starred in movies and TV series and participated in the creation of books and comic books.
Abdul-Jabbar beat cancer, he was elected U.S. cultural ambassador and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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