A superstar, a legend and the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan is all this and much more. Very few athletes can match up with his level of popularity and impact. And if that is not enough, he is also the richest former professional athlete in the world.
The former professional basketball player, Kobe Bryant, was drafted into NBA immediately after his school and went on to become one of the most successful basketball players of his generation. During his career of two decades, the Los Angeles Lakers player created numerous new records. He authored a book and one of his poems even inspired an animated short film.
Magic Johnson, the now retired American basketball player was one of the most powerful players of the 1980s and led NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers to five championships during his thirteen years career. His real name is Earvin Johnson and he earned his nickname Magic during his high school days. He retired after testing positive for HIV and currently heads Magic Johnson Enterprises.
Retired basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a legendary NBA champion and its all-time leading scorer. Known for his trademark skyhook shot, he achieved remarkable feats during his career. Later, he pursued a successful writing and acting career and was even selected U.S. global cultural ambassador. The NBA star is also the proud recipient of the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Former professional basketball player, Dennis Rodman came to prominence in the 1980s as a power forward known for his defensive and rebounding abilities. Hailed as "arguably the best rebounding forward in NBA history," he earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors seven times. He has a media presence as well and has appeared in many TV shows.
Former professional basketball player, Allen Iverson, is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential basketball players of all time. He retired after playing 14 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for various teams. At the time of his retirement, he was an 11-time NBA All-Star. A popular star, he has made a few cameo appearances in films.
Former professional basketball player, Scottie Pippen, is best known for his stint with the Chicago Bulls with who he won six NBA championships. Considered one of the greatest small forwards of all time, he played a key role in transforming the Bulls into one of the most formidable forces in NBA in the 1990s.
Considered one of the greatest basketball players ever, Larry Bird was part of the Dream Team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics. A Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, Bird helped his team Boston Celtics win three NBA championships. In 2018, MSN Sports named him the greatest Boston Celtics player ever.
10 Chris Paul
Chris Paul is a professional basketball player and one of the highest-paid sportspersons in the world. Apart from earning from his career as a basketball player, he also earns by signing endorsement deals with companies like State Farm and Air Jordan. A religious person, Chris Paul attends church whenever possible.
11 Bill Russell
Bill Russell is a former professional basketball player. Widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players ever, Russell led the US national basketball team to victory and helped his team win Olympic gold at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Also known for his accomplishments in the civil rights movement, Russell was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
12 Steve Nash
Canadian national Steve Nash is a basketball coach and a former player. Known for his playmaking skills, he played for Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers in America’s coveted National Basketball Association. He also played for the Canadian national men’s team from 1991 to 2003. He became the head coach of Brooklyn Nets of NBA in September 2020.
14 Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan is widely considered one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the NBA and the best power forward of all time. A five-time NBA champion, Duncan also helped his national team win Olympic bronze medal in 2004. Also a humanitarian, Duncan established the Tim Duncan Foundation to fund youth sports programs and education.
Hakeem Olajuwon is a former basketball player. Nicknamed The Dream, because of his dream-like ability to dunk effortlessly, Olajuwon is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketballers of all time. Apart from leading the Houston Rockets to two back-to-back NBA championships, Hakeem Olajuwon also helped the US national team win the Olympic gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics.
16 Isiah Thomas
17 Ray Allen
18 Jason Kidd
21 Paul Pierce
Former Boston Celtics basketball player Paul Pierce led his team to two NBA Finals and won one NBA championship. He later also played for teams such as the Los Angeles Clippers. The 10-time NBA All-Star was also named the NBA Finals MVP in 2008. Shaquille O'Neal named him “The Truth.”
22 Jerry West
Basketball player Jerry West, also known as Mr. Clutch, for his ability to snatch games in clutch situations, is known for his stint with the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. He was part of the US squads that won an Olympic gold in 1960 and a Pan American Games gold in 1959.
30 Steve Kerr
Professional basketball coach and former player, Steve Kerr, is currently the head coach of the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. He has won five NBA titles as a player and three as a head coach. He has been immensely successful as a coach, helping his team break the record for the most wins in an NBA season.
31 Moses Malone
32 Yao Ming
Widely regarded as one of the greatest Chinese basketball players ever, Yao Ming represented the Houston Rockets of the NBA. Known as the Ming Dynasty in the US, Ming's popularity and success in the NBA made him a symbol of China. One of China's most popular sportsmen, Ming is also credited with introducing the Chinese Basketball Association to the world.
A star basketball player currently with Los Angeles Lakers, Carmelo Anthony was first drafted by Denver Nuggets and played eight seasons with them. Amongst the most prolific scorers in the NBA history, he played another seven season with New York Knicks. At the Olympics, Anthony was part of the teams that won a bronze medal in 2004 and a goldmedal in 2008, 2012, and 2016.
34 Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson is a former professional basketball player who played 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association and won the NBA championships in 1970 and 1973 when he was with New York Knicks. Later, he coached the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers and led them both to numerous championships and league titles and is considered one of the greatest basketball coaches ever.
35 Gary Payton
38 Karl Malone
41 James Worthy
Muggsy Bogues is a former basketball player. Standing at 5 feet 3 inches tall, Bogues is the shortest player in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA). When his 14-season NBA career came to an end, Bogues served as the head coach for Charlotte Sting, which participated in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) from 1997 to 2007.
Chuck Connors was an American actor, professional baseball and basketball player. Connors is one of 13 athletes to have played in both National Basketball Association and the Major League Baseball. As an actor, he contributed to the success of the popular Western television program The Rifleman. Also known for his charity work, Connors helped found the Chuck Connors Charitable Foundation.
45 Manute Bol
Known for his 7’ 7” frame, Manute Bol made headlines as one of the tallest NBA players ever. Born in Sudan, he was initially a soccer player but quit it because of his height. He later moved to the US to represent basketball teams such as the Golden State Warriors.
Nate Robinson is a former professional basketball player who has played in the NBA for the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, and Chicago Bulls. He went professional in 2005 and became the NBA's first three-time slam dunk champion in 2010. He retired in 2018. He now runs a restaurant in Rainier Beach.
48 Elgin Baylor
49 Kevin McHale
Mike Krzyzewski is a men's basketball coach currently affiliated with Duke University. He played basketball in the United States Military Academy and served as an officer in the United States Army for a few years. He later joined the coaching staff at the Indiana Hoosiers. He has been with Duke University since 1980 and plans to retire soon.