basketball players The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

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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 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
list ordered by

1
1,786 773
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

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2
1,810 778
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Wilt Chamberlain Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Warriors

3
1,576 611
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bill Russell Boston Celtics

4
1,860 708
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Shaquille O'Neal Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers

5
1,949 761
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Hakeem Olajuwon Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

6
1,029 457
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
917 338
Patrick Ewing is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Patrick Ewing Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics, New York Knicks

8
924 345
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Moses Malone Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

9
563 420
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dikembe Mutombo Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

10
522 372
Bill Walton is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bill Walton Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers

11
517 385
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
George Mikan Los Angeles Lakers

12
438 242
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Robert Parrish Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors

13
518 337
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
420 308
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Willis Reed New York Knicks

15
480 126
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added Tim Duncan

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16
583 399
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Yao Ming Houston Rockets

17
316 206
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Artis Gilmore Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

18
306 218
Nate Thurmond is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Nate Thurmond Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Warriors

19
278 185
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Wes Unseld Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
312 219
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Ben Wallace Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

21
235 183
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dave Cowens Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

22
220 166
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bob Lanier Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

23
450 437
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dwight Howard Orlando Magic

24
242 130
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Elvin Hayes Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets

25
231 120
Arvydas Sabonis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Arvydas Sabonis Portland Trail Blazers

26
242 145
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
ChrisGoulart added Pau Gasol Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies

27
207 107
Bob McAdoo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bob McAdoo Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Buffalo Braves

28
175 121
Vlade Divac is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Vlade Divac Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers

29
161 89
Marc Gasol is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Marc Gasol Memphis Grizzlies

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30
295 185
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl Malone Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

31
162 198
Ralph Sampson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Ralph Sampson Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets

32
127 167
Walt Bellamy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Walt Bellamy Atlanta Hawks, Baltimore Bullets, New Orleans Jazz

33
201 175
Bill Laimbeer is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
wiabux added Bill Laimbeer Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons

34
166 68
Kevin Garnett is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added Kevin Garnett Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves

35
150 87
DeMarcus Cousins is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added DeMarcus Cousins

36
100 92
Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Brad Daugherty Cleveland Cavaliers

37
156 186
Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Amar'e Stoudemire Phoenix Suns

38
138 125
Jack Sikma is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
danmedsker added Jack Sikma Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks

39
158 141
DeAndre Jordan is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
DillönBlüto added DeAndre Jordan

40
93 55
Mark Eaton is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Mark Eaton Utah Jazz

41
100 36
Anthony Davis is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Anthony Davis

42
92 67
Chris Webber is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
lauren-charbono added Chris Webber Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers

43
91 68
Darryl Dawkins is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Darryl Dawkins Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

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44
76 52
Andre Drummond is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Andre Drummond

45
88 71
Rik Smits is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Rik Smits Indiana Pacers

46
81 66
Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Al Horford Atlanta Hawks

47
63 67
Brook Lopez is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brook Lopez Brooklyn Nets

48
106 85
Manute Bol is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Manute Bol Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors

49
65 45
Hassan Whiteside is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Hassan Whiteside

50
84 105
Žydrūnas Ilgauskas is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
idominas added Žydrūnas Ilgauskas Cleveland Cavaliers