basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
55.3k votes 7.5k voters 107.3k views 166 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
2,455 1,120
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
2,474 1,084
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
2,164 879
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bill Russell Boston Celtics

4
2,602 1,051
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Hakeem Olajuwon Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

5
2,638 1,052
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Shaquille O'Neal Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers

6
1,369 647
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
1,235 512
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
1,211 512
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
821 250
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added Tim Duncan

10
668 532
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
George Mikan Los Angeles Lakers

11
670 528
Bill Walton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bill Walton Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers

12
584 374
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Robert Parrish Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors

13
723 618
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
838 561
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Yao Ming Houston Rockets

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15
653 487
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
530 415
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Willis Reed New York Knicks

17
417 291
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Artis Gilmore Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

18
402 308
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
366 266
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Wes Unseld Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
670 593
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dwight Howard Orlando Magic

21
302 243
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dave Cowens Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

The Best NBA Centers of the '90s

22
436 332
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
323 179
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
284 222
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bob Lanier Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

25
328 189
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
353 214
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
277 149
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
433 252
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 Centers of the 2000s

29
238 149
Marc Gasol is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Marc Gasol Memphis Grizzlies

30
289 117
Kevin Garnett is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added Kevin Garnett Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves

31
266 147
DeMarcus Cousins is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added DeMarcus Cousins

32
227 176
Vlade Divac is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Vlade Divac Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers

33
207 244
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
245 227
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
158 207
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

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36
181 157
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
186 69
Anthony Davis is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Anthony Davis

38
137 124
Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Brad Daugherty Cleveland Cavaliers

39
197 226
Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Amar'e Stoudemire Phoenix Suns

40
203 193
DeAndre Jordan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
DillönBlüto added DeAndre Jordan

41
123 91
Mark Eaton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Mark Eaton Utah Jazz

42
123 94
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

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43
136 100
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
110 93
Andre Drummond is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Andre Drummond

45
169 122
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
121 101
Rik Smits is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Rik Smits Indiana Pacers

47
126 110
Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Al Horford Atlanta Hawks

48
76 33
Karl-anthony Towns is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl-anthony Towns

49
107 87
Hassan Whiteside is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Hassan Whiteside

50
99 65
Kristaps Porzingis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time