User FAQ's Expert FAQ's Expert Login Contact Us

You Are Here Home > Sports > Basketball > About NBA Players > Expert Answer

Question Who is the best NBA player of all time? (Posted by: Anonymous )

Andrew Answered by: Andrew, an
expert in the About NBA Players category
Like My Writing Below?

Click Here to hire me
to write for you!


In sports the question of the best player is often brought up. This is because there is no 'best' stat to give a definitive answer. Michael Jordan is often regarded as the best NBA player to ever live.

There are a few stats that are used to measure the greatness of a player: Championship wins, points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. If you put up big numbers in these categories you are considered a great player. In these categories Jordan ranks 10th, 3rd, 65th, 36th, 2nd, and 95th respectively. These are very respectable rankings, but unfortunately they are very easy to argue against.

For instance, steals and blocks were not recorded until 1973 and there was no 3-point line in the NBA until 1979. This undoubtedly affected the point totals of all players before 1979. To really understand why Jordan is the greatest player of all time other factors must be taken into account. Jordan played during the golden age of NBA basketball. This era was from 1980-1998: It should be noted that those years coincide with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson entering the NBA and Jordan's first retirement.

The golden age is named so for two reasons; it is thought to be when the best basketball was played and it coincides with the meteoric rise in the NBA's popularity. It is debatable when the best basketball was played, but, in 1996, the NBA named its All-Time Team consisting of 50 players that supports the golden age claim. Of the 50 players named to the team, 20 played more than half of their career during Golden Age. With this background info we can begin to understand the argument for Jordan's claim as the best.

Jordan was, simply, the best player during the best era of basketball. Comparing his statistics with other players in his era strengthens the argument. Jordan led the league in points every year he played up until 1998. In that span the only time he failed to lead the league in points per game was his rookie year. His player efficiency rating, a stat that measures the efficiency of a player, never fell below fourth in the league. Again, these are just stats and stats can be very misleading. What really solidifies Jordan's greatness are his accolades.

In the 12 years he played in the Golden Age he won six championships and never lost in the finals. He amassed 5 MVP awards and 12 All-Star Game nods. He also won 10 NBA scoring titles and was named to the All-NBA First Team 10 times. The most surprising, and telling, accolade is that he was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team 9 times. This shows that during the best era of basketball Jordan dominated on both ends off the court. Along with the accolades and statistics Jordan also has the benefit of his peers calling him the best.

In any field, the opinions of a person's peers are very telling. Many players who played against Jordan, including Johnson, Isiah Thomas and Bird, have said that Jordan is the greatest to ever play in the NBA. All of these factors make the case for Michael Jordan being the best NBA player ever.

