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The 2000’s were one of basketball’s golden era, with the dawn of Michael Jordan’s generation stepping aside to make room for the new school, and the league transitioning from below the rim all the way to the perimeter.

With Jordan out of the league and glory up for grabs, dozens of great ballers to the league for assault pursuing glory and to replicate His Royal Airness success, and even though no one was ever able to be better than him, they definitely made some Hall of Fame worthy careers.

The 2000s gave us some of the best basketball memories and we will forever cherish this decade, and today, we’re going to let you know about the top 10 greatest basketball players of the 2000s right away.

Honorable Mention: Tracy McGrady, Paul Pierce

 

10. Dirk Nowitzki

Years Played in 2000s: 2000-2009 (10 Seasons)

Dirk Nowitzki’s not only one of the greatest foreign players in the history of the game, but a top 5 power forward in NBA history, despite not being nearly half as athletic, fast or strong as most of his opposition, but due to his top-notch scoring ability, especially during the clutch.

Dirk has scored over 30 thousand career points and is still a reliable contributor for the Mavs, the very same team he led to the Championship against all odds. Over that decade, he averaged 23.6 points, 89 rebounds, 2.8 dimes on 38% from three, also winning 1 MVP, making it to 8 All-Stars and 9 All-NBA Team.

 

9. Jason Kidd

Years Played in 2000s: 2000-2009 (10 Seasons)

Jason Kidd never flashed you with athleticism or scoring ability, but he definitely knew how to make winning plays and constantly did what the game asked out of him, a pass-first kind of point guard that could play lockdown defense against top-notch opposition.

Kidd was a master of the triple-double and arguably the best pure point guard of the decade, and even though he lost 2 finals with the Nets, his numbers of 14 points, 9.2 dimes and 7 rebounds with 1.9 steals on 40% from the floor over a 10-year span are quite impressive. Also, he made 7 All-Stars, led the league in dimes 4 times, and made it to 8 All-Defensive Team.

 

8. Steve Nash

Years Played in 2000s: 2000-2009 (10 Seasons)

Steve Nash is the lone player that some people may consider to be better than Kidd over the 2000s, even though his numbers perhaps weren’t quite as impressive as Kidd’s. Nash led a historically exciting offense under Mike D’Antoni’s tutelage, although he was never able to replicate such success in the playoffs.

Being one of the most influential point guards of all times, Nash won back-to-back MVPs during the 2000s, made it to 6 All-Star games, 8 All-NBA Team, led the league in assists per game in 3 seasons and put averages of 16.2 points, 91 assists and 3.2 boards a game while shooting 49% from the floor and 43% from beyond the arc, also being the 1st non US born player to win the MVP.

 

7. LeBron James

Years Played in 2000s: 2000-2009 (10 Seasons)

LeBron James took the league for assault right out of the gate as the most hyped player in the history of the NBA, living up to such expectations since 2003 as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ go-to-guy, although he definitely peaked towards the end of the decade.

James was one of the most dominant players over that 6 season span in the 2000s but wasn’t able to put the icing on top of the cake with a jewel on his finger. Still, he won 1 MVP, the Rookie of the Year, 1 scoring title, made 5 All-Stars (with 2 ASG MVPs), made 5 All-NBA Team and 1 All-Defensive Team appearance, posting averages of 27.6 points, 7 rebounds, 6.7 dimes and 1.5 steals per game.

 

6. Allen Iverson

Years Played in 2000s: 2000-2009 (10 Seasons)

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Allen Iverson was one of the most impressive players we’ve seen since Michael Jordan, and he definitely made sure everybody knew his name during the 2000s, owning the best moves in the league, a deadly crossover, and a killer instinct that made him one of the most dominant scorers in the world at that time.

