Ever since the dawn of this beautiful sport, some truly gifted athletes have found their way into basketball heaven, completely dominating their opposition in every single aspect of the game and leading their teams to success.
Naturally, that has created a never-ending debate on whether a player is better than the other, with some critics stating that old days were the days while others say players are way more talented now than they used to be.
At Fadeaway World, we don’t want to keep on with that nonsense, as we appreciate greatness regardless of when players balled. That’s why we’re going to let you know about the best players of each decade.
The 50s - George Mikan
George Mikan completely dominated basketball scene throughout his 7-year career with the Minneapolis Lakers, although he had already played for one season for the Chicago American Gears of the NBL.
Throughout his career, the center won 7 Championships, all of them with the Minneapolis Lakers. Even so, the team played in three different leagues NBL, BAA and NBA. Over that span, he put averages of 23.1 points, 13.1 rebounds and 2.8 dimes per game, and was once selected as the NBL’s best player.
The 60s - Bill Russell
(Honorable Mention: Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson)
If we were to talk about rings, there will be no doubt about Bill Russell being the unanimous greatest player of all time, as the center is the main reason why the Boston Celtics are now entitled of 17 Championships.
Russell completely took the league by the horns throughout his 13-year career, winning 11 Championships, making it to 12 All-Stars, winning 5 MVPs and averaging 15.1 points, 22.3 rebounds and 4.3 dimes a game.
The 70s - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(Honorable Mention: Julius Erving)
Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Milwaukee Bucks to a Championship before outgrowing the team and the town and heading towards LA, establishing one of the strongest dynasties this game has ever seen while carrying Wilt Chamberlain’s torch for the Lakers.
Kareem played for 20 years and is the league's all-time leading scorer, won 6 NBA Championships, 5 MVPs, holds the records for most All-Star appearances with 15, won 2 Finals MVPs and posted career averages of 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 dimes, 0.9 steals and 2.6 blocks per game.
The 80s - Magic Johnson / Larry Bird
Basketball was so fun to watch during the 80’s, with the Lakers - Celtics rivalry growing by the day and both teams pretty much taking turns to win it all. On one side of the dispute, we find the greatest point guard in the history of the game, while in the other, the best small forward that had ever played before LeBron James.
Magic was a human highlight reel, a crafty passer that could play and guard all 5 spots in the court with ease, while Bird was a deadly scorer and underrated defender that could dominate down low or hit from beyond the arc. Johnson posted averages of 19.5 points and 11.2 dimes (NBA record), won 5 Chips, 3 MVPs and 3 Finals MVPs, while Bird won 3 rings, 3 MVPs, 2 Finals MVPs, the ROY and averaged 24.3 points and 10 boards per game.
The 90s - Michael Jordan
(Honorable Mention: Hakeem Olajuwon)
The 90s were completely dominated by Michael Jordan, and we’re not just talking about basketball. Jordan became a sensation, an idol, the guy everybody wanted to be and nobody could resist loving, the most dominant two-way player in the history of the game.
Jordan never lost in the Finals, and went a perfect 6/6 in the ultimate stage, he won the Defensive Player of the Year, 5 MVPs, 6 Finals MVPs, the ROY and ESPN’s athlete of the century. Also, he led the league in scoring 10 times, averaging 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
2000-03 Shaquille O’Neal, 2003-10 Kobe Bryant
(Honorable Mention: Tim Duncan)
Both best players of the 2000’s played for the Lakers, one for a span of time, the other for 20 years en route to becoming the greatest Laker ever. Shaq was the early decade’s most dominant player, a two-way stud nobody could contain in either side of the court, while Kobe grew to develop the Mamba Mentality all young ballers want to embrace.
Throughout his career, Shaq posted averages of 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, won 4 Championships, 1 MVP, 3 Finals MVP, the ROY and 2 scoring titles, while Kobe averaged 25 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 dimes and 1.4 steals per game, won 5 Championships, 1 MVP, 2 scoring titles and 2 Finals MVPs. Had the play together for much longer, the Lakers could’ve gone to win 7-8 Chips with ease.
2010-Present LeBron James
(Honorable Mention: Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry)
Ever since entering the league in 2003, LeBron James has completely dominated. Naturally, this decade has been by far his best, as he’s made it to 8 straight trips to the NBA Finals, and seems to be getting better and better with age.
LeBron has a huge shot at becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer and breaks Kareem’s record for most All-Star appearances. Throughout his career, he’s won 3 Championships, 3 Finals MVPs, 4 MVPs and 1 scoring titles, posting averages of 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per game.