Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
60.4k votes 8.2k voters 112.3k 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
2,676 1,219
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

2
2,710 1,184
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
2,830 1,141
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

4
2,889 1,149
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
2,360 963
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics

6
1,477 708
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
1,340 569
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

8
1,301 570
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
641 411
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
938 315
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added

11
713 580
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers

12
792 659
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

13
730 578
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
717 517
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat

15
917 615
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets

16
566 445
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
New York Knicks

17
445 330
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
442 322
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

19
392 298
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
731 645
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic

21
472 357
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

22
326 267
Dave Cowens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks

23
351 199
Elvin Hayes is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets, Houston Rockets

24
304 244
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

25
399 228
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
359 212
Arvydas Sabonis is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Portland Trail Blazers

27
301 158
Bob McAdoo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Buffalo Braves

28
467 277
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

29
326 134
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
297 172
DeMarcus Cousins is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

31
261 171
Marc Gasol is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Memphis Grizzlies

32
250 186
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
219 264
Ralph Sampson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets

34
268 245
Bill Laimbeer is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
wiabux added Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons

35
167 221
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
218 82
Anthony Davis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

37
188 173
Jack Sikma is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
danmedsker added Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks

38
147 134
Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Cleveland Cavaliers

39
212 243
Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Phoenix Suns

40
216 211
DeAndre Jordan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
DillönBlüto added

41
139 99
Mark Eaton is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz

42
135 104
Darryl Dawkins is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

43
147 116
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
126 106
Andre Drummond is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

45
183 134
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
137 122
Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks

47
128 110
Rik Smits is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Indiana Pacers

48
93 47
Karl-anthony Towns is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl-anthony Towns

49
113 75
Kristaps Porzingis is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

50
117 104
Hassan Whiteside is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added