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Top 100 Greatest NBA Players

Can you name the top NBA players of all-time according to an ESPN poll of experts?
Color-coded by retirement date
Last updated: September 03, 2018
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#
Retired
Player
1
2003
Michael Jordan
2
1989
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3
active
LeBron James
4
1996
Magic Johnson
5
1973
Wilt Chamberlain
6
1992
Larry Bird
7
1969
Bill Russell
8
2016
Tim Duncan
9
2011
Shaquille O'Neal
10
2002
Hakeem Olajuwon
11
1974
Oscar Robertson
12
2016
Kobe Bryant
13
1974
Jerry West
14
1987
Julius Erving
15
1995
Moses Malone
16
2004
Karl Malone
17
active
Dirk Nowitzki
18
2000
Charles Barkley
19
2003
John Stockton
20
2003
David Robinson
21
2016
Kevin Garnett
22
active
Kevin Durant
23
active
Stephen Curry
24
1971
Elgin Baylor
25
2003
Scottie Pippen
26
1994
Isiah Thomas
27
active
Dwyane Wade
28
1978
John Havlicek
29
active
Chris Paul
30
2015
Steve Nash
31
1993
Kevin McHale
32
2002
Patrick Ewing
33
1956
George Mikan
34
1965
Bob Pettit
#
Retired
Player
35
2013
Jason Kidd
36
1998
Clyde Drexler
37
1978
Rick Barry
38
1980
Walt Frazier
39
1970
Bob Cousy
40
1981
Elvin Hayes
41
2007
Gary Payton
42
1987
Bill Walton
43
1994
James Worthy
44
1999
Dominique Wilkins
45
2017
Paul Pierce
46
2010
Allen Iverson
47
1986
George Gervin
48
1974
Willis Reed
49
active
Russell Westbrook
50
2014
Ray Allen
51
2005
Reggie Miller
52
1986
Bob McAdoo
53
1981
Wes Unseld
54
1993
Bernard King
55
1983
Dave Cowens
56
active
Pau Gasol
57
1997
Robert Parish
58
active
Tony Parker
59
active
Carmelo Anthony
60
1980
Earl Monroe
61
2018
Manu Ginobili
62
1991
Alex English
63
2012
Tracy McGrady
64
2000
Dennis Rodman
65
2004
Alonzo Mourning
66
2007
Chris Webber
67
active
Dwight Howard
68
1984
Bob Lanier
#
Retired
Player
69
active
Vince Carter
70
1988
Artis Gilmore
71
1980
Pete Maravich
72
1991
Adrian Dantley
73
2009
Dikembe Mutombo
74
1964
Dolph Schayes
75
active
Blake Griffin
76
1984
Nate Archibald
77
1999
Joe Dumars
78
1969
Sam Jones
79
1974
Jerry Lucas
80
2013
Grant Hill
81
1991
Sidney Moncrief
82
1984
David Thompson
83
2000
Chris Mullin
84
1990
Dennis Johnson
85
1974
Dave DeBusschere
86
active
Chris Bosh
87
2013
Chauncey Billups
88
1976
Billy Cunningham
89
2011
Yao Ming
90
1962
Paul Arizin
91
1993
Maurice Cheeks
92
1977
Nate Thurmond
93
1975
Lenny Wilkens
94
1998
Mark Price
95
active
Marc Gasol
96
1986
Bobby Jones
97
active
James Harden
98
1979
Gail Goodrich
99
active
Kevin Love
100
2003
Shawn Kemp
+2
level 66
Feb 11, 2016
I have no problem with Steph Curry being up here, but above Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen and Wade this early in his career? Come on now ESPN...
+2
level ∞
Feb 11, 2016
Where to put Curry is a tough one. His career is young, but he has already had a bigger effect on the game than Patrick Ewing, for example. Ewing was the third best center of his era after Hakeem and David Robinson. (4th if you count Shaq as the same era). Curry has revolutionized the game, and already has more championships than Ewing.
+1
level 54
Jul 25, 2016
@meepmoop, what about him? Surely you aren't trying to say he should be on this list because he had one good season where he won the MVP?
+2
level ∞
May 18, 2017
DRose is in the top 1,000 for sure. ;)
+1
level 45
Jul 16, 2018
I think Kyrie should be on this list.
+1
level 59
Feb 11, 2016
Well I got Nate Thurmond but missed Jerry West...
+1
level 79
Feb 11, 2016
Far too many active players too high on this list. Lebron James is an all-time great, partly because he has proven it for several years already. Others like Harden, Bosh, Love, among others are great players, but who have either not proven it for long enough, or are just not as great as this list wants them to be. I know ESPN experts, but think about that for just a moment before you comment--ESPN...they look at current numbers far too much versus old stats. Guys didn't have to put up huge offensive numbers in the old days to be a great player--and teams were far more important, so team play made players great without inflating their stats.
+1
level 36
Feb 11, 2016
I totally agree. Way too many current players. Manu is good and has been on great teams, but he is way too high on this list. Blake Griffin and Kevin Love might end up here, but it is too soon to put them on this list
+2
level 40
Jul 13, 2017
Manu is a key member of four championship teams
+1
level 59
Feb 9, 2017
@st49ers I would love to see the data that informed your claim that individual stats are inflated and that basketball was more of a team sport in the past. Wilt Chamberlain AVERAGED 50 ppg in a season, and yet he struggled for most of his career to win his first championship. Meanwhile, look at the Spurs today. It seems to me that there have always been some teams led by individual stars, and others led by a strong team offense (and defense). I think the main argument in question is whether players should be ranked by overall quality of career, or by highest peak. If players are ranked by highest peak, young players like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant would already be higher than many of the old legendary players, and thus age wouldn't matter.
+1
level 53
Feb 11, 2016
EVERY SINGLE ONE EXCEPT FOR SIDNEY MONCRIEF DAMMIT
+1
level 59
Feb 11, 2016
I'm still impressed!
+1
level 48
Feb 11, 2016
OHHH the disrespect on this list!
+1
level 72
Feb 15, 2016
I feel you bro, seeing Curry at #23, Westbrook and Harden on the list over Danny Ainge who didn't make it...
+1
level 38
Sep 23, 2016
Scalabrine?
+2
level 45
Feb 12, 2016
There's a lot of rankings that are off on this list. It's almost as if ESPN focuses too much on the recent years. Shaq above Kobe? Yes, Kobe's had some injury prone, poor years recently. But so did Shaq. And last time I checked, Kobe has more rings and is higher on the all time scoring list. Karl Malone is also way too low. Yeah he didn't win any rings, but he's second on the all time scoring list. I've also always thought Walton was overrated. He had one good year in the NBA where the Blazers won the ring. The rest of the time he was injured. Finally, and most controversially, Lebron is a great player and deserves to be on this list. However, placing him 3rd, above so many greats, is a bit much, especially when several of those other greats have more championships in tougher eras.
+2
level 28
Apr 3, 2016
Shaq and Kobe is a tough one. they are so close in terms of how dominant they were, not how 'great' or who's 'better' Shaq was more dominant. And looking at the list, I can see Karl Malone moving up to #13 and Duncan down to #14. I think Lebron at 3 is the correct spot.
+1
level 67
Dec 20, 2018
Karl Malone, like many other great players of the 90's, probably would have had some championship rings if he hadn't had the misfortune to play at the same time as Michael Jordan.
+1
level 65
Feb 13, 2016
I assume the only reason that Dennis Johnson is 82% and Magic Johnson is 90% is because the quiz accepts "Magic".
+1
level 73
Feb 16, 2016
To me the most surprising thing about this list isn't the placement of players or omissions...but the fact that Vince Carter is still ACTIVE!!
+1
level 75
Jul 16, 2016
I had the same reaction. Feels like he's been around since the 70s. :-)
+1
level 10
Apr 18, 2016
kobe Bryant should for sure be ahead of LeBron for the 3rd all time spot. I'm not hating on LeBron Because I like LeBron but kobe has had a better career by far
+1
level 10
Apr 18, 2016
if kobe isn't 3rd then at least top 10
+2
level 75
Jun 19, 2016
No Jack Sikma. He played forever, has a ring, scored 17,000 points despite being on two mostly mediocre teams, led centers in FT% and was the first big man to master the 3-point shot. Not a top 50, but I think he makes top 100. Clearly a lot of subjectivity with this list, not a lot of science or math involved.
+1
level 38
Sep 23, 2016
Who?
+1
level 75
Jul 16, 2016
Small update needed when you get a chance. Duncan just retired.
+1
level ∞
Jul 21, 2016
Done
+1
level 54
Jul 28, 2016
Here's a greatest ever quiz without any opinion, based solely on career win-shares: http://www.jetpunk.com/user-quizzes/103225/top-50-nba-players
+1
level 32
Jul 29, 2016
this quiz is an outrage how is LeBron so damn high he is a bum he is basically the smartest kid on the shortbus. nobody in this era should be on the list period nothing but overrated bums
+1
level 4
May 15, 2017
I disagree lebron should be on here but curry shouldnt because he only just became good
+1
level 7
Aug 24, 2016
Curry doesnt deserve to be on this list aleast toward the top maybe around 60 And add Kyrie Irving
+1
level 28
Sep 16, 2016
Love above Kemp, Ben Wallace, Steve Kerr, Horace Grant, etc?
