50 Greatest Players in NBA History: Wikis

  
  

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The 50 Greatest Players in National Basketball Association History (also referred to as NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team or NBA's Top 50) were chosen in 1996 to honor the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the National Basketball Association (NBA). These fifty players were selected through a vote by a panel of media members, former players and coaches, and current and former general managers. In addition, the top ten head coaches and top ten single-season teams in NBA history were selected by media members as part of the celebration.[1] The fifty players had to have played at least a portion of their careers in the NBA and were selected irrespective of position played.

The list was announced by NBA commissioner David Stern on October 29, 1996, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City, the former site of the Commodore Hotel, where the original NBA charter was signed on June 6, 1946.There is one player they failed to list during the announcement and that was king aman The announcement marked the beginning of a season-long celebration of the league's anniversary.[1] Forty-seven of the fifty players were later assembled in Cleveland, Ohio, during the halftime ceremony of the 1997 All-Star Game.[1] Three players were absent: Pete Maravich, who had died in 1988, at forty;[2] Shaquille O'Neal, who was recovering from a knee injury; and Jerry West, who was scheduled to have surgery for an ear infection and could not fly.[3] At the time of the announcement, eleven players were active. Only O'Neal remained active as of the 2009–10 season.

Contents

Players selected

A bald black person, wearing a gray suit and a tie, looks to the left.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who voted as a player, was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
A white person with brown hair, wearing a gray suit and a blue shirt, smiles.
Larry Bird, who voted as a team representative, was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
A black basketball player, wearing red and white pants and blue jersey and holding a basketball, stands with his right leg up
Wilt Chamberlain, who voted as a player, was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

King Aman boiii

A black mustached player who is bald, wearing an earring on his left ear, looks toward the left.
Michael Jordan was active at the time of the announcement of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
A bald, bearded black person looks toward the left, his mouth open.
Shaquille O'Neal is the only active member of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History as of 2009.

Selection process

The list was compiled through unranked voting completed by fifty selected panelists. Sixteen of the panelists were former players voting in their roles as players, thirteen were members of the print and broadcast news media, and twenty-one were team representatives: contemporary and former general managers, head coaches, and executives. Of the last group, thirteen were former NBA players. Players were prohibited from voting for themselves. Only three voting veterans (Bill Bradley, Johnny Kerr, and Bob Lanier) were not selected to the team.

Voters

* Denotes voter who was selected to the 50 Greatest Players list
Voter category As categorized by the NBA
Name Voter category
Abdul-Jabbar, KareemKareem Abdul-Jabbar* Player
Albert, MarvMarv Albert Media member
Attles, AlAl Attles Team
Auerbach, RedRed Auerbach Team
Baylor, ElginElgin Baylor* Team
Bing, DaveDave Bing* Player
Bird, LarryLarry Bird* Team
Blake, MartyMarty Blake Team
Blinebury, FranFran Blinebury Media member
Bradley, BillBill Bradley Player
Brown, HubieHubie Brown Team
Chamberlain, WiltWilt Chamberlain* Player
Chortkoff, MitchMitch Chortkoff Media member
Cousy, BobBob Cousy* Player
Cunningham, BillyBilly Cunningham* Team
Daly, ChuckChuck Daly Team
DuPree, DavidDavid DuPree Media member
Embry, WayneWayne Embry Team
Erving, JuliusJulius Erving* Player
Gilmartin, JoeJoe Gilmartin Media member
Goldaper, SamSam Goldaper Media member
Hannum, AlexAlex Hannum Team
Harrison, LesterLester Harrison Team
Havlicek, JohnJohn Havlicek* Player
Hearn, ChickChick Hearn Media member
Holzman, RedRed Holzman Team
Jasner, PhilPhil Jasner Media member
Johnson, MagicMagic Johnson* Player
Kerr, JohnnyJohnny Kerr Player
Koppett, LeonardLeonard Koppett Media member
Lanier, BobBob Lanier Player
Layden, FrankFrank Layden Team
Lewin, LeonardLeonard Lewin Media member
McCallum, JackJack McCallum Media member
McGuire, DickDick McGuire Team
Mikan, GeorgeGeorge Mikan* Player
Pettit, BobBob Pettit* Player
Pollack, HarveyHarvey Pollack Team
Ramsay, JackJack Ramsay Team
Reed, WillisWillis Reed* Team
Robertson, OscarOscar Robertson* Player
Russell, BillBill Russell* Player
Ryan, BobBob Ryan Media member
Schayes, DolphDolph Schayes* Player
Sharman, BillBill Sharman* Player
Shue, GeneGene Shue Team
Thomas, IsiahIsiah Thomas* Team
Unseld, WesWes Unseld* Team
Vecsey, PeterPeter Vecsey Media member
West, JerryJerry West* Team