He was able to single-handedly lead the Sixers to the Finals but was never able to win the Championship. Still, the combo guard will go down as one of the best scorers in ages, and he averaged 281, points, 6.2 dimes and 2.2 steals over the decade. Also, he won 1 MVP, made it to 10 All-Stars, won 3 scoring titles, led the league in steals 3 times, made 8 All-NBA Team and won 1 All-Star Game MVP.

 

5. Dwyane Wade

Years Played in 2000s: 2000-2009 (10 Seasons)

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade established himself early in the league as one of the best defensive guards ever, not to mention his elite offensive skills that made him a deadly scorer that could put you on skates, draw contact and finish anyways with his never-ending bag of tricks, and didn’t even need to be a consistent three-point shooter to be one of the most complete guards in the league.

His two-way talents helped the Miami Heat win their first title in franchise history, and his grit and grind in both ends of the hardwood have made him a first ballot Hall of Famer. Over 6 seasons, the Flash averaged 25.2 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds on 48% shooting, won 1 Finals MVP, made it to 5 All-Stars, won 1 scoring title, made 4 All-NBA Team, the All-Rookie Team and 1 All-Defensive Team.

 

4. Kevin Garnett

Years Played in 2000s: 2000-2009 (10 Seasons)

Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Kevin Garnett was never able to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Championship, but he definitely made them relevant with his hardnosed competitiveness, top-notch hustle and energy in both ends of the hardwood, completely dominating the league despite coming straight out of high school.

Garnett was so intense and full of energy that he became an instant fan favorite, and everybody was rooting for him when he was finally able to win the title with Boston. Over that decade, he averaged 21.6 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.7 dimes and 1.6 blocks per game on almost 50% shooting. Also, he won 1 MVP, 1 Ring, made it to 10 All-Stars (with 1 ASG MVP), 1 All-Defensive Team, 8 All-NBA Team, 10 All-Defensive Team and 4 rebounding titles.

 

3. Tim Duncan

Years Played in 2000s: 2000-2009 (10 Seasons)

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson UNITED STATES

Tim Duncan was the main reason why the San Antonio Spurs were able to build such a strong and successful Dynasty, leading the team in both ends of the hardwood and completely dominating this decade by winning 3 Championships despite lacking the strength and athleticism most big men in the league showed at the time.

The big fundamental put up a lot of work in both ends of the glass on a nightly basis, never complained, just did his job. Over that decade, he averaged 21.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.3 swats per game on 50% shooting, won 3 Championships with 2 Finals MVPs, won 2 MVPs, made 10 All-Stars (with 1 ASG MVP), 10 All-NBA Teams, and 10 All-Defensive Team.

 

2. Shaquille O’Neal

Years Played in 2000s: 2000-2009 (10 Seasons)

Shaquille O’Neal is considered to be the most dominant big man in the history of the game and for good reason. He was a major force all through the decade, a guy that could bully his way to the rim but that also wowed you with outstanding awareness, intelligence, footwork, handles and overall talent, not to mention his determination to get things done.

He was such a physical force you couldn’t foul him without getting hurt, he shattered boards and rivals, and he was never going to give up on any loose ball. Over that decade, he averaged 23.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks on 58% shooting, won 4 rings, 3 Finals MVPs, made 9 All-Stars with 3 ASG MVPs, 1 scoring title, 8 All-NBA Team and 2 All-Defensive Team.

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1. Kobe Bryant

Years Played in 2000s: 2000-2009 (10 Seasons)

Kobe Bryant has to be considered the greatest player of the 2000s, bringing the Los Angeles Lakers back to relevance and becoming the most hardnosed competitor and winner in all of the NBA, copying most of Michael Jordan’s moves to make us all believe that the second coming of the greatest player ever was right upon us.

Bryant made sure to make the Lakers his team, and his legacy will go on for ages as the greatest ever to be dressed in purple and gold. Over that span, he won 4 titles, 1 Finals MVP, made 10 All-Stars with 3 ASG MVPs, 10 All-NBA Team, 8 All-Defensive Team, won 1 MVP and posted averages of 28.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game.