Sports

The Top NBA Players Of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated February 14, 2020 2M votes 165k voters 1.6M views 856 items

List Rules Vote up and add the best pro basketball players to ever compete in the NBA.

When it comes to the top NBA players of all time, there's plenty of speculation and room for debate, though many may not think so. Though Michael Jordan is easily considered the greatest player ever, some may say players like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, or Kevin Durant give him a run for his money. Who are the best NBA players? This list includes the best basketball players in NBA history, along with the top basketball players today.

Anyone can vote on the best NBA players here, which means these players are truly fan favorites. NBA fans can even add their own rankings to this list. Whether they have a famous jumper that just won't quit or ball-handling skills that leave their opponents spinning, these top 100 NBA players rule the hoop and the hardwood, and this list is a celebration of those skills. This list should answer who is the top 100, top 10, and best NBA player ever. 

If you've ever asked, "Who's the greatest basketball player of all time?", look no further. Ranked by votes from thousands of fans, this list features the all time NBA GOATs, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird. Vote up the best basketball player ever, and those who follow close behind. Then head over and vote on the best NBA players of the 2010s.

list ordered by
1
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Shooting guard, Small forward from New York City, New York, United States of America

Teams: Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls

Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials MJ, is an American former professional basketball player and the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets of the ...more

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#5 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #461 of 523 The Best Baseball Players NOT in the Hall of Fame 16 Crazy Stories and Rumors About Michael Jordan

2
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Small forward, Power forward from Akron, Ohio, United States of America

Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron Raymone James Sr. (; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His accomplishments ...more

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#248 of 275 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #42 of 571 Things That Are Not As Cool As People Think They Are The Best LeBron 16 Colorways, Ranked

3
Larry Bird is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Small forward, Power forward from West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana

Teams: Boston Celtics

Larry Joe Bird (born December 7, 1956) is an American former professional basketball player, former coach, and former executive who most recently served as President of Basketball Operations for ...more

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#19 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #56 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Timelisted on Famous Left Handed People

4
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Power forward, Center from Christiansted, United States Virgin Islands

Teams: San Antonio Spurs

Timothy Theodore Duncan (born April 25, 1976) is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball ...more

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#31 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #1,325 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time

5
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Center from Newark, New Jersey, United States of America

Teams: Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat

Shaquille Rashaun "Shaq" O'Neal ( shə-KEEL; SHAK; born March 6, 1972) is a retired professional American basketball player who is a sports analyst on the television program Inside the ...more

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#1,449 of 2,830 The Most Influential People of All Time #671 of 770 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures #18 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames

6
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Center from New York City, New York, United States of America

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr.; April 16, 1947) is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) ...more

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#63 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #111 of 267 The All-Time Greatest Martial Arts Actors

7
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Center from Lagos, Nigeria

Teams: Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon (; Yoruba: [olaɟuwɔ̃]; born January 21, 1963), formerly spelled (& still pronounced as) Akeem Olajuwon, is a Nigerian-American former professional basketball player. ...more

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#6 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #1,172 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time

8
Magic Johnson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Point guard, Power forward from Lansing, Michigan, United States of America

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers

Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. (born August 14, 1959) is an American retired professional basketball player and former president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers of the ...more

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#3 of 55 The Best No. 1 Overall NBA Draft Picks of All Time, Ranked #24 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time

9
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Charine Day added Point guard, Shooting guard, Swingman from USA, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bean Bryant (August 23, 1978 – January 26, 2020) was an American professional basketball player. He played his entire 20-year career in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the ...more

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#213 of 243 The Hottest Men Of 2019, Ranked #4 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames 24 Touching Tributes To Kobe Bryant From Across The World

10
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Center from West Monroe, Louisiana, United States of America

Teams: Boston Celtics

William Felton Russell (born February 12, 1934) is an American retired professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from ...more

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#26 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #290 of 292 The Most Obnoxious Athleteslisted on Left Handed Basketball Players

11
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Center from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Warriors, San Francisco Warriors

Wilton Norman Chamberlain (; August 21, 1936 – October 12, 1999) was an American basketball player who played as a center and is considered one of the greatest players in history. He played for ...more

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12
Allen Iverson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Point guard, Shooting guard from USA, Virginia, Hampton

Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Memphis Grizzlies

Allen Ezail Iverson (; born June 7, 1975), nicknamed "the Answer", is an American former professional basketball player. He played 14 seasons in the National Basketball Association ...more

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#8 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #3 of 21 The Best NBA Players Who Rap, Ranked

13
Karl Malone is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Power forward from Summerfield, Louisiana, United States of America

Teams: Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers

Karl Anthony Malone (born July 24, 1963) is an American retired professional basketball player. Nicknamed "The Mailman", Malone played the power forward position and spent his first 18 ...more

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#50 of 292 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #2 of 31 The Best Power Forwards of the 1990slisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

14
Dirk Nowitzki is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Power forward from Würzburg, Germany

Teams: Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Werner Nowitzki (German pronunciation: [ˈdɪʁk ˈvɛʁnɐ noˈvɪtski]) (born June 19, 1978) is a German retired professional basketball player. An alumnus of Röntgen Gymnasium and the DJK ...more

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#126 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #163 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #43 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time

15
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Center from Key West, Florida, United States of America

Teams: San Antonio Spurs

David Maurice Robinson (born August 6, 1965) is an American former professional basketball player, who played center for the San Antonio Spurs in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for ...more

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#16 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #9 of 55 The Best No. 1 Overall NBA Draft Picks of All Time, Ranked #990 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time

16
Jerry West is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers

Jerome Alan West (born May 28, 1938) is an American basketball executive and former player. During his active career West played professionally for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National ...more
17
Stephen Curry is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Point guard from Akron, Ohio, United States of America

Teams: Golden State Warriors

Wardell Stephen "Steph" Curry II ( STEF-ən; born March 14, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association ...more

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#26 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #16 of 61 The Most Hated Active NBA Players

18
Kevin Garnett is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Power forward from Greenville, South Carolina, United States of America

Teams: Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Maurice Garnett (born May 19, 1976) is an American former professional basketball player who played for 21 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Known for his intensity, ...more

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#36 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #981 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #108 of 292 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

19
John Stockton is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Point guard from Spokane, Washington

Teams: Utah Jazz

John Houston Stockton (born March 26, 1962) is an American retired professional basketball player. He spent his entire NBA career (1984–2003) as a point guard for the Utah Jazz, and the team ...more

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#1,496 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #4 of 239 The Best White Players in NBA History #4 of 151 The Best NBA Players with No Championship Rings

20
Charles Barkley is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Small forward, Power forward from Leeds, Alabama, United States of America

Teams: Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets

Charles Wade Barkley (born February 20, 1963) is an American retired professional basketball player who is currently an analyst on Inside the NBA. Nicknamed Chuck, Sir Charles, Street Beef, and ...more

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#15 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames 22 Times Charles Barkley Made Everyone LOL

21
Kevin Durant is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Small forward from Washington, D.C., United States of America

Teams: Seattle Supersonics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors

Kevin Wayne Durant (born September 29, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played one season of college ...more

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#47 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #3 of 61 The Most Hated Active NBA Players The Best KD 10 Colorways, Ranked

22
Scottie Pippen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Small forward from Hamburg, Arkansas, United States of America

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls

Scotty Maurice Pippen (born September 25, 1965), commonly spelled Scottie Pippen, is an American former professional basketball player. He played 17 seasons in the National Basketball ...more

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#1,609 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s

23
Dwyane Wade is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
zach2003ludwig added Point guard, Shooting guard from Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Teams: Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls

Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. ( dwayn; born January 17, 1982) is an American former professional basketball player. Wade spent the majority of his 16-year career playing for the Miami Heat in the ...more

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#14 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #55 of 66 Who Is The Most Charming Man Alive?

24
Steve Nash is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Point guard from Johannesburg, South Africa

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers

Stephen John Nash (born 7 February 1974) is a Canadian former professional basketball player who played 18 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was an eight-time NBA All-Star ...more

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#53 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #3 of 107 The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time

25
Pete Maravich is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Top NBA Players Of All Time
Shooting guard from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

Teams: Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, New Orleans Jazz

Peter Press Maravich (June 22, 1947 – January 5, 1988), known by his nickname Pistol Pete, was an American professional basketball player. Maravich was born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, part of ...more

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#3 of 158 The Best NBA Player Nicknames #34 of 2,198 The Best Athletes Of All Time