List

Eleven players (Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson and John Stockton) were active in the 1996–97 season, during which the team was announced. Only O'Neal is active as of the 2009–10 season. All of the selected players except Karl Malone, O'Neal and Pippen have, as of 2009, been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. O'Neal is ineligible for induction as he is still active, whereas Malone and Pippen are eligible for the first time in 2010.[4] Lenny Wilkens was the only member of the players list to have been selected as a member of the coaches list.

Italics Denotes player who was active at the time of induction
^ Denotes player who is still active
* Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame
Year Denotes year of Basketball Hall of Fame induction
G Guard F Forward C Center
Pos Position Pts Points Reb Rebounds
Ast Assists MVP Most Valuable Player
Name Team(s) played for (years)[a] Pos Pts Reb Ast Championships won[b] MVP won Finals MVP won Year Ref.
Abdul-Jabbar, KareemKareem Abdul-Jabbar* Milwaukee Bucks (19691975)
Los Angeles Lakers (19751989)
C 38,387 17,440 5,660 &0000000000000006.000000 6 (1971, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) &0000000000000006.000000 6 (1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980) &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1971, 1985) 1995 [5]
Archibald, NateNate Archibald* Cincinnati Royals / Kansas City-Omaha / Kansas City Kings (19701976)
New York Nets (1976–1977)
Boston Celtics (19781983)
Milwaukee Bucks (1983–1984)
G 16,481 2,046 6,476 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1981) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1991 [6]
Arizin, PaulPaul Arizin* Philadelphia Warriors (19501962) F/G 16,266 6,129 1,665 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1956) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1978 [7]
Barkley, CharlesCharles Barkley* Philadelphia 76ers (19841992)
Phoenix Suns (19921996)
Houston Rockets (19962000)
F 23,757 12,546 4,215 &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1993) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 2006 [8]
Barry, RickRick Barry* San Francisco / Golden State Warriors (19651967, 19721978)
Houston Rockets (19781980)
F 18,395 5,168 4,017 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1975) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1975) 1987 [9]
Baylor, ElginElgin Baylor* Minneapolis / Los Angeles Lakers (19581971) F 23,149 11,463 3,650 &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1977 [10]
Bing, DaveDave Bing* Detroit Pistons (19661975)
Washington Bullets (19751977)
Boston Celtics (1977–1978)
G 18,327 3,420 5,397 &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1990 [11]
Bird, LarryLarry Bird* Boston Celtics (19791992) F 21,791 8,974 5,695 &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1981, 1984, 1986) &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1984, 1985, 1986) &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1984, 1986) 1998 [12]
Chamberlain, WiltWilt Chamberlain* Philadelphia / San Francisco Warriors (19591965)
Philadelphia 76ers (19651968)
Los Angeles Lakers (19681973)
C 31,419 23,924 4,643 &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1967, 1972) &0000000000000004.000000 4 (1960, 1966, 1967, 1968) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1972) 1979 [13]
Cousy, BobBob Cousy* Boston Celtics (19501963)
Cincinnati Royals (1969–1970)
G 16,960 4,786 6,955 &0000000000000006.000000 6 (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1957) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1971 [14]
Cowens, DaveDave Cowens* Boston Celtics (19701980)
Milwaukee Bucks (1982–1983)
C/F 13,516 10,444 2,910 &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1974, 1976) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1973) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1991 [15]
Cunningham, BillyBilly Cunningham* Philadelphia 76ers (19651972)
Philadelphia 76ers (19741976)
F/C 13,626 6,638 2,625 &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1967, 1983) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1986 [16]
DeBusschere, DaveDave DeBusschere* Detroit Pistons (19621968)
New York Knicks (19681974)
F/G 14,053 9,618 2,497 &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1970, 1973) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1983 [17]
Drexler, ClydeClyde Drexler* Portland Trail Blazers (19831995)
Houston Rockets (19951998)
