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HomeBasketballNBAHow hard is it to rank the best basketball players ever?

How hard is it to rank the best basketball players ever?

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One of the things writing for this site allows me to do is put the thoughts down that I have on the nights I have trouble sleeping.

Yea. I think about basketball at 3:30 in the morning sometimes. It’s a problem, I know.

One of the topics I always come back to is one that can always start an argument.

Who are the best basketball players of their respective eras? Who are the most memorable players of all time? And who are the very best players of all time?

I go over this in my head a lot, just based on who I’ve watched (I’ve watched basketball religiously since 1989), books I’ve read, etc. Over the next few weeks (we’re in the dead period for the NBA, so, CONTENT!!) I’m gonna research and see if that research matches up with my late-night thoughts.

We’ll start by taking a look at the best players from each decade. I’ll get into details starting with the 80s, but the 60s and 70s will be mentioned, as that will be used to compile a ranking of the best players ever. I’m not including the 1940s and 50s because racism. Seriously. Look at this All-Star game. It’s whiter than Cardi B’s veneers. 

To start, here’s a decade-by-decade breakdown of names I came up with off the top of my head:


West, Baylor, Robertson, Chamberlain, Russell, Havlicek, Cousy, Willis Reed, Pettit


Kareem, Walton, Rick Barry, Unseld, Hayes, Frazier, Cowens, Julius, Gervin, David Thompson, Artis Gilmore


Magic, Bird, Isiah, Dominique, Kareem, Jordan, Moses, Barkley, Karl Malone, Bernard King, McHale


Mike, Barkley, Olajuwon, Karl Malone, Shaq, Robinson, Drexler, Payton, Stockton, Pippen, Rodman, Miller, Ewing


Shaq, Kobe, Duncan, Garnett, Dirk, Bron, Dwight Howard, Wade, Nash, Kidd


LeBron, KD, Steph, Harden, Kawhi, Russ, Dame, CP, Melo

Next 10 years

Giannis, Jokic, Embiid, Luka, Tatum

Let the debates and arguments begin!

Coming tomorrow: A quick look at the 60s

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