50 Greatest Players in NBA History

Greatest Players in NBA History: The NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, also known as the “50 Greatest Players in NBA History,” was revealed to celebrate the league’s 50th year. This announcement took place on October 29, 1996, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. David Stern, the NBA Commissioner, made the official announcement.

The Grand Hyatt Hotel is located where the Commodore Hotel once stood, where the contracts for the NBA were signed on June 6, 1946. The names of the 50 greatest players were disclosed during a halftime ceremony at the NBA All-Star Game on February 9, 1997, held at Gund Arena in Cleveland. Each player was personally introduced during this event.

Greatest Players in NBA History

This article discusses the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in History and their announcement, which was a significant moment in the league’s history.

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

  • Teams: Milwaukee Bucks (1969–1975), Los Angeles Lakers (1975–1989)
Points38,387
Rebounds17,440
Assists5,660
Championships6x (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
MVP 6x (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980)
Finals MVP2x (1971, 1985)
All Star19
HOF1995

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the top spot on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Throughout his impressive 20-year career, he achieved six NBA championships and six MVP awards. Abdul-Jabbar was a dominant force on the court, scoring a remarkable 38,387 points, making him the highest scorer in league history for nearly 39 years.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
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His excellence extended to being selected to the All-NBA Team 15 times. Notably, he earned a place on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. Abdul-Jabbar’s achievements also include winning three NCAA championships, being honored as College Player of the Year, and receiving All-American recognition during his time with UCLA.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Abdul-Jabbar became a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in its inaugural year in 2006. Furthermore, his impact is immortalized as his number 33 jersey has been retired by UCLA, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

2. Nate Archibald

  • Teams: Cincinnati Royals / Kansas City-Omaha / Kansas City Kings (1970–1976), New York Nets (1976–1977), Boston Celtics (1978–1983), Milwaukee Bucks (1983–1984)
Points16,481
Rebounds2,046
Assists6,476
Championships1 (1981)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star6
HOF1991

Nate Archibald holds the impressive second spot on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. In 1972, he achieved a unique feat by becoming the only player so far to lead the NBA in both points per game and assists simultaneously. His exceptional skills on the court were highlighted in 1981 when he won the NBA championship with the Boston Celtics.

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Archibald’s talent and impact are evident in his six All-Star selections. He received the honor of being named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

This recognition solidifies his status as one of the basketball greats who made a significant mark on the sport.

3. Paul Arizin

  • Teams: Philadelphia Warriors (1950–1952, 1954–1962)
Points16,266
Rebounds6,129
Assists1,665
Championships1 (1956)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star10
HOF1978

Ranked third on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Paul Arizin. He was part of the Philadelphia Warriors team that secured the NBA championship in 1956. Operating as a forward, Arizin showcased his scoring prowess by leading the NBA in points per game on two occasions. His consistent excellence was recognized with ten consecutive All-Star selections from 1951 to 1961.

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Arizin’s impact is further underscored by his inclusion in the All-NBA Team four times. In 1996, his contributions to the game were honored as he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

This designation reflects the lasting legacy of Paul Arizin in the history of basketball.

4. Charles Barkley

Teams: Philadelphia 76ers (1984–1992), Phoenix Suns (1992–1996), Houston Rockets (1996–2000)

Points23,757
Rebounds12,546
Assists4,215
Championships
MVP 1 (1993)
Finals MVP
All Star11
HOF2006

Ranked fourth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Charles Barkley. His notable achievements include being voted MVP in 1993. Impressively, Barkley earned a spot on the All-Star team for eleven consecutive years from 1987 to 1997, showcasing his consistent excellence on the court.

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Barkley’s skills and impact are further emphasized by his multiple selections to the All-NBA First and Second Teams, each five times. In 1996, he received the prestigious recognition of being named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, solidifying his status among the basketball greats.

Additionally, Barkley was part of the iconic Dream Team, winning gold medals at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. His contributions to the sport also led to his induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame, highlighting his lasting legacy in the world of basketball.

5. Rick Barry

Teams: San Francisco (1965–1967, 1972–1978), Houston Rockets (1978–1980)

Points18,395
Rebounds5,168
Assists4,017
Championships1 (1975)
MVP
Finals MVP1 (1975)
All Star8
HOF1987

Ranked fifth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Rick Barry. He holds the distinction of being the first star player to transition from the NBA to the ABA and later return. Barry’s remarkable career spanned from 1966 to 1978, during which he earned twelve All-Star selections (eight in the NBA and four in the ABA).

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Barry’s excellence is further highlighted by his nine nominations for All-League First Teams, with five in the NBA and four in the ABA. Notably, he played a crucial role in the Golden State Warriors’ 1975 NBA championship victory and was honored as the Finals MVP.

His enduring impact on the game is recognized through his inclusion among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, solidifying Rick Barry’s legacy as one of the basketball greats.

6. Elgin Baylor

Team: Minneapolis / Los Angeles Lakers (1958–1971)

Points23,149
Rebounds11,463
Assists3,650
Championships
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star11
HOF1977

Ranked sixth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Elgin Baylor. He is also recognized as a College Basketball Hall of Famer since 2006. Baylor’s illustrious career, spanning from 1959 to 1970, saw him earn eleven All-Star Team selections and ten All-NBA First Team honors.

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As a forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, Baylor’s scoring prowess is evident with 23,149 points, placing him 31st on the all-time NBA scorers list as of 2021. His impact on the Lakers was so significant that the team’s move to the West Coast was contingent on his signing. Baylor was a trailblazer, combining playground artistry with team-friendly play.

He set the standard for playing above the hoop and became a role model for many. Baylor’s contributions to the game were duly recognized when he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, further solidifying his place among basketball legends.

7. Dave Bing

Teams: Detroit Pistons (1966–1975), Washington Bullets (1975–1977), Boston Celtics (1977–1978)

Points18,327
Rebounds3,420
Assists5,397
Championships
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star7
HOF1990

Ranked seventh on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Dave Bing. He made a significant impact early in his career by being named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1967. Over his twelve-season career, Bing achieved seven seasons with an average points per game of over 20.

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Bing’s excellence on the court earned him eight All-Star selections, showcasing his consistent performance.

In recognition of his contributions to the game, he was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996, highlighting his lasting impact on basketball.

8. Larry Bird

Team: Boston Celtics (1979–1992) F

Points21,791
Rebounds8,974
Assists5,695
Championships3 (1981, 1984, 1986)
MVP 3 (1984, 1985, 1986)
Finals MVP2 (1984, 1986)
All Star12
HOF1998

Ranked eighth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Larry Bird. A dominant figure in the 1980s, Bird had a remarkable 13-year career marked by twelve All-Star nominations and nine All-NBA First Team selections. His exceptional skills on the court were recognized with three consecutive MVP awards from 1984 to 1986.

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Bird’s impact extended to team success as well, winning NBA titles with the Boston Celtics in 1981, 1984, and 1986. His contributions were crucial to the success of the Dream Team, with whom he won Olympic gold in 1992. Larry Bird’s legacy in basketball is further solidified by his induction into the Hall of Fame, a recognition he received twice for his outstanding career.

9. Wilt Chamberlain

Teams: Philadelphia (1959–1965), Philadelphia 76ers (1965–1968), Los Angeles Lakers (1968–1973)

Points31,419
Rebounds23,924
Assists4,643
Championships2 (1967, 1972)
MVP 4 (1960, 1966, 1967, 1968)
Finals MVP1 (1972)
All Star13
HOF1979

Ranked ninth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain, also a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame since its inception in 2006, had an extraordinary career. He secured NBA titles in 1967 with the Philadelphia 76ers and in 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
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Chamberlain’s dominance is evident in his multiple MVP awards, winning in 1960 and consecutively from 1966 to 1968. From 1960 to 1966, he led the league in scoring every year and topped the rebounding charts for a total of eleven seasons. Notably, Chamberlain achieved the first of two “double” triple-doubles in NBA history, scoring over 20 points.

He holds the record for the most points scored in a single game, an astonishing 100 points on March 2, 1962. Chamberlain’s impressive career includes seven nominations for the All-NBA First Team and 13 All-Star appearances. Even years after his retirement, no player has surpassed his career rebounding record, and only six players have scored more points overall.

In recognition of his exceptional contributions, Wilt Chamberlain was rightfully named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.

10. Bob Cousy

Teams: Boston Celtics (1950–1963), Cincinnati Royals (1969–1970)

Points16,960
Rebounds4,786
Assists6,955
Championships6x (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963)
MVP 1 (1957)
Finals MVP
All Star13
HOF1971

Ranked tenth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Bob Cousy. Revered as one of the best point guards in NBA history, Cousy played a pivotal role in leading the Boston Celtics to six championship titles in a remarkable seven-year span from 1957 to 1963. His exceptional skills and leadership were recognized when he was named the NBA Most Valuable Player in 1957.

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Cousy’s impact extended to his consistent excellence on the court, participating in every All-Star Game between 1951 and 1963. For nearly a decade, from 1952 to 1961, he earned a place on the All-NBA First Team. Moreover, Cousy showcased his playmaking abilities by leading the league in assists every year from 1953 to 1960.

In 1996, in acknowledgment of his significant contributions to the game, Bob Cousy was rightfully named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

11. Dave Cowens

Teams: Boston Celtics (1970–1980), Milwaukee Bucks (1982–1983)

Points13,516
Rebounds10,444
Assists2,910
Championships2 (1974, 1976)
MVP 1 (1973)
Finals MVP
All Star7
HOF1991

Ranked eleventh on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Dave Cowens. Also known as David William Cowens, he made a significant impact in his basketball career. In 1971, Cowens was honored as the Rookie of the Year, and in 1973, he earned the prestigious title of MVP.

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Cowens contributed significantly to the success of the Boston Celtics, helping them secure NBA titles in 1974 and 1976. His excellence on the court is reflected in his eight All-Star appearances. Following his playing career, Cowens transitioned to coaching.

Both the Boston Celtics and Florida State University recognized his impact by retiring his jersey numbers, with number 18 retired by the Celtics and number 13 retired by Florida State University. In 1996, Dave Cowens received further acclaim when he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, solidifying his place among the basketball greats.

12. Billy Cunningham

Teams: Philadelphia 76ers (1965–1972, 1974–1976)

Points13,626
Rebounds6,638
Assists2,625
Championships1 (1967)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star4
HOF1986

Ranked twelfth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Billy Cunningham. Cunningham made a significant impact during his playing career, primarily with the Philadelphia 76ers, and had a stint in the American Basketball Association (ABA) with the Carolina Cougars.

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Cunningham achieved notable success, winning an NBA championship in 1967. He was a four-time NBA All-Star and earned recognition as a one-time ABA All-Star and ABA MVP. Beyond his playing career, Cunningham transitioned to coaching, finding success with the Sixers.

In 1996, his contributions to the game were acknowledged when he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Furthermore, Cunningham’s influence in college basketball was recognized with his induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, underscoring his lasting legacy in the sport.

13. Dave DeBusschere

Teams: Detroit Pistons (1962–1968), New York Knicks (1968–1974)

Points14,053
Rebounds9,618
Assists2,497
Championships2 (1970, 1973)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star8
HOF1983

Ranked thirteenth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Dave DeBusschere. His legacy extends beyond basketball, as he is one of twelve athletes to have played in both the NBA and Major League Baseball with the Chicago White Sox.

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DeBusschere was a territorial pick of the Detroit Pistons in 1962, where he served as both a player and coach from 1964 to 1967. His successful career included winning two NBA titles with the New York Knicks, who, along with the University of Detroit Mercy, retired his number 22 jersey. DeBusschere earned eight All-Star selections during his playing career.

Beyond his contributions on the court, DeBusschere played a significant role in the merger of the NBA and the American Basketball Association (ABA) during his time as the ABA president. In 1996, he was rightfully recognized as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Additionally, his impact in college basketball led to his induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

14. Clyde Drexler

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers (1983–1995), Houston Rockets (1995–1998)

Points22,195
Rebounds6,677
Assists6,125
Championships1 (1995)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star10
HOF 2004

Ranked fourteenth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Clyde Drexler. Drexler earned his place among basketball greats when he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. His accomplishments include winning the championship with the Houston Rockets in 1995 and being selected as a ten-time All-Star.

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Drexler’s impact is further highlighted by the retirement of his number 22 jersey by the Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, and the University of Houston. His excellence in college basketball is acknowledged with his induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Notably, Drexler received a second induction into the Hall of Fame as a member of the legendary 1992 Dream Team, underlining his contributions to the sport at both the professional and international levels.

15. Julius Erving

Team: Philadelphia 76ers (1976–1987)

Points18,364
Rebounds5,601
Assists3,224
Championships1 (1983)
MVP 1 (1981)
Finals MVP
All Star11
HOF1993

Ranked fifteenth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Julius Erving. Erving, often known as Dr. J, earned his place among the basketball greats not just for his championships but for transforming the game with his innovative play above the rim, making it more popular.

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Erving’s accomplishments include winning two American Basketball Association (ABA) championships with the New York Nets and an NBA championship in 1983 with the Philadelphia 76ers. He showcased his elite skills with numerous All-Star selections, earning five in the ABA and eleven in the NBA. Erving received three ABA MVP awards and one NBA MVP award.

In recognition of his impact on the sport, the Philadelphia 76ers retired his number 6 jersey. His contributions were further acknowledged with the retirement of his number 32 jersey by the Brooklyn Nets and the University of Massachusetts, where he also holds an honorary doctorate. Julius Erving’s influence on the game and his lasting legacy are evident in his well-deserved place among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

16. Patrick Ewing

Teams: New York Knicks (1985–2000), Seattle SuperSonics (2000–2001), Orlando Magic (2001–2002)

Points24,815
Rebounds11,607
Assists2,215
Championships
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star11
HOF2008

Ranked sixteenth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Patrick Ewing. Born in Jamaica, Ewing achieved success on both the Olympic and collegiate stages. He won two Olympic gold medals, including with the iconic 1992 Dream Team, and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Ewing’s college career at Georgetown University was marked by three-time All-American honors and winning the NCAA championship. Remarkably, he now coaches at Georgetown (as of 2018) and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

In the NBA, Ewing was drafted first overall, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1986. His outstanding career included eleven All-Star selections, and the New York Knicks retired his jersey number, 33, in recognition of his contributions to the team. Patrick Ewing’s impact on the game was further acknowledged when he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.

17. Walt Frazier

Teams: New York Knicks (1967–1977), Cleveland Cavaliers (1977–1979)

Points15,581
Rebounds4,830
Assists 5,040
Championships2 (1970, 1973)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star7
HOF1987

Ranked seventeenth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Walt Frazier. Frazier’s journey began in college, playing for Southern Illinois University and achieving success that led to the retirement of his number 52. He won the National Invitation Tournament as MVP and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

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In the NBA, Frazier had a remarkable career with the New York Knicks, earning two NBA championships. The Knicks recognized his impact by retiring his number 10 jersey. Frazier’s excellence on the court was highlighted by his seven All-Star selections, including earning NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1975.

In 1996, Walt Frazier was rightfully named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and he was later elected to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team, further solidifying his status among the basketball legends.

18. George Gervin

Teams: San Antonio Spurs (1976–1985), Chicago Bulls (1985–1986)

Points20,708
Rebounds3,607
Assists2,214
Championships
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star9
HOF1996

Ranked eighteenth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is George Gervin. Gervin’s career spanned both the ABA and NBA, where he showcased his talent and earned accolades. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was a three-time ABA All-Star.

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Upon the merger, Gervin continued his success in the NBA, becoming a nine-time NBA All-Star. He further distinguished himself by earning NBA All-Star Game MVP honors and setting a record as the league’s top scorer four times. The San Antonio Spurs, recognizing his impact, retired his jersey number, 44.

In 1996, George Gervin was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, a testament to his skill and contributions to the game during his illustrious career.

19. Hal Greer

Teams: Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers (1958–1973)

Points21,586
Rebounds5,665
Assists4,540
Championships1 (1967)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star10
HOF1982

Ranked nineteenth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Hal Greer. Greer’s impact extends beyond his NBA career, as he has been a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame since its establishment in 2006. He achieved success with the Philadelphia 76ers, winning the championship in 1967.

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Throughout his career, Greer earned recognition as a ten-time NBA All-Star and was honored as the MVP of the 1968 NBA All-Star Game. His impressive on-court contributions are reflected in his nearly 40,000 minutes of play and membership in the exclusive 20,000-point club.

Hal Greer’s legacy is also commemorated in West Virginia, where a state highway spanning 2 kilometers was named after him. Both Marshall University and the Philadelphia 76ers have retired his jersey numbers, 16 and 15, respectively. In 1996, Greer received the prestigious honor of being named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, solidifying his place among basketball legends.

20. John Havlicek

Team: Boston Celtics (1962–1978)

Points26,395
Rebounds8,007
Assists6,114
Championships8x (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976)
MVP
Finals MVP1 (1974)
All Star13
HOF1984

Ranked twentieth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is John Havlicek. Known as “Hondo,” Havlicek had a storied basketball career that began with winning an NCAA championship with Ohio State University in 1960, where he was also named an All-American in 1962. His contributions to college basketball were recognized with induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

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Havlicek’s impact extended to the NBA, where he played for the Boston Celtics from 1962 to 1978. During this time, he secured eight championships, earned thirteen All-Star selections, and was named to the All-NBA team eleven times. Both Ohio State and the Boston Celtics commemorated his legacy by retiring his jersey numbers, 5 and 17, respectively.

In 1996, Havlicek was rightfully named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. His contributions to the sport were further honored when he was included in the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. Since 2022, the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award trophy has been named after him, solidifying his lasting impact on the game.

21. Elvin Hayes

Teams: San Diego (1968–1972, 1981–1984), Baltimore / Capital / Washington Bullets (1972–1981)

Points27,313
Rebounds16,279
Assists2,398
Championships1 (1978)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star12
HOF1990

Ranked twenty-first on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Elvin Hayes. Hayes, the 1968 Player of the Year, showcased his talents as a two-time All-American with Houston. He achieved success in the NBA, winning a championship with the Washington Bullets and earning twelve All-Star selections.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
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Hayes’s dominance on the court is evident in his achievements, including leading the league in rebounds in 1970 and 1974 and scoring the most points in 1969. In recognition of his contributions, the Washington Wizards retired his jersey number, 11. Additionally, the University of Houston retired his number 44, highlighting his impact in college basketball.

Elvin Hayes rightfully earned his place among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, a testament to his exceptional skill and lasting legacy in the sport.

22. Magic Johnson

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers (1979–1991, 1996)

Points17,707
Rebounds6,559
Assists10,141
Championships5x (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
MVP 3 (1987, 1989, 1990)
Finals MVP3 (1980, 1982, 1987)
All Star12
HOF2002

Ranked twenty-second on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Magic Johnson, also known as Earvin Johnson. Recognized as one of the all-time greats, Magic Johnson earned his place among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.

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Magic Johnson’s impact was most prominent during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers between 1980 and 1988, where he secured five championships, with three of them earning him the Finals MVP title. He was a three-time league MVP in 1987, 1989, and 1990, showcasing his exceptional skills on the court. Additionally, Magic Johnson received twelve invitations to the All-Star Game and was selected to the All-NBA First Team nine times.

His contributions to the game are reflected in his career achievements, including ranking fifth in total assists among all NBA players. Remarkably, Magic Johnson leads the list in assists per game, emphasizing his playmaking prowess and enduring legacy in the sport.

23. Sam Jones

Team: Boston Celtics (1957–1969)

Points15,411
Rebounds4,305
Assists2,209
Championships10x (1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star5
HOF1984

Ranked twenty-third on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Sam Jones. Samuel Jones had a notable collegiate career, playing under John McLendon at North Carolina College and earning four varsity letters. His impact in college basketball led to his induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Image Source: NBA

Jones’s success extended to the NBA, where he played for the Boston Celtics and became a ten-time champion. His contributions on the court earned him recognition as a five-time NBA All-Star. Beyond his basketball achievements, Jones was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame and became the first African-American to be honored in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

In acknowledgment of his remarkable career with the Celtics, his jersey number 24 was retired by the team. Additionally, North Carolina retired his number 41. Sam Jones rightfully earned his place among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, solidifying his legacy in the sport.

24. Michael Jordan

Teams: Chicago Bulls (1984–1993, 1995–1998), Washington Wizards (2001–2003)

Points32,292
Rebounds6,672
Assists5,633
Championships6x (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
MVP 5x (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998)
Finals MVP6x (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
All Star14
HOF2009

Ranked twenty-fourth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Michael Jordan, widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Jordan’s illustrious career included winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, with him being named Finals MVP in each triumph.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
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His individual accomplishments are equally impressive, with five NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, one NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, and ten selections to the All-NBA First Team (and one to the Second Team). Jordan’s scoring prowess is highlighted by his ten-time scoring champion titles.

Beyond his NBA achievements, Michael Jordan’s impact on the sport and global culture is immeasurable. Many experts and fans consider him the best player of all time. In 1996, he was rightfully voted as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. His contributions to basketball were further acknowledged with his induction into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015 and the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

25. Jerry Lucas

Teams: Cincinnati Royals (1963–1969), San Francisco Warriors (1969–1971), New York Knicks (1971–1974)

Points14,053
Rebounds12,942
Assists2,732
Championships1 (1973)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star7
HOF1980

Ranked twenty-fifth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Jerry Lucas. A standout player at Ohio State University, Lucas achieved three-time All-American status and played a key role in securing the 1960 NCAA championship. His contributions to Ohio State were so significant that they retired his jersey number, 11.

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In the NBA, Lucas was a territorial pick of the Cincinnati Royals in the 1962 NBA Draft and went on to win the Rookie of the Year award in 1964. His success extended to winning an NBA championship with the New York Knicks in his penultimate year and earning a total of seven All-Star selections.

In 1996, Jerry Lucas was rightfully named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, recognizing his impact on the game. Additionally, his contributions to the sport were further honored when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for a second time as a member of the 1960 Gold team.

26. Karl Malone

Teams: Utah Jazz (1985–2003), Los Angeles Lakers (2003–2004)

Points36,928
Rebounds14,968
Assists 5,248
Championships
MVP 2x (1997, 1999)
Finals MVP
All Star14
HOF2010

Ranked twenty-sixth on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Karl Malone. Recognized as one of the all-time greats, Malone was voted as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. His illustrious career included remarkable achievements and contributions to the sport.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
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Malone’s excellence is evident in his 14 All-Star Game selections and winning the NBA Most Valuable Player Award twice. Notably, he was a fixture on the All-NBA First Team, earning this honor in eleven consecutive seasons from 1989 to 1999.

A scoring powerhouse, Karl Malone finished his career in second place on the all-time scoring list with an impressive 36,928 points. His impact on the game, both as an individual player and a team contributor, solidifies his place among the basketball legends in the NBA’s history.