G/F 22,195 6,677 6,125 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1995) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 2004 [18]
Erving, JuliusJulius Erving* Philadelphia 76ers (19761987) F/G 18,364 5,601 3,224 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1983) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1981) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1993 [19]
Ewing, PatrickPatrick Ewing* New York Knicks (19852000)
Seattle SuperSonics (2000–2001)
Orlando Magic (2001–2002)
C/F 24,815 11,607 2,215 &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 2008 [20]
Frazier, WaltWalt Frazier* New York Knicks (19671977)
Cleveland Cavaliers (19771980)
G 15,581 4,830 5,040 &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1970, 1973) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1987 [21]
Gervin, GeorgeGeorge Gervin* San Antonio Spurs (19761985)
Chicago Bulls (1985–1986)
G/F 20,708 3,607 2,214 &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1996 [22]
Greer, HalHal Greer* Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers (19581973) G/F 21,586 5,665 4,540 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1967) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1982 [23]
Havlicek, JohnJohn Havlicek* Boston Celtics (19621978) F/G 26,395 8,007 6,114 &0000000000000008.000000 8 (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1974) 1984 [24]
Hayes, ElvinElvin Hayes* San Diego / Houston Rockets (19681972, 19811984)
Baltimore / Capital / Washington Bullets (19721981)
F/C 27,313 16,279 2,398 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1978) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1990 [25]
Johnson, MagicMagic Johnson* Los Angeles Lakers (19791991, 1996) G/F 17,707 6,559 10,141 &0000000000000005.000000 5 (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1987, 1989, 1990) &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1980, 1982, 1987) 2002 [26]
Jones, SamSam Jones* Boston Celtics (19571969) G/F 15,411 4,305 2,209 &0000000000000010.000000 10 (1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1984 [27]
Jordan, MichaelMichael Jordan* Chicago Bulls (19841993, 19951998)
Washington Wizards (20012003)
G/F 32,292 6,672 5,633 &0000000000000006.000000 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) &0000000000000005.000000 5 (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998) &0000000000000006.000000 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) 2009 [28]
Lucas, JerryJerry Lucas* Cincinnati Royals (19631969)
San Francisco Warriors (19691971)
New York Knicks (19711974)
F/C 14,053 12,942 2,732 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1973) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1980 [29]
Malone, KarlKarl Malone Utah Jazz (19852003)
Los Angeles Lakers (2003–2004)
F 36,928 14,968 5,248 &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1997, 1999) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 [30]
Malone, MosesMoses Malone* Buffalo Braves (1976)
Houston Rockets (19761982)
Philadelphia 76ers (19821986, 1993–1994)
Washington Bullets (19861988)
Atlanta Hawks (19881991)
Milwaukee Bucks (19911993)
San Antonio Spurs (1994–1995)
C/F 27,409 16,212 1,796 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1983) &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1979, 1982, 1983) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1983) 2001 [31]
Maravich, PetePete Maravich* Atlanta Hawks (19701974)
New Orleans / Utah Jazz (19741980)
Boston Celtics (1980)
G 15,948 2,747 3,563 &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1987 [32]
McHale, KevinKevin McHale* Boston Celtics (19801993) F/C 17,335 7,122 1,670 &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1981, 1984, 1986) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1999 [33]
Mikan, GeorgeGeorge Mikan* Minneapolis Lakers (19481956) C 10,156 4,167 1,245 &0000000000000005.000000 5 (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1959 [34]
Monroe, EarlEarl Monroe* Baltimore Bullets (19671971)
New York Knicks (19711980)
G 17,454 2,796 3,594 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1973) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1990 [35]
O'Neal, ShaquilleShaquille O'Neal^ Orlando Magic (19921996)
Los Angeles Lakers (19962004)
Miami Heat (20042008)
Phoenix Suns (20082009)
Cleveland Cavaliers (2009–present)
C 27,619 12,566 2,920 &0000000000000004.000000 4 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (2000) &0000000000000003.000000 3 (2000, 2001, 2002) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 [36]
