Basketball

Golden Hall: The All-Time Top 100 Basketball Players

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Earlier this year, we revealed the top 100 basketball players in history. With the new season in full swing, now is as good a time as any to provide the full list in one place, complete with breakdowns by teams, eras, and hometowns.

Golden Hall versus Hall of Fame

Three critical differences make the Golden Hall a project distinct from the Hall of Fame in Springfield, but first a similarity.

Fans Vote

The Springfield Hall deserves kudos for bringing fan votes into its official process. 

The Golden Hall is in full agreement that fans deserve a voice in the process of naming the best of all time. In a series of polls on social media over several months, thousands of fans cast their votes. These were collected to create the People’s Ballot, cast alongside those of Overtime Heroics writers.

Lineups Not Just Lists

The Naismith Hall considers candidates without respect to their position. The Golden Hall attempts to mirror the game itself by imagining the best starting lineups possible. Players were grouped by their primary position, and voters cast their ballots accordingly. Ten such starting lineups were created. A bench of fifty more players, regardless of position, supplemented those lineups to arrive at an even 100.

Dynamic Not Static

The Naismith Hall of Fame is a fixed entity. Players are inducted, and decisions are irreversible. Sometimes mistakes are made.

The Golden Hall is not static. By design, voters will cast ballots every decade. This method provides newer players an opportunity to be included, gives skipped-over players from the previous edition a new chance, and allows for mistakes to be rectified. Voters can use new statistical methods that might be developed in the interim, as well as older analyses reapplied.

Size

The Springfield Hall of Fame does not have a fixed size and is potentially limitless in membership. There are certainly positive aspects to this arrangement, as there are many great players who help to tell the story of basketball. The drawback is that sometimes the truly greatest are lost in the shuffle. NBA inductees currently number 111, approximately 1.8 percent of the approximately 5,891 NBA players.

The Golden Hall is intended to serve as a supplement to the Hall of Fame, with the 100 greatest players highlighted via ten starting lineups and bench to capture those positions with a plethora of stars. Only the truly elite will be honored.

Members

Now, in one place for the first time, presenting the Golden Hall First Edition in its entirety. Click on each team to read more about the lineups.

First Team

  • Magic Johnson, PG
  • Michael Jordan, SG
  • LeBron James, SF
  • Dirk Nowitzki, PF
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, C

 Second Team

  • Oscar Robertson, PG
  • Kobe Bryant, SG
  • Larry Bird, SF
  • Karl Malone, PF
  • Wilt Chamberlain, C

Third Team

  • Steph Curry, PG
  • Dwayne Wade, SG
  • Julius Erving, SF
  • Charles Barkley, PF
  • Shaquille O’Neal, C

Fourth Team

  • John Stockton, PG
  • Allen Iverson, SG
  • Elgin Baylor, SF
  • Kevin Garnett, PF
  • Hakeem Olajuwon, C

Fifth Team

  • Isiah Thomas, PG
  • Clyde Drexler, SG
  • Kevin Durant, SF
  • Tim Duncan, PF
  • Bill Russell, C

Sixth Team

  • Jason Kidd, PG
  • James Harden, SG
  • Scottie Pippen, SF
  • Bob Pettit, PF
  • David Robinson, C

Seventh Team

  • Jerry West, PG
  • George Gervin, SG
  • Dominique Wilkins, SF
  • Kevin McHale, PF
  • Moses Malone, C

Eighth Team

  • Chris Paul, PG
  • Ray Allen, SG
  • John Havlicek, SF
  • Dennis Rodman, PF
  • Patrick Ewing, C

Ninth Team

  • Steve Nash, PG
  • Reggie Miller, SG
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF
  • Elvin Hayes, PF
  • George Mikan, C

Tenth Team

  • Russell Westbrook, PG
  • Tracy McGrady, SG
  • Rick Barry, SF
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF
  • Lisa Leslie, C

