There are many debates on who is considered “The GOAT” or the greatest of all time in basketball. The arguments are heating up on what makes an all-star player elevated as one of the greatest in the NBA. Many say it is about the numbers of assists and points, while some beg to differ. 

We are not to debate who is the greatest of all time here, nor will we give a standard in declaring who the GOAT is. But we will drop names from a few decades of the league. But first, let’s dive in on the legend and what it takes to be one.

The Legend

Being the Greatest of all time, also called the ‘GOAT,’ means that his athletic abilities and actions change the game’s tide. Their reputation is respected even by their opponents. Beyond their abilities is being a team player, whether be a leader or listening and playing their part towards the goal. Someone you can bet on high stakes to win the game like in a game of poker in new online casinos in Canada.

These players also became household names, and their popularity gave them other avenues. Product endorsement and entertainment industries love sports heroes. But popularity is a blessing and a curse. Their private lives are exposed to both positives and negatives. Though they are not perfect role models, they are still great ambassadors of the sport.

Many children, even rookies who played with them, would say they inspire the future generation. Their actions on and off the court echo to eternity, making them different from their peers.

Who Are They?

Again, this is not a countdown or a ranking who deserves to be the GOAT. Most of these names are legends in their own right, and comparing them will be difficult. But we will take a peek of what makes them be in the conversation of one of the greats. Now here are some names and a brief description of their accolades.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

One of the tallest players of the NBA, this prolific center grabbed six MVP awards and has been voted all MVP twice. Kareem has scored more points and broke records in his prime. Being dubbed as the best center in the NBA is something to take note of this phenomenal athlete.

Magic Johnson

With three MVP awards and 9 NBA all-star appearances, Earvin “Magic” Johnson is one of the best point guards in the league. Though tragedy struck when he announced he contracted HIV, it did not stop him from playing. He became a member of the illustrious Dream Team representing the US in the 1992 Olympics and won gold. 

Larry Bird

Another member of the Dream team and the rival of Magic Johnson, “the hick from French Lick” Larry “Legend” Bird, is a phenomenal athlete in his own right. Three times MVP and two Finals MVP. He also brought back the Boston Celtics into greatness after decades of struggling to make it into the finals.

Tim Duncan

A five-time NBA champion and twice MVP thrice as MVP Finals, Tim has been playing for 19 years and has played with and against hall of Famers and rookies. With his talent, he etched his legacy like the following names.

Shaquille O’Neal

One of the sport’s biggest athletes, Shaq is one powerhouse in his prime. With dunks that shattered backboards will tell his dominance in the court. Being NBA MVP, All MVP, and Finals MVP thrice, he is talented, and he has a particular connection with his former teammate that was called the Shaq attack.

Kobe Bryant

The other half of the Shaq attack and one of the greatest guards, Kobe even shines more when Shaq was traded. He led the scoring charges with a career-high of 81 points. The Black Mamba, as he named himself, was a scoring machine, and with flawless clutches, he is one big contender being the goat. In 2020, he was involved in a helicopter crash with his daughter that ended both their lives with seven others that fateful day.

Michael Jordan

He is the richest man who ever dunked a basketball, another member of the Dream team, and the legend of the Chicago Bulls, Micheal Jordan. One of the most famous NBA legends. His accolades include six times NBA champion, many MVP awards, and a household name in the 1990s. Only a few would come close to his achievements and the impact he made in the sport.

LeBron James

Now he is the youngest and most active athlete holding the record of all-time playoff points, two gold medals, a four-time champion, and MVP. LeBron is now a household name and is catching up with the achievements of his predecessor. Comparisons between him and Michael Jordan sparked the GOAT debate of this era.

What Does It Take?

Being a great athlete takes practice and talent. Being the greatest, you need to add your heart and soul to the game. Many tried, but some fell from grace or ended their career due to injuries. As a player becoming the GOAT is not an official accolade but is a term for someone who made his mark in the sport’s history.