Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant via NBA on ESPN YouTube

Today we’re diving into the history books to rank the top ten NBA players who’ve left an undeniable impact on the basketball court and the MLB as a whole.

Photo by Markus Spiske, free to use under the Unsplash license

Michael Jordan

The name synonymous with basketball, MJ led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships and earned the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award five times.

Who can forget his gravity-defying dunk from the free-throw line? Known as ‘Air Jordan’ due to his extraordinary leaping ability, Jordan is also a two-time Olympic Gold medalist (1984 and 1992) . He’s even tried his hand at professional baseball!

LeBron James

He might be in the pocket of the CCP, but he is a phenomenal player, LeBron James started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, then moved to Miami Heat, back to the Cavs, and now plays for the LA Lakers. He’s led his teams to four NBA championships and has snagged four MVP awards.

Beyond basketball, LeBron has shown his acting chops, notably in the movie ‘Trainwreck’ and ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ (which was a flop).

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Holding the record for the most points scored in NBA history, Kareem’s “sky hook” shot is one of the most effective in basketball. He led the Lakers and Bucks to six championships and was a six-time MVP. In addition to his basketball prowess, Kareem is also a successful author, writing several best-selling books, and made a memorable appearance in the film ‘Airplane!’.

Magic Johnson

Known for his incredible vision and playmaking abilities, Magic Johnson led the Lakers to five NBA championships. He was a 3-time MVP and was selected to the All-Star team 12 times. Johnson announced he was HIV positive in 1991, effectively ending his career. He has since become a successful businessman and advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention.

Wilt Chamberlain

Chamberlain is best known for being the only player to score 100 points in a single NBA game. He won two NBA championships and was a four-time MVP. Besides basketball, Chamberlain was an exceptional athlete and was even offered professional contracts in volleyball and boxing. He also appeared in movies and TV shows.

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Larry Bird

A Boston Celtics legend, Bird led his team to three championships and was a three-time MVP. Bird’s shooting and scoring prowess is highly revered. Bird is the only person in NBA history to be named Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year.

Shaquille O’Neal

One of the most dominant centers in the history of the NBA, Shaq led the Lakers and the Heat to four NBA championships. He was a three-time Finals MVP.

Shaq’s larger-than-life personality extends beyond the court. He’s released rap albums, starred in movies, and even has a doctorate in education.

Tim Duncan

Duncan, a one-club man with the San Antonio Spurs, was key to their five NBA championships. He was a two-time MVP and 15-time All-Star. A native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Duncan is an avid swimmer and would have pursued a professional swimming career if not for Hurricane Hugo, which destroyed his island’s only Olympic-sized pool.


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Kobe Bryant

Known for his scoring ability and killer instinct, Kobe led the Lakers to five NBA championships and was a two-time Finals MVP. Fluent in Italian and Spanish, Kobe spent a significant part of his childhood in Italy. He was also an Oscar winner for his short film, “Dear Basketball.”

His tragic passing in 2020 left a void in the sport.

Bill Russell

Russell led the Boston Celtics to an astonishing 11 championships in 13 seasons and was a five-time MVP. His defensive prowess is legendary. Russell is not just an athlete but also a significant figure in the Civil Rights Movement.

Post his basketball career, he had a stint as a TV sportscaster and also coached the Celtics for three seasons, becoming the first African-American coach in NBA history.

These ten legends have shaped the sport with their incredible talent, dedication, and charisma. Who do you think should have been added, or even removed from the list? Let us know in the comments below and across social media!

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