27. Moses Malone

Teams: Buffalo Washington Bullets (1986–1988), Atlanta Hawks (1988–1991), Milwaukee Bucks (1991–1993), San Antonio Spurs (1994–1995), Braves (1976), Houston Rockets (1976–1982), Philadelphia 76ers (1982–1986, 1993–1994)

Points27,409
Rebounds16,212
Assists1,796
Championships1 (1983)
MVP 3x (1979, 1982, 1983)
Finals MVP1 (1983)
All Star12
HOF2001

Ranked twenty-seventh on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is Moses Malone, a basketball legend whose career spanned both the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the NBA. Malone played in the ABA from 1974 to 1976 and continued his success in the NBA from 1976.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
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Malone’s achievements include being named an All-Star 13 times (once in the ABA), earning selections to the All-NBA Team eight times, and being honored on the ABA All-Time Team. He was a three-time MVP and secured an NBA championship.

The Houston Rockets recognized Malone’s impact by retiring his jersey number, 24. In 1981, he demonstrated remarkable durability by averaging 42 minutes per game in 81 games. Malone’s dominance on the court is highlighted by setting season highs in rebounding six times. In 1996, he was rightfully named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

28. Pete Maravich

Teams: Atlanta Hawks (1970–1974), New Orleans (1974–1980), Boston Celtics (1980)

Points15,948
Rebounds2,747
Assists3,563
Championships
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star5
HOF1987

Pete Maravich, also known as “Pistol Pete,” was a really great basketball player. In 1996, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and was ranked 28th on the list. Even as a kid, he was super talented. His dad, Press, used to play professional basketball, and Pete followed in his footsteps at Louisiana State University. At LSU, Pete was amazing, winning College Player of the Year twice and being an All-American three times. He scored the most points ever in NCAA Division 1 with 3,667, which is impressive considering he couldn’t play in his first year, and there was no three-point line or shot clock at that time.

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Pete played for the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Jazz, and Boston Celtics from 1970 to 1980, making it to the All-Star game five times. In 1977, he scored the most points of the season. Unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 40 due to a heart defect while playing basketball.

His impact is remembered, and his jersey numbers are retired by the teams he played for. LSU won’t give away his number 23, the Atlanta Hawks his number 44, and the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans won’t use his number 7. Pete Maravich is also in the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

29. Kevin McHale

Team: Boston Celtics (1980–1993)

Points17,335
Rebounds7,122
Assists1,670
Championships3x (1981, 1984, 1986)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star7
HOF1999

Kevin McHale was a fantastic basketball player and is considered one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, ranking 29th on the list. He played for the Boston Celtics from 1980 to 1993, winning three championships and being selected as an All-Star seven times during his career.

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His contributions to the Celtics were so significant that they retired his jersey number, 32. Similarly, the University of Minnesota, where he played college basketball, also retired his number, 44.

In 1996, Kevin McHale received the honor of being named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, recognizing his outstanding skills and achievements on the basketball court.

30. George Mikan

Teams: Minneapolis Lakers (1948–1954, 1956)

Points10,156
Rebounds4,167
Assists1,245
Championships5x (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star4
HOF1959

George Mikan, who is ranked 30th on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, was a basketball legend. He was not only recognized as the best player of the first half of the 20th century but also made it to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021 and the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.

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In his college years, George Mikan, along with his rival Bob Kurland, changed the way centers played after the postwar era. This earned him a place in the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Playing for the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1940s and 1950s, Mikan was a dominant force. He was selected to the All-NBA First Team six times. In 2022, the Los Angeles Lakers retired his jersey number, acknowledging his immense contributions to the team and the game of basketball.

31. Earl Monroe

Teams: Baltimore Bullets (1967–1971), New York Knicks (1971–1980)

Points17,454
Rebounds2,796
Assists3,594
Championships1 (1973)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star4
HOF1990

Earl Monroe holds the 31st spot on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Also known as Vernon Earl Monroe, he’s a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame since 2006. In 1968, he earned the Rookie of the Year title while playing for the Baltimore Bullets.

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Throughout his career, Monroe was a four-time NBA All-Star and achieved the pinnacle of success by winning a championship with the New York Knicks in 1973. The Knicks recognized his contributions by retiring his jersey number, 15. Similarly, the Washington Wizards retired his number 10 jersey.

In 1996, Earl Monroe received the honor of being voted one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, highlighting his impact on the game.

32. Hakeem Olajuwon

Teams: Houston Rockets (1984–2001), Toronto Raptors (2001–2002)

Points26,946
Rebounds13,748
Assists 3,058
Championships2x (1994, 1995)
MVP 1 (1994)
Finals MVP2x (1994, 1995)
All Star12
HOF2008

Hakeem Olajuwon holds the 32nd spot on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He played for the Houston Rockets from 1984 to 2001 and had a one-year stint with the Toronto Raptors. Olajuwon’s remarkable career includes being a two-time NBA champion and earning the Finals MVP title in 1994 and 1995. In 1994, he was not only the season MVP but also the Defensive Player of the Year.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
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Known for his exceptional shot-blocking skills, Olajuwon set three season records in blocked shots. He even achieved a rare feat with a quadruple-double on March 29, 1990. Over his career, he was selected as an All-Star twelve times and made appearances on the All-NBA team. Olajuwon also won a gold medal with the USA in 1996.

In recognition of his outstanding career, Hakeem Olajuwon’s jersey number, 34, was retired by both the University of Houston and the Houston Rockets. He was rightfully named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. Additionally, he became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2016.

33. Shaquille O’Neal

Teams: Orlando Magic (1992–1996), Phoenix Suns (2008–2009), Los Angeles Lakers (1996–2004), Miami Heat (2004–2008), Cleveland Cavaliers (2009–2010), Boston Celtics (2010–2011)

Points28,596
Rebounds13,099
Assists3,026
Championships4x (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006)
MVP 1 (2000)
Finals MVP3x (2000, 2001, 2002)
All Star15
HOF 2016

Shaquille O’Neal is ranked 33rd among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Despite his imposing height of 2.16 meters and weight of 147 kilograms, Shaq was known for his surprising agility, making him stand out as one of the most dynamic centers in the game.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
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In 2000, he earned the MVP title and went on to win the Finals MVP three times with the Los Angeles Lakers. Shaq is also part of the prestigious list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Over his career, he made the All-NBA team 14 times, was a 13-time All-Star, and secured four NBA championships. His impressive rookie season in 1993 even earned him the Rookie of the Year award.

Beyond his NBA achievements, Shaq was an Olympic champion in 1996 and a world champion in 1994. He was the league’s top scorer twice. His impact is so significant that the Miami Heat and the Lakers retired his jersey numbers, 32 and 34, respectively.

Shaquille O’Neal’s contributions to basketball have been recognized not only in the NBA but also in the broader basketball community. He is a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the FIBA Hall of Fame, inducted in 2014 and 2017, respectively.

34. Robert Parish

Teams: Golden State Warriors (1976–1980), Boston Celtics (1980–1994), Charlotte Hornets (1994–1996), Chicago Bulls (1996–1997)

Points23,334
Rebounds14,715
Assists 2,180
Championships4x (1981, 1984, 1986, 1997)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star9
HOF2003

Robert Parish holds the 34th position among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He was recognized for his contributions and named one of the 50 Greatest Players. Parish achieved success with three championships as a member of the Boston Celtics and added another with the Chicago Bulls.

Throughout his career, Parish was selected as an All-Star nine times and scored an impressive 23,334 points. The Boston Celtics honored his legacy by retiring his jersey number, 00, meaning no player will wear that number for the team again.

What makes Parish even more remarkable is his longevity in the league. He played a total of 1,611 games over 21 seasons, making him the player with the most NBA games in history. His enduring presence on the basketball court is a testament to his skill and dedication to the game.

35. Bob Pettit

Team: Milwaukee / St. Louis Hawks (1954–1965)

Points20,880
Rebounds12,849
Assists2,369
Championships1 (1958)
MVP 2x (1956, 1959)
Finals MVP
All Star11
HOF1971

Bob Pettit is ranked 35th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Robert Lee Pettit had an impressive basketball career starting with being a two-time All-American at Louisiana State University. He was selected as the second overall pick in the 1954 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Hawks and went on to earn the Rookie of the Year award in 1955.

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Pettit’s achievements include winning the championship in 1958, being a two-time MVP, and making the All-NBA First Team ten times. He was an eleven-time All-Star, and he even received the NBA All-Star Game MVP four times. Pettit also held the record as the league’s leading scorer twice.

To honor his contributions, the Hawks retired his jersey number 9, and LSU retired his number 50. Pettit is recognized in the College Basketball Hall of Fame and was rightfully named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996. His impact on the game is commemorated through his remarkable achievements and accolades.

36. Scottie Pippen

Teams: Chicago Bulls (1987–1998, 2003–2004), Houston Rockets (1999), Portland Trail Blazers (1999–2003)

Points18,940
Rebounds 7,494
Assists6,135
Championships6x (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star7
HOF2010

Scottie Pippen holds the 36th spot among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He was a key part of the dominant Chicago Bulls, contributing to their six championships between 1991 and 1998. As of 2019, Pippen ranked 6th among players with the most steals in a career.

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Notably, from 1992 to 1999, Pippen was elected to the All-Defensive First Team eight consecutive times. He also made the All-NBA First Team from 1994 to 1996 and participated in seven All-Star Games. His impact goes beyond the court, as both the University of Central Arkansas, where he played college basketball, and the Chicago Bulls retired his jersey number, 33. This recognition signifies that no player from these teams will wear that number again.

In 1996, Scottie Pippen was rightfully named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, acknowledging his significant contributions to the sport during his illustrious career.

37. Willis Reed

Team: New York Knicks (1964–1974)

Points12,183
Rebounds8,414
Assists 1,186
Championships2x (1970, 1973)
MVP 1 (1970)
Finals MVP2x (1970, 1973)
All Star7
HOF1982

Willis Reed is ranked 37th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He is a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame since its inception in 2006. Willis Reed Jr. had an impressive career, starting with being named Rookie of the Year in 1965.

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Reed played a crucial role in leading the New York Knicks to championships in 1970 and 1973. Over his career, he was selected as a seven-time All-Star and earned the MVP title in 1970. Reed’s contributions to the game extended beyond playing; he later became a coach for the Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

His impact is evident as he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and was also honored on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. The Knicks recognized his legacy by retiring his jersey number, 19, in tribute to his outstanding contributions to the team and the sport.

38. Oscar Robertson

Teams: Cincinnati Royals (1960–1970), Milwaukee Bucks (1970–1974)

Points26,710
Rebounds7,804
Assists 9,887
Championships1 (1971)
MVP 1 (1964)
Finals MVP
All Star12
HOF1980

Oscar Robertson is ranked 38th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and he’s truly one of the basketball greats. His legacy is significant, earning him a spot on the list of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. During his three years at the University of Cincinnati, Robertson was a standout player, named All-American and College Player of the Year three times as the leading scorer in NCAA Division 1. He was then drafted by the Cincinnati Royals and went on to be named Rookie of the Year in 1961.

NBA All-time Point Scorers
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Robertson’s impressive career includes being the 1964 MVP, a nine-time All-NBA First Team selection, and a twelve-time All-Star. He played a crucial role in the Milwaukee Bucks winning the 1971 title and led the league in assists six times. Remarkably, he holds the record for the most triple-doubles in NBA history with 181.

His contributions are recognized by the retirement of his jersey number 14 by the Sacramento Kings and number 1 by the Milwaukee Bucks. Oscar Robertson is not only a basketball legend in the NBA but also a two-time Hall of Famer, being inducted into the Hall of Fame with the 1960 Gold Olympic team. He is also a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the FIBA Hall of Fame, inducted in 2006 and 2009, respectively.

