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The Best NBA Centers of the 1980s

Updated October 13, 2018 4.3k votes 783 voters 19.5k views23 items

List RulesVote up the best NBA centers that played in the 1980s based on their performances during that decade.

In the NBA, the greatest NBA centers from the 80s were the missing piece of the puzzle on any 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 80s makes for a great list to look through! Vote for your favorites among the best 80s NBA centers and vote down the ones you don't think are among the best NBA centers!

When discussing the top 1980s NBA centers, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has got to be in the conversation. Patrick Ewing and Hakeem "The Dream" are also considered some of the best NBA Centers of the 1980s.

So take a look at this best NBA centers 80s and vote for your favorites! 
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  • Moses Malone1
    290
    83

    Moses Malone

    Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar2
    342
    109

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Hakeem Olajuwon3
    356
    117

    Hakeem Olajuwon

    Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors
  • Patrick Ewing4
    213
    91

    Patrick Ewing

    Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics
  • Robert Parish5
    109
    38

    Robert Parish

    Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets
  • Artis Gilmore6
    131
    89

    Artis Gilmore

    Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls
  • Bill Laimbeer7
    99
    77

    Bill Laimbeer

    Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons

    The first center to incorporate the three into his game.

  • Ralph Sampson8
    112
    94

    Ralph Sampson

    Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings
  • Bob McAdoo9
    88
    64

    Bob McAdoo

    Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets
  • Jack Sikma10
    84
    61

    Jack Sikma

    Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks

    This discussion is about the best centers of the 80s.  During that decade Sikma was named to play in 6 All Star Games and posted one of the highest defensive rebounding percentages in the league. While not a great shot blocker he played solid man to man D and he was adept at sliding over to close off passing and driving lanes.  He was an outstanding passer with both the outlets and from both the high and low posts in a set offense. He was a clutch shooter who could score from both the low and midrange areas and his free throw shooting was superb.  Unseld, Lanier, Lacy, Gilmore, McAdoo and Walton were all fine centers in their primes but their primes were in the 70s. Rollins and Jones were both better shot blockers than Sikma, but they lagged behind him as rebounders, passers and scorers. Duckworth and Divacs had their moments but they never played up to Sikma's level.

  • Bob Lanier11
    92
    78

    Bob Lanier

    Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons
  • Darryl Dawkins12
    83
    79

    Darryl Dawkins

    Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Mark Eaton13
    50
    35

    Mark Eaton

    Utah Jazz
  • Bill Walton14
    100
    102

    Bill Walton

    Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics
  • Brad Daugherty15
    79
    76

    Brad Daugherty

    Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Arvydas Sabonis16
    80
    75

    Arvydas Sabonis

    Portland Trail Blazers
  • Bill Cartwright17
    66
    66

    Bill Cartwright

    Seattle Supersonics, New York Knicks
  • Wes Unseld18
    78
    82

    Wes Unseld

    Washington Wizards, Baltimore Bullets
  • Tree Rollins19
    41
    47

    Tree Rollins

    Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets
  • Vlade Divac20
    58
    83

    Vlade Divac

    Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets
  • Kevin Duckworth21
    37
    53

    Kevin Duckworth

    Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers
  • Caldwell Jones22
    31
    51

    Caldwell Jones

    Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers
  • Sam Lacey23
    19
    59

    Sam Lacey

    Kansas City Kings, Cincinnati Royals