Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
59.2k votes 8k voters 111k views 164 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.

1
2,617 1,193
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
2,647 1,157
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
2,823 1,123
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Shaquille O'Neal Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers

4
2,779 1,124
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Hakeem Olajuwon Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

5
2,312 947
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bill Russell Boston Celtics

6
1,452 691
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
1,315 554
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
1,276 559
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
911 295
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added Tim Duncan

10
624 399
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Robert Parrish Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors

11
699 569
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
George Mikan Los Angeles Lakers

12
716 566
Bill Walton is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bill Walton Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers

13
771 651
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dikembe Mutombo Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

14
895 604
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Yao Ming Houston Rockets

15
698 511
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
557 437
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Willis Reed New York Knicks

17
436 326
Nate Thurmond is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Nate Thurmond Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Warriors

18
434 318
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Artis Gilmore Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

19
385 292
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Wes Unseld Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
715 637
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dwight Howard Orlando Magic

21
464 356
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Ben Wallace Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

22
322 264
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dave Cowens Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

23
347 196
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
298 241
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bob Lanier Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

25
389 226
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
ChrisGoulart added Pau Gasol Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies

26
351 207
Arvydas Sabonis is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Arvydas Sabonis Portland Trail Blazers

27
294 155
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
456 273
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl Malone Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

29
318 129
Kevin Garnett is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added Kevin Garnett Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves

30
252 169
Marc Gasol is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Marc Gasol Memphis Grizzlies

31
242 181
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
287 168
DeMarcus Cousins is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added DeMarcus Cousins

33
217 257
Ralph Sampson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Ralph Sampson Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets

34
262 240
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
163 217
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

36
185 168
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
207 80
Anthony Davis is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Anthony Davis

38
141 133
Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Brad Daugherty Cleveland Cavaliers

39
209 239
Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Amar'e Stoudemire Phoenix Suns

40
211 206
DeAndre Jordan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
DillönBlüto added DeAndre Jordan

41
133 98
Mark Eaton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Mark Eaton Utah Jazz

42
132 101
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

43
144 113
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
122 104
Andre Drummond is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Andre Drummond

45
180 131
Manute Bol is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Manute Bol Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors

46
127 106
Rik Smits is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Rik Smits Indiana Pacers

47
134 119
Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Al Horford Atlanta Hawks

48
87 45
Karl-anthony Towns is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl-anthony Towns

49
109 74
Kristaps Porzingis is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

50
113 101
Hassan Whiteside is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Hassan Whiteside