The NBA's 75th Anniversary Team, ranked: Where 76 basketball legends check in on our list

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Monday, August 1, 2022

Editor's note: This story was originally published on Feb. 21. Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell --No. 6in ESPN's ranking of the NBA's 75th Anniversary team -- died Sunday at age 88.

Early in the 2021-22 season, the NBA unveiled its 75th Anniversary Team, a squad full of iconic players representing different points in the evolution of basketball.

But the league never ranked them. We did.

ESPN's NBA expert panel voted on thousands of head-to-head player matchups, taking into consideration the quality and quantity of their NBA contributions.

LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan? Kawhi Leonard vs. Gary Payton? Stephen Curry vs. Larry Bird? Kevin Durant vs. Kobe Bryant? Old school vs. new school?

Although they come from different eras, each of these players changed the game. Here's where the NBA's very best check in on our list, running from No. 76 all the way to No. 1.

Note: Players' accomplishments in the NBL, the ABA, college or international basketball were not considered during the voting process. The voting pool included 76 players, as there was a tie during the NBA's voting for its 75th Anniversary Team.

No. 76: Bill Sharman

  • 1950-51 Washington Capitols; 1951-61 Boston Celtics
  • 17.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.0 APG

A Hall of Famer as both a player and coach, Sharman starred alongside Bob Cousy in Boston's backcourt in the 1950s, winning four championships. He also was one of the game's great early shooters, setting a record for free throw percentage (93.2) during the 1958-59 season that lastednearly two decades. -- Tim Bontemps

No. 75: Damian Lillard

Lillard has a shooting range that rivalsStephen Curry's and has become one of the most clutch players in the game -- his series-ending daggers over the Rockets and OKC come to mind. He's so clutch that his performance in the final stretches of games has garnered its own nickname: Dame Time. And he lets you know every single time. -- Kendra Andrews

No. 74: Dave Bing

  • 1966-75 Detroit Pistons; 1975-77 Washington Bullets; 1977-78 Boston Celtics
  • 20.3 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.8 RPG

Bing's career was threatened twice by eye injuries -- falling and poking his left eye on a rusty nail as a child, then suffering a detached retina in his right eye during the preseason in 1971. But Bing didn't allow either injury to cut his career short. He found a way to make seven All-Star teams and gave the Pistons their first taste of success after moving from Fort Wayne to Detroit. -- Jamal Collier

No. 73: Dave DeBusschere

  • 1962-68 Detroit Pistons; 1968-74 New York Knicks
  • 16.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 2.9 APG

For the first six years the NBA started naming an All-Defensive First Team, DeBusschere's name was included on the list. He was one of the NBA's all-time great defenders, a player-coach for the Pistons in just his third season who then became a defining member of the Knicks' championship teams in the 1970s. -- Collier

No. 72: Billy Cunningham

  • 1965-72, 1974-76 Philadelphia 76ers;also played two ABA seasons with Carolina Cougars (1972-74)
  • 20.8 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 4.0 APG

A fixture with the 76ers as both a player and coach, Cunningham was part of one of the most iconic teams in NBA history: the 1967 NBA champion Sixers. He was called the Kangaroo Kid because of his jumping ability, and though a knee injury cut his career short, he finished it with a 20-10 average, four All-Star appearances and four All-NBA teams. -- Bontemps

No. 71: Anthony Davis

Taking the torch from Kevin Garnett as a near 7-footer who can completely dominate a game defensively with the offensive skill set to operate outside of the low post on the other end, Davis continues to redefine what a big man can do. Still only 28, there's plenty more in store for him as long as he stays healthy. -- Dave McMenamin

No. 70: Dolph Schayes

  • 1948-64 Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers
  • 18.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 3.1 APG

One of the best players in the NBA's early years, Schayes was one of the last players to use a two-handed set shot and was a high-impact center during his 16 seasons with the Nationals and 76ers. Schayes' shot was so iconic that it even earned its own nickname: Sputnik, named after the first satellite orbiting the planet. -- Bontemps

No. 69: Carmelo Anthony

Entering the league with a handle and shooting touch of a shooting guard but with the height and broad shoulders of a traditional frontcourt player, Anthony filled the role of a stretch-4 before the position became a staple of every NBA roster. An unapologetic scorer, Anthony is No. 9 on the all-time points list. -- McMenamin

No. 68: Russell Westbrook

  • 2008-2019 Oklahoma City Thunder; 2019-2020 Houston Rockets; 2020-2021 Washington Wizards; 2021-22 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 22.9 PPG, 8.5 APG, 7.4 RPG

Mr. Triple-Double. Westbrook owns the record for career triple-doubles -- 193 -- beating out Oscar Robertson's previous mark. Westbrook also holds the record for consecutive triple-doubles (11 in a row). In fact, he owns three of the top four such streaks.-- Andrews

No. 67: Dennis Rodman

The unofficial titleholder for the most dominant rebounder in NBA history, Rodman led the league in the category for seven consecutive seasons. Rodman won Defensive Player of the Year twice and was a five-time NBA champion as a centerpiece for dynasties in Detroit and Chicago. On the court, his play was relentless. Off it, he was always one of the league's biggest enigmas. -- Collier

