Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
72.9k votes 9.8k voters 124.6k views 174 items

List Rules 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 centers who have played for the Lakers.

Another team that's had a number of great centers on its roster is the Houston Rockets. Counting Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Yao Ming as its alumni, not to mention Dwight Howard, could all be considered some of the top centers in the NBA. 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 for the players you think deserve to be called the best centers of all time.

list ordered by

1
3,268 1,415
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Warriors

2
3,193 1,463
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

3
3,510 1,382
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers

4
3,351 1,336
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

5
2,778 1,118
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics

6
1,576 676
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

7
1,725 835
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

8
1,523 680
Patrick Ewing is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics, New York Knicks

9
838 702
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers

10
1,214 428
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added

11
1,138 744
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets

12
872 694
Bill Walton is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers

13
672 504
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
New York Knicks

14
752 512
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors

15
938 784
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

16
836 601
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat

17
539 390
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

18
522 398
Nate Thurmond is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Warriors

19
484 368
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
866 793
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic

21
568 419
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

22
417 238
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets

23
370 282
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

24
387 320
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

25
587 338
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers