Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
61.5k votes 8.3k voters 113.6k 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.

list ordered by

1
2,731 1,239
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

2
2,766 1,204
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
2,883 1,163
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

4
2,950 1,174
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers

5
2,396 974
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics

6
1,502 721
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
1,367 579
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

8
1,324 579
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
651 425
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors

10
725 589
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers

11
963 326
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added

12
810 672
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

13
743 588
Bill Walton is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers

14
940 625
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets

15
730 525
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat

16
577 449
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
New York Knicks

17
453 333
Nate Thurmond is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Warriors

18
451 329
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

19
402 300
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
748 662
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic

21
482 366
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

22
334 271
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

23
360 201
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets

24
311 247
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

25
407 235
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
367 216
Arvydas Sabonis is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Portland Trail Blazers

27
311 160
Bob McAdoo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Buffalo Braves

28
483 283
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

29
338 137
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
307 178
DeMarcus Cousins is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

31
265 176
Marc Gasol is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Memphis Grizzlies

32
257 191
Vlade Divac is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers

33
224 268
Ralph Sampson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets

34
272 250
Bill Laimbeer is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
wiabux added Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons

35
170 223
Walt Bellamy is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Baltimore Bullets, New Orleans Jazz

36
231 84
Anthony Davis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

37
191 174
Jack Sikma is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
danmedsker added Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks

38
152 135
Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Cleveland Cavaliers

39
215 243
Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Phoenix Suns

40
220 212
DeAndre Jordan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
DillönBlüto added

41
143 100
Mark Eaton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz

42
137 105
Darryl Dawkins is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

43
150 117
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
129 108
Andre Drummond is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

45
186 135
Manute Bol is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors

46
139 122
Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks

47
130 112
Rik Smits is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Indiana Pacers

48
97 47
Karl-anthony Towns is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl-anthony Towns

49
115 78
Kristaps Porzingis is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

50
119 106
Hassan Whiteside is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added