basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
52.8k votes 7.2k voters 105.1k views 120 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
2,357 1,076
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

2
2,530 1,003
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Shaquille O'Neal Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers

3
2,380 1,047
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Wilt Chamberlain Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Warriors

4
2,072 839
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bill Russell Boston Celtics

5
2,515 1,016
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Hakeem Olajuwon Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

6
1,312 620
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
1,178 489
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
1,159 485
Patrick Ewing is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Patrick Ewing Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics, New York Knicks

9
779 226
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added Tim Duncan

10
649 510
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
George Mikan Los Angeles Lakers

11
561 356
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Robert Parrish Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors

12
700 594
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dikembe Mutombo Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

13
644 508
Bill Walton is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bill Walton Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers

14
800 538
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Yao Ming Houston Rockets

The Top NBA Players Of All Time

15
632 471
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Alonzo Mourning Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat

16
514 401
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Willis Reed New York Knicks

17
401 279
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Artis Gilmore Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

18
391 291
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
357 253
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Wes Unseld Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
639 566
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dwight Howard Orlando Magic

21
293 233
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dave Cowens Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

Who Will Win the 2015 NBA Championship?

22
421 314
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Ben Wallace Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

23
312 173
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Elvin Hayes Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets

24
274 214
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bob Lanier Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

25
314 180
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
338 199
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
268 142
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
409 239
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl Malone Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

The Best Current NBA Centers

29
229 137
Marc Gasol is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Marc Gasol Memphis Grizzlies

30
251 132
DeMarcus Cousins is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added DeMarcus Cousins

31
217 166
Vlade Divac is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Vlade Divac Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers

32
201 236
Ralph Sampson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Ralph Sampson Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets

33
266 107
Kevin Garnett is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added Kevin Garnett Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves

34
236 218
Bill Laimbeer is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
wiabux added Bill Laimbeer Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons

35
152 200
Walt Bellamy is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Walt Bellamy Atlanta Hawks, Baltimore Bullets, New Orleans Jazz

37 Celebrities Who Played High School Basketball

36
175 152
Jack Sikma is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
danmedsker added Jack Sikma Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks

37
128 121
Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Brad Daugherty Cleveland Cavaliers

38
188 219
Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Amar'e Stoudemire Phoenix Suns

39
196 183
DeAndre Jordan is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
DillönBlüto added DeAndre Jordan

40
166 66
Anthony Davis is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Anthony Davis

41
117 84
Mark Eaton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Mark Eaton Utah Jazz

42
115 91
Darryl Dawkins is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Darryl Dawkins Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

The Best NCAA Centers of the 2010s

43
126 94
Chris Webber is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
lauren-charbono added Chris Webber Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers

44
101 88
Andre Drummond is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Andre Drummond

45
115 95
Rik Smits is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Rik Smits Indiana Pacers

46
158 117
Manute Bol is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Manute Bol Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors

47
113 105
Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Al Horford Atlanta Hawks

48
102 78
Hassan Whiteside is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Hassan Whiteside

49
84 74
Tyson Chandler is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Tyson Chandler New Orleans Pelicans, Chicago Bulls

50
77 97
Bill Cartwright is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bill Cartwright Seattle Supersonics, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls