Famous American Basketball Players

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Ever since Dr. James Naismith first invented the game of basketball in America way back in 1891, it has been the nation's most loved sport. Thanks to the emergence of National Basketball Association (NBA), the basketball fever has spread length and breadth. From spectacular dunks and remarkable alley-oops to sweeping three-pointers, basketball is one sport that has successfully managed to keep the spectators on the edge of their seats always. No wonder why die-hard fans (and fanatics) cannot get enough of the game and its players. Talking about basketball players, of the thousands of players who have ever been a part of this sport, some of them have been really, really unforgettable. Some were skillful, others champions. But of all the men who have chased the ball down the court, only some of them have gone to become legends. Go through the timeline, trivia, and interesting facts of the all-time American basketball greats and learn all about their talents, intangibles, and accomplishments in the biographies here.
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 1 
Michael Jordan
(Basketball player)
Michael Jordan
53
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
(One of the Greatest Basketball Players of All Time)
Kobe Bryant
46
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 
Stephen Curry
(Greatest Shooter in NBA History)
Stephen Curry
43
Birthdate: March 14, 1988
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Akron, Ohio, United States

American professional basketball player, Stephen Curry, plays for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association and is considered to be one of the greatest shooter in NBA history. His three-point shot is said to have revolutionised the basketball game. He has many records to his credit and his team has won couple of NBA championships.

 4 
Shaquille O’ Neal
(Basketball player)
Shaquille O’ Neal
29
Birthdate: March 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States

Shaquille O'Neal is an American former basketball player who currently works as a sports analyst. Considered one of the greatest basketballers ever, O'Neal was also one of the heaviest and tallest players of all time. One of the most important players in the history of LA Lakers, O'Neal helped the team win three consecutive NBA championships between 2000 and 2002.

 5 
LeBron James
(One of the Greatest Players in NBA History)
LeBron James
51
Birthdate: December 30, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Akron, Ohio, United States

A basketball prodigy, Lebron James began playing since his school days and was later selected by Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA draft. His career progressed at a rapid rate and he is considered to be one of the greatest players in NBA history. During his stint with Miami Heat, he helped them win two NBA Championships. Currently, he plays for Los Angeles Lakers 

 6 
Kevin Durant
(Basketball Player)
Kevin Durant
53
Birthdate: September 29, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

Kevin Durant is regarded as one of the best basketball players of his generation. He is known for his phenomenal scoring ability and is hailed as an excellent playmaker. He currently plays for the Brooklyn Nets of National Basketball Association (NBA). He was part of the US men’s national team which won the Olympic gold medal in 2012 and 2016.

 7 
Magic Johnson
(The Greatest Point Guard of All Time)
Magic Johnson
23
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.

 8 
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(One of the Best Players in NBA History)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
17
Birthdate: April 16, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, 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.

 9 
Kawhi Leonard
(American Professional Basketball Player and 5-Time NBA All-Star Winner)
Kawhi Leonard
37
Birthdate: June 29, 1991
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

A four-time All-Star and six-time All-Defensive Team member, Kawhi Leonard has helped two teams win NBA championships while earning the Finals Most Valuable Player award on both THE occasions. In 2015 and 2016, he was named Defensive Player of the Year. Nicknamed the Claw for his amazing ball-hawking skills, Leonard is known for his quiet demeanor off-court.

 10 
Wilt Chamberlain
(One of the Greatest Basketball Players)
Wilt Chamberlain
18
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.
 11 
Dwyane Wade
(Basketball Player)
Dwyane Wade
20
Birthdate: January 17, 1982
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

With an Olympic gold medal and three NBA championships, Dwyane Wade is one of the most decorated former American basketball players of the 21st century. Also a well-known philanthropist, Dwyane Wade founded The Wade's World Foundation in 2003; the foundation helps community-based organizations promote education and social skills for children. He also supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

 12 
Allen Iverson
(One of the Greatest Scorers in Basketball)
Allen Iverson
20
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.

 13 
Larry Bird
(Basketball player)
Larry Bird
12
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.

 14 
Scottie Pippen
(One of the Greatest Small Forwards of All Time)
Scottie Pippen
19
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.

 15 
James Harden
(Basketball player)
James Harden
28
Birthdate: August 26, 1989
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

James Harden is a basketball player, widely regarded as the best shooting guard in the history of the NBA. His prolific ability to score from difficult situations and positions has helped his team win many games. He was part of the United States national team that won the gold medal at the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

 16 
Dennis Rodman
(Arguably the Best Rebounding Forward in NBA History)
Dennis Rodman
18
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.

 17 
Chris Paul
(Basketball player)
Chris Paul
22
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.

 18 
Charles Barkley
(Basketball Player)
Charles Barkley
12
Birthdate: February 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Leeds, Alabama, United States

American professional basketball player Charles Barkley was a prolific scorer and played for Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rocket teams of the National Basketball Association. He was part of the US men’s team that won the gold medal in 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games. He was also controversial and was known for his confrontational attitude and physical aggression.

 19 
Bill Russell
(Regarded as One of the Greatest Basketball Players Ever)
Bill Russell
12
Birthdate: February 12, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: West Monroe, Louisiana, United States
Died: July 31, 2022

Bill Russell was an American retired 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 an 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.

 20 
Russell Westbrook
(Basketball Player)
Russell Westbrook
34
Birthdate: November 12, 1988
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States

Russell Westbrook is a professional basketball player. A nine-time NBA All-Star, Russell is only one of two players in the history of the NBA to average a triple-double for an entire season. An eight-time All-NBA Team member, Russell is one of the most athletic NBA players of all time. He also frequently appears in commercials for brands like Air Jordan.

 21 
Vince Carter
(American Former Professional Basketball Player Who Played as the Shooting Guard / Small Forward )
Vince Carter
14
Birthdate: January 26, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Daytona Beach, Florida, United States

Widely regarded as the greatest dunker ever in basketball history, Vince Carter is an American former basketball player. His leaping ability during his playing career often entertained crowds, earning him nicknames like Half Man, Half Amazing and Vinsanity. Also a philanthropist, Carter set up the Embassy of Hope Foundation, which helps children in places like New Jersey, Florida, and Ontario.

 22 
Tim Duncan
(Basketball player)
Tim Duncan
12
Birthdate: April 25, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

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.

 23 
Kevin Garnett
(Basketball player)
Kevin Garnett
14
Birthdate: May 19, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
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.
 24 
Hakeem Olajuwon
(One of the Greatest Basketball Players of All Time)
Hakeem Olajuwon
7
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.

 25 
Damian Lillard
(Basketball Player)
Damian Lillard
10
Birthdate: July 15, 1990
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States

Stunning his fans with his precise shooting abilities, 33 points per game average and five NBA All-Star selections, Damian Lillard has only kept rising in his career as a professional basketball player. In addition to playing for Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA, Lillard is devoted to music and has been creating life-inspired songs under his rap persona, Dame D.O.L.L.A.

 26 
Jerry West
(Basketball player)
Jerry West
10
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.

 27 
Klay Thompson
(American Professional Basketball Player Who Plays at the ‘Shooting Guard' Position)
Klay Thompson
9
Birthdate: February 8, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson has won three NBA championships with the team. The five-time NBA All-Star is the son of former basketball player Mychal Thompson. He and Stephen Curry were known as “the Splash Brothers” for setting an NBA record of combined three-pointers, in 2014.

 28 
Anthony Davis
(Basketball player)
Anthony Davis
18
Birthdate: March 11, 1993
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

American professional basketball player, Anthony Davis plays, for the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers. He is the youngest player to score at least 59 points in a NBA game. He was a member of the US men’s national basketball team which participated in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The team was undefeated in London and won the gold medal.

 29 
Zion Williamson
(Basketball Player)
Zion Williamson
15
Birthdate: July 6, 2000
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Salisbury, North Carolina, United States

Zion Williamson is an American basketball player who plays in the power forward position for the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA. Also a humanitarian, Zion Williamson promised to pay for the salaries of the Smoothie King Center employees for 30 days as the 2019–20 NBA season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 30 
Derrick Rose
(Basketball player)
Derrick Rose
8
Birthdate: October 4, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Englewood, Chicago, Illinois, United States

Derrick Rose is a basketball player who became the youngest player to receive the NBA Most Valuable Player Award; he received it at the age 22. Despite struggling with knee injuries throughout his career, Rose has managed to stay focused and is currently playing for the Detroit Pistons. In 2018, he came up with a scholarship program called The Rose Scholars to help students.

 31 
Steve Kerr
(Basketball Player)
Steve Kerr
5
Birthdate: September 27, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

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.

 32 
Kyrie Irving
(American Professional Basketball Player)
Kyrie Irving
19
Birthdate: March 3, 1992
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia

A six-time NBA All-Star, Kylie Irving has played for the Nets, Celtics, and Cavaliers. He won the gold in the Rio Olympics and the FIBA World Cup, as part of the U.S. national basketball team. He starred in the Pepsi series Uncle Drew and the movie of the same name.

