Selfishness is a part of the game. Great players can not be great without having selfishness fueling them, because then they would just settle for any team success rather than individual achievements and recognition. Selfish players are often great players, and we have seen that throughout NBA history.
But other players were selfish purely for their own gain. These NBA players wanted to hog the ball, take all the shots, and always be in the spotlight due to their style of play. While a ton of players can make this list, it is time to rank the 10 most selfish NBA players in terms of their playing style. From the way that hog the ball and go about offensive possessions, here are the 10 most selfish NBA players ever.
10. James Harden
Many will point to the fact that James Harden is one of the greatest passers in the NBA right now and his assist totals are truly impressive. Harden can make any pass on the court and doesn't mind setting his teammates up for looks because he is so offensively gifted. But it is without question that James Harden is one of the biggest ball hogs in the past decade. NBA history. There's nothing more James Harden loves to do than dribble, dribble, dribble, and dribble. It is what he does best and what he is known for.
That is a reason why he has a ton of critics for the way he plays the game and also for the fact that he has not made an NBA Finals as the "man" yet. As of right now, James Harden doesn't seem to mind as he's won an MVP and multiple scoring titles as the franchise player for Houston.
9. Gilbert Arenas
Agent Zero was a fan favorite and dominant offensive player that had it all. Arenas was explosive, had unlimited range, and could destroy opponents with his offensive with ease. In a nutshell, Arenas was a beast in his prime. But he also loved shooting the ball, something that a point guard shouldn't necessarily do every time. Especially when Arenas aged and began dealing with injuries, he never stopped gunning shots.
Gilbert Arenas could have been an all-time great player for his talents. His injuries and rather crazy decision making forced him out of the league, but he still loved making sure he got a shot up at least once per possession. His 42.1% field goal percentage was poor, and he would take shots from half-court at regularity which probably didn't help.
8. Steve Francis
Stevie Franchise was a great player for the Houston Rockets. He was a great point guard who just happened to be a primary option on offense, and he let his athleticism and skills do the talking. Francis averaged a nice 6.0 APG for his career, but that was because he had the ball all the time. Francis never saw a shot he didn't like, and he let it fly countless times.
It wasn't until Yao Ming joined Houston that Francis became unhappy with his role, eventually sulking his way to Orlando where he could jack up some more shots. Francis was a great player but he was a notorious ball hog who shot a very low 42.9% from the field.
7. Josh Smith
One of the most frustrating players in NBA history, Josh Smith has the tools to be a one of a kind player. Smith was a powerful power forward, who moved like a guard and jumped out the roof. As part of a talented Hawks team alongside the likes of Joe Johnson, Smith shined as an All-Star talent. But he never understood his limitations or even his gifts for that matter.
Smith had the physical ability to dominate down low, but he just loved taking long jumpers. As a horrifically inefficient shooter, Smith would always jack up shots for no reason to fans and coaches' frustration. Smith just simply never learned, and his career did not go as planned because of it. Smith shot 45.2% from the field and 28.5% from three which made everyone wonder why he loved shooting so much.
6. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is a very selfish player. That does not mean that he doesn't want to win, it just means that he wants to win his way. Westbrook loves getting his shot attempts and loves putting up statistics all across the board. Russ is famous for going after every rebound to get his now-patented triple-double. Westbrook is one of the most incredible athletes in NBA history so he uses that to his advantage.
But the fact that the great Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City Thunder to go play with Stephen Curry is a testament to Westbrook's selfishness. Curry and Westbrook both played the same position, but Curry was one of the most unselfish players in history while Westbrook was constantly hogging the ball which forced KD out. Russ will go down as one of the best point guards to have ever played, but his selfishness will as well.
5. Allen Iverson
Famously called, "Me, Myself, and Iverson" by sports critic Skip Bayless, Allen Iverson is regarded as one of the most selfish ball hogs in NBA history. Iverson was a phenom offensively, so it was only natural for him to take a ton of shots. Despite being barely 6-feet tall, Iverson had no problem jacking up shot attempts from anywhere on the floor. Especially with the Philadelphia 76ers, this led to team success as he made the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000.
But Iverson had a stigma on his whole career that he was a selfish player. Especially after his trade to the Denver Nuggets and later on the Detroit Pistons, Iverson cannot shake this stigma of being a selfish player and that is a reason why critics point to the fact that he has no NBA title in his range of achievements.
4. Carmelo Anthony
It is without a fact that Carmelo Anthony is one of the greatest ball hogs in NBA history. After all, this is what Carmelo does. Carmelo Anthony's one of the greatest scorers of all time and he was able to get his points because he wanted to jack up a shot every single possession. Anthony can score inside and from the outside, which is the reason why he was constantly the number one option on offense.
Carmelo's selfishness came into play after his final season with the New York Knicks, when he was basically out of the league because he could not find a job. Anthony was too selfish to accept a role player's position on a team, and that led to a lot of disappointment over the past few years. It seems that he has accepted being a role player as he had a great season with the Portland Trail Blazers this year.
3. Kobe Bryant
We all know it and we all loved it. Kobe Bryant was an extremely selfish player, often passing up easy chances to set up teammates for the sake of his own attempts. That is not to say that Kobe knew he could have passed, and he could have possibly lead the league in assists anytime he wanted. But Bryant truly believed that he had a better chance of making shots rather than anyone else on the floor, so he wanted to take as many shots as possible. When Kobe played, we all knew who was letting it fly.
Kobe's selfishness as a player is the reason he is regarded as arguably the second-best scorer in NBA history behind Michael Jordan. Bryant played with a killer will and desire that very few players had, and nobody loved hogging the ball for shots more than the great Kobe Bryant.
2. Wilt Chamberlain
Chamberlain had the stigma of being “too selfish” and too concerned with scoring rather than winning for a large part of his career. He found it so easy to play the game, that he could accumulate statistics in an alarming manner. No player in history can compare to Wilt’s stats, and that is why he had a ton of critics when he kept losing out titles to Bill Russell who only cared about winning. In Chamberlain’s first 7 years in the league, he dominated stat sheets but kept losing to Russell and the Celtics (0-5 in playoff series) in the postseason.
Confidence is great and Chamberlain certainly had that, as he would score the ball every single time without a care in the world. After all, he is the only player to drop 100 points in a single game and also managed to drop 58 in his rookie season. There will never be a player as physically dominant in an era like Wilt was during his time, and he was an incredibly selfish player who holds a host of unbreakable records because of it.
1. Ricky Davis
Ricky Davis wasn't an all-time great player, but he was a nice scorer who loved his shot attempts. In fact, it's the reason he has a career FG of 44.6% despite only averaging 13.5 PPG. Davis loved taking out of rhythm shots and often missed a lot of them. Whenever the ball went to Ricky Davis, he would look to get a shot up no matter who was defending him or what the defense was.
Davis was a ball hog everywhere he went, including the Cavaliers and Clippers. Davis never really fell into any coaches favor because he was only concerned with shooting the rock. Davis unsurprisingly had his career stop at age 30, unable to find a team that would put up with his ball hogging ways.