39. David Robinson

Team: San Antonio Spurs (1989–2003)

Points20,790
Rebounds10,497
Assists2,441
Championships2x (1999, 2003)
MVP 1 (1995)
Finals MVP
All Star10
HOF2009

David Robinson is ranked 39th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and he’s widely known as “The Admiral” due to his time at the United States Naval Academy, where he was a two-time All-American.

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Robinson began his NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1990. He went on to achieve MVP status in 1995 and became a ten-time All-Star and a ten-time All-NBA team member. During his career, Robinson won two NBA titles with the Spurs. Notable for his all-around skills, Robinson set season highs in rebounds in 1991, most steals in 1992, and points scored in 1994. In a remarkable feat on February 17, 1994, he achieved the fourth quadruple-double in NBA history.

The San Antonio Spurs honored Robinson’s contributions by retiring his jersey number, 50. He is rightfully listed among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. In addition to his NBA achievements, Robinson won the 1996 Olympic gold medal in 1992 as part of the Dream Team. He is a two-time Hall of Famer and a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame. Robinson’s impact on the game is celebrated both nationally and internationally.

40. Bill Russell

Team: Boston Celtics (1956–1969)

Points14,522
Rebounds21,620
Assists4,100
Championships11x (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969)
MVP 5x (1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965)
Finals MVP
All Star12
HOF1975

Bill Russell is ranked 40th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and his impact on the sport is profound. William Felton Russell has received recognition beyond the NBA, being inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame since 2006 and the FIBA Hall of Fame since 2007.

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Russell is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. During his 13-year NBA career with the Boston Celtics, he achieved an astounding eleven championships, making him the most successful player in this category. He’s also second in the all-time NBA rankings for rebounds, securing 21,620 rebounds, just behind Wilt Chamberlain. Throughout his career, Russell received twelve invitations to the All-Star games, made eleven selections to the All-NBA team, and won the MVP award for the regular season five times. These achievements contribute to his status as one of the best players in basketball history and earned him a spot among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

In recognition of his legacy, the NBA Finals MVP Award has been named after Bill Russell since 2009, solidifying his lasting impact on the sport.

41. Dolph Schayes

Team: Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers (1949–1964)

Points18,438
Rebounds11,256
Assists 3,072
Championships1 (1955)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star12
HOF1973

Dolph Schayes is ranked 41st among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Adolph Schayes, commonly known as Dolph, was a notable figure in basketball history. In 1948, he was drafted by both the New York Knickerbockers of the BAA and the Tri-Cities Blackhawks of the NBL. Eventually, he joined the Syracuse Nationals in the NBL, where he became a champion in 1955, after the league merged into the NBA.

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Schayes had an illustrious career, being a twelve-time All-Star and making multiple appearances on the All-NBA team. In 1951, he set a record as the league’s top rebounder and achieved the first triple-double. Additionally, his coaching skills were recognized when he was named the Sixers Coach of the Year in 1966.

The Philadelphia 76ers honored Dolph Schayes by retiring his jersey number 4. In addition to his NBA accomplishments, Schayes became a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1979. His impact on the game is further solidified by his inclusion among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

42. Bill Sharman

Teams: Washington Capitols (1950–1951), Boston Celtics (1951–1961)

Points12,665
Rebounds2,779
Assists2,101
Championships4x (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961)
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star8
HOF1976

Bill Sharman is ranked 42nd among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and his contributions to basketball are significant. He is also recognized in the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Sharman was a standout player, earning one-time NCAA All-American honors. In his NBA career, he achieved eight NBA All-Star selections and won four NBA championships with the Boston Celtics. His impact on the game led to his induction into the Hall of Fame twice—once as a player and once as a coach.

Being named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History is a testament to Sharman’s skill and influence on the sport. His legacy extends beyond his playing days, marking him as one of the basketball greats.

43. John Stockton

Team: Utah Jazz (1984–2003)

Points19,711
Rebounds4,051
Assists15,806
Championships
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star10
HOF2009

John Stockton is ranked 43rd among the Greatest Players in NBA History, and his impact on the game is notable. Stockton, known for his exceptional passing skills, was selected to the All-Star Game ten times during his career. He even earned All-Star Game MVP honors once and was named to the All-NBA Team eleven times.

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Stockton’s reputation as one of the best passers in history is well-founded, with an impressive 15,806 assists to his name. He led the league in assists per game nine times and in steals per game twice. His overall career stats include 19,711 points, showcasing his versatility on the court. In 1996, John Stockton was rightfully named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. His contributions are honored by the retirement of his jersey number 12 by both the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Utah Jazz.

Additionally, Stockton is a member of the College Hall of Fame since 2017 and holds the distinction of being a two-time Olympic champion in 1992 and 1996. His role in the 1992 Dream Team led to his induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame for a second time, underlining his impact on the sport.

44. Isiah Thomas

Team: Detroit Pistons (1981–1994)

Points18,822
Rebounds3,478
Assists9,061
Championships2 (1989, 1990)
MVP
Finals MVP1 (1990)
All Star12
HOF2000

Isiah Thomas is ranked 44th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and his impact on the game is noteworthy. Isiah L. Thomas III, recognized as one of the 50 Greatest Players, achieved success early in his basketball career by winning the 1981 NCAA Championship with the Indiana University Hoosiers, earning All-American honors in his senior year.

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His professional career was marked by playing for the Detroit Pistons until 1994. During this time, Thomas became a two-time NBA champion and a twelve-time All-Star. In 1985, he led the league in assists for the season, showcasing his exceptional playmaking skills. Beyond his on-court achievements, Thomas was awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1987 for his humanitarian work.

In recognition of his contributions, the Detroit Pistons retired his jersey number, 11. Isiah Thomas’s legacy extends beyond his playing days, as he is remembered not only as a skilled player but also for his positive impact on and off the court.

