Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
74.7k votes 10k voters 126.6k views 173 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
3,266 1,497
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks
2
3,344 1,450
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
2,840 1,139
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics
4
3,601 1,420
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
3,424 1,367
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors
6
1,754 858
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
7
1,600 698
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers
8
1,560 695
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
1,249 449
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added
10
855 726
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers
11
685 515
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
New York Knicks
12
1,168 774
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets
13
895 720
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
959 799
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets
15
763 524
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors
16
853 613
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat
17
550 402
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls
18
532 411
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
493 379
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets
20
890 811
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic
21
576 433
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers
22
377 293
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons
23
423 249
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets
24
393 332
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks
25
607 344
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers