There is always some element of agency in the rankings of the best, most successful, and most gifted people. Basketball is no different. Over 125 years of basketball history have produced hundreds of legendary players. Here is our list of the top retired basketball players, which takes into consideration their accomplishments not only on the court but also off it in areas like social life, the film business, and even the battle for civil rights.
Oscar Daniel Bezerra Schmidt, a basketball player from Brazil, currently holds the record for most goals scored. The sum of Schmidt’s points for the club and the Brazil national team is 49,703. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who holds the NBA record, had 38 387 points in contrast.
Oscar Schmidt is the first athlete in Olympic history to have scored more than 1,000 points. The Brazilian played in five consecutive matches, but he was never able to guide his team to a medal. The fifth-best outcome is.
9. Sergey Belov
Olympic champion, two-time world champion, four-time European champion, winner of the Universiade, two-time winner of the European Champions Cup (today Euroleague). Here is a list of the greatest achievements of Soviet and European basketball legend Sergei Belov.
In 1991, the International Basketball Federation recognized Sergei Aleksandrovich as the best player of all basketball players to play for their national teams (excluding the NBA). In the end, even the National Basketball Association recognized Belov’s merits and introduced him to the Hall of Fame. Sergei Alexandrovich became the first non-American to receive such an honor.
8. Jerry West
Jerry West has won one championship in his 14-year NBA career. There is no MVP or Rookie of the Year for the season. Yet West is a representation of the NBA. The current federation symbol, a dribbler, was unveiled in late 1969. A photo of West from one of the Lakers games was used to create an insignia in the painting, which was created 40 years later by Alan Siegel.
Jerry West is the first NBA MVP Finals champion. West was the only recipient of this award on a losing team in history at the same time. He belongs to the «27+» club as well. Only West, Jordan, Baylor, and Chamberlain averaged 27 or more among the retiring basketball players.
7. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant has won 5 championship rings, NBA MVP titles, 2 Olympic gold medals, played 18 times in an All-Star match. Undeniably one of the greatest scorers in NBA history, Bryant is closest to Michael Jordan’s icon.
In addition to numerous awards, Kobe has come close to unbeatable records in his career. Bryant is currently the fourth all-time goalscorer in NBA history with 33,643 points. He also has the second scoring record of the match — in 2006, Kobe sent 81 points to Toronto.
Bryant kept on accumulating accolades in the basketball world after he retired. His movie Dear Basketball took home the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2018. During the film’s production, Kobe worked as both a producer and a writer.
On January 26, 2020, Bryant tragically perished in a plane accident. The private chopper of Kobe crashed not far from Los Angeles. His daughter Jeanne Maria, who was 13 at the time of the disaster, was one of the eight other victims of the incident.
Oscar Robertson — Mr. Triple Double. This is his record (181) that Russell Westbrook is trying to break. Westbrook has been traded from Oklahoma to Houston this season, where he shares the ball with James Harden. Therefore, the Robertson record should remain. Westbrook currently has 138 triple-doubles.
In addition to the amazing stats (25.7 points — 7.5 rebounds — 9.5 assists per career average), Robertson has many different honors and even inventions. He is considered to be the author of the «false swing» and «back throw» techniques, which are still actively used by all basketball players in the world.
5. John Stockton and Karl Malone
The best quarterback in basketball history is likely John Stockton. Who would have imagined a short (6’1″) white man would ever lead the NBA in both assists and steals (15,806)? (3,265). Karl Malone, a longtime teammate with whom Stockton played 1,412 consecutive games, establishing a record federation, received the majority of Stockton’s assists.
One of the top scorers in the NBA is thought to be Karl Malone. Malone averaged 36,928 points over the course of 19 seasons, ranking second all-time, and was twice named the regular season MVP. His efficiency, quickness, and accuracy earned him the moniker «Postman.»
4. Bill Russell
One of the first African Americans to play in the NBA was Bill Russell. He not only obtained the privilege to participate in the union, but also the title of league superstar. Russell achieved master status in astronomy 11 times throughout the course of his 13-year career.
Although he didn’t have the highest scoring average for Boston, he was renowned for his excellent rebounding and defensive skills. Bill Russell grabbed 22.5 boards each game on average. He undoubtedly earned a status among the best two NBA pickers in history by the end of his tenure (21,620). Since 2009, the NBA Finals MVP award bears his name.
3. The Damp Chamberlain
To understand Wilt Chamberlain’s greatness, suffice to say that he is the only player in NBA history to retire for three teams simultaneously — the Lakers, Philadelphia and the Golden State.
Chamberlain played for each of these clubs and throughout his career he had amazing results: 30.1 points — 22.9 rebounds — 4.4 assists per game. He has been a two-time association champion from the Philadelphia and Lakers and has been elected MVP of the NBA four times. He also has two undeniable records: 100 points in a match and 23,924 rebounds in his career.
Many associate Chamberlain’s unique statistics with the fact that in his time there were weak rivals who simply could not support a giant like him — 216 cm, 125 kg. However, at various times in Wilt’s career in the NBA, his counterparts were Bill Russell, Alvin Hayes, Nate Thurmond, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and other major centers and strikers. And Chamberlain successfully defended himself against such strong players.
2. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan, of course, deserves first place in this ranking. As part of Chicago, he became a six-time NBA champion, and at the same time consistently recognized as the MVP of the finals. Jordan is a five-time MVP of the regular season conference and a two-time Olympian. He also won the Duck Contest twice, NBA Defender of the Year and Rookie of the Year. It is difficult to name a title that is not in his collection.
There is no doubt that Jordan would be the most prolific player in NBA history, but he has retired and returned many times, spending just 15 partial seasons at the conference.
Yet Jordan is second. There is no doubt about the legendary character of His Vozduszestwa, but there are doubts about his human qualities. Nearly perfect in terms of anthropometric data (height 198 cm, broad shoulders, lean waist, minimal obesity) and game data (Michael only made one poor three-point throw — 32.7% of the turnover), Jordan gave 100% to basketball.
1. Kareem Abdul Jabbar
The Milwaukee Bucks won the league title for the first time and only time in the team’s history in 1971. The middle Buck Lewis Alcindor was this season’s regular season and championship series MVP. Alcindor is not well-known among basketball enthusiasts, but everyone has undoubtedly heard of the famous Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The guy is the same, though. In reality, Alcindor changed its name to Abdul-Jabbar the day after the 1971 victory. The basketball player converted to Islam in college, and it appears that this decision was made well in advance of the winning campaign.
Lews Alcindor made history over time, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went on to become one of the league’s top players for many years. Abdul-Jabbar amassed 38,387 points in 20 NBA seasons, set a record for most MVP awards with six, and helped the Bucks and Lakers win six NBA titles—more than any other team to have ever been invited to an All-Star game (19 times). Additionally, he ranks among the top 3 NBA players in terms of both blocks and rebounds (17,440 each) (3,189).
Karim did not put down his sneakers until he was 42 years old. After his career, Abdul-Jabbar starred in numerous films and TV shows, participated in the creation of books and comics, defeated cancer, was elected America’s Cultural Ambassador and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It is surprising that the story of his life is not yet filmed.