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Top 5 best NBA centers of all time

Kareem Abdul Jabbar currently tops the list of the best NBA centers of all time. In this article, we look at the top 5 best centers in the history of NBA. This list consists only of true centers and not power forwards.

Last updated: 06.09.2020
Top 5 centers in NBA history | Sports Social Blog

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Here's a list of the top 10 centers to ever play the game of basketball. Now before we begin, let me clear out by saying this list consists only of true centers and not power forwards filling up the spot so there might be a chance you may end up disagreeing with us.

5. Hakeem Olajuwon:


Hakeem definitely is in the top 5 Centers in history. The inventor of the dream shook himself, Hakeem had a variety of post moves down in the paint and would leave defenders flying with his pump fakes. He could easily drive both ways, fadeaway from the defender with his dream shake or just go up & under the defender. Hakeem's skillset was sub-par and his highlights were a beauty to watch. He could do it all in the paint and be a threat outside too at times. He won two championships with the Houston Rockets while Jordan was doing his baseball stint but that only goes to prove that during that time, after Jordan, Hakeem was the best player in the league winning two championships in the hardened Western conference. I'd say Hakeem's dream shake easily gets him at the 5th spot on this list.

4. Shaquille O'Neal:

The most powerful and dominant big man to ever step in the court, O'Neal comes up at number 4. Many would argue putting him in the top 3 but I'll justify it on the way. Drafted by the Orlando Magic, the Big Diesel was an absolute mammoth inside. He was the one true unguardable beast. He still to this day is a cheat code in NBA 2k. You just could not stop Shaq in the paint. Listed at 7'1, 325 pounds of pure muscle, Shaquille O'Neal has a record of breaking more backboards than any other player in the NBA, present or past. Thanks to Phil Jackson's coaching and guidance, he turned Shaq in the unstoppable force that he became in LA. Winning 3 championships under Phil Jackson alongside The Late "Kobe Bryant", Shaq went onto form a dynasty in Los Angeles and were not a force to be trifled with. Shaq would just bully defenders all game, dunking on them, posterizing them multiple times wrecking their gameplan by gabbing almost every rebound and whatnot. Shaquille O'Neal was a nightmare for other coaches but moreover players who had to guard him. If only he could shoot the 3, he would've had more than 4 championships to his name but that doesn't take away the legacy that Superman has left behind. He barely misses the top 3 Centers in NBA history.

3. Wilt Chamberlain:

Image Source: Wikipedia

Yes, the 100 point god, Wilt Chamberlain comes up at number 3 on the list. Most points in a single game, standing at a whopping 100 points, some records will forever stay unbeatable. Only Kobe came close to Wilt and no one else has been even able to scratch the surface of that record, ever.

Wilt was something else, on the court and off the court as well. He was a physical beast. His body type was of a pure hardened athlete. Wilt Chamberlain still has many rebounding records that will remain unchanged for a long period of time. Wilt has averaged more than 50 points in a season multiple times, all the while grabbing more than 30+ rebounds per night.

The physical strength that Wilt was blessed with was insane to almost everyone. Wilt's record bench press was 550 pounds and till the age of 59 could bench an easy 460 pounds. Wilt was what you could say an actual bully. He blocked a player 9 times on the same possession before saying 'you won't get a shot off' and then after the 2nd half started, said

'okay, now you can play.' Chamberlain was a defensive god in himself too, blocking almost every shot in the way, most of the time just grabbing them in the air, also scoring a rebound along with it. If only he had more championships, Wilt would be higher in the list.

2. Bill Russell:

Image Source: NBA

If we go by just championship rings then Russell would be number one on this list but that's not how we're measuring the best centers in league history. Bill Russell is a Celtics hall of famer with 11 NBA championships to his name. That's right, 11 in his 13 years in the league. In which he won 6 consecutive championships, all with the Boston Celtics. Only listed at 6'9, imagine what all Russell could do on the floor to be ranked number 2 on this list. He ran faster and jumped higher than every bigman in the league and would also end up giving guards a run for their money. Bill Russell met Wilt Chamberlain 4 times in the finals and won every one of them. Beating Wilt constantly is a feat in its own. He was also considered the best defender in the league then and the 2nd best rebounder after Wilt but a better player with a win at all cost mentality. Bill Russell comes at number 2.

1. Kareem Abdul Jabbar:

Image Source: NBA

The all-time leader in points standing at 38, 387, Kareem Abdul Jabbar tops the list of the best NBA centers in history. Kareem's Hook shot, the sky hook was unguardable. No matter how tall the defender was, Kareem always got his shot over the stretched defender and even scored each possession. Kareem just had a way of winning. After winning 71 consecutive games, Kareem made his debut in the NBA and averaged 28.8 PPG and 14.5 RPG which are insane numbers for a rookie. By the time Kareem hung his sneakers for good, he became the best center in NBA history and left no stone unturned. Listed at 7'2 with an 8' 3 wingspan, Kareem was unstoppable and his Hook shot, unguardable. LeBron may come close to breaking kareem's record but I doubt it because as it is said, some records aren't meant to be broken.

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