Golden Hall Bench

  • Artis Gilmore
  • Bob Cousy
  • Candace Parker
  • Chris Webber
  • Dikembe Mutombo
  • Glen Rice
  • Grant Hill
  • Hal Greer
  • Manu Ginobili
  • Robert Parish
  • Tony Parker
  • Vince Carter
  • Alex English
  • Arvydas Sabonis
  • Bill Walton
  • Bob Lanier
  • Bob McAdoo
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Chauncey Billups
  • Cheryl Miller
  • Chris Bosh
  • Dave DeBusschere
  • Dwight Howard
  • Gary Payton
  • James Worthy
  • LaMarcus Aldridge
  • Lenny Wilkens
  • Pau Gasol
  • Paul Pierce
  • Sam Jones
  • Shawn Kemp
  • Sidney Moncrief
  • Tamika Catchings
  • Walt Bellamy
  • Walt Frazier
  • Willis Reed
  • Dan Issel
  • Diana Taurasi
  • Dino Radja
  • Oscar Schmidt
  • Dolph Schayes
  • Adrian Dantley
  • Chet Walker
  • Jack Sikma
  • Terry Porter
  • Detlef Schrempf
  • Maurice Cheeks
  • Ed Macauley
  • Andre Iguodala
  • Vlade Divac

How closely did you pay attention? Try this quiz to see if you can name all the Golden Hallers.

Teams

Forty-two teams are represented in the Golden Hall. Players are assigned based on the team for which they played more games than any other.

Primary TeamNo.
Boston Celtics9
Los Angeles Lakers8
Philadelphia 76ers7
Detroit Pistons6
San Antonio Spurs6
Denver Nuggets4
Houston Rockets4
Portland Trail Blazers4
Seattle SuperSonics4
Chicago Bulls3
Milwaukee Bucks3
New York Knicks3
Utah Jazz3
Atlanta Hawks2
Golden State Warriors2
Los Angeles Sparks2
Miami Heat2
Oklahoma City Thunder2
Saint Louis Hawks2
Toronto Raptors2
Buffalo Braves1
Caserta Juva1
Cincinnati Royals1
Cleveland Cavaliers1
Dallas Mavericks1
Indiana Fever1
Indiana Pacers1
Kaunas Zalgiris1
Los Angeles Clippers1
Memphis Grizzlies1
Minneapolis Lakers1
Minnesota Timberwolves1
New Jersey Nets1
Orlando Magic1
Philadelphia Warriors1
Phoenix Mercury1
Phoenix Suns1
Sacramento Kings1
Southern California Trojans1
Split Yellows1
Syracuse Nationals1
Washington Bullets1

Eras

Here is the Golden Hall breakdown with players assigned to the era in which they played their peak season.

ErasYearsPlayers
Pre-NBA Era1891-19490
Growing Era1950-196715
ABA Era1968-197610
Solidifying Era1977-199636
Equality Era1997-202239

Nations

Fourteen nations are represented. Players are assigned by the country in which they spent the majority of their youth.

NationalityNo.
American86
Germany2
Argentina1
Brazil1
Canada1
Congo1
Croatia1
France1
Greece1
Jamaica1
Lithuania1
Nigeria1
Serbia1
Spain1

Region

Broken down by the larger geographic areas where players spent a majority of their youth.

RegionNo.
South40
Midwest22
West14
Northeast9
Europe8
Africa2
Caribbean2
South America2
Western Canada1

States/Provinces/Districts

Players are assigned to their country’s primary administrative subdivision (states, provinces, districts) based on where they spent most of their youth and not necessarily their birthplace. Michael Jordan, for example, was born in New York but spent his childhood and adolescence in North Carolina. Jordan is included in the Tar Heel State total and not the Empire State.

State/Province/DistrictNo.
California12
Illinois9
North Carolina8
Michigan6
New York6
Texas6
Louisiana5
Virginia4
Indiana3
Maryland3
South Carolina3
Alabama2
Arkansas2
Florida2
Georgia2
Pennsylvania2
West Virginia2
Attica1
Barcelona1
Bavaria1
British Columbia1
Buenos Aires1
Colorado1
Columbia1
Ile-de-France1
Kaunas1
Kingston1
Kinshasa1
Lagos1
Minnesota1
Missouri1
New Jersey1
North Rhine-Westphalia1
Ohio1
Rio Grande de Norte1
Split-Dalmatia1
Virgin Islands1
Washington1
Western Serbia1
Wisconsin1

2032 Edition

The Golden Hall Second Edition voting will take place in 2032. Fans will once again have a ballot, and writers will likely be joined by Golden Hall and Hall of Fame players in being offered a vote.

So stay tuned, and let the debate over the top 100 continue!

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