Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
62.8k votes 8.5k voters 114.8k views 179 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
2,781 1,268
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

2
2,818 1,236
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
2,926 1,184
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

4
3,004 1,200
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
2,434 994
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics

6
1,519 731
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
1,384 591
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

8
1,341 594
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
991 332
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added

10
736 603
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers

11
661 438
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors

12
823 683
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

13
755 598
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
957 634
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets

15
742 533
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat

16
585 455
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
New York Knicks

17
461 340
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
461 336
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

19
412 310
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
764 670
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic

21
491 372
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

22
339 277
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

23
366 205
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets

24
317 251
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

25
414 242
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
372 222
Arvydas Sabonis is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Portland Trail Blazers

27
318 162
Bob McAdoo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Buffalo Braves

28
496 288
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

29
348 140
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
317 185
DeMarcus Cousins is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

31
271 179
Marc Gasol is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Memphis Grizzlies

32
262 196
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
229 271
Ralph Sampson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets

34
278 254
Bill Laimbeer is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
wiabux added Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons

35
240 86
Anthony Davis is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

36
175 225
Walt Bellamy is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Baltimore Bullets, New Orleans Jazz

37
194 177
Jack Sikma is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
danmedsker added Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks

38
155 137
Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Cleveland Cavaliers

39
220 245
Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Phoenix Suns

40
223 215
DeAndre Jordan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
DillönBlüto added

41
146 102
Mark Eaton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz

42
142 107
Darryl Dawkins is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

43
151 119
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
131 110
Andre Drummond is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

45
192 137
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
146 124
Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks

47
133 114
Rik Smits is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Indiana Pacers

48
100 51
Karl-anthony Towns is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl-anthony Towns

49
133 50
Dirk Nowitzki is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dallas Mavericks

50
119 81
Kristaps Porzingis is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time