basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
55.7k votes 7.6k voters 107.7k 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.

1
2,470 1,128
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
2,491 1,094
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
2,620 1,060
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Hakeem Olajuwon Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

4
2,659 1,062
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Shaquille O'Neal Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers

5
2,176 887
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bill Russell Boston Celtics

6
1,379 650
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
1,240 518
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
1,217 516
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
832 254
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added Tim Duncan

10
671 538
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
George Mikan Los Angeles Lakers

11
675 532
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
589 375
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
730 619
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
841 565
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
659 488
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
534 417
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Willis Reed New York Knicks

17
419 293
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Artis Gilmore Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

18
405 308
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
371 266
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Wes Unseld Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
674 597
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dwight Howard Orlando Magic

21
306 243
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
441 333
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
326 180
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
284 223
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Bob Lanier Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

25
330 190
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
355 214
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
436 253
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
238 149
Marc Gasol is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Marc Gasol Memphis Grizzlies

30
291 117
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
267 148
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
208 245
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
246 228
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
159 207
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

37 Celebrities Who Played High School Basketball

36
182 158
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
189 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
198 227
Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Amar'e Stoudemire Phoenix Suns

40
203 194
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

The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History

43
138 101
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
170 123
Manute Bol is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Manute Bol Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors

45
110 96
Andre Drummond is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Andre Drummond

46
122 102
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
77 34
Karl-anthony Towns is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl-anthony Towns

49
108 88
Hassan Whiteside is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added Hassan Whiteside

50
100 66
Kristaps Porzingis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time