Sports

The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time 

JeffNorth
Updated December 14, 2019 29k votes 4.7k voters 52.1k views 63 items
The NBA Best Defenders of All Time  
list ordered by
1
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Center from Lagos, Nigeria

Age: 56

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
2
Dennis Rodman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Small forward and Power forward from Trenton, New Jersey, United States of America

Age: 58

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls

Dennis Keith Rodman (born May 13, 1961) is an American retired professional basketball player who played for the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas ...more
3
Michael Jordan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Shooting guard and Small forward from New York City, New York, United States of America

Age: 56

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
4
Scottie Pippen is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Small forward from Hamburg, Arkansas, United States of America

Age: 54

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
5
Bill Russell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Center from West Monroe, Louisiana, United States of America

Age: 85

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
6
Kawhi Leonard is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Jason Adams added Shooting guard and Small forward from Riverside, California

Age: 28

Number: 2

Teams: Los Angeles Clippers

Kawhi Anthony Leonard (, born June 29, 1991) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played two seasons of ...more
7
Ben Wallace is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Power forward and Center from White Hall, Alabama

Age: 45

Teams: Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls

Benjamin Cameron Wallace (born September 10, 1974) is an American retired professional basketball player. A native of Alabama, Wallace attended Cuyahoga Community College and Virginia Union ...more
8
Gary Payton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Point guard from Oakland, California, United States of America

Age: 51

Teams: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Seattle Supersonics, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks

Gary Dwayne Payton Sr. (born July 23, 1968) is an American retired professional basketball player. He started at the point guard position. He is best known for his 13-year tenure with the ...more
9
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Center from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Age: 53

Teams: Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, + more

Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo (born June 25, 1966) is a Congolese American retired professional basketball player. Mutombo played 18 seasons in the National Basketball ...more
10
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Power forward and Center from Christiansted, United States Virgin Islands

Age: 43

Number: 21

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
11
Kevin Garnett is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Power forward from Greenville, South Carolina, United States of America

Age: 43

Number: 5

Teams: Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves

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
12
Wilt Chamberlain is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Gary Thompson added Center from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Age: Dec. at 63 (1936-1999)

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
13
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Center from Key West, Florida, United States of America

Age: 54

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
14
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Center from New York City, New York, United States of America

Age: 72

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born April 16, 1947) is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Milwaukee Bucks and the ...more
15
Kobe Bryant is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Point guard and Shooting guard from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Age: 41

Number: 24

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
16
Shaquille O'Neal is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Center from Newark, New Jersey, United States of America

Age: 47

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
17
Alonzo Mourning is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Center from Chesapeake, Virginia, United States of America

Age: 49

Teams: Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat

Alonzo Harding Mourning Jr. (born February 8, 1970) is an American former professional basketball player. Mourning played most of his 15-year National Basketball Association (NBA) career for the ...more
18
Draymond Green is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Critter bitter added Power forward from Saginaw, Michigan

Age: 29

Number: 23

Teams: Golden State Warriors

Draymond Jamal Green Sr. (born March 4, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Green, who plays primarily ...more
19
Metta World Peace is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Small forward from Queensbridge, New York City, New York, United States of America

Age: 40

Number: 15

Teams: Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls

Metta World Peace (born Ronald William Artest Jr.; November 13, 1979) is an American professional basketball coach and former player. He is currently the player development coach for the South ...more
20
Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Power forward and Center from Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

Age: 34

Number: 12

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers

Dwight David Howard (born December 8, 1985) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is an eight-time All-Star, ...more
21
Bruce Bowen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Shooting guard and Small forward from Merced, California, United States of America

Age: 48

Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat

Bruce Eric Bowen Jr. (born June 14, 1971) is an American former professional basketball player. Bowen played small forward and graduated from Edison High School and Cal State Fullerton. He went ...more
22
Patrick Ewing is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Tom Derr added Center from Kingston, Jamaica

Age: 57

Teams: Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics, New York Knicks

Patrick Aloysius Ewing (born August 5, 1962) is a Jamaican-American retired Hall of Fame basketball player and current head coach of the Georgetown University men's basketball team. He played ...more
23
Michael Cooper is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Point guard and Shooting guard from Los Angeles, California

Age: 63

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers

Michael Jerome Cooper (born April 15, 1956) is an American basketball coach and former player. He was most recently the head coach of the Atlanta Dream of the Women's National Basketball ...more
24
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Small forward and Power forward from Akron, Ohio, United States of America

Age: 35

Number: 23

Teams: 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
25
Larry Bird is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NBA Defensive Players of All Time
Small forward and Power forward from West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana, United States of America

Age: 63

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