The Best Centers of the 2000s

Over 1.8K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Centers of the 2000s
Voting Rules
Vote up the best NBA centers that played in the 2000s

In the NBA, the best NBA Centers of the 2000s were the linchpin of the team. The "big man" is normally the tallest man on the team, with a lot of strength and body mass. It's a necessary component for a successful team, so naturally, the greatest NBA centers from the 2000s makes for a great list to look through! Vote for your favorites among the best 2000s NBA centers and down vote the ones you don't think are among the best NBA centers!  

When discussing the top 2000s NBA centers, Chris Bosh has got to be in the conversation. Tim Duncan and Dwight Howard are considered some of the best NBA centers 2000s and many more are in this list!   

So take a look at this best NBA centers 2000s and vote for your favorites! Check out Ranker for some other sports lists to see your next favorite player!
Most divisive: Al Jefferson
Ranked by
  • Shaquille O'Neal
    660 votes
    Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns

    A force to be reckoned with, Shaquille O'Neal was a dominant presence on the court throughout the 2000s, amassing four NBA championships, three Finals MVPs, and two scoring titles during this period. With an unrelenting combination of size and strength, Shaq was a nightmare for his opponents, as he perfected the art of the slam dunk and showcased an unmatched physicality in the paint. While O'Neal's impact on the sport is undeniable, it was his larger-than-life personality and indomitable spirit that truly set him apart from the rest.

  • Tim Duncan
    566 votes
    San Antonio Spurs

    As the backbone of the San Antonio Spurs dynasty, Tim Duncan defined the power forward/center position in the 2000s, earning himself five NBA championships and two NBA MVP awards throughout his illustrious career. His unassuming and humble demeanor earned him the nickname "The Big Fundamental," as his exemplary footwork, post moves, and basketball IQ made him a force on both ends of the court. Duncan's unwavering leadership and consistency will go down in history as essential components of one of the most successful teams of all time.

  • Dwight Howard
    580 votes
    Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets

    Dwight Howard burst onto the scene in the 2000s as one of the most athletic centers in NBA history, known for his thunderous dunks, imposing shot-blocking ability, and rim-rattling athleticism. The eight-time NBA All-Star led the league in rebounds five times and blocks twice, while also capturing three consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards from 2009-2011. Although he never captured an NBA championship, Howard's relentless energy and defensive prowess helped carry the Orlando Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals.

  • Yao Ming
    546 votes
    Houston Rockets

    A pioneer for basketball in China, Yao Ming's towering 7'6" frame, coupled with his soft shooting touch and intelligent post play, made him a unique and impactful player in the 2000s. The eight-time NBA All-Star revolutionized the center position as one of the first big men to stretch the floor, opening up new possibilities for the traditional center role. Yao's impact extended far beyond the court, as his presence in the league helped to popularize the sport of basketball in China and globally.

  • Ben Wallace
    452 votes
    Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers

    A player who epitomized grit, determination, and defensive intensity, Ben Wallace was the anchor of the Detroit Pistons' feared "Bad Boys" defense throughout the 2000s. The four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and two-time rebounding champion played a critical role in the Pistons' 2004 championship run, where his tenacity and hustle embodied the team's hard-nosed identity. Standing at only 6'9", Wallace's unparalleled work ethic and relentless pursuit of loose balls made him a fan favorite and an all-time great defender.

  • Pau Gasol
    331 votes
    Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls

    As an integral part of the Los Angeles Lakers' back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010, Pau Gasol's finesse and versatility as a big man made him a force to be reckoned with during the 2000s. A six-time All-Star, Gasol's ability to score from inside and outside the paint along with his exceptional passing skills and high basketball IQ made him a perfect fit alongside Kobe Bryant in Phil Jackson's triangle offense. Hailing from Spain, Gasol's success in the NBA also paved the way for future European stars to make their mark on the league.