Please Rate This Answer! Avg. Count
  1 2 3 4 5   3.00 439
Poor Excellent

I agree with Michael Jordan being one of the best but I would also put Kobe Bryant in there too By Anonymous on 15-12-12 at 09:30pm
I agree with everything you said, however Jordan didn't win his 1st title until 199
Vs the Lakers. Magic was well past his prime at that point & when Magic & Larry were winning titles in the 80's, Jordan had not reached his best. If all 3 players were at their best at the same period, I would be confident in saying Michael Jordan would not have 6 championships, which would throw a whole different light on the best player of all time argument. In saying this he was amazing & probably is the best of all time, even though Magic Johnson is my favorite :) By Anonymous on 19-01-13 at 03:59am
i agree every time jordan went to the playoffs he won the championship By Anonymous on 27-03-13 at 01:33pm
KAREEN ABDUL JABBAR ... by FARRRRRRRRR ... is the BEST NBA player of ALL TIME 1st in points 3rd all time blocks (jordan doesn't make the list) 3rd all time rebounds (jordan doesn't make the list) same number of championships as jordan: 6 and kareem has the most beautiful (and no one has ever duplicated it with consistency) 'shot' (SKY HOOK!! YES YES YES!!!) in the history of the NBA!! so really... if you are the owner of an NBA team... and 'you' had a chance to draft either 'JORDAN' or 'KAREEN' ... knowing... knowing... the stats above... who would you choose? By Anonymous on 02-04-13 at 01:01am
Magic johnson is the greatest player of all time.. 1st in assists per game..
nd in triple double and much higher field goal percentage than jordan. Jordan can shoot.. Johnson can make his team mates better.. Who do you think is the best? By Jason on 12-04-13 at 06:46pm
Majic is one of a few players that played all 5 positions on the coutt. He also won his High School tile, and the National Championship at Michigan. This speaks to his versatility and his willingness to win. Kareem did not win a title in LA till Magic came to the Lakers. By Anonymous on 20-04-13 at 10:40pm
michael jordan is the best. the best leader in the court as well as the best player to play, the best to execute a play. He moves like a lightning and dunks like a thunder. By val on 16-05-13 at 03:51am
oscar robertson By Anonymous on 01-06-13 at 11:10pm
BILL RUSSEL I know your thinking, "he had no competition." he did though.If you look him up you know he's only 6'9. he played center. today thats SF or maybe PF. he was so strong and atheletic that he not only played center he dominated. back then blocks were not recorded but he had alot. his athletism for his size and strength was amazing. dont believe me? watch this after you read all this. Jordan did this in a slam dunk competiton and is a globally recognized logo. russel did it in a game! look at his speed and vertical leep! so obviously he would still snag rebounds even if played today. he is the GREATEST defender ever!!! add 11 championships to that. the man is a winner. the greatest competitor in NBA history. yes i am a celtics fan. By TheTruth on 04-06-13 at 09:03pm
they say Michael Jordan is the best but now there saying LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan By Anonymous on 15-06-13 at 06:07pm
Jordan is the best by far. If you take any player and stop their career at the 15 year mark and compare stats, you will see a much different picture. The fact i jordan was out for 3 years the first time he retired and
years the second That's a total of 5 years without any stats and Jordan ranks third in all time.scoring and
of those years at age 39 and 40. If you stop any player at the 15 year mark, they would all be in their prime. Jordan holds the best ppg during the season and playoffs of all time as well. By Anonymous on 18-06-13 at 07:57pm
Who in their rookie year in the last game of the season for the NBA Championship TITLE came out and replaced their center that was hurt got a Triple Double playing center and helped his team win the Title from the Phildelphia 76'S? MAGIC JOHNSON THAT'S WHO! By Walter on 20-06-13 at 10:29pm
You guys do know basketball is a team game, until Chamberlain learned that all of his personal achievements were just that. Russell always knew it. Two NCAA championships back to back, an Olympic championship, an NBA championship his first year in the league,and 10 more in 13 years. I'm not saying who was the greatest because you can only do it by era. Most of you are to young to even have this discussion as you never Sam Jones play, and so on. By BobWilson on 21-06-13 at 11:00pm
1st off kareem was not the best not even top 5 but I would say Jordan then wilt chamberlin then kobe then magic and larry and kareem is 6 By Anonymous on 22-06-13 at 03:48pm
wow, wow, wow,, i would put Michael jordan and Kobe Bryant in the same stat if ever,,, its always been a coach factor anyway,,, but its Michael jordan who did yhe best thing in NBA that no one can reach,,, he took the air guys....... By Anonymous on 26-06-13 at 04:49am
Where the heck is Lebron in this discussion ?? By Anonymous on 26-06-13 at 05:46am
I was born in Chicago so I am totally with Michael Jordan...but with all the things that Wilt Chamberlain has accomplished he has records that will never be broken...ppl say that Kareem is great he played 6 more year than wilt and only scored 7 thousands more points...and towards the end of his career he was asked to pass the ball more and defend more so his points suffered...but if you are a true student of the game lookup wilts question he is by far the best ever..the guy had a 50" vertical jump..when he jumped his waist (navel) was at the top of a volleyball net...the guy had 90 different NBA records when he retired...look the up.. By Aaron on 07-09-13 at 11:35pm
Chamberlain the best by a incomparable margin what he accomplishe, 50 points per game one season, 100 point game, 55 rebounds, leading league in assists one year scoring 65 or more points 15 times, 50 or more points 118 times, Only player in NBA history to record a double-triple-double (
0+ in three different categories), Wilt =GOAT. By Anonymous on 23-12-13 at 02:15am
I agree with with the article jordan is the best to play the game. He was a complete player with no weakness. I dont think anyone comes close to jordan i watched games when he took on a opposing team of all stars and kicked but ex look at his 40 point game against the great olajuwan barkley and drexler who played with houston just incredible to dominate against three super athletes like that on opposite side!!!!! By Hassan on 26-12-13 at 07:25pm
1-30 By Anonymous on 29-12-13 at 02:08am
Larry Bird period By Marco Polo on 25-01-14 at 10:26pm
For me the best player of all-time is KING james!..because no one in nba player can stand on a post,and lebron can play on 5 position,,,.. By Anonymous on 19-02-14 at 11:27pm
I agree with the article, great explanations. Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time. Nice try Kobe and LeBron is way over hyped. Bill Russel had other great team mates to assist him, as did Kobe (Shaq) and LeBron (and the other two mediocre guys) Jordan had ball movers for team mates. SCOTTY PIPPEN WASNT THAT GOOD...don't know how he made the top 50? Anyway, Jordan, the smallest in size in comparison to all nba greats mentioned above, gave basketball a new name. Re read the article about and try rethinking who your number 1 pick is again (for all non Jordan believers:) By Rdub on 10-04-14 at 05:11pm
You all do not know the history of basketball. The best basketball player of all time was pistol Pete! Hands down!!! By Anonymous on 13-05-14 at 04:02pm
JORDAN RULES!!!! THE BEST EVER!!! By Anonymous on 23-05-14 at 03:16pm
I'd say Jordan as well. He is one of the best scorers to ever play the game. He had a killer instinct to just dominate an entire league. Make a list of all of the greats during that era who don't have a ring because of him. He had a great supporting cast as well tho. By Anonymous on 08-08-14 at 07:33pm
If all the greatest players were at their prime right now? (This includes Michael Jordan, Kareen, Magic, Larry, Kobe, LeBron, etc.) If all were in their prime, LeBron James is the best player ever. Disregard all stats, and NBA championships (because I believe by the end of LeBron's career he will have more than just 6). Just focus on how they all play/ed. 1. LeBron,
. Michael, 3. Magic, 4. Larry, 5. Kobe, 6. Kareem By Trey on 10-09-14 at 09:27am
With how he did it and considering his consistentcy haters please jordan is the greatest By Anonymous on 12-01-15 at 01:31am
Help Make This Answer Better - Post a Comment or Follow-Up Question!

First Name(Optional) OR
Email Address
Are you a human?

Similar Questions & Answers for: Who is the best NBA player of all time?

Ask a Question About About NBA Players