There is no denying that the most dominant players of the 2000s decade were Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan. These 3 Hall of Famers are among the 10 greatest players to have ever played the game, so it is not surprising that they were the most successful in their era.
Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan won a combined 11 NBA championships between 2000 and 2009 and have a combined 4 MVPs and 6 Finals MVPs. But which player out of the three was the best of the 2000s? Shaquille O'Neal was the most dominant, Kobe was the most skilled, and Duncan had the best fundamentals. It is time to decide which Hall of Famer is the greatest to have done it in the 2000s.
Statistics: 23.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.2 BPG, 58.5 FG%
Accolades: 1 MVP, 3 Finals MVPs, 4 NBA Championships, 5 Finals Appearances
Shaquille O'Neal has the greatest accolades out of the three players during the era between 2000-2009. Shaq was the most dominant physical specimen in modern history, winning 3 straight Finals MVPs and an MVP Award. In terms of being the most dominant, O'Neal takes the crown as the best during the 2000s.
O'Neal earned his much-deserved MVP in 2000 by averaging 29.7 PPG, 13.6 RPG, and 3.0 BPG for the championship Lakers. O'Neal would follow that up with 28.7 PPG and 27.2 PPG during his next two championship years. O'Neal and his partner, Kobe Bryant, are considered the greatest duo in NBA history after Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Statistics: 28.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.7 SPG, 45.7 FG%
Accolades: 1 MVP, 1 Finals MVP, 4 NBA Championships, 6 Finals Appearances
Kobe Bryant was so incredibly skilled, that he immediately began drawing comparisons to the great Michael Jordan as a teenager. Bryant was unstoppable as a scorer, and he won 3 straight NBA titles alongside Shaquille O'Neal in Los Angeles. While Shaq was the most dominant, it was Kobe Bryant who was the closer for the team.
Bryant won the MVP in 2008 by averaging 28.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 5.4 APG. Bryant was the best player in the NBA during 2008, and he would have to wait a year later to win the title in 2009 for the Lakers which marked his 4th championship. Of course, Kobe would win the title in 2010 which would be his 5th, but it is not counted in the 2000s decade.
Statistics: 21.4 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 3.3 APG, 2.3 BPG, 50.4 FG%
Accolades: 2 MVPs, 2 Finals MVPs, 3 NBA Championships, 3 Finals Appearances
Tim Duncan wasn't the most attractive player to watch at times, but there is no doubt he was extremely effective. Duncan won 2 MVPs as the best player for the Spurs, usurping David Robinson as the team's franchise star. Tim Duncan won his MVP Awards in 2002 and 2003, winning the championships in 2002 and later in 2005 and 2007.
Duncan was the Finals MVP in 2003 and 2005, carrying the San Antonio Spurs to victories over the Nets and Pistons respectively. Duncan has the most MVP Awards out of the three stars, and he deserves a mention as possibly the best player during the 2000s.
Which Hall of Famer Was The Greatest Of The 2000s?
In terms of pure statistics, accolades, and dominance; Shaquille O'Neal has to be the greatest player of the 2000s. 3 straight NBA titles and Finals MVPs is truly incredible, and he joins Michael Jordan as the only player in history to accomplish this. O'Neal dominated with brute force, and he also has an NBA title with the Miami Heat alongside Dwayne Wade. Wade was the man on the team, but O'Neal's presence was undeniably the second biggest reason the team won.
Kobe Bryant is unlucky to have his 5th title happen in 2010 because he would have usurped Shaquille O'Neal as the greatest of his era. To many, Bryant is the greatest because of his skills and clutch shot-making for the Lakers. O'Neal was the most dominant, but it was Kobe taking the big shots in the 4th quarter. Tim Duncan has a case with 2 MVPs and 2 Finals MVPs, but he has 1 less NBA title in comparison to Shaq and Kobe.
Overall, O'Neal is the greatest player of the 2000s. He has the most Finals MVPs and dominated the game better than anyone in his era. If Kobe's 2010 title is counted, he will be the greatest, but he doesn't usurp O'Neal over those 10 years between 2000 and 2009.