Like it or hate it, NBA is undoubtedly one among the most interesting and challenging sport in the world. It is always a treat watching your favorite players in the fields. Not only favorite players but watching the greatest showdowns like Lebron James vs Curry or the historic Larry vs Magic is cherishing and interesting. But what is more interesting is putting together a list of 10 players without a personal opinion or whatsoever. In order to make this list totally unbiased, I decided to rank the players based on the accolades.
What is an Accolade? Well if you still didn’t figure it out, an Accolade is an award or privilege given to a player (or someone) for his/her excellence. Here is a list of the accolades that I will be using to rank the players.
That being said, this list will be totally unbiased, so do not start an argument claiming the lack of authenticity.
10. Larry Bird
If it wasn’t for the accolades, I would have ranked Bird in the top 5. However here are the stats that will show you why he is placed in the tenth position. He has a total of 3 MVPs, for the 13 seasons he has played. Undoubtedly one amongst the best defenders of all time, Larry Bird is a great player who completely utilized the time he spent on NBA. If it wasn’t for an unexpected injury, Bird would have been a better player and with a handful of awards and other accolades.
9. Shaquille O’Neal
One of the most popular players in the world, Shaquille is known for his excellent performances when he as a part of the Lakers. This basketball giant has 3 Final MVPs and a lot more championships compared to Bird. It is always exciting to watch this guy play and always a treat watching him deliver at unexpected times to completely change the tide of the match.
8. Wilt Chamberlain
Who doesn’t like Wilt Chamberlain? I know, Bill Russel fans might dislike him but they do not necessarily hate him. The man is known for scoring a whopping 100 points in a single game. Chamberlain has around 7 MVPs compared to Bill Russel’s 3 MVP. Moreover, Chamberlain had a lot more averages. So no more fan fights, for the time being, Wilt is better than Bill(note the point “for the time being“, there are 7 more positions), but who would win if they go face to face right now. Well, that’s a million dollar question that I would be willing to a zillion dollar to find out.
7. Magic Johnson
I hate doing this. Imagine placing your favorite player in the seventh spot, if you want to see them placed among the elite and top 3. Well, the quantity of accolades is important for this article so, here it goes. Magic Johnson is a 5-time champion, 3 time MVP and 3-time finals MVP. Unfortunately, Magic was forced to retire from basketball when he was tested positive for HIV.
6. Lebron James
Even if you don’t watch Basketball, you will surely know this big man. This player has an insane track record, with over 4 MVPs in just 14 season appearance. There is nothing much to say about this player as he probably is the most popular player on this list.
5. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is yet another player that I personally admire. But my hands are now tied so I can’t place him on top. However, Kobe does have a good enough track record and hence he is well worthy of being placed in the fifth spot. Kobe played 19 seasons in the NBA and has an insane 18 all-star selections, along with 5 rings and 15 all NBA selections. He also has 12 all defensive teams. Even though Lebron James has a bit more quantity compared to Bryant, I placed Bryant a bit higher because I can at least show my admiration by increasing one spot, right?
4. Tim Duncan
Well, who do we have here? Duncan, 6 foot 11 inch Power forward giant, generated a lot of buzz in hardwood and consequently ending up on spurs. If it wasn’t for Duncan and Robinson, Spurs would not have been the finalists in the year 2003. And thereby winning the second title. Stats speak better than words right, so here are some facts that prove why Duncan is placed in the fourth position.
5 time NBA champion (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014)
3-time Finals MVP (1999, 2003, 2005)
2-time season MVP (2002 and 2003)
15 time NBA All-Star (1998, 2000-2011, 2013, 2015)
NBA Rookie of the Year (1998)
10-time member of the All-NBA First Team (1998-2005, 2007, 2013)
8-time All-Defensive First Team (1999-2003, 2005, 2007, 2008)
Well, that says A LOT.
3. Bill Russel
Well, now its time to introduce this gentleman in this top 10 list. Bill Russel is known for his skills and quite honestly, this big man has the skills that pay the “bill”. To be honest, I pictured Russel to be on top of everyone else, but after researching more about his accolades, I was forced to put him on number 3. No one except Bill has got 5 MVPs in just 11 rings. This man right here is a game changer. The reason why he has a little number of accolades is that most of the awards like Final MVPs and the Defensive selection were not made or given at the time when Bill was playing basketball. Nevertheless, he is still at number 3 despite all of this because he still has 11 rings and 5 MVPs. The only problem is that he doesn’t have anything else really. If only NBA was giving more awards at that time, Bill would have been at number 1.
Fun fact:- After Bill retired, they named the Finals MVP after him.
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Even though Lebron vs Bryant was a tough decision for me, it was not as tough as distinguishing and ranking number 1 and 2. You can say that I ranked number 1 based on my personal opinion, but the need for such ranking is due to the inevitable tie between these players when I was counting the accolades. Being drafted as the first overall pick, to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969, Kareem is undoubtedly the greatest basketball player to ever step into the court. With a tally of more than 20 accolades, it is safe to call him the GOAT. Here are some little facts and figures about his career.
6x NBA Champion (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
2x Finals MVP (1971, 1985)
6x NBA MVP (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980)
19x NBA All-Star (1970-1977, 1979-1989)
10x All-NBA First Team (1971-1974, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1986)
5x All-NBA Defensive Team (1974, 1975, 1979-1981)
NBA Rookie of the Year (1970)
2x NBA Scoring Champion (1971, 1972)
4x NBA Blocks Leader (1975, 1976, 1979, 1980)
NBA Rebounding Champion (1976)
1. Michael Jordan
Arguably the best basketball player in the history of NBA(I told you, Kareem is closer and I still consider him as the GOAT), Michael Jordan is a record machine and that is why he is in the top position on this list. Not only he has broken a lot of records, but also he has delivered every time his team needs him. Here are some stats that will show and prove his worth as a number 1.
6× NBA champion (1991–1993, 1996–1998)
6× NBA Finals MVP (1991–1993, 1996–1998)
5× NBA Most Valuable Player (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998)
14× NBA All-Star (1985–1993, 1996–1998, 2002–2003)
3× NBA All-Star Game MVP (1988, 1996, 1998)
10× All-NBA First Team (1987–1993, 1996–1998)
All-NBA Second Team (1985)
NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1988)
9× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1988–1993, 1996–1998)
NBA Rookie of the Year (1985)
10× NBA scoring champion (1987–1993, 1996–1998)
3× NBA steals leader (1988, 1990, 1993)
2× NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion (1987, 1988)
3× AP Athlete of the Year (1991, 1992, 1993)
2× USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (1983, 1984)
NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
NCAA champion (1982)
National college play from of the year (1984)
2× Consensus first-team All-American (1983, 1984)
ACC Player of the Year (1984)
Making a top 10, especially ranking NBA players from different eras is difficult. If you disagree with the list, do remember the fact that this list was solely performance and accolade-based and not like the other generic personal list. Facts don’t lie.