The NBA is perhaps one of the most (if not the most) popular sports around the world. That’s why regardless if it’s NBA season or not, basketball is undeniably relevant for many fans, and has become one of the biggest betting markets in the US.
This makes the sport more popular around the world where through the years, has already produced many basketball superstars.
With the big names in the NBA comes the question “who among them is the greatest”? Now, while we can’t point out who amongst them is the real GOAT, here are the following people who are always on top of the game:
When talking about GOAT, Michael Jordan is a name so accustomed to being on the top list. It’s no wonder given the performances he always shows every time NBA seasons are up.
For instance, what sets him apart from most of the people on this list is his perfect NBA Finals record. With his standing of 6-0, where he dominated and won MVP in 6 Finals in two various 3-peats, this name can’t be missed.
LeBron James is also a huge name in NBA’s basketball history. He’s even popular for having more game-winning buzzer-beaters during the playoffs than any player in the history of the NBA – even more than the stats of both Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan combined.
He leads the scoring among all the active players and is the only player with more than 9,000 career points in NBA history.
While Bill Russell isn’t always included in the GOAT conversations, this man definitely deserves a spot.
Russell transformed basketball on the defensive end of the court and the one who overpowered a generation of NBA players for winning more than 8 consecutive league championship titles (11 in total), 5 NBA MVP awards, Olympic Gold, back-to-back NCAA titles, and among others.
Bill Russell is undoubtedly one of the strongest candidates for “Greatest of All Time.”
Kobe Bryant is considered one of the most clutch players of all time. He’s a great defender and was able to elevate his team during the times it mattered the most. He has 36-game wins which are the most by any player throughout NBA history.
That makes the Black Mamba a relevant choice for a GOAT like Kobe.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is also considered the NBA’s GOAT. In fact, this is also what the former Lakers coach and currently Miami Heat President Pat Riley remarked.
If you add up his 3 college titles, his 3 Final Four Most Outstanding Players awards, and among his other achievements, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can easily be included in the GOAT list.
Being one of the NBA’s mobile big men, Shaquille O’Neal is definitely an immovable object from inside the court to the GOAT list.
O’Neal is a 7-foot-1 player who weighs more than 300 pounds, which became one of his advantages, especially when combined with his speed, strength, and his skill.
Shaquille O’Neal is one of the only 3 players to have won regular-season MVP, All-Star Game, and as well as Finals MVP awards only in the same season of 1999-2000.
Tim Duncan has also been considered one of the NBA’s GOAT being a 5-time NBA champ, 3-time Finals MVP, 2-time MVP, and was even included in the All-NBA Team 15 times.
That, and among some of his achievements, may be able to knock out some of his GOAT contenders, such as Bird, O’Neil, and Johnson.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson has perhaps had his greatest accomplishment when he became a Finals MVP as a rookie after he replaced Kareem Abdul-Jabbar over an injury in Game 6. He began as the team’s center and later played all five positions during the end of the game, with record points of 42, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Also, his almost annual battles versus Bird for championships had put the league to the heights of popularity during their time. Playing in 5 championships had paved a way for him to be one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Despite having his career peak decades ago, Wilt Chamberlain still makes a mark as one of the NBA’s Greatest of All Time.
Chamberlain wasn’t just the fastest but he was also the strongest player that’s ever set foot in NBA courts. He’s the only player to score 4,000 points in one season. He also set NBA single-game records with the highest points (100), as well as the most consecutive field goals (18) and the most rebounds.
Larry Bird, or the Celtics legend, is one of the most admired players up until today because of his wisdom in playing, competitiveness, and his all-around ability in doing anything inside the court.
Bird won 3 straight MVP awards, making him the only player to have accomplished the feat in league history. He also brought back the then struggling Celtics in the 80s to its glory days.
We intentionally did not rank the names as debates are still going on and many experts still have differing views of whoever deserves to be called the NBA’s GOAT. Nonetheless, the names mentioned above are usually the same people that are often mentioned in any rankings of the best NBA players.
How about you, who made it to your GOAT list?