+1
level 59
Feb 9, 2017
Steve Kerr was a bench player!
+1
level 38
Sep 23, 2016
I'm sorry but Allen Iverson should be way higher. I know it's not your decision Quizmaster but just my opinion
+1
level 22
Oct 28, 2016
When you get Lanier, Cunningham, and Arizin, but forget Harden
+1
level 59
Nov 7, 2016
So I get Dave DeBusschere and Earl Mornroe, and miss Dr. J, the Admiral, and Pistol Pete.
+1
level 23
Nov 14, 2016
KOBE
+1
level 30
Nov 29, 2016
81/100 first try
+1
level 38
Dec 16, 2016
I realize that this is not the quizmaster's list, but Aldridge should be on here over Blake Griffin (the most overrated basketball player in the world)
+1
level 23
Jan 11, 2017
Your wrong there Lebron James he's so overrated if he's top 3 why isn't Black Mamba.
+1
level 14
Dec 24, 2016
When you get Billy Cunningham but miss Dr. J
+1
level 23
Feb 25, 2017
Garnett, Kobe and Duncan have retired, making them no longer 'active' players....
+1
level 10
Mar 31, 2017
I finally got 100 out of 100
+1
level 20
May 17, 2017
Kevin love and gasol shouldn't be in here. They haven't proved themselves as hall of fame players
+1
level ∞
May 18, 2017
There have only been something like 3,000 NBA players in the last 50 years. And let's be honest, most of the players in the sixties and seventies would be D-league players at best in today's league. There just aren't that many players to choose from.
+1
level ∞
May 18, 2017
Also Gasol is elite, no question. How many players have ever had his combination of wingspan and shooting?
+1
level 59
May 17, 2017
The most avid NBA fans among you should take my NBA Stats Leaders by Year quiz.
+1
level 9
May 24, 2017
easy 100%
+1
level 59
May 26, 2017
I love Manu Ginobili as much as the next guy, but he does not deserve to be on this list.
+1
level 51
Jul 30, 2017
I disagree.
+1
level ∞
Nov 3, 2017
Guy was/is a legend. Led Argentina to a gold medal in 2004. Not a single one of his teammates was active in the NBA at the time. Simply incredible.
+1
level 59
Feb 16, 2018
I'm sorry, is this a 100 Greatest Players in Argentina list?
+1
level 48
Jun 5, 2017
Needs to be updated, Paul Pierce is retiring this year.
+1
level ∞
Jun 5, 2017
Updated
+1
level 83
Jul 4, 2017
Got #100 first, made me laugh; totally didn't expect him, but I always type Kemp first
+1
level 7
Jul 4, 2017
ESPN Probably hired kids to make this list HOW Do you put Pau Gasol lightyears in front of James Harden SEE Makes no sense
+1
level 60
Jul 26, 2017
How can you have that many current players? Disrespect to the history of the NBA. 18 active and a whole bunch who just retired?
+1
level 43
Feb 10, 2018
To be honest with you the bunch of players that are active would be easily ranked in top 100 in history, guys like Curry, Durant, Paul or Wade are some of the best in history and guaranteed hall of famers. What is wrong for me is that there is Blake Griffin for example who didn't achieve that much and I think it is bit early to shove him in there.
+1
level 12
Dec 18, 2017
Steve Nash?
+2
level 70
Jan 29, 2018
I remember Artis Gilmore. And I blank on Steph Curry. Argh.
+1
level 1
Mar 24, 2018
Kobe is the greatest player in nab history
+1
level 48
Jun 14, 2018
Get Marc Gasol out of here lol
+1
level 60
Oct 28, 2018
What a joke! This is why people no longer watch ESPN, besides their political nonsense! They continue to way over hype active players. James is lucky he plays in a soft era, because had he played in the Jordan era he would have gotten his butt kicked by the Pistons, Knicks, Celtic, Lakers and the Bulls. He would have been a border line All-Star. Nowitzki ahead of Barkley, Robinson, Ewing? Did the people at ESPN who voted on the list ever watch a basketball game before the year 2000? And lastly, Chamberlain should be #1.
+1
level 67
Dec 20, 2018
Haven't followed basketball since the Bulls dynasty fell apart after 1998, so I didn't do well on this. I know a few random players from the last 20 years, but not nearly enough. As for why ESPN placed so many active guys on the list, keep in mind that it's their nature to be biased in favor of the modern era. After all, "today's players aren't as good as the ones from yesteryear" isn't exactly a good business model. Everyone's got biases, and it makes sense for ESPN to be biased in favor of the modern day since actively promoting the people playing now is good business for them. That doesn't make the list good or bad inherently, I'm just saying to consider the source.