The 75th season in NBA history came to an exciting end with yet another NBA Championship for Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors – their fourth in the last eight years. Curry also finally won the elusive Finals MVP award to better fill out his resume.
Where does that resume stack up, exactly, though? Let’s dive into the next portion of our NBA 75th Anniversary Team. For more on our selection process and to see the rest of the 76 players selected, click one of the links below.
25. Dwyane Wade
A three-time NBA Champion – including a Finals MVP award in 2006 – Wade is one of the most beloved players in NBA history by fans. He was named to 13 All-Star teams, 8 All-NBA teams, and 3 All-Defensive teams during his 16 NBA seasons. He led the league in scoring in 2009 and finished his career with postseason averages of 22.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game. In fact, Wade leads all guards under 6’6 (regular season and playoffs) in career blocked shots, trailed closely by Michael Jordan in second place.
24. Scottie Pippen
Speaking of “His Airness,” there is no Michael Jordan without the perfect wingman in Scottie Pippen. Playing alongside Jordan made it easy to overshadow how great Pippen truly was. He won six NBA Championships with the Bulls, but he also made 10 All-Defensive teams, seven All-Star teams, and seven All-NBA teams. He also led the league in steals per game in 1995 and was named MVP of the All-Star game in 1994 before being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. During his time in Chicago, Pippen averaged 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game across 11 postseason runs.
23. John Stockton
Stockton was a point guard in the truest sense of the word. Though he retired 20 years ago, he still firmly holds the all-time assists and steals record in the NBA at 15,806 and 3,265 respectively. In his first 13 seasons, he appeared in 1,062 out of 1,066 possible games and missed only 54 games total in his career. Stockton made 11 All-NBA teams, 10 All-Star teams, and 5 All-Defensive teams during his 19-year career. He also led the NBA in assists nine different times and steals twice.
22. Dirk Nowitzki
Perhaps the greatest European player of all time (so far), Nowitzki ranks 6th all-time in total points and owns the bragging rights to one of the toughest paths to an NBA Championship ever won in 2011. He led his Mavericks past Portland (Aldridge, Roy), Los Angeles (Bryant), Oklahoma City (Durant, Westbrook, Harden), and Miami (James, Wade, Bosh) on his way to a ring. In his career, Nowitzki was named to 14 All-Star teams, 12 All-NBA teams, and won league MVP in 2007 to go along with his Finals MVP in 2011.
21. Bob Pettit
Pettit – a two-time league MVP – made the All-Star game and was named to an All-NBA team in each of his 11 NBA seasons. He was also named Rookie of the Year in 1955, led the league in total rebounds in 1956, and led the league in scoring twice (1956 & 1959). It’s also worth noting that Pettit’s lone NBA Championship came in 1958, 11 years before the Finals MVP award was introduced. Given that he led his team in minutes played, points scored, and rebounds secured during the 1958 postseason, adding the Finals MVP that he deserved to his resume would have moved Pettit up at least two spots on this list.
20. Kevin Garnett
Garnett’s longevity gives him a leg up on most players in NBA history. Through 21 seasons, Garnett ranks 2nd all-time in defensive rebounds (1st among non-ABA players), 10th all-time in total rebounds, and 21st in total points. The 6’11 forward won his lone NBA Championship in 2008 and was named league MVP in 2004. He was named to 15 All-Star teams, 12 All-Defensive teams, and 9 All-NBA teams to go along with a Defensive Player of the Year award in 2008.
19. Chris Paul
One of the highest remaining players on this list without an NBA Championship (yet), Chris Paul made nine consecutive All-Star teams from 2008-2016 before appearing in the last three All-Star games from 2020-2022, totalling 12 career appearances. He has led the NBA in steals six times and assists four times, averaging 2.1 and 9.5 per game respectively in his career. Paul has also been named to 11 All-NBA teams and nine All-Defensive teams along with winning Rookie of the Year in 2006.