Olajuwon, HakeemHakeem Olajuwon* Houston Rockets (19842001)
Toronto Raptors (2001–2002)
C 26,946 13,748 3,058 &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1994, 1995) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1994) &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1994, 1995) 2008 [37]
Parish, RobertRobert Parish* Golden State Warriors (19761980)
Boston Celtics (19801994)
Charlotte Hornets (19941996)
Chicago Bulls (1996–1997)
C 23,334 14,715 2,180 &0000000000000004.000000 4 (1981, 1984, 1986, 1997) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 2003 [38]
Pettit, BobBob Pettit* Milwaukee / St. Louis Hawks (19541965) F/C 20,880 12,849 2,369 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1958) &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1956, 1959) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1971 [39]
Pippen, ScottieScottie Pippen Chicago Bulls (19871998, 2003–2004)
Houston Rockets (1998–1999)
Portland Trail Blazers (19992003)
F/G 18,940 7,494 6,135 &0000000000000006.000000 6 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 [40]
Reed, WillisWillis Reed* New York Knicks (19641974) C/F 12,183 8,414 1,186 &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1970, 1973) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1970) &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1970, 1973) 1982 [41]
Robertson, OscarOscar Robertson* Cincinnati Royals (19601970)
Milwaukee Bucks (19701974)
G/F 26,710 7,804 9,887 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1971) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1964) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1980 [42]
Robinson, DavidDavid Robinson* San Antonio Spurs (19892003) C 20,790 10,497 2,441 &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1999, 2003) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1995) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 2009 [43]
Russell, BillBill Russell* Boston Celtics (19561969) C 14,522 21,620 4,100 &0000000000000011.000000 11 (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969) &0000000000000005.000000 5 (1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1975 [44]
Schayes, DolphDolph Schayes* Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers (19491964) F/C 18,438 11,256 3,072 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1955) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1973 [45]
Sharman, BillBill Sharman* Washington Capitols (1950–1951)
Boston Celtics (19511961)
G 12,665 2,779 2,101 &0000000000000004.000000 4 (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1976 [46]
Stockton, JohnJohn Stockton* Utah Jazz (19842003) G 19,711 4,051 15,806 &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 2009 [47]
Thomas, IsiahIsiah Thomas* Detroit Pistons (19811994) G 18,822 3,478 9,061 &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1989, 1990) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1990) 2000 [48]
Thurmond, NateNate Thurmond* San Francisco / Golden State Warriors (19631974)
Chicago Bulls (19741975)
Cleveland Cavaliers (19751977)
C/F 14,437 14,464 2,575 &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1985 [49]
Unseld, WesWes Unseld* Baltimore / Capital / Washington Bullets (19681981) C/F 10,624 13,769 3,822 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1978) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1969) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1978) 1988 [50]
Walton, BillBill Walton* Portland Trail Blazers (19741979)
San Diego / Los Angeles Clippers (19791985)
Boston Celtics (19851987)
C/F 6,215 4,923 1,590 &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1977, 1986) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1978) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1977) 1993 [51]
West, JerryJerry West* Los Angeles Lakers (19601974) G/F 25,192 5,366 6,238 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1972) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1969) 1980 [52]
Wilkens, LennyLenny Wilkens* St. Louis Hawks (19601968)
Seattle SuperSonics (19681972)
Cleveland Cavaliers (19721974)
Portland Trail Blazers (1974−1975)
G 17,772 5,030 7,211 &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1979) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1989 [53]
Worthy, JamesJames Worthy* Los Angeles Lakers (19821994) F 16,320 4,708 2,791 &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1985, 1987, 1988) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1988) 2003 [54]

Top 10 Coaches in NBA History

A man sitting down, flanked by two men dressed in military uniform. He is wearing a suit and bowtie, with a peach-colored scarf draped around his neck. A man looking ahead. He is wearing a jacket and tie.
Red Auerbach (left) and Phil Jackson (right) both made the 1996 list of the top ten coaches in NBA history.

Alongside the selection of the 50 greatest players, was the selection of the Top 10 Coaches in NBA History. The list was compiled based upon unranked selection undertaken exclusively by members of the print and broadcast media who regularly cover the NBA. Four of the coaches—Phil Jackson, Don Nelson, Pat Riley, and Lenny Wilkens—were active at the time of the list's announcement. Only Jackson and Nelson are coaching teams during the 2009–10 season. Nelson was the only member to have never won a championship as a coach, even though he won five as a player. Wilkens was the only member of the coaches list to have been selected as a member of the players list.

^ Denotes coach who is still active
* Elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame
*^ Active coach who has been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame
Year Denotes year of Basketball Hall of Fame induction
Coach Team(s) coached (years)[a] Coaching record Championships won as coach[b] Coach of the Year award(s) won Year Ref.
Auerbach, RedRed Auerbach* Washington Capitols (19461949)
Tri-Cities Blackhawks (1949–1950)
Boston Celtics (19501965)
&0000000000000000.662000 938–479 (.662) &0000000000000009.000000 9 (1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1965) 1969 [55]
Daly, ChuckChuck Daly* Cleveland Cavaliers (1982)
Detroit Pistons (19831992)
New Jersey Nets (19921994)
Orlando Magic (19971999)
&0000000000000000.598000 564–379 (.598)
638–437 (.593)[c]
&0000000000000002.000000 2 (1989, 1990) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1994 [56]
Fitch, BillBill Fitch Cleveland Cavaliers (19701979)
Boston Celtics (19791983)
Houston Rockets (19831988)
New Jersey Nets (19891992)
Los Angeles Clippers (19941998)
&0000000000000000.460000 944–1106 (.460) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1981) &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1976, 1980) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 [57]
Holzman, RedRed Holzman* Milwaukee / St. Louis Hawks (19541956)
New York Knicks (19671982)
&0000000000000000.535000 696–604 (.535) &0000000000000002.000000 2 (1970, 1973) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1970) 1986 [58]
Jackson, PhilPhil Jackson*^ Chicago Bulls (19891998)
Los Angeles Lakers (19992004, 2005–present)
&0000000000000000.721000 414–160 (.721)
1041–435 (.705)[c]
&0000000000000010.000000 10 (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1996) 2007 [59]
Kundla, JohnJohn Kundla* Minneapolis Lakers (19481959) &0000000000000000.583000 423–302 (.583) &0000000000000005.000000 5 (1949 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1995 [60]
Nelson, DonDon Nelson^ Milwaukee Bucks (19761987)
Golden State Warriors (19881994, 2006–present)
New York Knicks (1995–1996)
Dallas Mavericks (19972005)
&0000000000000000.575000 851–629 (.575)
1309–1007 (.565)[c]
&-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1983, 1985, 1992) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 [61]
Ramsay, JackJack Ramsay* Philadelphia 76ers (19681972)
Buffalo Braves (19721976)
Portland Trail Blazers (19761986)
Indiana Pacers (19861988)
&0000000000000000.525000 864–783 (.525) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1977) &-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1.000000 None 1992 [62]
Riley, PatPat Riley* Los Angeles Lakers (19811990)
New York Knicks (19911995)
Miami Heat (19952003, 20052008)
&0000000000000000.702000 798–339 (.702)
1210–694 (.636)[c]
&0000000000000005.000000 5 (1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2006) &0000000000000003.000000 3 (1990, 1993, 1997) 2008 [63]
Wilkens, LennyLenny Wilkens* Seattle SuperSonics (19691972, 19771985)
Portland Trail Blazers (19741976)
Cleveland Cavaliers (19861993)
Atlanta Hawks (19931999)
Toronto Raptors (20002003)
New York Knicks (20042005)
&0000000000000000.544000 1014–850 (.544)
1332–1155 (.536)[c]
&0000000000000001.000000 1 (1979) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (1994) 1998 [64]

Top 10 Teams in NBA History

Also included in the NBA's 50th-anniversary celebration was the selection of the Top 10 Teams in NBA History. The list was compiled based upon unranked selection undertaken exclusively by members of the print and broadcast media who regularly cover the NBA. Teams are chosen from among all single-season individual teams. Each team won the NBA championship, and they combined to average 66 wins per season. The 1995–96 Chicago Bulls had the best single-season record in NBA history with 72 wins.

Six out of the thirty NBA franchises (twenty-nine franchises at the time of announcement) had a team named to the list; the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers had two teams selected.

Six players were on the roster of two teams on the list—Wilt Chamberlain with the 1966–67 Sixers and 1971–72 Lakers; James Edwards, Dennis Rodman, and John Salley with the 1988–89 Pistons and 1995–96 Bulls; and Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen with the Bulls in both 1991–92 and 1995–96. Three other individuals both played for and coached honored teams, all of whom completed this "double" with a single franchise—K. C. Jones with the Celtics as a player in 1964–65 and coach in 1985–86, Billy Cunningham with the Sixers as a player in 1966–67 and coach in 1982–83, and Pat Riley with the Lakers as a player in 1971–72 and coach in 1986–87. Phil Jackson, head coach of the Bulls from 1989 to 1998, was the only man to coach two teams that made the list. Although Jackson was under contract to the Knicks as a player in 1969–70, he did not play that season as he was recovering from spinal fusion surgery.

Players whose names are italicized were inducted after the announcement of the ten best teams.

