Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
60.1k votes 8.1k voters 112.1k 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
2,665 1,213
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

2
2,697 1,179
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
2,876 1,146
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
2,817 1,140
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

5
2,353 961
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics

6
1,471 706
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
1,336 566
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

8
1,295 569
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
637 409
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
712 578
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers

11
932 313
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added

12
728 576
Bill Walton is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, San Diego Clippers

13
787 658
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

14
713 517
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat

15
912 614
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets

16
566 444
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
New York Knicks

17
445 329
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
442 321
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

19
392 297
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
728 644
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic

21
471 357
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

22
325 266
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

23
351 198
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets

24
303 243
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

25
396 228
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
358 211
Arvydas Sabonis is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Portland Trail Blazers

27
300 157
Bob McAdoo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Buffalo Braves

28
465 276
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

29
324 133
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
295 171
DeMarcus Cousins is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

31
259 170
Marc Gasol is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Memphis Grizzlies

32
248 184
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
218 261
Ralph Sampson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets

34
266 243
Bill Laimbeer is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
wiabux added Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons

35
166 219
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
215 82
Anthony Davis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

37
188 171
Jack Sikma is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
danmedsker added Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks

38
145 133
Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Cleveland Cavaliers

39
211 241
Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Phoenix Suns

40
215 208
DeAndre Jordan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
DillönBlüto added

41
136 98
Mark Eaton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz

42
135 102
Darryl Dawkins is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

43
145 115
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
124 105
Andre Drummond is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

45
182 133
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
128 108
Rik Smits is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Indiana Pacers

47
136 121
Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks

48
92 46
Karl-anthony Towns is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl-anthony Towns

49
117 102
Hassan Whiteside is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

50
111 75
Kristaps Porzingis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time