10 Legendary Basketball Players

10 Great Players in NBA History

  • Wilt Chamberlain
  • Larry Bird
  • Michael Jordan
  • Lebron James
  • Tim Duncan
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Bill Russell
  • Magic Johnson
  • Julius Erving
  • Shaquille O’Neal

Step onto the famous basketball court, where the best players in NBA history have left their mark and their amazing moves still echo. We’re about to dive into the exciting history of the NBA, where players become legends. From unbelievable slam dunks to passes that seem impossible, the NBA is a mix of sports and art. So, imagine you’re in your favorite team’s jersey, lace up your sneakers, and get ready to learn about the awesome skills and stories of the all-time best basketball players ever!

1. Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain

Any discussion about legendary basketball players will likely include Wilt Chamberlain because he was a true trailblazer that paved the way for NBA stars today. Due to college restrictions, he was part of the infamous Harlem Globetrotters for a year before beginning his career in the NBA. He stood over seven feet tall and dominated the NBA when he was in his prime. He marked his place in history as the only player to score 100 points in a single game. He was also the first person to ever score 30,000 points in the NBA.

2. Larry Bird

Larry Bird led his team to three NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVP honors. He was the sixth overall draft pick to the Boston Celtics in 1978 and many fans consider him to be the greatest Celtic of all time. According to ESPN, he played alongside Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson in the 1992 Olympics Dream Team and brought home the gold medal for the United States of America. He became known as Larry Legend which definitely earns him a spot among these legendary players in basketball history.

3. Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is one of the top NBA players of all time.  As a child, Michael Jordan wanted to follow in his fathers’ footsteps and become a baseball player, but his future turned out to be embedded in basketball. As a rookie in the NBA, he made a quick impact on the league and managed to impress his peers with his lavish style of play while earning their respect and admiration. From his iconic performance in the 1988 Slam Dunk Competition to his numerous victories in NBA final championships, Micheal Jordan has truly done it all. His additional achievements including winning six NBA Finals MVP awards and five regular-season MVP honors.  He helped the Bulls earn their first NBA title. Many people consider Michael Jordan to be the greatest of all time and continues to be an inspiration to all who love the sport.

4. Lebron James

From the start, LeBron James has dazzled the fans and encouraged everyone to live out their dreams no matter what. Lebron James was considered a top priority to all NBA teams entering the draft from high school. He has led both the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers to victory in several championships and is often compared to Michael Jordan as the greatest.  He has won four NBA championships and made 10 NBA finals appearances.  Lebron James has proven himself to be a humanitarian by opening up a school for at-risk students, which ultimately solidified his status as one of the legendary players in basketball history both on and off the court.

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5. Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan was the first overall pick in the 1997 NBA draft.

Born in 1976, he made a significant impact as a power forward for the San Antonio Spurs throughout the late 1990s and 2000s. Known for his fundamental style of play, Duncan’s mastery of bank shots, rebounding, and defensive prowess earned him the nickname “The Big Fundamental.” He withstood the test of time and remained loyal to the Spurs for his entire career. Over a period of 19 seasons with this same team, he managed to bring home five NBA championship titles. Tim Duncan is one of only five players in NBA history to earn over 25,000 points and 15,000 rebounds.

6. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant captivated the world with his incredible skills and unyielding determination. Born in 1978, he rose from his high school stardom to become a legendary figure in the NBA. Bryant’s fame stemmed from his dynamic scoring ability, often dubbed as “Black Mamba” for his deadly precision on the court. He spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five championships and earning countless accolades. He averaged 25 points per game in his career.  His competitive spirit was unmatched, evident in his two Olympic gold medals for Team USA. Bryant’s work ethic and commitment to improvement inspired countless aspiring players, and his “Mamba Mentality” philosophy urged people to push their limits. Tragically, his life was cut short in 2020 when he was killed in a helicopter crash.

7. Bill Russell

Bill Russell is renowned for his exceptional skills and trailblazing impact. Born in 1934, he emerged as a pivotal player for the Boston Celtics during the 1950s and 1960s, a period marked by his remarkable defensive prowess and unparalleled teamwork. Russell secured an astonishing 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons, establishing an unmatched record that still stands today. Beyond his impressive statistics, he fundamentally changed the role of a center, using his agility, shot-blocking, and court vision to revolutionize the game.  Russell’s influence extended beyond the court as he used his platform to confront racial inequality.

8. Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson definitely one of the most legendary basketball players of his time.  He is celebrated for his exceptional talent and charismatic presence. Born in 1959, he swiftly ascended to stardom as a point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s. Renowned for his remarkable court vision and extraordinary passing, Johnson’s flashy style of play earned him the moniker “Magic.” He orchestrated the Lakers’ dominance, taking them to nine NBA finals and securing five NBA championships. He was the tallest point guard in league history, standing six foot 9 inches. Johnson also broke barriers as one of the first athletes to openly discuss his HIV diagnosis, becoming a beacon of awareness and advocacy for the disease.

9. Julius Erving

Julius Erving, widely known as “Dr. J,” is a basketball icon celebrated for his dynamic playing style and impact on the sport. Born in 1950, he gained prominence as a versatile forward, captivating audiences with his acrobatic moves and slam dunks. Erving played a pivotal role in popularizing the slam dunk as an artistic expression within the game. His time in both the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) showcased his extraordinary talent, earning him three championships and numerous accolades including being a three-time league MVP.

10. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal, often called “Shaq,” is a basketball superstar known for his dominant presence on the court and larger-than-life personality. Born in 1972, he emerged as a force to be reckoned with as a center in the NBA. Shaq’s immense size and powerful playing style made him a formidable opponent.  He earned four NBA championships while dazzling fans with his thunderous dunks and unstoppable post moves.  What set Shaq apart was not just his basketball prowess, but his charisma and versatility. He seamlessly transitioned from the court to the entertainment world, starring in movies, TV shows, and even pursuing a successful music career.

These legendary NBA players have all greatly impacted the sport of basketball. Whether they’re setting unbreakable records or performing unforgettable stunts, these men will always be considered as some of the most legendary players in basketball history.