45. Nate Thurmond

Teams: San Francisco / Golden State Warriors (1963–1974), Chicago Bulls (1974–1975), Cleveland Cavaliers (1975–1977)

Points14,437
Rebounds14,464
Assists2,575
Championships
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star7
HOF1985

Nate Thurmond is ranked 45th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and his basketball career is marked by notable achievements. Thurmond, an All-American with Bowling Green State University, has been recognized in the College Basketball Hall of Fame since 2006.

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His NBA career spanned from 1963 to 1977, during which he played for teams like the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both of these teams honored Thurmond by retiring his jersey number, 42. He was a seven-time All-Star, showcasing his excellence on the court.

One of the most significant highlights of Thurmond’s career occurred on October 18, 1974, when he achieved the first quadruple-double in NBA history. This accomplishment became possible only from that season onwards, adding to Thurmond’s legacy in the league. In 1996, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, underlining his impact on the sport.

46. Wes Unseld

Team: Baltimore / Capital / Washington Bullets (1968–1981)

Points10,624
Rebounds13,769
Assists3,822
Championships1 (1978)
MVP 1 (1969)
Finals MVP1 (1978)
All Star5
HOF1988

Wes Unseld is ranked 46th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and his basketball journey is marked by significant accomplishments. A two-time All-American with the University of Louisville, Unseld has been recognized in the College Basketball Hall of Fame since its inception in 2006.

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In his rookie year in 1969, Unseld made an immediate impact by earning both Rookie of the Year and MVP honors while playing for the Baltimore Bullets. Throughout his career, he was a five-time All-Star, won the championship in 1978, and achieved a season high in rebounds in 1975. In that same year, Unseld received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his humanitarian work, highlighting his off-court contributions.

After retiring as a player, Unseld transitioned to coaching and led the Washington Bullets from 1987 to 1994. His jersey number, 41, was retired by the Washington Wizards in honor of his contributions to the team and the game. Wes Unseld’s legacy is solidified as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

47. Bill Walton

Team: Portland Trail Blazers (1974–1979), San Diego / Los Angeles Clippers (1979–1985), Boston Celtics (1985–1988)

Points6,215
Rebounds4,923
Assists1,590
Championships2 (1977, 1986)
MVP 1 (1978)
Finals MVP 1 (1977)
All Star2
HOF1993

Bill Walton is ranked 47th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and his basketball career is marked by impressive achievements. William T. Walton III, recognized as one of the 50 Greatest Players, had a standout college career as a three-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion with the UCLA Bruins from 1972 to 1974.

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For his contributions to college basketball, Walton was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class. In the NBA, he enjoyed success by winning championships in 1977 and 1986, earning the MVP title in 1978, and being selected as an All-Star twice. In 1977, Walton led the league in rebounds and blocked shots.

To honor his contributions, both the Portland Trail Blazers and UCLA retired his jersey number, 32. Bill Walton’s legacy extends from his college dominance to his impact in the NBA, earning him a well-deserved spot among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

48. Jerry West

Team: Los Angeles Lakers (1960–1974)

Points25,192
Rebounds 5,366
Assists 6,238
Championships1 (1972)
MVP
Finals MVP1 (1969)
All Star14
HOF1980

Jerry West is ranked 48th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and his basketball career is marked by remarkable achievements. West, recognized as one of the 50 Greatest Players, began his journey as a two-time All-American with the Mountaineers. In the 1960 NBA Draft, West was selected second overall by the Minneapolis Lakers. His contributions to the Lakers included winning a championship in 1972 and being named Finals MVP in 1969.

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West’s excellence on the court is further emphasized by his 14 All-Star selections and ten appearances on the All-NBA First Team. His individual accomplishments include leading the league in scoring in 1970 and leading in assists in 1972. To honor his impact on the Lakers, the team retired his jersey number, 44. Beyond his NBA career, West became a board member of the Lakers, showcasing his continued involvement in the sport.

West’s contributions to basketball were further recognized when he became a member of the Hall of Fame for a second time with the 1960 Olympic team. His legacy as a player and contributor to the game solidifies his place among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

49. Lenny Wilkens

Teams: St. Louis Hawks (1960−1968), Seattle SuperSonics (1968–1972), Cleveland Cavaliers (1972–1974), Portland Trail Blazers (1974–1975)

Points17,772
Rebounds5,030
Assists 7,211
Championships
MVP
Finals MVP
All Star9
HOF1989

Lenny Wilkens is ranked 49th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and his impact on the game is significant. A two-time NCAA All-American and a nine-time NBA All-Star, Wilkens showcased his skills both as a player and a coach.

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To honor his contributions, the Seattle SuperSonics and the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to retire his jersey number, 19, ensuring that it will never be used again by either team. Wilkens played for three years with Seattle and one year with the Portland Trail Blazers.

In 1996, Wilkens was rightfully named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, recognizing his prowess on the court. His influence in the basketball world extends beyond his playing career, as he is also in the Hall of Fame as a coach. Lenny Wilkens’s impact on the game is commemorated through both his individual accomplishments and his lasting contributions to the teams he played for and coached.

50. James Worthy

Team: Los Angeles Lakers (1982–1994)

Points16,320
Rebounds4,708
Assists 2,791
Championships3x (1985, 1987, 1988)
MVP
Finals MVP1 (1988)
All Star7
HOF2003

James Worthy is ranked 50th among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, and his impact on the game is undeniable. As one of the 50 Greatest Players, Worthy achieved considerable success with the Los Angeles Lakers. With the Lakers, Worthy won NBA championships in 1985, 1987, and 1988, earning Finals MVP honors in 1988. His contributions were instrumental in the Lakers reaching the finals a total of seven times during his career.

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Worthy’s individual accomplishments include being invited to the All-Star Game seven years in a row from 1986 to 1992. The Lakers honored his contributions by retiring his jersey number, 42. Additionally, the University of North Carolina, where Worthy was an NCAA champion and All-American in 1982, retired his number 52.

In recognition of his college achievements, Worthy became a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. James Worthy’s impact on the game, both at the collegiate and professional levels, is solidified by his inclusion among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

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