Basketball The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
62.6k votes 8.5k voters 114.5k 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
2,769 1,260
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

2
2,913 1,179
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

3
2,989 1,194
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
2,802 1,231
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Warriors

5
2,426 991
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics

6
1,517 728
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

7
1,376 591
Moses Malone is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

8
1,338 592
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
983 331
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
tom-charbono added

10
659 434
Robert Parish is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors

11
734 600
George Mikan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Los Angeles Lakers

12
820 680
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets

13
752 598
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
952 633
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Houston Rockets

15
739 532
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat

16
584 455
Willis Reed is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
New York Knicks

17
460 340
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
459 336
Artis Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls

19
409 310
Wes Unseld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets

20
762 669
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Orlando Magic

21
491 371
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

22
338 277
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
316 251
Bob Lanier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons

25
413 242
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
371 222
Arvydas Sabonis is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Portland Trail Blazers

27
317 162
Bob McAdoo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Buffalo Braves

28
494 287
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

29
346 139
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
316 184
DeMarcus Cousins is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

31
270 179
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
228 271
Ralph Sampson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets

34
277 253
Bill Laimbeer is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
wiabux added Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons

35
238 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
154 137
Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
EliasOmarEsgdaille added Cleveland Cavaliers

39
220 244
Amar'e Stoudemire is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Phoenix Suns

40
146 102
Mark Eaton is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Utah Jazz

41
221 215
DeAndre Jordan is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
DillönBlüto added

42
141 107
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
130 110
Andre Drummond is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Kate Perry added

45
190 137
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
145 123
Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Atlanta Hawks

47
132 114
Rik Smits is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Indiana Pacers

48
98 50
Karl-anthony Towns is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Karl-anthony Towns

49
119 81
Kristaps Porzingis is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

50
131 50
Dirk Nowitzki is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time
Dallas Mavericks