Top 10 NBA Players From the 1980s – 2000s

Photo Credit: (Chicago Now).

The Corona Virus has put a stop to sports teams practicing and playing games. This is a good time to take a break from the harsh reality of this deadly virus and have a little escape. Let the debate begin.

Top 10 NBA Players from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s

#10) Karl Malone and Charles Barkley:

Malone lived in the weight room and in the practice facility. Barkley lived in the night clubs and the all you can eat buffet line. Two different men with totally different styles, both successful.  At 6’5 ,“Sir Charles,” averaged 22.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Malone was a 14x all-star who averaged 25 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. In 1998-1999, Malone played in 49 games. It was the only time in 18 years he played less than 80 games in a season for the Utah Jazz. He was the very definition of reliable and consistent.

#9) Shaquille O’Neil:

Shaq bullied his opponents and played with a nastiness we rarely see today.

He was the biggest and strongest to ever play the game. Shaq won 4 NBA Titles, 3 Finals MVP Awards. He could have won double that, if he had Kobe Bryant’s work ethic. “Shaq-Diesel,” played for six teams, but still averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.

#8) Kobe Bryant:

“The Black Mamba” put up legendary numbers.

Photo Credit:(The Philippine Star).

He wasn’t always efficient or a great teammate, but no-one could deny his desire to compete. Kobe never got past the 2nd round of the playoffs without Phil Jackson as his coach. That is one of the reasons, he didn’t make the top 7.

#7) Kevin Durant:

The NBA has never seen a player like Kevin Durant. At 6’10, he handles the ball like a point guard and is one of the best shooting forwards to every play the game. He averages 27 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per contest. He also shoots 88% from the free throw line. He will go down as one of the best scorers of all-time.

#6) Hakeem Olajuwon:

Olajuwon was one of the best low post scorers in the history of the NBA. His legendary “Dream-shake” made great defenders like Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neil and David Robinson look terrible at times.

Olajuwon won back-to-back titles in 1994-1995 and was named the Finals MVP both years. During that two-year playoff run, he averaged 31 points, 11 rebounds and 4.4 assists and 3.5 blocks.

#5) Tim Duncan:

“The Big Fundamental” will go down as the greatest power forward to ever play the game. Duncan wasn’t a trash talker, he wasn’t a show-off, he just went about his business, night in and night out. Duncan won 5 NBA Championships and finished his career averaging 19.0 points, 10 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. He was the very definition of professionalism and Gregg Popovich relied on him for 19 years.

#4) Larry Bird:

“Larry Legend” love talking trash and he backed it up every game. Bird won 3-NBA Titles, 2 Finals MVP Awards and made the all-star game 12 times. Bird not only wanted to beat you, he wanted to break your spirit. His career numbers are scary. He averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Other than LeBron James, Bird was the best passing forward in the history of the NBA.

#3) Earvin” Magic” Johnson:

Earvin Johnson was so talented they gave him the nickname “Magic.” at 6’9, 235lbs Magic was the first NBA player who could play and defend all 5 positions on the court.  In his rookie year, Johnson played Center in game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers. He scored 42 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. He won 5 NBA Championships and played in 9 NBA Finals. Magic finished his career averaging 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game. Johnson and Bird changed the game of basketball and saved the NBA of going bankrupt in the early 1980s.

#2) Michael Jordan:

Jordan was the greatest scorer in the history of the NBA. He won 6 titles, and was the Finals MVP, 6 times. Jordan had a great coaching staff and team around him. Phil Jackson went on to win 5 more titles with the Lakers when he left Chicago. Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman are in the Hall of Fame. The Bulls surrounded Jordan with shooters as well. Steve Kerr is ranked number 1 all-time in 3-point shooting percentage and BJ Armstrong is ranked 12th. When Jordan retired the first time in 1993, (the Bulls with him), won 57 games. The following year without Jordan, they won 55 games.  He will always be remembered as one of the greatest of all-time, but he did not do it alone. He had a ton of talent to help him.

#1) LeBron James:

“King James” is number 1 on my list for several reasons:

LeBron James has been to 9 NBA Finals with 4 different coaches. Erik Spoelstra, coach of the Miami Heat, has never made it past the 2nd round of the playoffs without James. Tyronn Lue and Mike Brown are now assistants in the NBA and David Blatt is coaching in Europe. LeBron, like Magic, is the only player on this list who can play and guard all five positions. He has won 3 NBA Titles and was the Finals MVP 3 times. Most critics say, “LeBron is not a pure scorer,” They are wrong, James is 4th all-time in points per game (27.1).

His field goal percentage is 50.1.

Kobe’s field goal percentage was 44.7.

Jordan’s field goal percentage was 49.7.

LeBron’s career average is 27.1 points, 7.4 assists and 7.4 rebounds per game. There has never been a player who can do all the things he can. That is why he is the greatest and most complete player of all-time.

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About Monte Perez 461 Articles
I am a former AAU and College basketball coach as well as a Former Stand Up Comedian. Over the past two years I have written over 500 articles for numerous websites. I am the former host of The Monte Cristo Sports Thing on WRNJ radio in New Jersey. I am now the host of my own podcast. The Full Monte airs every Thursday at 6PM Eastern (Sports and Politics) and The Full Monte Football Show airs every Sunday 11 AM. Over the past 2 years I have been a featured guest or host on over 200 radio shows and podcasts. For bookings send emails to Monteinsidesports Follow me on Twitter MonteJP231
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