The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

21k votes 3.2k voters 68k views 120 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Professional basketball players in the center position

Throughout basketball history, having a franchise center has been a crucial part of building a championship team. The best NBA centers have carried the success of many basketball teams. A lot of teams spend years looking for a dominant center, but not too many graduate from project to an iconic, Hall of Fame big man. Some teams have had better luck than others when landing a great NBA center. The Los Angeles Lakers has been the best NBA team at developing and trading for the best centers in the league. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, George Mikan and Shaquille O'Neal are all center who have played for the Lakers.

Another team that's had a number great centers on its roster is the Houston Rockets. Counting Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Yao Ming as its alumni, the Rockets now have Dwight Howard on their roster, a player who is considered by many to be the best center in the NBA right now and rapidly climbing the list of the greatest centers of all time. While a great center may not guarantee a championship, it certainly doesn't hurt to have any of the big men on this list on your team.

Many of these centers are the biggest names in basketball history. They have MVP awards, scoring titles and Defensive Player of the Year awards spread among them. Vote the center who you think deserves to be called the best center of all time
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 83 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1,115
    - 446
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    the people's #1
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

  2. 2
    + 1,104
    - 464
    Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    most listed
    Wilt Chamberlain Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Warriors

  3. 3
    + 1,231
    - 459
    Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Hakeem Olajuwon Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

  4. 4
    + 1,082
    - 376


    Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers

    ;
  5. 5
    + 929
    - 346
    Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Bill Russell Boston Celtics

  6. 6
    + 686
    - 255


    ;
  7. 7
    + 581
    - 198
    Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Moses Malone Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

  8. 8
    + 586
    - 199


    Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics, New York Knicks

    ;
  9. 9
    + 350
    - 208
    George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    George Mikan Los Angeles Lakers

  10. 10
    + 330
    - 178
    Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Dikembe Mutombo Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

  11. 11
    + 324
    - 207
    Bill Walton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Bill Walton Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers

  12. 12
    + 298
    - 197
    Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Willis Reed New York Knicks

  13. 13
    + 341
    - 210
    Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Alonzo Mourning Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat

  14. 14
    + 270
    - 143
    Robert Parrish is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Robert Parrish Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors

  15. 15
    + 343
    - 242
    Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Yao Ming Houston Rockets

  16. 16
    + 193
    - 153
    Nate Thurmond is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Nate Thurmond Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Warriors

  17. 17
    + 196
    - 139
    Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Artis Gilmore Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

  18. 18
    + 171
    - 31

    ranked low on reranks & added by tom-charbono

    ;
  19. 19
    + 182
    - 121
    Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Wes Unseld Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

  20. 20
    + 152
    - 113
    Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Dave Cowens Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

  21. 21
    + 143
    - 115
    Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Bob Lanier Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

  22. 22
    + 283
    - 274
    Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Dwight Howard Orlando Magic

  23. 23
    + 139
    - 83


    Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets

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  24. 24
    + 168
    - 144

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

    ;
  25. 25
    + 131
    - 62

    ranked low on reranks & added by ChrisGoulart
    Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies

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  26. 26
    + 120
    - 53
    Arvydas Sabonis is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    ranked low on reranks & added by EliasOmarEsgdaille
    Arvydas Sabonis Portland Trail Blazers

  27. 27
    + 108
    - 130
    Ralph Sampson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Ralph Sampson Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets

  28. 28
    + 133
    - 66
    Bob McAdoo is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    ranked low on reranks
    Bob McAdoo Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Buffalo Braves

  29. 29
    + 81
    - 116
    Walt Bellamy is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Walt Bellamy Atlanta Hawks, Baltimore Bullets, New Orleans Jazz

  30. 30
    + 123
    - 103
    Bill Laimbeer is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    added by wiabux
    Bill Laimbeer Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons

  31. 31
    + 101
    - 60

    added by EliasOmarEsgdaille
    Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers

    ;
  32. 32
    + 75
    - 32


    Memphis Grizzlies

    ;
  33. 33
    + 177
    - 125
    Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Karl Malone Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

  34. 34
    + 89
    - 85
    Jack Sikma is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    added by danmedsker
    Jack Sikma Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks

  35. 35
    + 60
    - 30
    Kevin Garnett is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    added by tom-charbono
    Kevin Garnett Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves

  36. 36
    + 57
    - 49
    Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    added by EliasOmarEsgdaille
    Brad Daugherty Cleveland Cavaliers

  37. 37
    + 86
    - 138
    Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Amar'e Stoudemire Phoenix Suns

  38. 38
    + 44
    - 18
    DeMarcus Cousins is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    added by Kate Perry
    DeMarcus Cousins

  39. 39
    + 84
    - 84
    DeAndre Jordan is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    added by DillönBlüto
    DeAndre Jordan

  40. 40
    + 48
    - 24


    Indiana Pacers

    ;
  41. 41
    + 45
    - 29
    Darryl Dawkins is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Darryl Dawkins Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

  42. 42
    + 42
    - 23
    Chris Webber is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    added by lauren-charbono
    Chris Webber Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers

  43. 43
    + 35
    - 14
    Mark Eaton is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Mark Eaton Utah Jazz

  44. 44
    + 33
    - 18
    Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time


    Al Horford Atlanta Hawks

  45. 45
    + 54
    - 52
    Žydrūnas Ilgauskas is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    added by idominas
    Žydrūnas Ilgauskas Cleveland Cavaliers

  46. 46
    + 35
    - 35
    Sam Perkins is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

    added by slaft
    Sam Perkins Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers

  47. 47
    + 43
    - 40


    Chicago Bulls

    ;
  48. 48
    + 8
    - 47

    often listed & added by slaft
    Kansas City Kings, Cincinnati Royals, Brooklyn Nets

    ;
  49. 49
    + 22
    - 10

    added by Kate Perry
    New Orleans Pelicans, Chicago Bulls

    ;
  50. 50
    + 44
    - 36


    Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors

    ;
121 +

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