18. Stephen Curry
Curry cemented himself firmly in the Top 20 all-time on virtually every known list by winning the Finals MVP award in 2022. He added a fourth NBA Championship to his already impressive resume to go along with 8 All-Star appearances, 8 All-NBA selections, and two league MVP awards – including the only unanimous MVP vote in league history. Curry is known as the greatest shooter of all time – he’s 1st all-time in 3-pointers made and led the league in scoring twice – but he also led the NBA in steals in 2016, showing off his ability to be an elite two-way player. With only 13 seasons under his belt, Curry is nowhere near done climbing lists like these.
17. Oscar Robertson
Oscar “Big O” Robertson used to be known as Mr. Triple Double, but Russell Westbrook has seemingly taken over that title. The biggest discrepancy between the All-Star guards’ careers is the lone title Robertson won in 1971. He was also named to 12 All-Star teams, 11 All-NBA teams, and led the NBA in assists six times. The 6’5 point guard was named Rookie of the Year in 1961 before going on to average a triple-double for the first time in NBA history in his second NBA season.
16. Jerry West
Jerry West played in the NBA for 14 seasons. He was named an All-Star in all 14 of them, as well as making 12 All-NBA teams and five All-Defensive teams. He also led the league in scoring in 1970 and assists in 1972. West remains the only player in NBA history to win the Finals MVP award without actually winning the Championship in the same season. He averaged roughly 31 points and 8 assists per game during that 1969 Finals run before ultimately winning his lone NBA Championship in 1972 alongside Wilt Chamberlain.
15. John Havlicek
Havlicek put together one of the most complete 16-year careers in the history of sports. He won an NBA Championship in half of his seasons in the league (8) – including one of the first-ever Finals MVP awards in 1974 – to go along with 13 All-Star appearances, 11 All-NBA team selections, and 8 All-Defensive team selections. Yes, Havlicek did benefit from playing alongside Bill Russell but don’t forget that two of Havlicek’s eight titles came after Russell retired.
14. Karl Malone
During his 19-year NBA career, Karl Malone scored the 3rd most points in NBA history (36,928) – trailing only LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – yet never once led the league in scoring for a single season. This is a testament to his consistent production over the entirety of his career. Malone accumulated 14 All-Star selections and 14 All-NBA appearances to go along with four All-Defensive team selections. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1986 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. Malone checks in as our highest-rated player without an NBA Championship on the NBA 75th Anniversary team.
13. Kevin Durant
Durant is once again the main topic of conversation in the NBA currently after requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, but this does not take away from the exemplary career he’s already put together. At age 33, Kevin Durant has already won 2 NBA Championships, 2 Finals MVPs, and 1 league MVP to go along with winning Rookie of the Year in 2008. He has also been selected to 12 All-Star teams and 10 All-NBA teams while leading the league in scoring four separate times. He ranks 4th all-time in career PPG and is well on his way to being a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
12. Shaquille O’Neal
Perhaps the most physically dominant force the league has ever seen, O’Neal went on an unprecedented tear from 2000 to 2002 where he won league MVP, three NBA Championships, and three Finals MVPs across three seasons. He added one more Championship (4 total) as a key member of the Miami Heat in 2006 to go along with 15 All-Star selections, 14 All-NBA selections, 3 All-Defensive selections, and Rookie of the Year in 1993. Shaq ranks in the top 10 in terms of both accolades and playoff stats, but his rapidly declining averages towards the end of his career drop his longevity score, causing him to barely fall outside of our top 10 NBA careers of all time.
11. Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon made 12 All-Star teams during his first 13 years in the league. He was also named to 12 All-NBA teams and nine All-Defensive teams. Olajuwon is the only player in NBA history to have multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards (2), multiple Finals MVP awards (2), and win a regular season MVP (1). Kawhi Leonard checks off multiple DPOY and Finals MVP awards but has yet to win a league MVP. Olajuwon is widely regarded as the most skilled big man of all time and is known for his bevy of post moves on offence to go along with his all-time elite defensive presence.
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