Coming up with the list of the top 5 decade-defining NBA legends is no small task, considering that several iconic players have played NBA in varied generations with different technologies and rules. Ranking NBA players in this modern basketball era requires determining several statistics along with the qualitative aspects of the players of all times.
With 30 participating teams, the NBA, the professional basketball league in North America, has a huge fan following and is much more competitive than the other sports games. While it may be easy to rank the best NBA players in today’s generation, what about the NBA legends?
You must consider their career statistics, lifetime awards, and other critical details when ranking them. Go through the content below to learn about the top 5 NBA legends of all time:
1. Michael Jordan
Topping the top 5 NBA legends list is Michael Jordan, popularly known as the GOAT and Air Jordan. Having played his whole career for the Chicago Bulls, the team that did not perform well in the NBA before Jordan took over in 1984, Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a clear winner, bringing 6 championship wins to Chicago throughout the 90s.
Piling up well on both awards and stats, MJ has been the greatest player of the game, dominating both sides of the ball, accumulating 10 scoring titles, 11 All-NBA selections, and 9 All-Defensive First Team selections while always featuring in the NBA scores update of his times.
Grabbing the Most Valuable Player award five times in a row, Michael Jordan dominated most of the NBA finals for several years, taking down opponents of all sizes and shapes. His competitive fire struck hard and extinguished everyone who came in his way of winning 6 Finals MVPs and 6 rings.
Besides championships, Jordan is also popular for hitting one clutch shot after another, bringing in several game wins for the legend. One of the most incredible things about Jordan is his original legendary status, which is not made up in any way. He lives up to the mystique and hype.
Besides dominating the basketball scene, Jordan even changed the game on and off the floor while setting new gameplay standards for players coming after him. With an all-time average of 30.1 points, 5.3 assists, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.3 steals, Michael Jordan is the best NBA player of all time and had one of the most successful careers any player could have in 15 years.
2. LeBron James
Constantly fighting for the Greatest of All Times tag, LeBron James has cemented his position within the top 5 decade-dominating NBA legends in any list. One of the best things about James is he produced the most amazing statistics of his career in the 15th season of the game despite injury.
With 8.1 rebounds, 27.4 points, and 8.3 assists in his 16th NBA league, LeBron James surely has the potential to add value to whichever team he is a part of. Not to mention, his three NBA Finals MVP awards and four regular season MVP honors speak volumes of the potential of this best NBA player at the moment.
There is no other player greater than LeBron James. This legendary basketball player has always performed well in all the NBA Finals appearances that he has made and showcased his versatility by facing some of the most outstanding dynasties, like the Golden State Warriors, Popovich’s Spurs, Celtics, and Kobe’s Lakers known for their dominance in the regular seasons.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and also the founder of the most lethal shot in NBA history. Boasting 38, 387 career points, Abdul-Jabbar has this exclusive record of winning the NBA Finals MVP honors 14 years apart, a feat supposedly impossible by any player of his rank and times.
With almost all individual honors under his belly, Abdul-Jabbar is still the only player in NBA history to win the MVP award despite his team not making it to the playoffs. Playing for the Lakers and Bucks, he won 3 MVPs with each franchise and five of his six rings in Los Angeles. He is also a 19-time All-Star who has finished 15 times in the top 5 of the MVP voting.
While you may find basketball players like Wilt Chamberlain with several records and Bill Russell with more titles than Abdul-Jabbar, what’s special about Jabbar is he was offensively skilled in ways the other players were not and retired as the NBA leader in 9 statistical categories due to his impressive staying power.
4. Tim Duncan
One of the greatest basketball team players from the San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan’s incredible success lies in his 5 MVPs, 2 in the regular season, 3 in the NBA Finals, and 5 Championships.
Popular for his bank shot, Duncan silently led his team and demolished the opponent while keeping his dignity and integrity intact. A no-nonsense person, Tim Duncan is one of those few NBA legends whose final game was a playoff and is undoubtedly one of the greatest power Forwards of all time.
5. Larry Bird
With back-to-back MVP wins during the mid-80s, two NBA Finals MVPs, and three championships, Larry Bird is the kind of basketball player every team desires. The modern NBA game requires his passing skills, great leadership, and shooting touch.
His creativity and selfless style of playing basketball were completely infectious, making him the greatest player of all time. After 897 games, Larry retired with 21, 791 points 5, 695 assists and 8, 974 rebounds making him a phenomenal all-rounder.
So, these 5 NBA legends have the skills and potential, plus the track record that makes them capable of performance even in this modern basketball era. Besides contributing immensely towards the game they have also led to a complete evolution of the NBA scene.