No. 66: Paul Arizin

  • 1950-52, 1954-62 Philadelphia Warriors
  • 22.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.3 APG

The jump shot has become an essential part of the NBA -- and especially today's 3-point-happy version of the sport. It was brought to the NBA 70 years ago by Arizin, the sweet-shooting forward from Villanova who went on to become one of the game's early prolific scorers with his hometown team. In 1962, he chose to retire rather than move with the Philadelphia Warriors to San Francisco. -- Bontemps

No. 65: Lenny Wilkens

  • 1960-68 St. Louis Hawks; 1968-72 Seattle SuperSonics; 1972-74 Cleveland Cavaliers; 1974-75 Portland Trail Blazers
  • 16.5 PPG, 6.7 APG, 4.7 RPG

"Coach, you played?" Shaquille O'Neal famously asked Wilkens during the 1994 All-Star Weekend. By then, he was better known for his lengthy coaching career. (Wilkens was the only person chosen both among the league's top 75 players and top 15 coaches.) Before, however, Wilkens was a nine-time All-Star as a point guard who excelled as both a scorer and a playmaker -- including twice as player-coach for the SuperSonics. So, yeah, he definitely played. -- Kevin Pelton

No. 64: Hal Greer

  • 1958-73 Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers
  • 19.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG

Greer was overshadowed by spending a large chunk of his career playing alongside the legendary Wilt Chamberlain, but he goes down in history as not only the first player to have his number retired by the 76ers but also remaining as the franchise's leader in a host of categories, including games, minutes and points. -- Bontemps

No. 63: Robert Parish

Don't reduce Parish to the trivia of playing an NBA-record 1,611 games over a 21-season career he capped by winning a fourth title at age 43 with the Bulls in 1997. Long before that, Parish was an ideal All-Star complement to the Celtics' other frontcourt stars because of his skills and willingness to accept -- and occasionally deal out -- the physical play in the paint in the 1980s. -- Pelton

No. 62: Paul Pierce

  • 1998-2013 Boston Celtics; 2013-14 Brooklyn Nets; 2014-15 Washington Wizards; 2015-17 LA Clippers
  • 19.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.3 SPG

Perhaps one of Pierce's biggest moments was in 2000-01, when he played all 82 games, became the first Celtic to score 2,000 or more points since Larry Bird in 1987-88 and averaged over 25 points in just his third year in the league. Following his breakout campaign, Pierce made the All-Star team 10 of the next 11 seasons.-- Andrews

No. 61: Dave Cowens

One of the most dominant centers of his era, Cowens averaged a double-double in eight straight seasons. He won Rookie of the Year after Boston made him the No. 4 pick in the draft and won an MVP award two years later. Cowens helped lead the Celtics to championships in 1974 and 1976. -- Collier

No. 60: Sam Jones

  • 1957-69 Boston Celtics
  • 17.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.5 APG

Long before there was "Playoff Rondo," Jones earned the nickname "Mr. Clutch" for his penchant for delivering in the biggest moments. As a five-time All-Star, Jones was hardly ineffective during the regular season, but he increased his scoring average in the playoffs every year from 1961-62 through 1966-67 -- peaking at 28.6 PPG in 1965 -- as the Celtics won five championships duringthat span.-- Pelton

No. 59: Nate Archibald

  • 1970-76 Cincinnati Royals/Kansas City-Omaha Kings/Kansas City Kings; 1976-77 New York Nets; 1978-83 Boston Celtics; 1983-84 Milwaukee Bucks
  • 18.8 PPG, 7.4 APG, 2.3 RPG

In 1972-73, in just his third NBA season, the 6-foot-1, 150-pound Archibald averaged 34.0 points and 11.4 assists per game. No other player in NBA history has those scoring and assist averages in the same season (only Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook also had 30-point, 10-assist seasons). His 34.0 points per game that season is also the highest point total for a player at that height in NBA history. -- Andrew Lopez

No. 58: Elvin Hayes

  • 1968-71 San Diego Rockets, 1971-72, 1981-84 Houston Rockets; 1972-73 Baltimore Bullets, 1973-74 Capital Bullets, 1974-81 Washington Bullets
  • 21.0 PPG, 12.5 RPG

The "Big E" made an immediate impact, averaging 28.4 points and 17.1 rebounds as a rookie in 1968-69. He would eventually win the rebounding title twice and help future teammate Wes Unseld take the Bullets to three Finals appearances, including the championship in 1978. The Bullets/Wizards haven't come close to that kind of success since. Known for his steady turnaround jumper, Hayes is Washington's all-time leading scorer and second in rebounding to Unseld. Hayes missed just nine games over 16 seasons. -- Ohm Youngmisuk

No. 57: Willis Reed

  • 1964-74 New York Knicks
  • 18.7 PPG, 12.9 RPG

The legend of Reed's performance in 1970 alone could earn him inclusion on this list. In the NBA Finals with the Knicks, Reed tore a thigh muscle that forced him to miss Game 6 of the series, but he wanted to be on the floor for Game 7. The crowd at Madison Square Garden went wild seeing Reed walk onto the floor, and although he finished with just four points and three rebounds, the Knicks won the championship. In 1970, Reed became the first player in NBA history to win MVP, All-Star Game MVP and Finals MVP in the same year. -- Collier

No. 56: James Worthy

  • 1982-94 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 17.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.1 SPG

Personifying the concept of being a star in your role, Worthy's ability to defend, run the floor and finish enabled the Showtime Lakers to be so effective playing the style they employed. While Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar get the lion's share of the credit for those teams, Worthy's 1988 NBA Finals MVP distinction tells the story of just how key he was in L.A.'s success, earning his "Big Game James" nickname for elevating his play when the games mattered most. -- McMenamin

No. 55: Earl Monroe

  • 1967-71 Baltimore Bullets; 1971-80 New York Knicks
  • 18.8 PPG, 3.9 APG

Monroe's silky smooth game earned him the moniker "Earl The Pearl" and turned him into an icon for an entire generation of players. Monroe's game had a modern flair to it, which he honed as a kid on the playgrounds in Philadelphia, and the partnership he formed with Walt Frazier in New York is still one of the best backcourt tandems in NBA history. -- Bontemps

No. 54: Pete Maravich

  • 1970-74 Atlanta Hawks; 1974-79 New Orleans Jazz; 1979-80 Utah Jazz; 1980 Boston Celtics
  • 24.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.4 APG

Famed for his record-setting scoring playing for his father at LSU, Maravich never quite reached those same heights during an NBA career cut short by injury. However, he led the league in scoring at 31.1 PPG in 1976-77 while playing for the New Orleans Jazz, earning one of his four All-NBA honors. We're also left to wonder what if Maravich had played his full career with the 3-point line, introduced during his final season. -- Pelton

No. 53: Clyde Drexler

  • 1983-95 Portland Trail Blazers; 1995-98 Houston Rockets
  • 20.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.6 APG, 2.0 SPG

"Clyde the Glide" was known for his high-flying ways, but he was also one of the more dominant rebounding guards in NBA history. Drexler's 2,615 offensive rebounds are the most by a player who primarily played guard in NBA history. Drexler is also one of four players in league history to have at least 2,000 offensive rebounds and 2,000 steals (Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone). -- Lopez

No. 52: George Gervin

  • 1976-85 San Antonio Spurs; 1985-86 Chicago Bulls;also played four ABA seasons with Virginia Squires (1972-74) and San Antonio Spurs (1973-76)
  • 26.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.8 APG

The "Iceman" epitomized cool during his career. Gervin glided his way to buckets, often with a gold chain or two dangling from his neck, winning four scoring titles en route to 20,708 points in the NBA. His famous finger rolls, a phenomenal blend of flair and function, were so memorable that Nike made them into a marketing line long after Gervin hung up his high-tops. -- Tim MacMahon

No. 51: Reggie Miller

The Pacers' legend became one of the greatest shooters in NBA history with one of the fastest releases the game has seen. But what defined the Hall of Famer's 18 seasons, aside from his shooting prowess, was his loyalty. He loved being the face of the Pacers and he loved that he played his whole career in Indianapolis. He is one of the last players of his era who didn't start ring chasing at the end of his career.-- Nick Friedell

No. 50: James Harden

  • 2009-2012 Oklahoma City Thunder; 2012-2021 Houston Rockets; 2021-2022 Brooklyn Nets; 2022 Philadelphia 76ers
  • 25.0 PPG, 6.7 APG, 5.6 RPG

Harden might be the most polarizing player of his generation. His partnerships with several co-stars have produced unpleasant breakups and no championships, and his style of play generates a lot of groans and criticism. But there's no question that Harden is at or near the top of the list of the best isolation scorers in the history of the game. He changed the game with his step-back 3 -- and the NBA changed the rules due to his foul-drawing tactics. -- MacMahon

No. 49: Nate Thurmond

  • 1963-74 San Francisco/Golden State Warriors; 1974-75 Chicago Bulls; 1975-77 Cleveland Cavaliers
  • 15.0 PPG, 15.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.1 BPG

Thurmond's career was defined in part by the defensive intensity he brought on a nightly basis. He earned respect from his peers by how hard he played and how tough it was to go against him. His presence loomed large through 15 NBA seasons as evidenced by the 15 points and 15 rebounds per game he averaged during an NBA career in which he became a beloved member of the Warriors' organization. -- Friedell

No. 48: Wes Unseld

  • 1968-73 Baltimore Bullets, 1973-74 Capital Bullets, 1974-81 Washington Bullets
  • 10.8 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 3.9 APG

No player rebounded in the paint as well as the sturdily-built Unseld. Using his strength, Unseld averaged 13.8 points and 18.2 rebounds as a rookie for the Bullets, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players to ever win Rookie of the Year and MVP in one season. Unseld is the greatest Bullet of all time, played the most games (984) in franchise history and was seventh all time in rebounding when he retired. But Unseld wasn't just all muscle; he was one of the best outlet passers the NBA has seen. He remains a legend in the D.C. area for delivering the franchise's only NBA championship. -- Youngmisuk

No. 47: Ray Allen

  • 1996-2003 Milwaukee Bucks, 2003-07 Seattle SuperSonics; 2007-12 Boston Celtics; 2012-14 Miami Heat
  • 18.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.3 3PG

Before Stephen Curry came along and broke his all-time 3-point record, Allen was regarded as the smoothest shooting player of all time. What set Allen apart wasn't just his dominance from the outside, it was the work ethic that helped achieve that level of basketball greatness. Long after he became one of the best players in the league, Allen maintained the same mindset that got him to that point -- showing up hours before his teammates to go through the same shooting drill he completed religiously during his Hall of Fame career. -- Friedell

No. 46: Jerry Lucas

  • 1963-69 Cincinnati Royals; 1969-71 San Francisco Warriors; 1971-74 New York Knicks
  • 17.0 PPG, 15.6 RPG, 3.3 APG

Lucas averaged 15.6 rebounds a game during his illustrious career -- while shooting 49.9% from the field -- but what seemed to set Lucas apart was his brain. Nicknamed "Dr. Memory,"Lucas used his mind and his recall of opponents' tendencies to augment all of his physical skills on the floor. -- Friedell

No. 45: Bob McAdoo

  • 1972-76 Buffalo Braves; 1976-79 New York Knicks; 1979 Boston Celtics; 1979-81 Detroit Pistons; 1981 New Jersey Nets; 1981-85 Los Angeles Lakers; 1986 Philadelphia 76ers
  • 22.1 PPG, 9.4 RPG

It didn't take long for McAdoo to start dominating, getting off to one of the best individual starts an NBA scorer can have. From his second to fourth season, McAdoo won three straight scoring titles, averaging 30.6 points, 34.5 points and 31.1 points, respectively, during that span. He had a Rookie of the Year and MVP trophy by his fourth season. McAdoo would finally win two championships as a role player with the Lakers. -- Youngmisuk

No. 44: Bill Walton

  • 1974-79 Portland Trail Blazers; 1979-84 San Diego Clippers, 1984-85 LA Clippers; 1985-87 Boston Celtics
  • 13.3 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 3.4 APG, 2.2 BPG

Every time we talk about the role of health in winning MVP, we're forced to caveat Walton's 1977-78 season, when he won the award playing just 58 games. At the time Walton went down with a broken foot in February, the defending champs were 50-10 behind their center's rim protection and legendary playmaking. Sadly, Walton was never the same dominant force, though he returned to contribute to the 1985-86 Celtics title, winning the Sixth Man award. -- Pelton

No. 43: Jason Kidd

  • 1994-96, 2008-12 Dallas Mavericks; 1996-2001 Phoenix Suns; 2001-08 New Jersey Nets; 2012-13 New York Knicks
  • 12.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 8.7 APG, 1.9 SPG

Kidd managed to be a dominant force for almost two decades without ever scoring like a star, finishing his career second all time in both assists and steals. He was mocked as "Ason" early in his career, when he lacked a jump shot. He developed into a very good spot-up shooter after his skills waned in his twilight, one reason he fit so well with Dirk Nowitzki as the leaders of the Mavs' championship team. -- MacMahon

No. 42: Gary Payton

  • 1990-2003 Seattle SuperSonics; 2003 Milwaukee Bucks; 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers; 2004-05 Boston Celtics; 2005-07 Miami Heat
  • 16.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.8 SPG

Remembered as one of the NBA's greatest defenders in the backcourt, "the Glove" teamed up with Shawn Kemp to lead the brash, young Sonics to five consecutive seasons of 55+ wins. In 1995-96, the season Payton became the most recent guard to win Defensive Player of the Year, Seattle pushed the 72-10 Bulls to six games in the NBA Finals. Payton would make nine consecutive All-Defensive First Teams and finished fourth in career steals. -- Pelton

No. 41: Walt Frazier

  • 1967-77 New York Knicks; 1977-79 Cleveland Cavaliers
  • 18.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 6.1 APG

Known as much for his inimitable style off the court as his play on it, Frazier became the face of the Knicks' iconic championship teams in the 1970s, thanks to his long post-playing career with the franchise. But he also was a dynamic two-way player, who in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals -- remembered for Willis Reed playing on an injured leg -- had 36 points and 19 assists in one of the greatest performances of all time to lead the Knicks to their first title. -- Bontemps

No. 40: Patrick Ewing

  • 1985-2000 New York Knicks; 2000-01 Seattle SuperSonics; 2001-02 Orlando Magic
  • 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.4 BPG

This Knicks big man endeared himself to generations of New Yorkers because of his ability to perform and produce under the brightest of spotlights. While the Knicks never won a title during his career, they won a lot of games because Ewing delivered game after game and season after season for a rabid fan base that appreciated how the Georgetown great brought the storied franchise back to life in the 1980s and 90s. -- Friedell

No. 39: Kevin McHale

  • 1980-93 Boston Celtics
  • 17.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 BPG

This Celtics' legend is regarded as one of the most creative post players in history. McHale always seemed to find a way to make a play on the blocks and helped lead the storied Larry Bird-led teams with a toughness that defined his career. McHale's ability to play through pain and injury made him one of the most beloved Celtics players of all time. -- Friedell

No. 38: Rick Barry

  • 1965-67 San Francisco Warriors; 1972-78 Golden State Warriors; 1978-80 Houston Rockets;also played four ABA seasons with Oakland Oaks (1968-69), Washington Capitols (1969-70) and New York Nets (1970-72)
  • 23.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.1 APG

Barry was an eight-time NBA All-Star, six-time All-NBA selection, an NBA champion and a scoring champion, but he might be best known for a move that has never been replicated in the league. His signature, yet funky, underhand free throw routine caught people's attention, but it was also nearly automatic. Barry drained 90% of his NBA free throws, fourth best all time.-- Andrews

No. 37: Steve Nash

  • 1996-98, 2004-12 Phoenix Suns; 1998-2004 Dallas Mavericks; 2012-14 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 14.3 PPG, 8.5 APG; 42.8 3P%

Nash pushed the pace -- and the NBA into the modern era of up-tempo play -- and it's sort of a shame he didn't play in this generation. He was the ultimate pass-first point guard -- winning five assists titles, including both of his MVP seasons -- who also possessed one of the game's purest jump shots. Nash, a career 42.8% 3-point shooter, admits he wonders what could have been if he had the shot-hunting mentality of some of today's elite point guards. -- MacMahon

No. 36: Dominique Wilkins

  • 1982-94 Atlanta Hawks; 1994 LA Clippers; 1994-95 Boston Celtics; 1996-97 San Antonio Spurs; 1999 Orlando Magic
  • 24.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.3 SPG

It doesn't get more elite than Wilkins' dunking skills. The man they call "The Human Highlight Film" was one of the greatest dunkers of all time. He won the dunk contest in 1985 and 1990 (and maybe 1988 if you ask a few people) and participated in five contests overall. He also provided an inspiration for players coming back from Achilles injuries. After rupturing his in January 1992, Wilkins was ready for the following year and averaged 29.9 points. -- Lopez

No. 35: Bob Pettit

  • 1954-55 Milwaukee Hawks, 1955-65 St. Louis Hawks
  • 26.4 PPG, 16.2 RPG, 3.0 APG

Pettit was the first player in NBA history to reach 20,000 points and was a dominant force throughout his 11 seasons. Pettit was named to the All-NBA first team in each of his first 10 seasons and was an All-NBA second-team selection in his final year. After averaging 20.4 points as a rookie, he didn't average fewer than 22.5 points in any season. He also averaged at least 12.4 rebounds in every season. -- Lopez

No. 34: Bob Cousy

  • 1950-63 Boston Celtics; 1969-70 Cincinnati Royals
  • 18.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 7.5 APG

Cousy helped define the point guard position with his terrific passing skills. He led the league in assists for a record eight consecutive seasons; his flair and playmaking helped usher in a new era of the sport after the shot clock was instituted in the mid-1950s. He would go on to win six championships with the Celtics, was a 12-time All-NBA selection and a 13-time All-Star. -- Bontemps

No. 33: Kawhi Leonard

  • 2011-2018 San Antonio Spurs; 2018-2019 Toronto Raptors; 2019-22 LA Clippers
  • 19.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.8 SPG

With some of the biggest hands the NBA has ever seen, Leonard has hauled in two NBA championship rings, two Finals MVP trophies (he's the second-youngest to ever win one) and two Defensive Player of the Year awards. And he's not done. Perhaps the greatest two-way player of his generation, Leonard dissects defenses with robotic midrange precision while disrupting offenses with his long arms and physical defense. A man of few words, Leonard's legacy speaks volumes already for helping deliver the first NBA championship to Canada.-- Youngmisuk

No. 32: Scottie Pippen

  • 1987-98, 2003-04 Chicago Bulls; 1999 Houston Rockets; 1999-2003 Portland Trail Blazers
  • 16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.2 APG, 2.0 SPG

Pippen carved out a career for himself with unbelievable consistency on both ends of the floor. Pippen grew into his offensive game over the years, but his defensive tenacity was always highly regarded by his teammates and coaches. Aside from his play on the floor, Pippen is routinely brought up as one of his former teammates' favorite people to play with. Players trusted Pippen and they always understood he was a more complete player than he was given credit for because he played in Michael Jordan's gigantic shadow throughout their time in Chicago. -- Friedell

No. 31: Allen Iverson

  • 1996-2006, 2009-10 Philadelphia 76ers; 2006-08 Denver Nuggets; 2008-09 Detroit Pistons; 2009 Memphis Grizzlies
  • 26.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.2 APG, 2.2 SPG

A cultural icon as much as he was a basketball player, Iverson inspired a generation of prospects who followed him in sharing their true, authentic self -- rather than an airbrushed corporate image -- once they made it to the big time. While AI first made a splash with his crossover dribble, his game came to be defined for the grit and tenacity he showed as a 6-foot, 165-pound guard putting his body on the line among giants. -- McMenamin

No. 30: Dwyane Wade

  • 2003-16, 2018-19 Miami Heat; 2016-17 Chicago Bulls; 2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers
  • 22.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.5 SPG

The greatest player in Heat history, Wade did it all with flair, toughness and clutch play. If there's no D-Wade in Miami, there aren't three championship banners hanging just off Biscayne Bay Boulevard. Without Wade, there's probably no Shaq, no LeBron and no Heatles in South Beach. Wade gave Heat Culture its championship pedigree while earning a Finals MVP and leading the league in scoring (2008-09 when he averaged 30.2 points per game). Wade always played bigger than his 6-foot-4 height, blocking more shots than any guard in history, playoffs included. -- Youngmisuk

No. 29: Chris Paul

  • 2005-2011 New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets; 2011-2017 Los Angeles Clippers; 2017-2019 Houston Rockets; 2019-2020 Oklahoma City Thunder; 2020-22 Phoenix Suns
  • 18.2 PPG, 9.5 APG, 4.5 RPG, 2.1 SPG

Still going strong in his 17th season, Paul became the first player in NBA history to reach 20,000 career points and 10,000 career assists. He's also fifth all-time in steals (2,440) and could pass Michael Jordan for third place (2,514) next season. Paul also holds the NBA record for consecutive games with a steal (108), a streak that took part over three seasons (April 13, 2007, to Dec. 23, 2008). -- Lopez

No. 28: George Mikan

  • 1948-49 (BAA), 1949-54, 1956 Minneapolis Lakers
  • 23.1 PPG, 13.4 RPG, 2.8 APG

The NBA's first giant, Mikan was an NBA pioneer. He ushered in the era of dominant big men. The 6-foot-10 Mikan was so imposing inside, the league had to widen the lane from 6 to 12 feet, aka the "Mikan rule." With his hook shot, Mikan led the league in scoring in his first three seasons. The first in a long lineage of dominant Lakers big men, Mikan won five championships and was an ambassador for the game. -- Youngmisuk

No. 27: Isiah Thomas

  • 1981-94 Detroit Pistons
  • 19.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 9.3 APG, 1.9 SPG

One of the NBA's greatest point guards and one of the leaders of the "Bad Boy" Pistons, Thomas was one of the best players of the 1980s. He was an All-Star in his first season in the league, which began a year of 12 straight appearances. He played his entire career in Detroit and won back-to-back championships in 1989 and '90, winning Finals MVP in 1990. -- Collier

No. 26: John Havlicek

  • 1962-78 Boston Celtics
  • 20.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.2 SPG

Havlicek, who won eight championships during his legendary career with the Celtics, was one of the first players to popularize the role of sixth man. He also was one of the most complete players ever, capable of playing several different positions as well as being an outstanding two-way player. -- Bontemps

No. 25: David Robinson

  • 1989-2003 San Antonio Spurs
  • 21.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 3.0 BPG

The Admiral was a defensive force who owns one of just four quadruple-doubles in NBA history, when he had 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 blocks against the Pistons on Feb. 17, 1994. It remains the only 30-point quadruple double in NBA history. His 71-point effort in the regular-season finale in 1994 to win the scoring title trails only Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant and David Thompson in all-time single-game scoring efforts. -- Lopez

No. 24: John Stockton

  • 1984-2003 Utah Jazz
  • 13.1 PPG, 10.5 APG, 2.2 SPG

There was nothing flashy about Stockton, from his short shorts to his sound fundamentals. He missed a total of 22 games in 19 seasons, all with the Jazz, and set career assists and steals records that seem to be unbreakable. The Jazz's arena sits at the intersection of Stockton and Malone, honoring the duo that's practically synonymous with the pick-and-roll. -- MacMahon

No. 23: Karl Malone

  • 1985-2003 Utah Jazz; 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 25.0 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.4 SPG

"The Mailman" is the most decorated ringless player in NBA history, earning 14 All-Star nods and two MVPs and ranking as the second all-time leading scorer with 36,928 career points. But Malone had the misfortune of matching up with Michael Jordan's Bulls in both of his NBA Finals appearances. -- MacMahon

No. 22: Charles Barkley

  • 1984-92 Philadelphia 76ers; 1992-96 Phoenix Suns; 1996-2000 Houston Rockets
  • 22.1 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.5 SPG

Despite being listed at 6-foot-6 his entire career, and eventually admitting he was shorter, Barkley was a rebounding machine. They didn't call him the "Round Mound of Rebound" for nothing, right? When he averaged 14.6 rebounds in 1986-87, he became the shortest rebounding champion in NBA history in the shot-clock era (since 1954-55). -- Lopez

No. 21: Kevin Garnett

  • 1995-2007, 2015-16 Minnesota Timberwolves; 2007-13 Boston Celtics; 2013-15 Brooklyn Nets
  • 17.8 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.4 BPG

Garnett was the first high school player to go straight to the pros in more than two decades when he was drafted fifth overall by the Timberwolves in 1995, opening the doors for the prep-to-pro pipeline that ensued. And once in the NBA, Garnett helped modernize the way big men play the game. He played like a swingman, shooting midrange shots and becoming just one of three players in NBA history to have at least 20,000 career points, 10,000 career rebounds and 5,000 career assists. Garnett played with legendary passion and a gift of trash talk that rivaled the greatest in the game. -- Youngmisuk

No. 20: Elgin Baylor

  • 1958-60 Minneapolis Lakers, 1960-72 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 27.4 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 4.3 APG

Before the slam dunk became synonymous with the sport, Baylor -- a smooth, 6-foot-5 forward with a knack for scoring -- made a habit of breathing the rare air above the rim. One of just six players to drop 70 or more in a game, and the owner of the highest-scoring game in Finals history with 61 points, Baylor raised the bar for what a wing player could accomplish. -- McMenamin

No. 19: Jerry West

  • 1960-74 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 27.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.7 APG

When you are the logo of the NBA, it means you have done something special in your career. But West really did do everything: He was named an All-Star in all 14 seasons he played, has five All-Defensive team honors, a scoring title and an NBA championship (1972). In 1969, he became the only player in NBA history to win Finals MVP on a losing team. West is also the definition of being loyal to a franchise, working with the Lakers as a player, coach and front-office member. -- Andrews

No. 18: Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • 2013-22 Milwaukee Bucks
  • 21.6 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 4.6 APG, 1.3 BPG

A relative unknown as an 18-year-old from Greece on draft night in 2013, Antetokounmpo has transformed into one of the most dominant players of his generation. Consider the hardware he has collected since entering the league: MVP (twice), Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player and Finals MVP. It's clear why he is part of this list at age 27. -- Collier

No. 17: Dirk Nowitzki

  • 1998-2019 Dallas Mavericks
  • 20.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.3 3PG

Nowitzki revolutionized the game as a 7-foot shooter and shattered the "soft Euro" stereotype. He delivered the 2011 title to Dallas as the lone All-Star for the Mavs, who defeated the Heat's superteam in the Finals, avenging a loss in 2006. Nowitzki spent his entire 21-year career in Dallas, setting a record for length of a tenure with one franchise, and is the highest-scoring international player in NBA history. -- MacMahon

No. 16: Stephen Curry

  • 2009-22 Golden State Warriors
  • 24.3 PPG, 6.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 42.8 3FG%

Before Dec. 14, Curry was hesitant to call himself the greatest shooter of all time despite having changed the game of basketball. But now that he has that record, he's fine with that title. Not only has Curry hit 3,083 3s (and counting), he broke Ray Allen's record in nearly 500 fewer games. By the time he hangs up his jersey, he will have obliterated the record. -- Andrews

No. 15: Moses Malone

  • 1976 Buffalo Braves; 1976-82 Houston Rockets; 1982-86, 1993-94 Philadelphia 76ers; 1986-88 Washington Bullets; 1988-91 Atlanta Hawks; 1991-93 Milwaukee Bucks; 1994-95 San Antonio Spurs;also played two ABA seasons with Utah Stars (1974-75) and Spirits of St. Louis (1975-76)
  • 20.6 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 1.3 BPG

Malone's stellar career included a feat that he, and he alone, has accomplished: winning back-to-back MVPs with two different teams. He won with the Rockets in 1982 and then was traded to the 76ers where he won the MVP, the championship and the Finals MVP in 1983. -- McMenamin

No. 14: Julius Erving

  • 1976-87 Philadelphia 76ers;also played five ABA seasons with Virginia Squires (1971-73) and New York Nets (1973-76)
  • 22.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.9 APG

Dr. J took dunking from something big men did around the basket and turned it into an art form. He threw down some of the most memorable dunks in NBA history, but one of the plays he's remembered for most is a layup. In the 1980 Finals, his reverse baseline scoop layup against the Lakers became a staple of highlight reels. -- Lopez

No. 13: Hakeem Olajuwon

  • 1984-2001 Houston Rockets; 2001-02 Toronto Raptors
  • 21.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 3.1 BPG

"The Dream" is perhaps the most skilled and polished post scorer to call for the ball on the block. His footwork was phenomenal -- many players since have gone to him in the offseasons to learn -- and Olajuwon also had strength, athleticism and touch. He was arguably even more dominant as a defender, twice winning Defensive Player of the Year and setting a record for blocks in a career that might never be challenged. -- MacMahon

No. 12: Kevin Durant

  • 2007-08 Seattle SuperSonics, 2008-16 Oklahoma City Thunder; 2016-19 Golden State Warriors; 2019-22 Brooklyn Nets
  • 27.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.1 BPG

Durant's move to the Warriors in 2016 dramatically shifted the league's balance of power. Adding the former MVP to a team that had gone 73-9 the year before created arguably the greatest team in NBA history, with Durant shining brightest against LeBron James in the NBA Finals to win Finals MVP back-to-back years. After an Achilles injury ended his third Finals run with Golden State, Durant has come back as good as ever in Brooklyn. -- Pelton

No. 11: Shaquille O'Neal

  • 1992-96 Orlando Magic; 1996-2004 Los Angeles Lakers; 2004-08 Miami Heat; 2008-09 Phoenix Suns; 2009-10 Cleveland Cavaliers; 2010-11 Boston Celtics
  • 23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.3 BPG

When Shaq arrived on the scene with the Magic in 1992, the league had never seen a center move up and down the floor with the strength and speed that O'Neal possessed. He became the face of a generation of big men and was dominant down low as he helped push the Lakers to three straight NBA titles from 2000 to 2002. His mobility and physicality changed the expectations for modern-day big men. -- Friedell

No. 10: Kobe Bryant

  • 1996-2016 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.4 3s PG

Known for his unyielding work ethic and full-fledged commitment to master his craft above all else, Bryant and his "Mamba Mentality" set the standard for scores of players hoping to make a mark on the game. From the five championships to the 81 points against the Raptors and the 60-piece in his sendoff, few to lace them up have had more legendary careers than Bryant. -- McMenamin

No. 9: Oscar Robertson

  • 1960-70 Cincinnati Royals; 1970-74 Milwaukee Bucks
  • 25.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 9.5 APG

The "Big O" was the player who originally defined the triple-double. Robertson filled up stat sheets as a 6-foot-5 point guard, a model many of the stars of the current NBA have adopted. Robertson averaged a triple-double for an entire season in 1961-62 and finished with what was then a record number of career triple-doubles, performances that would not be matched until Westbrook's recent peak. -- Collier

No. 8: Tim Duncan

  • 1997-2016 San Antonio Spurs
  • 19.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.2 BPG

Duncan dominated for a generation while rarely showing any emotion, aside from shock when he was whistled for a foul. He was, to put it simply, a winner. Duncan won five championships over three decades, earning Finals MVP three times. He played in 1,158 victories, including the playoffs, more than anyone in NBA history other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Spurs had a winning record and made the playoffs in every single season of Duncan's 18-year career. -- MacMahon

No. 7: Larry Bird

  • 1979-92 Boston Celtics
  • 24.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG

The combination of Bird and Magic Johnson arriving in the NBA in the 1980s helped usher in the league's golden age, kicking off a new round of battles between the Celtics and Lakers, while Bird's all-around offensive prowess made him one of the game's all-time great players. -- Bontemps

No. 6: Bill Russell

  • 1956-69 Boston Celtics
  • 15.1 PPG, 22.5 RPG, 4.3 APG

Russell was one of the greatest defenders -- if not the greatest -- of all time. He was one of the best rebounders in NBA history (second in total rebounds and second in career rebounding average behind only Wilt Chamberlain). He was a five-time MVP, including winning three in a row from 1960 to '62. His 11 NBA championships stand alone as the most for a player all time. In 2009, then-NBA commissioner David Stern announced the Finals MVP award would be named after Russell. -- Lopez

No. 5: Wilt Chamberlain

  • 1959-62 Philadelphia Warriors, 1962-65 San Francisco Warriors; 1965-68 Philadelphia 76ers; 1968-73 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 30.1 PPG, 22.9 RPG, 4.4 APG

There are very few players who hold a record that will most likely never be broken. Chamberlain is one of them, amassing 100 points in a single game on March 2, 1962, against the Knicks. In fact, "Wilt the Stilt" has six of the highest 11 single-game point totals in NBA history and seven scoring titles, including a mythical 50.4 PPG in 1961-62.-- Andrews

No. 4: Magic Johnson

  • 1979-91, 1996 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 11.2 APG, 1.9 SPG

Adding Magic, the top pick of the 1979 draft, catalyzed the Lakers' dynasty. Johnson helped the team to a championship as a rookie, filling in for the injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the clinching win. Behind Magic's unparalleled playmaking at 6-foot-9, the Lakers won four more titles, eclipsing the rival Celtics in the decade as Johnson won both MVP and Finals MVP three times before an HIV diagnosis forced him to (mostly) retire at age 32. -- Pelton

No. 3: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

  • 1969-75 Milwaukee Bucks; 1975-89 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 24.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.6 APG

Before MJ and LeBron, Kareem ruled basketball. His résumé stands the test of time with six championships, six MVPs, two Finals MVPs, the scoring record and 15 All-NBA selections. His skyhook was an unstoppable weapon, becoming one of the most iconic shots the game has ever seen. But his legacy is so much more than just basketball. Off the court, Kareem has stood taller than his imposing stature, fighting for racial and religious equality. -- Youngmisuk

No. 2: LeBron James

  • 2003-10, 2014-18 Cleveland Cavaliers; 2010-14 Miami Heat; 2018-22 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 27.1 PPG, 7.4 APG, 7.5 RPG, 1.6 SPG

Long before player empowerment entered the vernacular, James blazed a path to have his endorsements become partnerships, his status as a player become that of a stakeholder, his public persona to include an element of social activism. While James' individual accomplishments will put his career near the very top of all to have ever played the sport, the blueprint he created will give others a chance to maximize their experience as a professional athlete. -- McMenamin

No. 1: Michael Jordan

  • 1984-93, 1995-98 Chicago Bulls; 2001-03 Washington Wizards
  • 30.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 2.3 SPG

The rings. The MVPs. The scoring titles. The shoes. The GOAT.

Jordan is widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time -- he changed so many different facets of the league -- but maybe most of all, he showed players they could grow themselves into a global brand on and off the floor with stellar play and the right marketing machine behind it all. Jordan revolutionized the way players could expand their corporate portfolios -- and dominate well after their playing careers end. Oh yeah: Along the way, he was a six-time NBA Finals champ, six-time NBA Finals MVP, five-time NBA MVP and 14-time NBA All-Star.-- Friedell