10 Best NBA Centers of All-Time

FILE: Shaquille O’Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers stands with his hands on his hips during a National Basketball Association game against the Sacramento Kings at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Matt A. Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

These 10 players really are the greatest of all-time. 

There is no question in sports that is more hotly contested than – who is the greatest center to have ever played for the NBA? 

You can get yourself in trouble if you give the wrong answer in the wrong sports bar. Everyone has their own opinions on the topic, so of course, we also had to add to the discourse. 

Putting together and ordering this list wasn’t easy, and that is a testament to the amount of talent that these players have shown throughout their careers. 

#10 – Bob McAdoo

We’re starting this list off with the great Bob McAdoo. 

The 1972’s Rookie of the Year made a huge impact from the very first game that he played in. He scored points and because of that, his teams won games, titles, and championships. 

McAdoo was a 3-time scoring champion and a 5-time All-Star. He ended his career with a points per game (PPG) average of 22.1. There are only a few other players on this list with higher numbers than that. 

Bob McAdoo earned his spot on this list. 

#9 – Willis Reed

Willis Reed played in the NBA a long time ago, so long that many people have forgotten the impact that he made on the game at the time. He was a once-in-a-generation player who won it all and went on to win even more. 

Being a 7-time All-Star during the period that he played was a huge accomplishment. He was also a 2-time Finals MVP and was awarded the NBA MVP title in 1969. He has 2 NBA championship titles to his name as well. 

#8 – Moses Malone 

We wish we could have put Moses Malone higher up on this list, but there just isn’t enough room. Moses Malone was a 3-time NBA MVP, 12-time All-Star, 8-time All-NBA player, and was awarded the Finals MVP award when his team won in 1982. 

Moses Malone perfectly toed the line between skill and power. He won everything there was to win in the NBA and still, we very rarely see people singing his praises. Malone put in amazing performances for both the Spurs and the 76ers. 

#7 – Patrick Ewing

Is Patrick Ewing one of the greatest players ever not to win a single championship during their career? We think so. 

Despite never winning a championship, Ewing was called up to the All-Stars 11 times and to the All-NBA team 7 times. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1985 too. 

Ewing is one of the New York Knicks’ greatest players and did everything in his power to secure them a championship. If we could go back in time and give him the win – we would. 

#6 – Hakeem Olajuwon

The choice between 5th and 6th place was difficult, but we decided to put Hakeem Olajuwon in 6th because his competition with Michael Jordan prevented him from living up to his full potential. 

Olajuwon was a 3-time blocking champion and won the NBA championship 2 years in a row between 1994-95 while his rival Jordan was off the court. In those years he also won two Finals MVP awards in a row. 

Olajuwon ended his career with a more than respectable 21.8 PPG. 

#5 – David Robinson 

Taking up the halfway spot is David Robinson – 10-time All-Star, Blocking Champion, and Scoring Champion. Robinson has 2 championship titles to his name, but not enough people remember him. 

Robinson was unlucky enough to get upstaged by Tim Duncan during the middle stages of his career. But we remember and this player deserves a spot in the top 5. He was one of the greatest centers of all time. 

Robison even won an NBA MVP award in 1994 and was Rookie of the Year when he joined the league in 1989. 

#4 – Wilt Chamberlain

No one will ever forget Wilt Chamberlain, thanks in part to his 100-point game and 50-rebound game, but also because of his skill and dominance on the court. 

Chamberlain paved the way for the tall, bulky, and athletic basketball players that we are used to today. It was his athleticism that set him apart from the other players at the time. 

Chamberlain ended his career with 22.9 RPG, and 4.4 APG, as well as 2 championships and 4 NBA MVP titles. 

Chamberlain ended his career with a 30.1 PPG – do you think anyone will beat his record? You can find Fanduel’s NBA odds here. 

#3 – Bill Russell

After a lot of thought, we decided to put Bill Russell at third and Wilt Chamberlain at fourth place on this list. Why? Well, Bill Russell has the edge when it comes to player recognition. 

Russell is a 4-time NBA MVP winner. That is not a number to be looked down upon. Russell can also boast 12 All-Star call-ups and 11 All-NBA picks. 

Russel was also an 11-time (yes, you read that correctly) NBA champion. That makes him the biggest winner the NBA has ever seen. 

#2 – Shaquille O’Neal

Was there any doubt about the men who would make it into the top 2 spots on this list? Both men have made a huge impact on the game and changed the way that the players who followed them played. 

Anyone who has watched Shaq on the court will not deny him a spot on this list. There were multiple moments when he couldn’t be held back by 3-4 players at once. He is undoubtedly the most powerful man to ever play basketball. 

#1 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

No one else was ever going to take the number spot away from this man. Abdul-Jabbar still holds multiple NBA records, including being the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points and having won a record 6 NBA MVP awards. Many statistics weren’t recorded for the first 4 years of Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA career. If they were, we think he would hold many more records. 

The 7-foot 2-inch player dominated the game from the moment he stepped onto the court as a college freshman. Everyone was sad to see him retire.

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