Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
78.1k votes 10.5k voters 131.1k views 172 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
3,459 1,564
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks
2
3,525 1,520
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Warriors
3
3,811 1,492
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
3,594 1,424
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors
5
2,979 1,193
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics
6
1,842 892
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
7
1,667 730
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers
8
1,638 722
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
1,251 821
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets
10
935 746
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
800 547
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors
12
1,340 482
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added
13
999 818
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets
14
893 631
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat
15
882 755
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers
16
708 538
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
New York Knicks
17
582 416
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls
18
558 426
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
519 394
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets
20
938 843
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic
21
605 453
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers
22
401 306
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons
23
445 262
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets
24
406 349
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks
25
521 320
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
ChrisGoulart added Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies