Top 10 NBA Centers of All-Time


10. Dave Cowens

Although Dave Cowens only played eleven seasons in the NBA his stats and achievements have kept his legacy alive and made him one of the All-Time greats. He was extremely consistent statistically and in the 1972-1973 season, he was good enough to win the NBA MVP award by playing all eighty-two games for the Boston Celtics and averaging 20.5 PPG (Career high) 16.2 RPG (Career high) and 4.1 APG.

Career averages: 17.6 PPG 13.6 RPG 3.8 APG and 1.1 SPG

Accomplishments: 2x NBA Champion, NBA MVP, 7x NBA All-Star, and NBA All-Star Game MVP.

9. Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing was drafted first overall in 1985 and lived up to his expectations as he won the rookie of the year award and eventually became the greatest New York Knick of All-Time, as well as one of the greatest centers to ever play. Ewing never won a NBA Championship but he was apart of a few great Finals series including the 1994 Finals where the Knicks lost in seven games against the Houston Rockets, and Patrick Ewing battled another great center in Hakeem Olajuwon.

Career Averages: 21.0 PPG 9.8 RPG 2.4 BPG 1.9 APG and 1.0 SPG

Accomplishments: 11x NBA All-Star, All-NBA First Team member, New York Knicks All-Time leading scorer, and has his #33 jersey retired by the Knicks.

8. Elvin Hayes

We have seen great rookies, like the previously mentioned Patrick Ewing, but we have never seen a young talent quite like Elvin Hayes. Hayes was drafted first overall by the San Diego Rockets (Now Houston Rockets) and in his first season he was the Scoring Champion. The next season he continued his amazing career start by averaging more rebounds than anyone else in the league…including Wilt Chamberlin. Elvin Hayes is now fourth All-Time on the NBA rebounds list, and ninth All-Time on the NBA scoring list.

Career Averages: 21.0 PPG 12.5 RPG 1.8 APG and 2.0 BPG

Accomplishments: NBA Champion, 12x NBA All-Star, 3x All-NBA First Team member, NBA scoring champion, 2x NBA rebounding leader, and the Washington Wizards All-Time leading scorer.

7. David Robinson

David Robinson is one of the most underrated individual performers in NBA history. On February 17th 1994 David Robinson tallied one of the only quadruple-doubles in NBA history against the Detroit Pistons with 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 blocks. He had another outstanding game on April 24th 1994 where he was trailing Shaquille O’Neal by 33 points to win the NBA Scoring Title. During that game Robinson scored an astonishing 71 points and won the Scoring title in the very last game of the season (Calvillo). But even with such amazing games David Robinson is more than just his statistics, because he has achieved almost everything imaginable for a NBA center.

Career Averages: 21.1 PPG 10.6 RPG 3.0 BPG 2.5 APG and 1.4 SPG

Accomplishments: 2x NBA Champion, NBA MVP, 10x NBA All-Star, 10x All-NBA Team member, NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 8x All-Defensive Team member, NBA Rookie of the Year, NBA scoring champion, NBA blocks leader, NBA rebounding leader, and has his #50 jersey retired by the San Antonio Spurs.

6. Moses Malone

Moses Malone played two ABA seasons then went to the NBA after the 1976 merger where he played nineteen seasons and played in three different decades. Malone was always a dominate, and consistent offensive force but he was more impressive in the rebounding statistic. Malone is a 6x NBA rebounding leader and averaged more than five offensive rebounds throughout his long career. Malone simply was a statistical powerhouse who also received more than his fair share of achievements.

Career Averages: 20.3 PPG 12.3 RPG 1.3 BPG and 1.3 APG

Accomplishments: NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP, 3x NBA MVP, 12x NBA All-Star, 6x NBA rebounding leader.

5. Hakeem Olajuwon

One of the most talented post players in NBA history. He has several post moves, some that would leave defenders confused, and his defense was unbelievable as he is the All-Time leader in blocked shots. The years that Michael Jordan left, due to retirement (1994-1995), Hakeem Olajuwon was the best player in the league and found nothing but success. To this day Olajuwon is the only player in NBA history to win the NBA Championship, NBA MVP, NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, and Finals MVP all in the same season.

Career Averages: 21.8 PPG 11.1 RPG 3.1 BPG and 2.5 APG

Accomplishments: 2x NBA Champion, 2x NBA Finals MVP, NBA MVP, 12x NBA All-Star, 12x All-NBA Team member, 2x NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 9x All-Defensive Team member, 2x NBA rebounding leader, 3x NBA blocks leader, Houston Rocket’s All-Time leading scorer, and the All-Time leader in blocks.

4. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal is without a doubt the most physically dominate athlete in NBA history. His sheer size and height allowed him to dunk at will, and score with ease and that is shown with his career average of 58% shooting (Fourth highest career average). In 2000 Shaquille was playing the best basketball of his career as he averaged 29.7 PPG 13.6 RPG 3.8 APG and 3.0 BPG and won the NBA MVP, NBA Championship, NBA Finals MVP, All-Star Game starting spot, and the All-Star game MVP. It is outrageous that O’Neal did not win more MVP awards because he was dominate throughout his entire 19 season career.

Career Averages: 23.7 PPG 10.9 RPG 2.5 APG and 2.3 BPG

Accomplishments: 4x NBA Champion, 3x NBA Finals MVP, NBA MVP, 15x NBA All-Star, 3x NBA All-Star Game MVP, 14x All-NBA Team member, 2x NBA scoring champion, and NBA Rookie of the Year.

3. Bill Russell

Bill Russell was a decent scorer, an outstanding rebounder, and an impressive defender. But Russell’s impact on the NBA is not mainly caused by his statistics like others on this list. Bill Russell is one of the greatest centers of All-Time because he made the Boston Celtics franchise what it is today by leading them to a record 11 NBA Championships. NBA Championships is a team accomplishment. But when one man wins eleven of them it is obvious he is an outstanding talent.

Career Averages: 15.1 PPG 22.5 RPG and 4.3 APG (Blocks were not recorded yet)

Accomplishments: 11x NBA Champion, 5x NBA MVP, 12x NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, 11x All-NBA Team member, and 4x NBA rebounding leader.

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has played a record twenty seasons in the NBA (Tied with Kobe Bryant). During his career Kareem was unstoppable, especially his post sky hook. Kareem has more points with the sky hook than any player has with any move, including Dirk Nowitzki and his post fade. Kareem played for the Milwaukee Bucks and the L.A. Lakers and helped lead both of them to NBA championships. Kareem is arguably the best combination of dominance and success.

Career Averages: 24.6 PPG 11.2 RPG 3.6 APG and 2.6 BPG

Accomplishments: 6x NBA Champion, 2x NBA Finals MVP, 6x NBA MVP, 19x NBA All-Star, 15X All-NBA Team member, 11x NBA All-Defensive Team member, NBA Rookie of the Year, 2x NBA scoring champion, 4x NBA blocks leader, NBA rebounding leader, Milwaukee Bucks All-Time leading scorer, NBA All-Time leading scorer, and even a 2x NBA Champion as an assistant coach.

1.  Wilt Chamberlain

There has never been, and never will be, a NBA player like Wilt Chamberlin. Wilt Chamberlin is undoubtedly the biggest statistical force in NBA history. In Wilt’s first seven seasons he lead the league in scoring and in eleven of his fourteen seasons lead the league in rebounds. Wilt has the four highest points per game averages in a season (Highest being 50.4 PPG)  and the three highest rebounds per game in a season (Highest being 27.2 RPG). Wilt Chamberlin is the All-Time leader in rebounds and second All-Time in points by centers, only behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Even if you compared Wilt Chamberlin to every other player in history combined he would size up quite well.

Wilt Chamberlin’s highest season average of each stat vs everyone else’s in history (Blocks and steals not recorded).

Wilt Chamberlin                                                                       Everyone Else

50.4 PPG                                                                       37.1 PPG (Michael Jordan)

  27.2 RPG                                                                       24.7 RPG (Bil Russell)

  8.6 APG                                                                        14.5 APG (John Stockton)

Wilt Chamberlin’s unfathomable statistics easily makes him the greatest center in NBA history.

Career Averages: 30.1 PPG 22.9 RPG and 4.4 APG

Accomplishments: 2x NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP, 4x NBA MVP (Should be plenty more), 13x NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, 10x All-NBA Team member, 2x All-Defensive First Team member, 7x NBA scoring Champion, 11x NBA rebounds leader, NBA assists leader, NBA All-Time rebounds leader, #13 jersey retired by Lakers, Warriors, and 76ers, the All-Time leading scorer for the Warriors and 76ers, and second on the All-Time scoring list.

About Emanuel Godina

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