Famous 20th Century Basketball Players

Find out more about the greatest 20th Century Basketball Players, including Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Allen Iverson

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Basketball Players

 1 Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan
37
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: February 17, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

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.

 2 Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
29
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: August 23, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 26, 2020

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.

 3 Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson
13
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: August 14, 1959
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lansing, Michigan, United States

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.

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 4 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
8
Famous As: Basketball Player, Basketball Coach
Birthdate: April 16, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

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.

 5 Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain
12
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: August 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 12, 1999
One of the greatest basketball players of all time, Wilt Chamberlain created numerous records and won two championships during his fourteen years career. The legendary player, first drafted by Philadelphia Warriors, later played for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers. After retirement, he ventured into business, played volleyball, appeared in commercials and movie and even published his autobiography.

 6 Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman
10
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: May 13, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trenton, New Jersey, United States

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.

 7 Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson
13
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: June 7, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hampton, Virginia, United States

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.

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 8 Scottie Pippen

Scottie Pippen
11
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: September 25, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hamburg, Arkansas, United States

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.

 9 Larry Bird

Larry Bird
7
Famous As: Former Basketball Star
Birthdate: December 7, 1956
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: West Baden Springs, Indiana, United States

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
14
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: May 6, 1985
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States

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
8
Famous As: American basketball player
Birthdate: February 12, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Monroe, Louisiana

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

Steve Nash
5
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: February 7, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

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.

 13 Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
9
Famous As: NBA Star
Birthdate: May 19, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mauldin
Former NBA power forward/center Kevin Garnett was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves out of high school. After a 12-year term with the Timberwolves, he joined the Boston Celtics. His accolades include the MVP, the Defensive Player of the Year award, and 15 All-Star games. He also starred in Uncut Gems.

 14 Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan
8
Birthdate: April 25, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Christiansted, Saint Croix

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.

 15 Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Olajuwon
4
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: January 21, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lagos, Nigeria

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

Isiah Thomas
5
Famous As: Basketball player, Basketball coach, Consultant
Birthdate: April 30, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago

 17 Ray Allen

Ray Allen
6
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: July 20, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Merced, California, United States

 18 Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd
5
Famous As: Basketball player, Basketball coach
Birthdate: March 23, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Francisco

 19 Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing
6
Famous As: Basketball player, Basketball coach
Birthdate: August 5, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kingston

 20 Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady
5
Famous As: Basketball player, Baseball player
Birthdate: May 24, 1979
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Auburndale

 21 Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
4
Famous As: NBA small forward
Birthdate: October 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oakland

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

Jerry West
6
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: May 28, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chelyan, West Virginia, United States

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.

 23 Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller
4
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: August 24, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Riverside, California, United States

 24 Julius Erving

Julius Erving
4
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: February 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: East Meadow, New York, United States

 25 Pete Maravich

Pete Maravich
4
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: June 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 5, 1988
Pete Maravich, or Pistol Pete, played for three NBA teams till injuries ended his career. He initially played under his father, head coach Press Maravich, for the LSU Tigers. He also became the NCAA Division I top scorer of all time, with 3,667 points and 44.2 points per game.

 26 John Stockton

John Stockton
4
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: March 26, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Spokane, Washington, United States

 27 Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo
11
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: June 25, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

 28 Clyde Drexler

Clyde Drexler
4
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: June 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

 29 Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson
5
Famous As: Basketball player, Basketball coach
Birthdate: November 24, 1938
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Charlotte

 30 Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr
5
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: September 27, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Beirut

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

Moses Malone
9
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: March 23, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Petersburg, Virginia, United States
Died: September 13, 2015

 32 Yao Ming

Yao Ming
5
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: September 12, 1980
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Shanghai, China

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.

 33 Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony
15
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: May 29, 1984
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

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
4
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: September 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Deer Lodge, Montana, United States

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

Gary Payton
12
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: July 23, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oakland

 36 Alonzo Mourning

Alonzo Mourning
10
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: February 8, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chesapeake, Virginia, USA

 37 Dominique Wilkins

Dominique Wilkins
7
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: January 12, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France

 38 Karl Malone

Karl Malone
15
Famous As: Basketball player, Basketball coach, Actor
Birthdate: July 24, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Summerfield

 39 Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas
6
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: April 30, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Isaiah Thomas, also known as “The Pizza Boy,” plays for the Washington Wizards. He has previously played for teams such as the Sacramento Kings, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers. He is a two-time NBA All-Star and a two-time First-team All-Pac-10, and was named to the All-NBA Second Team.

 40 DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins
4
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: August 13, 1990
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mobile

 41 James Worthy

James Worthy
3
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: February 27, 1961
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gastonia, North Carolina, USA

 42 Muggsy Bogues

Muggsy Bogues
9
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: January 9, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

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. 

 43 Chuck Connors

Chuck Connors
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 10, 1921
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: November 10, 1992

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.

 44 Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns
6
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: November 15, 1995
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edison, New Jersey

 45 Manute Bol

Manute Bol
11
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: October 16, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gogrial, Sudan
Died: June 19, 2010

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.

 46 Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson
14
Famous As: Basketball player, American football player, Businessperson, Restaurateur
Birthdate: May 31, 1984
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Seattle

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.

 47 Robert Parish

Robert Parish
3
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: August 30, 1953
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Shreveport, Louisiana

 48 Elgin Baylor

Elgin Baylor
3
Famous As: Basketball Player
Birthdate: September 16, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, USA

 49 Kevin McHale

Kevin McHale
5
Famous As: Basketball Coach, Basketball player
Birthdate: December 19, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hibbing, Minnesota, United States

 50 Mike Krzyzewski

Mike Krzyzewski
5
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: February 13, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

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.