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19.0k voters

The Best Small Forwards of All Time

Updated July 13, 2020 125.6k votes 19.0k voters 222.2k views135 items

List RulesOnly NBA players who played small forward for most of their career

Who are the best small forwards of all time? A small forward serves a critical role in any basketball game, whether NCAA or pro, but this list is primarily concerned with the top small forwards in the NBA. Fans of the game know how important the small forward is: he is often one of the main scorers on the team. The small forward is also versatile, able to fill many roles for a team. Which small forward deserves the title of the best ever? That's for you to decide, with your votes. You can also add any small forwards who are missing from this list, and rerank it any way you want.

When it comes to deciding the best small forwards in the NBA, well, arguments might ensue. Everyone has a favorite -- whether it's LeBron James and his incredible size, strength and versatility, Larry Bird and his extraordinary shooting abilities or a modern era shooter with amazing shooting ability like Kevin Durant. Arguments can be made that virtually any one of the players listed here could be the best ever; certainly they are all among the top NBA players of all time, too.

If you're up for more voting, check out these lists of the greatest power forwards and the greatest shooting guards in NBA history, too. These are the top 10 small forwards in the NBA.
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  • 26
    1,012
    1,203

    Grant Hill

    Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic

    PositionSmall forward

    Age48

    BirthplaceDallas, Texas, United States of America

    Number33

    More Grant Hill 

    #43 of 71 Mormon Politicians#21 of 69 All NBA Rookie Of The Year Award Winners, Ranked

  • 27
    98
    78

    Connie Hawkins

    Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks

    PositionPower forward, Center

    Age77

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    More Connie Hawkins 

    #73 of 165 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time#15 of 23 The Best Power Forwards of the '70s

  • 28
    203
    220

    Detlef Schrempf

    Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers

    PositionSmall forward, Power forward

    Age57

    BirthplaceLeverkusen, Germany

    More Detlef Schrempf 

    #125 of 269 The Top NBA Players Of All Time#61 of 161 The Best NBA Players With No Championship Rings

  • 29
    3,426
    4,457

    Julius Erving

    Philadelphia 76ers, New York Nets

    PositionSmall forward

    Age70

    BirthplaceRoosevelt, New York, United States of America

    More Julius Erving 

    #347 of 583 The Greatest Entertainers Of All Time#3 of 78 The Best Philadelphia 76ers of All Time

  • 30
    121
    117

    Tom Chambers

    Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz

    PositionPower forward, Center

    Age61

    BirthplaceOgden, Utah, United States of America

    More Tom Chambers 

    #20 of 107 College & Professional Athletes Who Were Raised Mormon#7 of 25 The Best Power Forwards of the 80s

  • 31
    95
    73

    Joe Johnson

    Detroit Pistons

    PositionShooting guard/Small forward

    Age39

    BirthplaceLittle Rock, Arkansas, United States of America

    Number7

    More Joe Johnson 

    #6 of 33 The Greatest Arkansas Basketball Players of All Time#91 of 96 The Best Rebounders in NBA History

  • 32
    158
    137

    Blake Griffin

    Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons

    PositionPower forward

    Age31

    BirthplaceOklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Number32

    More Blake Griffin 

    The Best Blake Griffin Dunks#231 of 242 The Hottest Men Of 2019, Ranked

  • 33
    942
    1,211

    Chris Mullin

    Indiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors

    PositionShooting guard, Small forward

    Age57

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

    More Chris Mullin 

    #5 of 22 The Best Small Forwards of the 90s#10 of 29 The Greatest Small Forwards of the 1980s

  • 34
    169
    187

    Sam Jones

    Boston Celtics

    PositionPoint guard, Shooting guard

    Age87

    BirthplaceWilmington, North Carolina

    More Sam Jones 

    #13 of 23 The Best NBA Shooting Guards of the 70s#8 of 27 The Best 60s NBA Shooting Guards

  • 35
    521
    621

    Dennis Rodman

    Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers

    PositionSmall forward, Power forward

    Age59

    BirthplaceTrenton, New Jersey, United States of America

    More Dennis Rodman 

    #627 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021#1231 of 1,427 The Best Athletes Of All Time

  • 36
    106
    100

    Richard Jefferson

    Brooklyn Nets

    PositionSmall forward

    Age40

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    Number44

    More Richard Jefferson 

    #84 of 115 The Funniest Professional Athletes#23 of 31 The Best NBA Commentators Ever

  • 37
    116
    121

    PositionSmall forward, Power forward

    Age39

    BirthplaceIzhevsk, Russia

    Number47

    More Andrei Kirilenko 

    #128 of 168 The Greatest Power Forwards in NBA History#89 of 126 The Best NBA Buys for the Money

  • 38
    204
    214

    Kyle Korver

    Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz

    PositionSmall forward

    Age39

    BirthplaceLakewood, California

    Number26

    More Kyle Korver 

    #55 of 102 The Most Likable Players In The NBA Today#28 of 73 The Greatest Chicago Bulls of All Time

  • 39
    240
    288

    Glenn Robinson

    Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers

    PositionSmall forward

    Age47

    BirthplaceGary, Indiana, United States of America

    More Glenn Robinson 

    #30 of 55 The Best No. 1 Overall NBA Draft Picks of All Time, Ranked#5 of 99 The Best NBA Players from Indiana

  • 40
    61
    19

    Jayson Tatum

    Boston Celtics

    PositionSmall forward

    BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri

    Number0

    More Jayson Tatum 

    #12 of 265 The Top 100+ NBA Players Today#7 of 76 The Greatest Duke Basketball Players of All Time

  • 41
    92
    91

    Trevor Ariza

    Miami Heat

    PositionSmall forward

    Age35

    BirthplaceMiami, Florida

    Number0

    More Trevor Ariza 

    #19 of 42 The Greatest UCLA Basketball Players of All Time#13 of 57 NBA Players Who Played For 8 Or More Teams

  • 42
    103
    108

    Andrew Wiggins

    Minnesota Timberwolves

    PositionSmall Forward

    Age25

    BirthplaceMarkham, Thornhill, Canada

    Number22

    More Andrew Wiggins 

    #18 of 49 The Greatest Kansas Jayhawks Basketball Players of All Time#9 of 92 The Best Second-Generation NBA Players Of All Time

  • 43
    312
    397

    Shawn Marion

    Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns

    PositionSmall forward, Power forward

    Age42

    BirthplaceWaukegan, Illinois, United States of America

    Number0

    More Shawn Marion 

    #76 of 77 US Men’s Olympic Basketball All-Time Dream Team#10 of 108 The Best NBA Players from Illinois

  • 44
    403
    521

    Glen Rice

    Houston Rockets, Charlotte Hornets

    PositionShooting guard, Small forward

    Age53

    BirthplaceFlint, Michigan, United States of America

    More Glen Rice 

    #2 of 46 The Greatest Michigan Basketball Players of All Time#23 of 107 The Greatest Lakers of All Time

  • 45
    210
    248

    Latrell Sprewell

    Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors

    PositionShooting guard, Small forward

    Age50

    BirthplaceMilwaukee, Wisconsin

    More Latrell Sprewell 

    #60 of 120 The Fastest NBA Players of All Time#15 of 29 The Best NCAA Small Forwards of the 90s

  • 46
    166
    206

    Jamal Mashburn

    Dallas Mavericks, Charlotte Hornets

    PositionSmall forward

    Age48

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

  • 47
    51
    24

    DeMar DeRozan

    San Antonio Spurs

    PositionShooting guard

    Age31

    BirthplaceCompton, California

    Number10

    More DeMar DeRozan 

    #49 of 54 The Most Hated Active NBA Players#54 of 96 The Most Overrated Players In The NBA Today

  • 48
    383
    496

    Peja Stojaković

    Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings

    PositionSmall Forward

    Age43

    BirthplacePožega, Croatia

    More Peja Stojaković 

    #22 of 232 The Best White Players in NBA History#7 of 130 The Best European NBA Players of All Time

  • 49
    82
    85

    Rick Fox

    Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers

    PositionSmall forward

    Age51

    BirthplaceToronto, Canada

  • 50
    165
    206

    Sean Elliott

    Detroit Pistons

    PositionSmall forward

    Age51

    BirthplaceTucson, Arizona, United States of America

    More Sean Elliott 

    #3 of 28 The Best NCAA Small Forwards of the 80s#74 of 93 The Best Detroit Pistons of All Time