Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
72.7k votes 9.8k voters 124.4k 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
3,260 1,409
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
3,183 1,458
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

3
3,505 1,378
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
3,342 1,333
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

5
2,773 1,115
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics

6
1,723 832
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
1,572 674
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

8
1,523 675
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
1,209 425
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added

10
870 691
Bill Walton is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers

11
1,133 742
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets

12
835 698
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers

13
938 781
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

14
668 504
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
New York Knicks

15
834 601
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat

16
751 510
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors

17
535 389
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

18
518 398
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
481 368
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
865 789
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic

21
567 417
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

22
369 282
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

23
386 320
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

24
415 238
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets

25
586 338
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers