Basketball Legends

Basketball Legends

Rankings of the most significant, most successful, and most talented are always subjective. Basketball is no exception. In the more than 125-year history of basketball, hundreds of legendary players have stepped onto the floor. 

Here's our list of the greatest basketball players to ever end their careers, considering their record on the court and their accomplishments in public life, favorite hobbies, such as online casino, the movie industry, and even their fight for human rights.

Among the legends of basketball:

  • Michael Jordan;

  • Kobe Bryant;

  • Shaquille O'Neill and others

    Oscar Schmidt

    Oscar Daniel Bezerra Schmidt is a Brazilian basketball player who is the world record holder for points scored. Schmidt tallied 49,703 points during his career at the club level and on the Brazilian national team. By comparison, NBA record holder Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has 387.

    Oscar Schmidt is also the only player to score more than 1,000 points in the Olympics. The Brazilian took part in 5 consecutive games but failed to lead his team to medals. His best result was 5th place.

    Sergey Belov

    Olympic champion, two-time world champion, four-time European champion, Universiade champion, two-time winner of the European Champions Cup (now the Euroleague). It is only the list of the main achievements of Soviet and European basketball legend Sergey Belov.

    In 1991 the International Basketball Federation named Sergey Alexandrovich the best player among all basketball players who played for their national teams (without taking the NBA). Eventually, even the National Basketball Association honored Belov by inducting him into its Hall of Fame. Sergey Alexandrovich was the first non-American to be so honored.

    Jerry West

    Jerry West became a champion only once in his 14-year NBA career. He does not have a season MVP title or Rookie of the Year honors. Still, West is an iconic figure for the NBA. The Association's modern emblem, the player leading the ball, was unveiled in late 1969. 

    Jerry West is the first recipient of the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player title. In doing so, West is the only one in the award's history to receive it as a member of the losing team. He is also a member of the 27+ club. Only West, Jordan, Baylor, and Chamberlain averaged 27 or more points per game among basketball players who finished their careers.

    Kobe Bryant

    Kobe Bryant has won 5 championship rings, the NBA MVP title, 2 Olympic gold medals, and has made 18 All-Star Game appearances. Bryant is undeniably one of the best offensive guards in NBA history, coming as close to Michael Jordan's icon as anyone.

    In addition to numerous accolades, Kobe has approached unblemished records throughout his career. Currently, Bryant is the fourth-highest scoring player in NBA history (33,643 points). He also has the second-highest single-game scoring output with 81 points against Toronto in 2006.

    Even after his career ended, Bryant continued to collect basketball-related awards. In 2018, his film "Dear Basketball" took home an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short Film. Coby served as producer and screenwriter during the film's production.

    Tragically, on January 26, 2020, Bryant was killed in a plane crash. Kobe's helicopter crashed near Los Angeles. At the collision, eight other people died in the crash, including his daughter Jeanne Maria, 13 years old.

    Oscar Robertson

    Oscar Robertson is Mr. Triple-Double. His record (181) is that Russell Westbrook is seeking to break. Westbrook was traded from Oklahoma to Houston in the new season, where he will have to share the ball with James Harden. So there's a good chance Robertson's record holds up. Westbrook currently has 138 triple-doubles under his belt.

    In addition to terrific stats (25.7 points - 7.5 rebounds - 9.5 assists per career average), Robertson has a ton of different awards and even inventions to his credit. For example, he's credited with the "fake swing" and "guided dunk" techniques, which are widely adopted by all basketball players worldwide.

    John Stockton and Karl Malone

    John Stockton is arguably the best point guard in world basketball history. Who would have thought a short (185cm) white man would become the NBA's all-time leader in assists (15,806) and steals (3,265). Most of Stockton's assists went to longtime teammate Karl Malone, with whom the two played 1,412 games side by side, setting an NBA record.

    Karl Malone is widely regarded as one of the NBA's best rugged forwards. In 19 seasons, Malone scored 36,928 points (second all-time) and was twice named regular-season MVP. He was nicknamed the Postman for his efficiency, speed, and accuracy.

    Stockton and Malone were among the most potent duos in Association history, but they never won a championship ring. With the Utah Jazz, they reached the NBA Finals twice, where they lost twice to Chicago, led by Michael Jordan.

    Wilt Chamberlain

    To understand the greatness of Wilt Chamberlain, suffice it to say that he is the only player in NBA history whose number has been removed from circulation on three teams at once - the Lakers, Philadelphia, and Golden State.

    Chamberlain played for each of those clubs, posting incredible numbers throughout his career: 30.1 points - 22.9 rebounds - 4.4 assists per game average. In addition, he has two Association championships with the Philadelphia Phillies and Lakers and has been named NBA MVP four times. He also owns two records: 100 points per game and 23,924 career rebounds.

    Michael Jordan

    Michael Jordan is undoubtedly worthy of the top spot on this list. He has won six NBA championships with Chicago, and he has been named Finals MVP every season. In addition, Jordan is a five-time Most Valuable Player in the NBA regular season and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. He also won the overhead shot contest twice, NBA Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie. So it's hard to name a title that wouldn't be in his collection.

    No doubt Jordan would have been the most prolific player in NBA history, but he ended his career several times and returned, thus spending only 15 partial seasons in the Association.

    Jordan spent the last years of his career with Washington. Here Michael's new victim was rookie Kwame Brown. If the Boggs incident was a fleeting game situation, Brown regularly got hit by Jordan. Initially, after the draft, Michael treated the Rookie well, trying to help him adjust to the NBA. 

    Larry Bird

    The best is not African-American. Larry could do everything on the court. Larry Bird won three NBA titles, was MVP of the Finals twice, was named regular season MVP three times, and was named the NBA All-Star team nine times.

    Bird was a master of the thrash-tock. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998.

    LeBron James

    The only current player in 2019. LeBron has genuinely earned a place among the greats, and he has won the championship three times and been MVP in the finals as many times; he is also a four-time NBA MVP.

    He has racked up over 8,000 assists in his career, which will continue to grow to this day.