Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
74.5k votes 10k voters 126.3k 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
3,257 1,490
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks
2
3,336 1,447
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
3,590 1,411
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers
4
3,419 1,361
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors
5
2,830 1,137
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics
6
1,752 854
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
7
1,598 694
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers
8
1,556 692
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
854 721
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers
10
1,167 769
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets
11
1,244 446
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added
12
957 795
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets
13
892 717
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
682 515
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
New York Knicks
15
762 523
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
852 611
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat
17
548 401
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls
18
532 409
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
492 378
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets
20
887 809
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic
21
575 430
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers
22
376 290
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons
23
422 246
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets
24
392 329
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks
25
605 342
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers