Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
65.5k votes 8.8k voters 117k views 176 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
2,868 1,305
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

2
3,119 1,237
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers

3
2,912 1,274
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Warriors

4
3,020 1,217
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

5
2,515 1,021
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics

6
1,569 752
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
1,428 610
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

8
1,380 614
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
1,054 348
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added

10
755 623
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers

11
782 618
Bill Walton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers

12
767 546
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat

13
844 705
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

14
689 460
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors

15
999 658
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets

16
601 468
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
New York Knicks

17
481 350
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

18
471 358
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
425 327
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
785 698
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic

21
354 288
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

22
508 388
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

23
380 213
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets

24
329 259
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

25
429 255
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
ChrisGoulart added Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies

26
331 172
Bob McAdoo is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Buffalo Braves

27
382 235
Arvydas Sabonis is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Portland Trail Blazers

28
516 300
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

29
368 146
Kevin Garnett is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves

30
336 200
DeMarcus Cousins is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

31
278 203
Vlade Divac is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers

32
282 190
Marc Gasol is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Memphis Grizzlies

33
236 278
Ralph Sampson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets

34
285 264
Bill Laimbeer is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
wiabux added Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons

35
260 91
Anthony Davis is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

36
180 234
Walt Bellamy is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Baltimore Bullets, New Orleans Jazz

37
202 184
Jack Sikma is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
danmedsker added Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks

38
159 145
Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Cleveland Cavaliers

39
226 253
Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Phoenix Suns

40
231 222
DeAndre Jordan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
DillönBlüto added

41
151 108
Mark Eaton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz

42
146 113
Darryl Dawkins is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

43
157 126
Chris Webber is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
lauren-charbono added Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers

44
141 117
Andre Drummond is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

45
159 131
Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks

46
200 145
Manute Bol is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors

47
140 120
Rik Smits is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Indiana Pacers

48
110 58
Karl-anthony Towns is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl-anthony Towns

49
92 49
Nikola Jokic is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

50
150 54
Dirk Nowitzki is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dallas Mavericks