Season Team Record Playoffs
result
Roster and head coach Players in the
Hall of Fame
Players on the
50 Greatest Players list
Ref.
1964–65 Boston Celtics &0000000000000000.775000 62–18 (.775) Won 1965 Finals Ron Bonham, Mel Counts, John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, Willie Naulls, Bevo Nordmann, Bill Russell, Tom Sanders, Larry Siegfried, John Thompson, Gerry Ward, coach Red Auerbach[d] &0000000000000005.000000 5 (K. Jones, S. Jones, Heinsohn, Russell, Havlicek) &0000000000000003.000000 3 (S. Jones, Russell, Havlicek) [65]
1966–67 Philadelphia 76ers &0000000000000000.840000 68–13 (.840) Won 1967 Finals Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Costello, Billy Cunningham, Dave Gambee, Hal Greer, Matt Guokas, Luke Jackson, Wali Jones, Bill Melchionni, Chet Walker, Bob Weiss, coach Alex Hannum[d] &0000000000000003.000000 3 (Greer, Chamberlain, Cunningham) &0000000000000003.000000 3 (Greer, Chamberlain, Cunningham) [66]
1969–70 New York Knicks &0000000000000000.732000 60–22 (.732) Won 1970 Finals Dick Barnett, Nate Bowman, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier, Bill Hosket, Don May, Willis Reed, Mike Riordan, Cazzie Russell, Dave Stallworth, John Warren, coach Red Holzman[d] &0000000000000004.000000 4 (Frazier, Bradley, DeBusschere, Reed) &0000000000000003.000000 3 (Frazier, DeBusschere, Reed) [67]
1971–72 Los Angeles Lakers &0000000000000000.841000 69–13 (.841) Won 1972 Finals Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Jim Cleamons, LeRoy Ellis, Keith Erickson, Gail Goodrich, Happy Hairston, Jim McMillian, Pat Riley, Flynn Robinson, John Trapp, Jerry West, coach Bill Sharman[d] &0000000000000004.000000 4 (Goodrich, West, Chamberlain, Baylor[e]) &0000000000000003.000000 3 (West, Chamberlain, Baylor) [68]
1982–83 Philadelphia 76ers &0000000000000000.793000 65–17 (.793) Won 1983 Finals J. J. Anderson, Maurice Cheeks, Earl Cureton, Franklin Edwards, Julius Erving, Marc Iavaroni, Clemon Johnson, Reggie Johnson, Bobby Jones, Moses Malone, Mark McNamara, Clint Richardson, Russ Schoene, Andrew Toney, coach Billy Cunningham &0000000000000002.000000 2 (Erving, Malone) &0000000000000002.000000 2 (Erving, Malone) [69]
1985–86 Boston Celtics &0000000000000000.817000 67–15 (.817) Won 1986 Finals Danny Ainge, Larry Bird, Rick Carlisle, Dennis Johnson, Greg Kite, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Jerry Sichting, David Thirdkill, Sam Vincent, Bill Walton, Scott Wedman, Sly Williams, coach K. C. Jones &0000000000000004.000000 4 (McHale, Bird, Parish, Walton) &0000000000000004.000000 4 (McHale, Bird, Parish, Walton) [70]
1986–87 Los Angeles Lakers &0000000000000000.793000 65–17 (.793) Won 1987 Finals Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Adrian Branch, Frank Brickowski, Michael Cooper, A. C. Green, Magic Johnson, Wes Matthews, Kurt Rambis, Mike Smrek, Byron Scott, Billy Thompson, Mychal Thompson, James Worthy, coach Pat Riley[d] &0000000000000003.000000 3 (Johnson, Worthy, Abdul-Jabbar) &0000000000000003.000000 3 (Johnson, Worthy, Abdul-Jabbar) [71]
1988–89 Detroit Pistons &0000000000000000.768000 63–19 (.768) Won 1989 Finals Mark Aguirre, Adrian Dantley, Darryl Dawkins, Fennis Dembo, Joe Dumars, James Edwards, Steve Harris, Vinnie Johnson, Bill Laimbeer, John Long, Rick Mahorn, Pace Mannion, Dennis Rodman, Jim Rowinski, John Salley, Isiah Thomas, Micheal Williams, coach Chuck Daly[d] &0000000000000003.000000 3 (Thomas, Dumars, Dantley) &0000000000000001.000000 1 (Thomas) [72]
1991–92 Chicago Bulls &0000000000000000.817000 67–15 (.817) Won 1992 Finals B.J. Armstrong, Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, Bob Hansen, Craig Hodges, Dennis Hopson, Michael Jordan, Stacey King, Cliff Levingston, Chuck Nevitt, John Paxson, Will Perdue, Scottie Pippen, Mark Randall, Rory Sparrow, Scott Williams, coach Phil Jackson[d] &0000000000000001.000000 1 (Jordan) &0000000000000002.000000 2 (Jordan, Pippen) [73]
1995–96 Chicago Bulls &0000000000000000.878000 72–10 (.878) Won 1996 Finals Randy Brown, Jud Buechler, Jason Caffey, James Edwards, Jack Haley, Ron Harper, Michael Jordan, Steve Kerr, Luc Longley, Toni Kukoč, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, John Salley, Dickey Simpkins, Bill Wennington, coach Phil Jackson[d] &0000000000000001.000000 1 (Jordan) &0000000000000002.000000 2 (Jordan, Pippen) [74]

See also

Notes

  • a American Basketball Association (ABA) teams other than those admitted into the NBA in 1976 are not included; each year is linked to an article about that particular NBA season.
  • b Each year is linked to an article about the NBA Finals in that year.
  • c Italicized record and winning percentage reflect all games played through the 2008–09 season; the preceding record is that of the coach at the time of his selection.
  • d Inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame as coach; Bill Sharman was inducted as both a player and a coach
  • e Having been injured in the second game, Baylor missed the remainder of the 1971–72 season. He retired at the beginning of the next season.[75]

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