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When it comes to ranking the 10 best players in the NBA, there is often debate who makes the list because so many players have dominated the league for years. While some of the main names, such as Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, seem to always be at the top, it always gets tricky when you consider the assortment of players that came after them including Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

But how can we gauge who tops the other on this prestigious list? The best way to do this is to rank them by accolades. The top 5 accolades, including NBA Championships, Finals MVP Awards, MVP Awards, Scoring Titles, and Defensive Player of the Year Awards will be considered.

Here are the games 10 greatest players ranked by these accolades.

 

10. Wilt Chamberlain – 7 Accolades

2 NBA Championships

1 Finals MVP Award

4 MVP Awards

It is easy to know we are getting closer to number one as soon as you see Wilt’s name. Chamberlain is the master of stats, having put up a monster 100 points and 50 rebounds in two single games. Nobody owned the stat sheet like Wilt, and very few have surpassed his collection of accolades.

Wilt ran the league for a long time, capturing 7 scoring titles and 4 regular season MVP Awards. Wilt was also a beast on the boards and was long enough to completely own the paint when he played. He played an illustrious career, capturing two NBA titles and 1 Finals MVP.

 

10. Hakeem Olajuwon – 7 Accolades

Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

2 NBA Championships

2 Finals MVP Awards

2 Defensive Player of the Year Awards

1 MVP Award

Hakeem “The Dream” is one of the games best big men of all time, and easily the best Houston Rockets ever. He was the main man on a team that won two straight NBA Championships, and arguably the most unstoppable post player in league history.

Dream was an amazing player on both ends of the floor, and he managers 2 DPOY awards and one MVP Award. When it comes to the top 10 players of all time, Hakeem is often ignored but he is simply one of the best players to ever play the game of basketball.

 

9. Larry Bird – 8 Accolades

(via NBA.com)

3 NBA Championships

2 Finals MVP Awards

3 MVP Awards

Larry Legend is one of the sports most iconic figures, and easily a top 2 small forward of all time. In fact, he was the greatest small forward ever until a certain player drafted by the Cavaliers.

When it comes to pure shooting, toughness, and clutch performing- few are better in league history than Larry Bird. He was simply unguardable at times thanks to his shooting ability and was consistently one of the best rebounders at his position. Bird managed three NBA championships with the Celtics, including two Finals MVPs and 3 regular season MVPs.

 

8. Shaquille O’Neal – 8 Accolades

4 NBA Championships

3 Finals MVP Awards

1 MVP Award

Shaq is possibly the most dominant player in NBA history, in terms of brute force and impact. Nobody could slow him down due to his size and incredible athleticism, and this was the reason he managed three straight NBA Championships.

Shaq, although a liability at the free-throw line, was always a man among boys when he was on the court. His Finals numbers are ridiculous, and he could single-handedly destroy double teams with his incredible strength down low. After capturing a whopping 3 straight Finals MVP Awards, he is easily one of the 10 best players ever.

 

7. Kobe Bryant – 8 Accolades

5 NBA Championships

2 Finals MVP Awards

1 MVP Award

A former teammate of Shaq, Kobe Bryant is truly one of a kind. One of the most competitive and driven athletes ever, Bryant was always destined for greatness as soon as he graced the court. His never-ending desire to be the best stayed with him until the final game of his career, where he dropped 60 points in the greatest farewell game we will probably ever see.

Bryant was a phenomenal scorer, and also a terrific defensive player, who could completely control the game and put on a show with dazzling play night in and night out. Bryant captured 5 championships and 2 Finals MVP Awards in an incredible career.

 

6. Tim Duncan – 10 Accolades

5 NBA Championships

3 Finals MVPs

2 MVP Awards

Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward of all time. His activity on both ends, tremendous skill and dedication to ultimate intangibles is what separates him from the rest. While many praise the Spurs organization for their winning history, it was Tim Duncan who was the leader and most impactful player in their franchise history.

Duncan captured 5 NBA titles and 3 Finals MVPs as the main man for the Spurs dynasty. Not to mention, he also managed to win 2 MVP Awards thanks to his defensive dominance and offensive perfection during the regular season. Needless to say, we will never see a player like Tim Duncan again.

 

5. LeBron James – 10 Accolades

3 NBA Championships

3 Finals MVP Awards

4 MVP Awards

The greatest small forward of all time, LeBron James is the greatest pure athlete we have ever seen. An absolute freight train when he attacks the rim, there is not a soul on Earth who could’ve stopped him from averaging at least 27-7-7 every single year.

James is not only a terrific scorer but also an amazing playmaker and often his team’s best point guard. Despite standing 6’8″ and weighing as much as a super heavyweight boxer, James was almost quicker and could jump higher than anyone in the league. LeBron is a freak of nature, and he was the driving force behind his three NBA Championships.

 

4. Magic Johnson – 11 Accolades

5 NBA Championships

3 Finals MVP Awards

3 MVP Awards

The best point guard of all time, Magic revolutionized the one-position thanks to his incredible size and passing ability. Johnson had a unique style of play, heavily predicated on his massive shoulders where he could protect the ball and flick it to open players. Magic was simply a master at finding open guys, and nobody could run the fast break better.

Magic was so large, that he could see over any defender and dictate the pace of play like very few players in NBA history. Winning 5 titles and 3 Finals MVP Awards, it is safe to say there will never be another Magic Johnson.

 

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 14 Accolades

6 NBA Championships

2 Finals MVP Awards

6 MVP Awards

A player whose name comes up in the GOAT conversation, Kareem has a very strong case for being the best big man ever and the best scorer ever. Kareem has scored more points than anybody in NBA history, mainly thanks to his incredibly Sky Hook shot that he could use even in his 40’s.

When it comes to longevity, dominance, and impact- very few can compare to the leagues, all-time leading scorer. Kareem was simply a monster on both ends of the floor, and there really wasn’t anything anybody could do about it. He managed an amazing 6 titles, 2 Finals MVPs,  and 6 MVPs in an incredible career.

 

2. Bill Russel – 16 Accolades

11 NBA Championships

5 MVP Awards

Tied with Kareem on accolades, he gets the edge at number two because of two main reasons. One, the Finals MVP and DPOY Awards did not exist at that time so he will have overtaken Kareem anyways. Two, HE WON 11 CHAMPIONSHIPS IN 12 YEARS.

Russel was the defensive leader and driving force behind a legendary Celtics team that could not be stopped. Russell completely dominated the defensive end of the game and was just a winner of the highest order. He even managed 5 regular season MVPs.

Nobody will come close to winning 11 rings again, so he can bask in the glory of having more rings than fingers.

 

1. Michael Jordan – 18 Accolades

 

6 NBA Championships

6 Finals MVP Awards

1 Defensive Player of the Year Award

5 MVP Award

Was there ever any doubt? Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever, with the most accolades ever.

Jordan was simply amazing. He completely took over the league not long after his rookie season, and he is the most important figure in basketball history. Jordan was and still is, the symbol of excellence and pure winning.

Jordan won 6 NBA Championships, 6 Finals MVPs, without ever letting a game get to Game 7 in the Finals. He was simply so dominant on both ends of the floor, and he is the greatest player ever by far and it really isn’t very close.

A whopping 28 accolades, Jordan has won everything there is to win in the NBA. He will forever be the greatest basketball player ever.

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