 33 
Ray Allen
(Basketball player)
Ray Allen
11
Birthdate: July 20, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Merced, California, United States
 34 
Lonzo Ball
(Basketball Player)
Lonzo Ball
11
Birthdate: October 27, 1997
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Anaheim, California, United States
After earning multiple Player of the Year awards in high school, point guard Lonzo Ball also broke the UCLA Bruins record for the most assists in a season. He was the top U.S. freshman, and was eventually drafted by the L.A. Lakers and then traded to the New Orleans Pelicans.
 35 
Tony Parker
(French-American Professional Basketball Player Who Plays as a Point Guard)
Tony Parker
7
Birthdate: May 17, 1982
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bruges, Belgium

Tony Parker is a French-American former basketball player. During his playing career, he helped the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA win four NBA championships. He currently plays a major role in France's professional basketball league 'LNB Pro A' where he owns one of the league's team, ASVEL Basket. Also a philanthropist, Parker serves as the ambassador for Make-A-Wish France.

 36 
Carmelo Anthony
(American Basketball Player and One of the Greatest Scorers in NBA History)
Carmelo Anthony
16
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.

 37 
Ja Morant
(Basketball player)
Ja Morant
5
Birthdate: August 10, 1999
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dalzell, South Carolina, United States
 38 
Julius Erving
(Basketball player)
Julius Erving
8
Birthdate: February 22, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: East Meadow, New York, United States
 39 
Phil Jackson
(American Former Professional Basketball Player Who Played As a 'Power Forward')
Phil Jackson
5
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.

 40 
Patrick Ewing
(Basketball player Center, Head coach)
Patrick Ewing
8
Birthdate: August 5, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

Patrick Ewing is a Jamaican-American former basketball player who played for popular NBA teams like New York Knicks and Seattle SuperSonics. He also won gold medals at the 1984 and 1992 Olympic Games as part of the US men's national basketball teams. In 2008, Patrick Ewing was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame for his individual career.

 41 
Dwight Howard
(Basketball Player)
Dwight Howard
7
Birthdate: December 8, 1985
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

American professional basketball player, Dwight Howard, is known for his athleticism and his powerful physique. He is in the Los Angeles Lakers team of the National Basketball Association. He has also played for NBA’s Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards. He was part of the US men’s national basketball team which won the 2008 Olympics gold medal.

 42 
Tracy McGrady
(Shooting Guard, Small Forward)
Tracy McGrady
10
Birthdate: May 24, 1979
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bartow, Florida, United States
 43 
Blake Griffin
(American Professional Basketball Player Who Plays as a Power Forward)
Blake Griffin
7
Birthdate: March 16, 1989
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
Six-time NBA All-Star Detroit Pistons power forward Blake Griffin began his career playing for the Oklahoma Sooners, becoming the Consensus National Player of the Year. He was then drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers and won the Rookie of the Year award and the Slam Dunk Contest in 2011. 
 44 
Paul Pierce
(Basketball player)
Paul Pierce
7
Birthdate: October 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States

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.”

 45 
Reggie Miller
(Basketball player)
Reggie Miller
6
Birthdate: August 24, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Riverside, California, United States
 46 
Draymond Green
(Basketball Player)
Draymond Green
9
Birthdate: March 4, 1990
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, United States

Professional basketball player Draymond Green currently plays for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He plays primarily at the power forward position. A three-time NBA champion and a three-time NBA All-Star, he won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. He identifies himself as a Christian and follows a modest lifestyle.

 47 
Jason Kidd
(Former Basketball player at point guard position)
Jason Kidd
8
Birthdate: March 23, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
 48 
Isaiah Thomas
(Professional Basketball Player Who Plays as a Point Guard)
Isaiah Thomas
9
Birthdate: February 7, 1989
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
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.
 49 
Jayson Tatum
(American Professional Basketball Player)
Jayson Tatum
13
Birthdate: March 3, 1998
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

American basketball player Jayson Tatum was one of the best players in his school basketball team and played for the Duke University’s team, Duke Blue Devils, before being drafted by Boston Celtics of the NBA in 2017. Jayson Tatum is fast becoming one of Celtic’s most impactful player and also has the potential to become an NBA superstar.

 50 
DeMarcus Cousins
(Basketball player, Center)
DeMarcus Cousins
6
Birthdate: August 13, 1990
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mobile, United States